The Earth Ran Dry

Thirty-four years ago, Star Lake, New York, once a thriving Adirondack town with a population of a few thousand, a golf club, a drive-in movie theater, and everything else you'd expect in rural New England, collapsed. It had always been a company town, ever since the 1890s when the Sykes family controlled most of the logging in the then town of Clifton, and continuing through decades of stability between the paper mill at Newton Falls, and Benson Mines closer to the village, employing hundreds of union workers and quite literally building the town. Then in 1977 the mines closed, never…

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They All Fall Down

Another return trip, this time to the Adirondacks, once again, with UR UrbEx. As one might expect, the place looks almost exactly the same as it always did. I won't bore you with more overview photos of Frontier Town, since it's just what it was last year... I tried to focus more on details this year, as the place falls down there's less and less left to see though. Abandoned pianos are so much fun. Especially when there's no risk of getting caught and you can actually "play" them (which usually amounts to absolute noise, but still...) What's left of…

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Once More To The Lake

I never thought I'd be able to say it about this spot, but it came painfully clear from the first night: the glory days were over. Far from living up to its name, the 3rd½ Annual UR UrbEx Semi-Cold Sesqui-Awesome ExploroCamping Extravaganza felt like hollowly going through the motions of something that once was special. Gone are the hipsters and artists, here are the new order, the engineers. Even when it comes time for the traditions from old Concrete, the sausage roast, the pomegranates, tetherboating -- the rules are what they are, and rule us in our time of freedom…

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Benson Mines

Benson's Mines wasn't anything new to me, I'd already been a few times last year, and seen most of the upper complex. But like any good location, it's full of secrets. This time, those secrets included an entire second complex on the other side of "Lake" Benson (the body of water created by the flooded mine). Much more isolated, this lower Benson would have survived in much better condition except for the out buildings being destroyed by fire in 1974. These leftover mine tracks go everywhere around the property, the particularly circular ones still hosting 4-wheeler racing, and the rest…

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What’s That Blue Thing?

On the last few urbex camping trips, we kept noticing something on the side of route 3 that looked huge, abandoned, and very, very blue. After a bit of research, I figured out that it was Benson's Mines, and no one had really bothered to explore it yet, since it's in the absolute middle of North Country nowhere, and no one from the 'establishment' thought it was worth the trip at all. And they were so, so wrong. I left this place with a very profound feeling of 'coming out' as an explorer: this was my first find worth anything…

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Beatlemania

Just some non-exploring shots from the Adirondack campout. How not to light paint Cascade Peak Brian, the tetherboat and a bit of fire! You may be wondering by now about the title. Strange things happen when you get enough explorers in a small enough space, and keep them awake all night. At some point we began communicating only in Beatles lyrics, and then only in oblique rewordings of them. I forget if this was before or after taking out a boat on a 100 foot rope, propelled only by a frying pan and a jet of expletives. I'd suggest all…

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