Adirondack Exhibit Center

4195 State Highway 3

Star Lake, New York 13690

Exhibits on Display

Railroad Exhibit by Bob Meredith

Conductor Meredith

In the late 19th and 20th centuries, railroads pushed into the Adirondacks to tap the vast forests, iron ore, and other resources. Roads were poor at best and mostly non-existent. Stage coach travel was slow and unpleasant. The railroads opened the area for settlement, sports, and tourists. They were the basis for development of our present communities.

The Carthage and Adirondack RR connected Benson Mines to the New York Central, providing transport for passengers, iron ore concentrates, paper, lumber, and manufactured wood products.

In 1902, the Rich Lumber Co. bought a large tract of forest and began to develop a mill complex and company town called Wanakena. They built the Cranberry Lake RR, a common carrier, to connect with the Carthage and Adirondack at Benson Mines, a distance of 6 miles. They also built a large hotel, so their little railroad eventually carried as many as 25,000 passengers a year.


A permanent display at the Adirondack Exhibit Center is a diorama of the Cranberry Lake RR. It is set in 1907 when there was much activity but before the great forest fires of 1908. The Wanakena area has been roughed in and scenery details are being added. Our team which is known as the Western Adirondack Railroad Modelers Club includes Paul Kiser, Ed Opel, Ted Tate and Bob Meredith, who have invested many hours and dollars to bring our history to life. In 2015 we will be moving into the Benson Mines section of the display and installing our new wireless control system. We also display a portable layout at the Massena and Clayton train shows to encourage visitors to our area. The 4 x 8 ft. display is changed each year to highlight different parts of our heritage. The 2015 version will be themed around the great hotels and the paper mill. Visitors are always welcome, stop in when the building is open or call 848-2048 or 848-2581 and we will open for you, if we are available.


Five Ponds Wilderness Area Exhibit

5 ponds wilderness area

Another permanent exhibit inside the Adirondack Exhibit Center is the Five Ponds Wilderness Area, constructed and donated by Annette and Sherm Craig of Wanakena. The Five Ponds Area provides much recreation, fishing, and canoeing. There is public access throughout. You can hike throughout the area and/or hike the Cranberry Lake 50, a series of trails throughout the Five Ponds Wilderness area. (see sidebar)

The Five Ponds Wilderness Area, an Adirondack Park unit of New York’s Forest Preserve, is located in the towns of Fine and Clifton in St. Lawrence County, the town of Webb in Herkimer County and The town of Long Lake in Hamilton County. It includes 1,064 acres (4.3 km sq.) of private inholdings, 99 bodies of water covering 1,964 acres (7.9 km sq.), 57.9 miles (93.2 km) of trails, and 14 lean-tos.

The area is bounded on the north by Cranberry Lake, a portion of the Oswegatchie River, the road leading to Inlet and private lands; on the east by the Colton town line and private lands in the vicinity of Gull Lake, a road leading to Gull Lake and the Remsen to Lake Placid railroad; on the south by Stillwater Reservoir; on the Southwest by the Pepperbox Wilderness Area and on the west by private lands and the Aldrich Pond Wild Forest. In the vicinity of Young’s Road, the wild forest and wilderness boundary is the Streeter Lake snowmobile trail. Land south and east of this boundary will be classified wilderness upon acquisition of inholdings. 

Sherm and Annette have made a beautiful display out of Adirondack wood which surrounds a huge map of the Five Ponds Wilderness Area, under plexus glass. Don’t miss this exhibit. Stop in any time.

Newton Falls Paper Mill Wall Display

Newton Falls Paper Mill

Artist Paula Towne, Gouverneur, captured the first 100 years (1894-1994) in pictorial form showing life in a mill town, the mill itself, and the people that had a positive impact. The pictures were done from actual photographs. Thanks to Andy LeRoux, this 4 x 8 foot mural is on permanent display on the Exhibit Wall at the Center. Anne Hynes and Max Watson have taken all the memorabilia donated from the mill and have engineered a very popular Newton Falls Paper Mill Story. This Exhibit will happen again this summer, August 15th and 16th, 1 to 4 pm. Go to Schedule to see all the exhibits for 2015. Please stop in and enjoy these exhibits and meet the people responsible for putting them together.