What’s in a Name?

Adirondac Rafting Company:  What’s in a Name?

Posted 7/18/16

Someone recently remarked that my Adirondac Rafting Company cap had a misspelling. Where was the “k” in Adirondack?  Given owner Bob Rafferty’s keen eye for detail and excellent spelling skills, it’s no surprise that there’s a very good reason for the omission.

When Adirondac Rafting Company was founded in 1996, Bob wanted to choose a name that set his company apart and at the same time identified it as the leader in Adirondack whitewater rafting on the Upper Hudson River in New York State.  He chose the name: Adirondac Rafting Company.

Not far from Indian Lake, NY stands the abandoned and deteriorating old mining town of Adirondac. Archibald McIntyre and David Henderson built the mine and founded the town in the mid 1800’s.   Interestingly, Adirondac is where Teddy Roosevelt found out that William McKinley was dying and began his wild ride to Buffalo where he would be sworn in as President.

When the mines first began producing Iron in the 1840’s, production was diminished by the presence of “impurities” and by the difficulty of transporting heavy ore through such wild country. The operation shut down in 1858 after a flood and fire, global economic downturn and McIntyre’s death. The little town became a hunting and fishing club with just a few year-round residents.  Then after World War II began, it was discovered that those “impurities” were titanium dioxide, a useful chemical.  Thus, the mining business came back in force, and the town sprang back to life.

One of the conspicuous reminders of this mining operation is the old railroad trestle that the whitewater rafts travel beneath before entering the Boreas Flats rapid on their way through the Upper Hudson Gorge.

The final end of the town came in 1962:  When the deposit was mined out, employees were moved to Newcomb along with some of the buildings.  The story goes, they went down to work in the morning and when they came out of the mine, the town hall, church and school had all been moved to Newcomb.  

Now as a testament to the forgotten history of the Adirondacks, the town of Adirondac lives on with the family-run rafting company that now bears its name.


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