Nehasane Fire Observer:
A young woman’s adventures as a fire observer at Nehasane Park in the Adirondack wilderness sixty years ago—finding her way in life alone in a fire tower, thinking of her boyfriend at war, immersed in her beloved outdoors, and coping with the ever present danger of living alone in the woods.
This is a first-hand account of what it was really like to be a fire observer in the Adirondacks. In 1942, the superintendent of Nehasane Park, the vast preserve west of Long Lake owned by the wealthy Webb family, asked twenty-three-year-old Frances Boone to be the observer in the Park’s fire tower.
This memoir, simply written and full of dialogue, brings one back to the time when people used railroads to travel the Adirondacks and wealthy businessmen owned vast private Adirondack preserves and Great Camps for their family and friends to enjoy. Through conversations with her co-workers, readers get a feel for the straightforward, congenial personality of the native Adirondacker. As the author remembers her experiences in the woods, the reader sees what it was really like to live in the Adirondack wilderness sixty years ago.
The book contains 26 historic black and white photographs (11 from the collection of the Adirondack Museum, Blue Mountain Lake, N.Y.) beautifully reproduced on white glossy paper and a forward by Martin Podskoch, author of Fire Towers of the Catskills: Their History and Lore (Purple Mountain Press).
“Nehasane is one summer of a courageous woman’s unusual life, set against the backdrop of a beautiful but potentially dangerous outdoors. Seaman’s conversational writing style and her attention to detail makes it an enchanting memoir.”
“This is a wonderful and highly evocative reminiscence of a 23-year-old Adirondack woman’s transforming experience as the fire observer for one summer on 2400-foot Mt. Electra in the Webb family’s Nehasane Park on the shores of Lake Lila. ….This is a beautifully written and highly poignant memoir evoking an earlier era of wartime hardships and challenge, of a young woman discovering her independence in the face of isolation, confrontations with bears, and strange men appearing on her doorstep.”
“Frances Boone’s love of nature pervades her memoir, and this inspires some of the best writing in the book.”
“It’s a quick and enjoyable read, with a fresh view of Great Camps and fire towers, two icons of the old Adirondacks that never fail to captivate readers.”
“…imagine you are perched atop a fire tower, seventy feet high, gazing at this huge expanse of trees and lakes. Feel the breeze against your face and drink in the spectacular Adirondacks. Now enjoy this beautifully written adventure and learn from Frances Boone Seaman’s first-hand account what it was really like to be a fire observer in the Adirondacks.”
Frances Boone Seaman was a lifelong resident of Long Lake, New York in the Adirondacks. She and her husband, Howard, ran a contracting business there until 1986. She was a part time artist and is the former Long Lake Town Historian. She passed away in January 2005.