One of the most fascinating aspects of the Gore Region is that its history is still alive today. The natural resources here are vast, rich and abundant. When you visit, it’s all around you in plain sight.
In 1788, years before the Town of Johnsburg was founded, a wealthy merchant named John Thurman purchased a 25,200-acre swath of land in the Adirondacks which would later become part of the Gore Region. He developed the land to create a sawmill, grist mill, distillery, and woolen factory. He also built ash works and made large quantities of potash, for which farmers were paid one shilling per bushel for ashes.
The township of Thurman split up and Johnsburg was formed in 1805. The early economy of the town depended upon its natural resources: forests, tillable land, and minerals. The economy quickly grew, thanks to its large number of farms and the booming logging industry. Locals filled all the positions for the logging companies. Logs were floated down the Hudson River, and the area featured multiple sawmills and wood manufacturing businesses.
The hamlet of North Creek began in the 1840’s-1850’s as a series of wooden buildings used as logging camps for the local workers and their horses. Hamlets were once the focus of rural life when transportation was by means of horse or walking. People in the surrounding area needed basic services close by, and small hamlets contained the essentials.
Another major industry in the region that provided an economic boost was tanning. In its heyday, there were 4 tanneries in North Creek. Milton Sawyer and Wheeler Mead built a large tannery in North Creek which, at its height, could turn out 30,000 hides annually. This industry is what gave Tannery Pond Center its name.
The Gore Region is home to one of the world’s oldest garnet deposits and is recognized as a world-famous geological site. You and your family can treasure hunt right in the heart of the Adirondacks!
The Barton Garnet Mines was first established in 1878. The Barton Family started public tours in 1933. Their goal was to make these gems accessible to visitors of all ages and ability levels. The mine site is flat which makes it easy to maneuver on foot and it is wheelchair accessible.
The hardest garnet in the world is only found on Gore Mountain, making the garnet extremely rare. The Barton garnet has an unusual and beautiful ruby red color that flashes in the sun. In 1969, the Governor of New York, Nelson Rockefeller, made the Barton garnet the New York State Gemstone.
The Barton Mines really are the gem of the Adirondacks!
The season opens again in June, when you can go on a tour seven days a week. Visit the website for schedules and information, to listen to the Barton Mine Song, and to find a $3 off coupon. You can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram. Find more info on their website, www.garnetminetours.com.
With the arrival of the railroad in 1871, transportation was revolutionized, and North Creek developed into the hub of our town with its ever-growing businesses. You can learn more about the history of the North Creek Railroad by visiting the North Creek Depot Museum.
History lives and breathes in the Gore Region. Come visit, spend a weekend and learn about the boundless natural resources provided by the beautiful Southern Adirondacks.