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Old 01-22-2018, 05:30 PM   #1
Woodly
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Lahart's-Catamount-Forestdale-history

North of Whiteface Mtn is a mountain named Catamount which is part of the Taylor Pond Recreational Area and the mtn now being advertised as one to hike to get many out of the High Peaks.
Catamount is worthy though like the Peaks it will be spoiled. It has grand views in all directions, steepness, much exposed rock and a famous Couloir and the state in its infinite wisdom is now adding boardwalks and bridges to its main trail. It also once, the final remains could still be found in the 1970s, had a barb wired fence right over the summit and down the ridge line. Its hard to believe once you are on top but its true.
The fence came up from the Lahart farm sitting down below and was put their by Wilford Lahart [ b1911 and now deceased] and his Grandfather.
Grandpa, who came out of Canada, and fellow members of his family settled that valley and hand dug the pond across the Forestdale Rd from the house. By the pond the 2nd family moved to but little remains of their dwelling.
while the Lahart farm in much of its glory still stands though mostly idle.
Where the farm sits and just west of it at the junction of Forestdale Rd and Rosemond Lane was called 'West Kilns'. and there were a few Hops farms there, a school and Post Office. Hops could still be found in the 1960s/70s and the teacher lived with Lahart's.
Wilford told me if you misbehaved in school you got punished by the teacher and after supper by his dad, so he learned to behave.
The Lahart's and others were responsible for first putting in a corduroy road through the Catamount/Hearn Swamp valley so they could go to church in Black Brook-where many of them are now buried. Travel to church in the winter was done under bear and cow skins in a buggy [probably buggies since the family was large] with coal ember heaters under their feet.
Eventually the road was filled in from rock off Catamount brought down by big set fires to loosen and crack the rock, TNT and Steam Shovel.
Near those now overgrown cliffs from whence the road came from was a Basswood Forest where the Lahart's chased bees and downed trees to get their honey.
When I first climbed and hunted Catamount and met Wilford, the mountain was quite bare in many places but now is overgrown but underneath that tree canopy is a rugged place and the inexperienced should stay on the trail/s.
I once found a 38-55 Winchester shell half corroded away and wondered if Wilford hunted with something like that. His answer; Grandpa did. I thought that pretty interesting and wondered how long it would take for a brass cartridge to erode half away. His father died in the 30s so it must've been before then.
Headed east away from the farm and near the middle of Hearn Swamp is Middle Kilns, Further near the jct of the Silver Lake Rd, is East Kiln.
Sand piles where the kilns stood were easily seen in the 70s but now are mostly over grown tho a foundation lies at Middle Kilns if one knows where to look.
East Kilns is now a large private estate once owned by the JJ Newberry [think stores] family and is complete with indoor riding rink and more.
The kilns provided charcoal for both the iron mill in Ausable Forks and also the world's largest horseshoe nail factory in distant Chateauguay.
Barely any tree stood from Whiteface to Chateauguay...and occasionally one who looks in antique shops may find a postcard of that once mighty factory.

Last edited by Woodly; 01-22-2018 at 05:33 PM.. Reason: doubled words and spelling errors
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Old 01-22-2018, 07:38 PM   #2
dundee
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Thanks!
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Old 01-22-2018, 07:55 PM   #3
Woodly
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Your welcome. Also, about 1980 the movie Cold River was partially filmed in a cabin [its actually attached to a more modern house, on the road that turns left off the road coming down from Whiteface headed towards Franklin Falls. The name of the road changes so I don't presently know it but it is the one with the well marked Goodspeed cemetery on it.
The cabin sits past the cemetery and the road is a dead end.
Anyways both Wilford Lahart and the two brothers who lived in that cabin/house verified that when they were young no trees stood between there and Lahart's/West Kiln and that on a clear night they could see lanterns burning in each others windows!!
Check that distance on a Wilmington topo! And look at the forest!
Also where the jct of the Forestdale Rd and Rosemond lane is [where the school and p.o. was] that actually was labelled 'Forestdale' tho above in my first post I attached it to West Kilns which is a short distance away.

Also-[little facts] the road on the west side of Franklin Falls Pond was once partially on the east side-remnants of that now have a few cabins on it and the bridge was on the river narrows.
An unmarked [on topos] cemetery lays west of the Union Cemetery near where Hough Brook crosses Forestdale Rd on the south side. It used to be very overgrown but a few people have cleaned it up.
And the Community of Franklin Falls, which really no longer exists due to two big fires, was once larger than Wilmington. It was a logging community for the most part. One small boy's grave, who was scalled to death accidentally by his mother, lies to the north on the extension road above the FF Dam.

Last edited by Woodly; 01-22-2018 at 08:10 PM.. Reason: additional info
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Old 01-26-2018, 09:30 PM   #4
Woodly
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A little additional info-across from Lahart's farm up on the Stephenson Range once was an ice chute for logging. Horses wearing calks pulled a dripping water wagon up the chute building up ice for the logs to come down on. The logs then went to one of the local kilns.
A couple of the loggers did get killed or mangled in the chute.
I got this info directly from Wilford Lahart.
Back thirty years ago or so, one could see the 'chute's line' in the woods if they stood at Lahart's. I've always wondered if the old snowmobile trail on the Stephenson Range didn't use, part of the chute, but I do not know.
That snowmobile trail can still be found walking into Cooper Kiln [Cooper Kill] but I believe it is well grown in now. I saw the beginning of it just five years ago on a snowshoe trip to Cooper Kiln.
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Old 01-26-2018, 11:11 PM   #5
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Good stuff!
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