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Old 12-13-2016, 11:01 PM   #1
Festus
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history/following the Cedar Point Road

The Cedar Point Road was an early state road that went from Cedar Point (Port Henry) to Newcomb. It was constructed in the late 1820s, mostly for the benefit of the McIntyre Mines at the Tahawus Club/Upper Works near Newcomb. Archibald McIntyre (New York State Controller) was the driving force behind this mine. He began with an iron manufacturing concern in Lake Placid from 1809 - 1817. To obtain ore for his furnaces, he built the first road from Lake Placid to Cascade Lakes where he mined low quality ore between the two lakes. Soon thereafter, he built a second road, this one going from Lake Placid to Ausable Forks to obtain better ore. This second road generally follows current Route 86 along the Ausable River. For a 3 mile section, from Monument Falls parking lot to the bend in Route 86 (approximately 1 mile south of the Whiteface Ski Center), the old ore road detours from the course of Route 86, passing east of Owen and Winch Ponds. This section of the old road is fun to follow, crosses an old logging camp, passes near the base of the Kilburn Mountain slide, and is easiest to follow when starting from the north.
McIntyre closed his Placid operations after the "year without a summer" in 1816 but continued to keep an eye out for minerals in the area. He started up his mine near Newcomb in the late 1820s and one of the first things he did was to lobby to have a road built from Lake Champlain to Newcomb. The obvious goal of this road - the Cedar Point Road - was to provide a path for his iron to reach the lake and thus markets. This venture also failed, mostly due to the high costs of transporting the iron and steel to ready markets. The last gasp for the mine was the construction of its' 1854 blast furnace which, due to limited use, still stands today. A cemetery, a house, as well as the remains of an earlier furnace, brick making kiln and sunken barge, can still be found if one searches the area.
The Cedar Point Road was replaced in the 1840s by the Carthage Road which more closely follows today's Blue Ridge Highway from exit 29 of the Northway to Newcomb. Thus, the Cedar Point Road was rarely used in sections since the 1840s and stretches have reverted back to wilderness. Finding the remains of this old road was quite the topic in the 1960s - 1980s. Various individuals researched the exact course of this historic road and published their findings - most of which turned out to be only partially accurate.
Today, the first half of the old road is mostly traceable from Port Henry to Clear Pond near Elk Lake. The second section from Clear Pond to the McIntyre Mines crosses what was, up to recently, private land and thus probably hasn't been traced (the old road actually crosses the recently opened road that leads to Boreas Ponds). With the state's new purchase of this land from Finch Pruyn and a bit of research/perseverance, this second section should now be locatable.
The first part of the Cedar Point Road leaves Port Henry and follows paved roads. Near Moriah Center, the old road veers off Crowfoot Road and soon follows an unmarked trail (parts of which cross private land). This trail/old road heads just south of Moriah Pond and north of Round Pond where it joins a public hiking trail. This trail heads north from Ensign Pond to the Sharp Bridge Campground in North Hudson. The Cedar Point Road follows this hiking trail towards Sharp Bridge where, about a mile before the campground and where it first runs into the Schroon River, it crosses the river on what was, an old bridge (the foundation of which is still evident). It is from this point on that following the old road becomes interesting...
The Cedar Point Road leaves the trail at this point. It crosses the Schroon River, passes by the old Shaw Farm cellar holes (1870s - just across the river from the hiking trail), and heads east through the woods for approximately a mile towards Route 9. The Cedar Point Road intersects a newer woods road about 5 minutes before reaching Route 9 and follows that to the current highway. Route 9 is reached about a mile south of Sharp Bridge.
Following Route 9 south, an open space in the road is reached in a half a mile or less. Here, to the right of Route 9, a cellar hole is visible a few feet off the road. This was the famous Weatherhead's Tavern which back in the 1830s was known to have "40 teams of horses with wagons heavily loaded with lumber" waiting outside.
Just past this cellar hole on the right, a DEC sign and dirt road to West Mill Brook appears. The Cedar Point Road follows this road down over a brook (high clearance vehicles needed), through a tunnel under the Northway, and eventually to the parking lot for West Mill Brook. From this parking spot, the old road parallels the brook for 3 miles of pleasant hiking as the road is kept up by hikers/hunters. Redfield, on his visit to make the first ascent of Mount Marcy (1837) took this road and called it a "newer, more imperfect road through the woody defiles of the Schroon Mountain Range".
After hiking this scenic road for approximately 3 miles, the old Cedar Point Road leaves the current trail (on the left) just a few minutes before the current path crosses the stream and arrives at the old Pepper logging camp. The Cedar Point Road continues up the valley passing 3 beaver ponds on their left, eventually crossing over to the right side of the valley just past the height of land. While the road disappears for a while after the ponds, it can be picked up again on the right side where it has been turn-piked or raised up in the low, somewhat swampy lands. The road fades again just before it passes the scenic "Niagara Falls", a stream that comes down Sunrise Mountain but a mile or so later it reappears by merging with some hunting trails that appear in the area. The old road veers right, off from the hunting trail and heads through the low pass to the outlet stream from Clear Pond. It follows the stream to the pond and heads around the northern end of the pond eventually arriving at the old Israel Johnson farm and sawmill (now the caretakers cottage and gate for the Elk Lake Property).
The road is still followable by experienced "old road aficionados" but it needs to be done in the Spring or Fall...
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Old 12-14-2016, 07:11 AM   #2
dundee
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Great stuff, thank you!
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Old 12-14-2016, 07:19 AM   #3
Justin
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Very nice report, thanks for sharing!

I spent some time exploring the West Mill Brook area last year.
The "Old Pepper Logging Camp" makes for a nice basecamp...




Niagara Brook Falls:

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Old 12-14-2016, 07:42 AM   #4
Festus
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Great photos! I've come to really love that area...
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Old 12-20-2016, 03:07 PM   #5
jburn
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That was a good read, thank you. I just so happened to have been reading about the history of Route 9 and the Northway before going on the forum. Had to research the "year without a summer", interesting stuff.
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Old 12-23-2016, 05:09 PM   #6
MTVhike
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Jburn, what are some good references for the history of rt 9 and the Northway?
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Old 12-27-2016, 02:46 PM   #7
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Honestly I wasn't going too deep and was doing some web searches. Wiki was nice because it walked you through each stage geographically.
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Old 12-28-2016, 11:20 AM   #8
JohnnyVirgil
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Originally Posted by Justin View Post
Very nice report, thanks for sharing!

I spent some time exploring the West Mill Brook area last year.
The "Old Pepper Logging Camp" makes for a nice basecamp...
Justin -- Jiffy Pop? That's awesome. I haven't seen that since I was a kid.
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Old 12-29-2016, 06:27 PM   #9
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Justin -- Jiffy Pop? That's awesome. I haven't seen that since I was a kid.
Good eyes!
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