Map of Original Adirondack Park

This map was included in the 1891 Annual Report of the Forest Commission and illustrates the known geography of the era. The border shown is the original Blue Line, before it expanded outward in all directions to encompass an area more than twice the size. Long Lake is in the middle of the map. Hinckley, Stillwater and Sacandaga reservoirs had yet to be built. Cranberry and Indian Lakes are seen before impoundments were added.

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John Brown's Vision for Planned Communities

There were two John Browns that had a significant impact on Adirondack Park history. One was the abolitionist and the other was a prominent merchant, who founded Providence Plantation (later Brown University). Curiously, part of his enterprise was engaged in the Triangle of Trade. He was forced to forfeit a ship, named Hope, as a result of the first-ever conviction under a 1794 statute forbidding the transport of slaves. This Mr. Brown acquired a 241,000 acre parcel in the Town of Wilmurt (Webb), Herkimer County. In the late eighteenth century, it was his desire to create eight planned communities named Economy, Enterprise, Frugality, Industry, Perseverance, Regularity, Sobriety, and Unanimity.

Almost a hundred years later the Forest Commission was trying to offer the legislature a map of a proposed Adirondack Park. They had been advised to show as many place names as possible, so John Brown’s communities were attached to the map, despite the fact that only one had ever been considered (known as Number Four). The town names were “mottoes” of John Brown and even today, one can see his intentions for the lands he once owned.

It is clear that Mr. Brown’s vision has yet to take root in that region of the Park. Only through frugality, can we persevere the lack of industry and enterprise in our economy. Our lack of unanimity is displayed with such regularity, it may lead us to the bounds of sobriety.