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Gem of the Adirondacks: Star Lake, Benson Mines, and the Global Economy Paperback – February 4, 2005

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Russell J Hall's several careers have included intervals working in an iron mine, a decade as a professor of biology, and nearly three decades as a government scientist. Most recently as an author he has written books on a broad range of subjects, all of which are enriched in one way or another by the knowledge and experiences gained in his past.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 190 pages
  • Publisher: Lighthall Books (February 4, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0976426307
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976426301
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.9 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,574,322 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Having interned at the Newton Falls Paper mill in the 70'2 and toured the decay and abandonment of Benson Mines, I can relate to the history written so eliquently in this book. The towns of Star Lake and Newton Falls sustained a double trauma when first Benson Mines was abandoned, then the failure of the paper mill to remain a viable entity. The rail line has gone decrepit as well. The area is economically devastated. The Newton Falls Hotel, and all remaining support facilities have long since disappeared, smokestack America is dead as we know it. Where restaurants, bowling alleys, A&P's, churches, and other stores once stood are now gone or leaning at a 45. Houses sell next to nothing and are being abandoned every year with no hope in sight. Once a mini boom town relying on soon to be dead industries, calling it a shell of its former self is too generous. Walk the streets and close your eyes and try to remember the hum of machinery of the mill. The trucks rumbling the main streets loaded with iron ore and the Carthage and Watertown rail system, bringing supplies to the mill and the mines and leaving loaded with ore and reams of papers. Smell the aroma of the acrid pulping pits and the wafting of the different industrial scents. It was like a heartbeat and the arteries were the streets and the veins were rail lines. ALL NO MORE. Now deathly silence. Children still play but it mimicks the past. Other paper mills and ore mines have also closed, ones that were in far better shape. Tourism? Tupper Lake a fraction of what it was a few decades ago. Only the 14 bed hospital remains hanging on by a fingernail. As more people leave that too will fade away. It does however live on in the memories of the old timers. And they too will pass into history. In the meantime, read the book. It helps if you are from the area. If not be forward as America in decline, it is coming to a town near YOU!
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Format: Paperback
The book is a combination history, memoir, and scientific dissertation about the Clifton - Fine region of the beautiful Western Adirondack Mountains of New York State. It largely concerns the rise and fall of the former Jones and Laughlin Steel, open pit, iron ore mine at Benson Mines, NY where the author worked while attending college. Dr. R.J. Hall is a retired scientist from the United States Geological Service and also a graduate of the high school that is located at the Star Lake, NY mentioned in the book's title.

If you skip through the early discussion of the geology of the area, you will find the book very interesting reading. The account is impressively researched. At times, though, you can sense the wistfulness creep into an otherwise objective and dispassionate discussion.

I certainly recommend the book. Further, it is highly recommended to residents, former residents, and students of Clifton - Fine schools.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Goes into great detail concerning a small area of the upper NY State and business's that thrived in the early 1900's. Very interesting reading.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting perspective from somone who expereienced the process first hand! Along with the hostory of Star Lake and Adirondack Industry.
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