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.
continued In Tahawus, people rented their homes for about $25 a month. In Winebrook Hills, National Lead sold the homes to their workers. For Gereau, his parents’ tiny home on Marcy Lane brought back a childhood memory from January 1953.
“My father’s sister in Glens Falls died at a very young age and left seven children,” Gereau said. “He took two of the boys, Dick Lashway and Jim Lashway, to help out his sister’s family. And there was my brother Ed and my brother Jim and myself, three boys already, and then two more boys. So five boys living in this house. And that was a period of history when polio existed ... And I recall my mom and dad keeping the five boys in this house for the month of January in 1953. And that was a very difficult time because we enjoyed fighting.”
Not all the homes were small, but residents who lived in the small ones made the best of it. Some, like the Gereaus, added bedrooms in the space allotted.
“Originally downstairs there were only two (bedrooms), and my dad put two in the attic area,” Gereau said. “So that’s where we were as boys; we slept upstairs in the attic.”
Life in Tahawus
At the Newcomb Historical Society Museum, two workers were watching a video of the 1963 move on a computer screen. It’s color film set to music on a DVD. Sally Rockwood and Jean Strothenke grew up down the street from each other in Tahawus. Rockwood lived in there until she was 13, and Strothenke until she was 15.
“Ooh, somebody had a garage,” Strothenke said, pointing to the computer screen. “We sure didn’t.”
“This is in Newcomb,” Rockwood said.
The garages were built after the move, as they didn’t have garages in Tahawus.