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Tahawus moved to Newcomb 50 years ago

Former Tahawus resident Leonard Gereau shows Newcomb Supervisor George Canon a Post-Star article his son, John Gereau, wrote in 2001 about the 1963 Tahawus move to Newcomb. Leonard is writing on a book about life in the National Lead mining community of Tahawus in the 1940s and 1950s. John is now managing editor of Denton Publications.

Former Tahawus resident Leonard Gereau shows Newcomb Supervisor George Canon a Post-Star article his son, John Gereau, wrote in 2001 about the 1963 Tahawus move to Newcomb. Leonard is writing on a book about life in the National Lead mining community of Tahawus in the 1940s and 1950s. John is now managing editor of Denton Publications. Photo by Andy Flynn.

— Fifty years ago, the National Lead company moved its workforce from the mining village of Tahawus 10 miles away, to the village of Newcomb. There was a rich vein of titanium ore under those homes, and it was needed to keep the mine open.

Yet relocating dozens of buildings was the easy part; integrating a tight-knit community into another one was the real challenge.

Route 28N runs through the hamlet of Newcomb. From one end to the other — about 5 miles — this is known as the longest Main Street in the Adirondacks. It’s actually 3 miles from the Newcomb Town Hall, in what they called old Newcomb, to the corner of Adams Lane, in what became new Newcomb. This is the Winebrook Hills development, an 80-acre tract National Lead purchased to create a suburb of sorts. It’s where the mining company relocated the village of Tahawus, including 67 houses, five apartment buildings, two churches and a general store.

Newcomb Town Supervisor George Canon has a unique perspective on the Tahawus move. He was working there 50 years ago.

“There’s a story almost in its own right about moving to Newcomb,” Canon said. “Certainly the company spent several hundred thousand dollars to put in the water and sewer, bought the land, did the roads. Obviously they had a self-protection interest in mind. It was in the mid ‘60s and the war was starting to pop good, and business was booming up there. They had to protect their workforce somehow, and that’s how they did it, rather than just saying ‘We’re out of business here in Tahawus. You’re out on your own.’ Now a lot of them didn’t come to Winebrook. Some went to Long Lake, some went to Schroon, some went to Minerva. They went all over the place, but they made it pretty easy to move over to here, too, to keep their workforce intact.”

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