The History of Lyon Mountain, N. Y.
This is a portrait of Lewis Lyon, son of
after whom the mountain and town were named.
..... This is a sketch of a small
in the Adirondacks known as Lyon Mountain. When I was young, it was
that mountain lions had once roamed the mountain near Chazy Lake known
Lyon Mountain. As I grew older I learned that it was named after
Nathaniel Lyon, who settled in Saranac, Clinton co, NY, which is about
5-10 miles south
of the base of Lyon Mountain. His son (pictured above) Lewis Lyon was born 18 Sept 1814, in
VT. Nathaniel Lyon settled in Saranac in 1803 or 1804 and was one of
first settlers in that part of the county. He was a relative of Gen.
Lyon, who was killed at the battle of Wilson's Creek, MO, in August
New Books available..... "Lyon Mountain: The Tragedy of a Mining
You've done an
job with your site, and with spreading the word on North Country
Many of the oldtimers that I've become friends with in Lyon Mountain
have computers, so I have to tell them about it or print samples to
them. They are really proud of their heritage, so they love
that their hometown is known on the internet. We've been deeply
in the village for some time now. Along with publishing our two
Mountain books, we added a site dedicated to the village of Lyon
and so far it has raised well over $1000 in donations towards their
and Railroad Museum, which should be opening sometime in 2006.
We had previously
a link to your site among our links on the Lyon Mountain pages, and if
at all interested, we'd be pleased if you decided to add us to your
Our main site is www.bloatedtoe.com.
My partner is in the process of adding Whitehall, N.Y. pages, and
increasing our Lyon Mountain pages.
We handled the publishing of
history book, which is officially being launched on November 10, and we
are beginning to offer our publishing services to others via a unique
History of the Chateaugay Ore and Iron Company
Go to Page 2 of The History of Lyon
Go to Bulletin Board for Lyon Mountain.
Go to Page 3 of The History of Lyon
Go to Lyon Mountain: The
that refused to die. Lots of pictures
Go to Mining History for The History of
in the North Country.
Go to Page 5 of The History of Lyon
article on Lyon Mt. and Mineville)
Levi White of Clintonville has provided an
history of his life including his years working in the mines of Lyon
He also provided sketches from memory of the operation at the Lyon Mt.
ca 1940. The sketches were produced in Jan 1992 with the assistance of
Pollard, Professor of Anthropology, PSUC. Thanks to The Feinberg
Special Collections for this valuable history. See: Lyon Mt. Sketch page 1 for this
In 1999, I completed more articles concerning Lyon
Mountain and nearby areas. One article deals with an Oral History of Levi White, who worked in
mines and other northcountry places I know. He made sketches of
mine operation as it was in 1940. Look to those links for the latest
I've compiled from articles and personal tours of present state of Lyon
and mines.Also in 1999, I started posting articles from a publication
"Mining for Souls". Find these articles on Souls 1, and St. Bernard's 1...................................ROD
The hamlet of Lyon Mountain, located in the
scenic Adirondacks, is a rural, insular community. The residents are
self-sufficient, as there is no local government. The community was
founded around 1868 and,
until 1967, was a company owned community, which profoundly affected
people and their initiative. The community is in the process of
this protective custody and realizing that any change for the future is
to them. This takes time and is a difficult process.
There are many wonderful ethnic attitudes
prevelant in the French, Italian and Polish hamlet. A tragedy brings
together and a covered dish meal at the American Legion brings out a
smorgasbord. This is a community tied to its past, but also looking
to the future and what must be done to make that future a success.
It is with these wonderful memories of all
has been that this brief history is written to chronical our town and
beginnings. This is a contribution to the bicentennial year of Clinton
and to all the people, past and present, of the Hamlet of Lyon
T. Penalis June, 1988
The Hamlet of Lyon Mountain
The "Hamlets of the Adirondacks" describes
Lyon Mountain as the "the perfect example of an industry-deserted
mining town. Workers' housing and neglected mines present
dramactic images in a community where people are experiencing fewer
services on a minimal economic base."
The "Economic Development in Northern New
report states: "Frequent reference is made to what is viewed as a North
syndrome.....negative attitude.' 'There is a severe shortage of
resources as well as recreational facilities." There is a lack of
in the life of the North Country."
This may be the image presented to the
compiling flgures for surveys but it is not what is seen by senior
who remember when things were different. They see the hamlet as a small
of scenic delight in the foothills of the Adirondacks with clean air
spring water. They also remember when it was home to one of the largest
in the county and had a population of approximately 4,000 residents.
go back in time and take a fast trip forward through the history of
The first known record of the town (or its
future site) is in 1823 when ore, practically phosphorus-free, was
a trapper named George Collins. Nothing more was done until 1868 when
Weed, Meade and Waldo made a contract with Mr. Edmund Rogers, who owned
tract of land, to purchase four-fifths of his property. Much litigation
between the four gentlemen and Mr. Rogers and others and continued
a Mr. Williams and Mr. Weed became sole owners of the property. These
gentlemen formed a partnership which became known as the Chateaugay Ore
Iron Companies and, in the fall of 1873, the work of developing the
began in earnest.
Log Cabin against Sand Piles
At this time there was only a small clearing
the dense forest, with a few log shanties in the area now known as Mine
and West Mine Street. The area needed a name, so it was named Lyon
after the resident in the area--Nathaniel Lyon--who came here in the
of 1803 from Vermont and settled at the base of Lyon Mountain. He
a large farm in the area and lived there until he died around 1850. The
Bernard's Church records state that the hamlet was first named
after Edmund Rogers but, sometime in the l880's it was renamed Lyon
In the following year, as the property
expanded, more and more miners were brought in, until number reached
one hundred and
fifty. This meant that new houses had to be built, as there were only
houses, a small wooden church and a school.
In 1879 a post office was established in Lyon
as part of the general store. Now the little community was officially
the map. A splendid two-story store was built, having a basement and
floor for groceries and office. An upper floor held an assortment of
dry and fancy goods and fashion apparel, along with an
apartment for the manager (Mr. J. Obrist).
A railroad was needed to develop
the rich resources
of this property. In May 1879 the Chateaugay Railroad
was organized and, on December 1879, the first regular train ran over
entire line and the first train of ore was shipped to Plattsburgh.
St Bernard's Church
By 1883 Lyon Mountain had grown from a few
shacks in the wilderness to a thriving community of over 300 miners and
700 residents, the busiest spot in Clinton County. During the 1880's
the first Catholic Church
of St. Bernard's was built, along with a rectory and barn to stable the
of the parishioners during Mass. In 1901 the wooden church burned to
ground and the present church was built. There have been many
renovations to the interiors and exteriors, but both the church and
rectory have remained intact.
At this time the first Methodist Church was built in the
on Depot Hill. This was on land deeded to the church by the Rogers
The church remained at that location until 1952 when the present
Methodist Church was built.
Religion was a dominant force in this ethnic community with much of the
life centering around church suppers and church bazaars. The community
approximately 90 percent Catholic and 10 percent Methodist, which
today. Yet, the cooperation and ecumenism that has always prevailed
these two groups could be a model for world unity. Although, the years
brought the inevitable changes in social life, the community remains
Memorial Methodist Church
This is a view of Lyon Mountain taken from the east shore of Chazy
Lake. It is said that the mine shafts of the old Republic Steel Co. ran
mountain and even Chazy Lake. In the 50's you could hear the blasting
the mine and it appeared to be very close.
This narrative continues on Page 2
The History of Lyon Mountain.
Adirondack Museum photos, Blue Mountain Lake, NY;
Hurd; History of Clinton County, New York;
Rod Bigelow (Roger Jon12
Box 13 Chazy Lake
Dannemora, NY 12929
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