The book Beaver River Country: An Adirondack History (Syracuse Univ. Press, 2022) by Edward I. Pitts is a vivid history of this remote section of the western Adirondacks and its inhabitants. Encompassing the lands immediately surrounding the upper reaches of the Beaver River from its headwaters at Lake Lila to Beaver Lake at the settlement of Number Four, Beaver River country is one of the largest undisturbed tracts of forest in the entire northeastern United States.
During the nineteenth century the Beaver River was widely considered to be the very heart of the Adirondacks and was visited by thousands of tourists seeking outdoor recreation. The area boasted a busy railroad station, two grand hotels, an exclusive resort, and an elaborate great camp, as well as dozens of guides camps and sporting clubs.
Pitts traces the generations of people who inhabited the region, from the ancestors of the Haudenosaunee, to the early European settlers, to the vacation communities and seasonal visitors. With each generation, Pitts shows how Beaver River country escaped the forces that fragmented and destroyed the wilderness in much of the Northeast.
The forest and waters that attracted the early visitors are still there, preserved by a combination of happenstance and dedicated effort. Filled with rare vintage photographs, this book is a vivid portrait of this wild region, revealing how it came to be and why it survives.
Edward I. Pitts is a retired attorney and federal administrative law judge. His articles on Adirondack history have appeared in Adirondack Magazine, Adirondack Life, LOCALadk, and the New York Almanack.
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