The Adirondacks weren’t always on the map.
In a 1756 British map drawn for troops in the French and Indian War, the region is conspicuously absent.
In its place, the cartographer scrawled these words: “This Country by means of Mountains, Swamps and Drowned Lands is impassable and uninhabited.”
Many later maps omitted all but the eastern side of the Adirondacks, where Lake Champlain and Lake George were used as routes for invasion and trade.
Over time, however, mapmakers began to realize the potential of the Adirondacks for timber, mining, transportation, recreation and tourism. By the mid-19th century, the many lakes and mountains of the region had found their way to paper.
The arc of Adirondack maps is represented in an exhibit, “Parts But Little Known: Maps of the Adirondacks from 1556,” at the Kelly Adirondack Center, open Mondays and Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursdays from 1 to 4 p.m. The show runs through Sept. 29, 2017.
The show is curated by Cal Welch ’62 and his daughter, Caroline ’01, with items from a private collection and from the Center. They were assisted by Margaret Amodeo, librarian at the Kelly Adirondack Center.
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