About Michael Virtanen

Michael Virtanen is a former Explorer staff reporter who also previously worked as a correspondent for the Associated Press and for daily newspapers in Albany, Utica and Amsterdam, N.Y.

Reader Interactions


  1. Curt Austin says

    Good subject for an article – thank you.

    Tahawus is a magical place. It is nestled among the High Peaks and near the source of the Hudson. But part of the magic is the rich history that includes a ghost town, Calamity Brook, industrial archeology and the lively old Tahawus village itself, which was moved to Newcomb to make room for another pit.

    I can understand the perspective that makes people want the old NL mine to disappear, but I think it would be best to be patient and let Nature continue to have its way with it. Digging up all the tailings scattered about in order to fill in the pits would destroy what Nature has already accomplished.

    Pursuing a full appreciation of the Adirondacks should mean accepting that humans did things here. I’m trying to say it’s not necessary to view the mine as an abomination to be erased. It’s interesting, it’s OK.

    But not that ugly causeway across the Hudson – let’s focus on getting rid of that abomination and hazard to navigation.

  2. Mike Coker says

    From the approach road, the place looks pretty awful. I have long tried to figure out just what and where Tahawus really is.

  3. Pat says

    Just FYI, there’s an error in your intro: It should say “….were quoted.” Thought you might want to change it. 🙂

  4. Bob Welch says

    Another eco-centric article lacking local representation, contribution and input. How surreal a thought for Gibson that there ever could actually have been some industry with real jobs in that place. Even now as they stand on a pile of excavated earth and rock the only breath of practicality comes from Mr. Mitchell. How sad that so many idealist who would spend a lifetime stifling economic opportunities and suppressing any notion of hometown say by local townships in their own destiny. The Gibsons of the world have routed local communities of much of there identity and heritage, swallowed and locked up much of the land and relegated growth to tiny Hamlet areas. A slow iniquitous death is what they sow. They subjugate commuties to become play grounds and purveyors of souvenirs and trinkets. Adirondack life will eventually become a seedy ilussion and obscured reality of what once was. A real Tahawus in the making.

  5. Dana Rohleder says

    Sorry Bob, but you can’t blame every failed enterprise and petered-out mine on environmentalists. Capitalism and market forces have played and will continue to play a significant role as well.

    When the Adirondacks offered unique and rare products that the world needed, the extraction industries ruled. Market conditions have changed to make extraction much less viable financially. Industries have pulled out and sold their lands. There was no evil plot – just economic forces playing out in our back yard.

    People are resilient. They can make lemonade out of lemons, or they can continue to grumble and point fingers for a few more generations. Which will be more productive?

  6. Dave H says

    I visited the working mine in the early 60s with my family. My Dad was working for Crucible Steel in Solvay, NY and was aware of the Titanium being mined out the Tahawus operation. Spent the day talking with some of the operators and got the whole historical background on the mining activities. Think history and the Cold War. Titanium was a key critical element In getting our aircraft flying and our nuclear submarines operatIng. Came home with a big chunk of Ilmenite ore and a metallurgical analysis. Don’t know what I did with it but it was a real curio. My years of banging around the Adirondacks and high peaks area are far behind me but the memories are still there. Glad the area is open for hikers

    • Sharon Nowland says

      Hi, My name is Sharon Nowland. In the 1960’s my family visited relatives who lived in Tahawus, NY. My Uncle Walter Chapman worked at the mine and he took us to the mine. I still remember looking down at the huge Steam Shovel down at the bottom of the mine. It looked like a toy.
      They lived in the original town before it was moved.
      I have lost track of the family and if anyone knows them or are related to them I’d really like to find some of their children or grandchildren

  7. Warren Huff says

    In the summer of 1956 I was a college student majoring in geology and managed to get a summer job at Tahawus. I was part of the exploration crew, which used magnetometers in the surrounding woods to search for more ilmenite. The job and the crew were both great but the black flies were horrible.

  8. jd says

    We have been to been to the mine and nearby Henderson Lake, McNaughton House, the upper works furnace, several times. It happened. People lived and worked there. It has history. Is this another unfavorable statue to be pulled down and never to mention again? This is history to be studied, discussed, viewed, understood, and remembered. Newcomb is a great area! Visit! People live (lived) in the Adirondacks for hundreds of years. What is wrong with that? Does it have to be set aside for super environmentalists only, or can visitors still marvel at the hardiness of people who actually lived, worked, raised families, and died there, loving their communities? Visit the ADK Museum in Blue Mtn Lake people.

  9. Chris T says

    They found out people like exploring here so the old buildings were torn down, new ones were put up, and the landscape is now meticulously manicured.

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