"The Lighthouses and Light Towers of the Adirondack Park"

January 11, 2015



with David E. Cook

Free to members and students; $5 for non-members
This program takes place at 1:30 p.m. in the Adirondack Museum's auditorium.


"The Lighthouses and Light Towers of the Adirondack Park" will explore approximately 80 - 85 light towers that have marked the waters inside the current boundaries of the Adirondack Park, dating back to about 1815. David will introduce you to that fascinating history, and if not expose you for the first time, at least remind you, that the history of European development in the Adirondacks is primarily a maritime history.

The sheer ruggedness of the hills, mountains and valleys, coupled with the lack of effective road building technology, forced early settlers and entrepreneurs to utilize the Adirondack waterways in every way they could. Thus, when the highest grades of iron ore then known to mankind were discovered in the Essex County hills, the ore was shipped via barges and freighters on Lake Champlain. Likewise, the region's lumber and agricultural yields.

From the western edges of what is now park boundary, people traveled into the heart of the Adirondacks via an elaborate system of water taxis and marine tramways that hauled boats from one lake shore to another, until people reached all the way from Forrestport to Tupper Lake and even right here, Blue Moutain Lake. In between, private pleasure craft and public tour boats needed assistance traversing the rock-strewn lakes of the south-central Adirondacks. Lighthouses functioned on Lake George, Piseco Lake and the Great Sacandaga Lake.

Of the 50 United States, only three of them have ever had more lighthouses than the 80 - 85 which have functioned inside the Adirondack Park - and that includes the so-called "Lighthouse State" of Maine. You will be fascinated, if not stunned, to learn their history!

Long time Adirondacker and author David Cook has been studying, photographing, painting and drawing almost 800 American light houses and towers for nearly 30 years. While helping local and regional organizations to utilize cultural tourism as an economic catalyst, he has written, lectured and lead group tours of maritime historical sites, concentrating primarily on New York.

In 2006, he finally began self-publishing some of that work under the "umbrella" title of Lighthouses of the Empire State. He has now produced thirteen books, booklets and pamphlets, with several others in progress. His most extensive and most successful work was the 2009 genealogical anthology of every light-keeper who ever served the state and federal light-stations on Lake Champlain. One of his current works is "The Lighthouses and Light-Keepers of the Adirondack Park," which is being developed as a full-color hard-cover coffee table book.


Free to members and students; $5 for non-members
This program takes place at 1:30 p.m. in the Adirondack Museum's auditorium.

The Cabin Fever Sundays series is supported by a grant from the New York Council for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Up next in the Cabin Fever Sundays series: "Adirondack Outlaws: Bad Boys and Girls of the North Country" with Niki Kourofsky
Sunday, February 1, 2015