Paper Trail

From the turn of the last century, the economy of New York’s North Country has been based on three industries: mining, tourism, and paper. The trees of the vast Adirondack forests, and power from the fast-flowing rivers, were perfect for giant paper mills to develop, to the point that most paper in the United States in 1900 was made in New York and Maine. Rising demand and falling supplies of trees led to Canada taking over this position by the 1970s, then a precipitous drop in demand during the Information Age and into the present day led to the closure of one mill after another, and the fall of the mill towns. Deferiet, named for its 18th-century founder Janeke de Feriet, was one of the earliest mills, and one of profound economic stability, with no layoffs for 109 years before finally falling on hard times in 1999, and closing for the first time in 2001. A few buyers attempted to resurrect the property in the mid-2000s, none of them managing to hold it open for more than a year before succumbing to the costs of an aging plant and the declining revenue of the paper business as a whole. In 2010, the Army from nearby Fort Drum had a hand at demolishing the property, testing out a few demolition charges and partially imploding the mill; the site has remained stagnant ever since.

The first building facing the street was the corporate office, where we first started to discover just how recent the fall of Deferiet was

Well, not *that* recent. How long has it been since you’ve seen a laptop look like this?

But look! That’s an Amazon box. What’s that doing here?!

It was almost enough to make us wonder if someone was still using the property, a little bit anyway. One look behind the office though was enough to prove that absolutely wrong. It looked like a bomb went off here, because, in fact, one did.

This building seems to have been the laboratories, from the looks of it. There was a potent chemical and putrid stench permeating the entire building, and its contents we tried to bring with us.

With enough water damage, 4 years can make a place incredibly rotten!

I would not want to work in this office…

This was the source of the stench, it seemed. It was hard to even breathe in here, as much as I would have wanted to investigate more.
Heavy Chemicals

I used to explore with someone who did these tests at RIT… apparently it was very monotonous work

I see a red door and I want to paint it peely!
I see a red door

We were almost out of daylight by the time we even made it into the main building. I need to come back here sometime!

Figured it was time I actually had a picture of me in an abandoned building. Happy Easter, Laura, wherever you are!

And the long walk back to Route 3…

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