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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.

— National Lead also moved workers out of the Upper Works. That’s where Canon lived in 1963. Soon, he, too, was settling down in Winebrook Hills, alongside former Tahawus residents.

“I hated the thought of having to move out. For whatever reason, call it stubbornness or whatever, I didn’t go anywhere near much of the move. Obviously I’d see it as I went to work every day, but my place was at the Upper Works. I think I stayed at the Upper Works a year after the village was moved, until they finally forced me out and said you can’t stay here anymore, we’re closing the place up. And then I moved over to the apartments in Winebrook while they were finishing up my house down there on Marcy Lane.”

Seventy-eight-year-old Leonard Gereau was born just up the highway in 1935, on the Boreas Road. He and his parents moved into a small house in the village of Tahawus around 1942, when the mine officially opened. He left in 1955, and his childhood home was relocated to Winebrook Hills in 1963. It’s still there today on Marcy Lane. And his parents had strong feelings about moving to Newcomb.

“They didn’t like it,” Gereau said. “They enjoyed the Tahawus area, particularly fishing and the Sanford Lake Rod and Gun Club, and it was a total adjustment. My dad then ended up retiring in the ‘60s. It was kind of an overnight thing. One day they were living in Tahawus and the next day they’re living here in Newcomb. So it was an abrupt change in their lives and the social part of it as well because the homes here were not set up the same way they were in Tahawus. So their next door neighbor here in Winebrook Hills was different than next door neighbors in Tahawus.”

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