4 Little-Known Facts about the Town of Johnsburg

If you’re a first-time visitor to Gore Region or a longtime Upstate New Yorker who’s just not especially familiar with the Town of Johnsburg, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn just how much this section of the Adirondack Park has to offer residents and tourists alike.

Sure, you probably realize it’s a great year-round destination for outdoor recreation. You may even have a vague awareness that this is a region rich in historical significance. But, we’re willing to bet there’s a lot about the Town of Johnsburg’s past and present that’s not on your radar…at least, not yet!

We’re sharing some lesser-known details about the area to spark your interest in exploring Gore Region:

Fact #1

It’s More than ‘Just’ Johnsburg

The Town of Johnsburg is actually comprised of six hamlets – Bakers Mills, North Creek, North River, Wevertown, Johnsburg, and Riparius – and the settlements of Sodom, Christian Hill, The Glen, and Garnet Lake. Founded in 1805 by John Thurman, The Town of Johnsburg is the largest town in Warren County, NY. It covers 200 square miles within the Adirondack Park, more than half of which is designated as “forever wild” and owned by New York State.

Johnsburg Hamlets Map

Fact #2

It’s Where Theodore Roosevelt Learned He Would Be President

William McKinley, the 25th President of the United States, was shot twice on September 6, 1901, while attending the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, NY. After undergoing surgery, President McKinley’s initial prognosis was positive, and his Vice President, Theodore Roosevelt, set off to the Adirondacks for a climbing expedition to Mount Marcy. It was during this excursion when Roosevelt received word that McKinley’s condition had taken a sudden downward turn. The Vice President immediately began the journey out of the mountains, headed for the North Creek Railroad Station. On September 14, 1901, Theodore Roosevelt arrived at the North Creek Railroad Station to learn of President McKinley’s death and his impending succession to the position of President. From there, he took a train to Buffalo, where he was inaugurated in the presence of a small crowd of approximately 40 people.

Theodore Roosevelt
Image source: Wikipedia.org

Fact #3

It’s the Birthplace of a Unique Line of Beagles

Patch beagles, named for the first dog in their line, are a special strain of beagles known for their rugged, hardy nature and their keen rabbit hunting abilities. They were first bred in North Creek in 1896 by Willet Randall, a lifelong resident of the Adirondack Region. Randall founded the Patch Kennel in North Creek, distributing his hounds throughout the country. Randall ran the Patch Kennel until the late 1960s before passing it, and stewardship of the Patch line, to close friend, Mike Capozzi. After Capozzi’s passing in 2014, he was succeeded by Chris Hornick, who continues to shepherd the Patch line of beagles established by Randall over a century ago.

Patch Kennel Staff photograph
The Patch Kennel staff photo, Willet Randall on the far right. Photo courtesy of The Patch Kennel.

Fact #4

It Features Prominently in U.S Ski History

Gore Mountain is one of the biggest tourism draws in the Town of Johnsburg. It brings thousands to the region in the winter for skiing, snowboarding, and tubing, and it’s a warm-weather destination for hikers and mountain bikers. What’s not as well-known is how Gore Region figured in the evolution of recreational skiing in the United States. The North Creek Ski Bowl was one of the first commercial ski areas in the nation in the early 1930s. It was home to one of the country’s first ski patrols, and many key developments in the national recreational ski industry can be attributed to Gore Region.

Historic image of skiers in the North Creek Ski Bowl
Image source: firstwilderness.com

Go On Your Own Fact-Finding Adventure

These tidbits are only the tip of the interesting-facts-about-the-Town of Johnsburg- iceberg. What may at first seem like just another quaint small town in the Adirondacks quickly reveals itself to have character and depth in spades. Take a trip to Gore Region and see what unexpected gems of information you can uncover!