The National Lead Company Titanium Mine
The coming of WWII brought restricted imports of titanium dioxide for paint pigments and helped usher in the next era for the old mine. The National Lead Company, the largest paint manufacturer in the country at the time, purchased 4,000 acres from the McIntyre Iron Company in September of 1942.
The property had two large beds of iron ore, one on the east shore of Sanford Lake and another 1.5 miles to the northeast at Iron Mountain. Drilling was performed in 1941 on Sanford Hill to assess the deposit and the firm of Archer E. Wheeler of NYC was chosen to design the mill and lay out the equipment.
The mill buildings started going up in 1941 while at the same time, a new rail yard was being built at North Creek. The first load was hauled out to the yard there in July of 1942 and the railroad extension to Tahawus was started in August.
On June 19, 1944, the first train went to Tahawus for a load. Costs for the line, which were estimated at 2.5 million, ended up totaling 4.5 million due to extra costs in the mountains. The line and plant were both paid for by the Federal Government and leased to National Lead. It wasn't until 1989 that the government sold the 33 mile line to NL Chemicals, Inc.
At one point, they were shipping out 100 cars of ore a day but by one report in 1958, it was down to one-third of that.
Actual mining of the open pit ended in 1982 with the surplus stockpile carried out over the next seven years. On November 17, 1989, the last ore train left the mine, bringing and end to an era.
Click here to see construction photos from 1941-42.
c.1947 Aerial Views
c.1950 View of Plant
In 1963 the entire village had to be moved to make way for a new pit. The buildings were
moved 12 miles away to Newcomb.
1967 - Sinter Plant
1967 - Entrance
1967 - Pit
The following 1970's and 80's photos are courtesy RPI.
1970 - Pit
1980 - Float Plant
1980 - Garage
1980 - Guard House
1980 - Sinter Plant
1980 - Mill
1980 - Concrete Silos
1980 - Office
1988 - Mill
1988 Photos by Bob Patton