“We see this party as a celebration of Tupper Lake’s heritage,” said Goff-Nelson Memorial Library Manager Linda Auclair. “Louis Simmons gave this community a huge gift in 1976 with ‘Mostly Spruce and Hemlock’ and the library is proud to give the same gift to even more people with a reprinting of this classic volume of Adirondack history.”
In June 1976, Tupper Lake Free Press Editor Louis J. Simmons released the first comprehensive volume of Tupper Lake history in “Mostly Spruce and Hemlock” at a book release party at the Goff-Nelson Memorial Library. It was a fitting location- the research room – the Grace Simmons Memorial Room – was named in honor of Louis’ first wife, a longtime Tupper Lake librarian. Louis Simmons used a lot of photographs from the library’s collection for his book.
At 461 pages and more than 140 photos, “Mostly Spruce and Hemlock” was an instant best-seller in the Tip Top Town and was sold out in less than two years. People have been searching for copies of the book for more than 30 years. Only 2,000 copies of the original were printed.
Simmons used more than four decades of experience at the editorial helm of the Tupper Lake Free Press to write “Mostly Spruce and Hemlock.” A 1926 graduate of the Tupper Lake High School and 1930 graduate of Syracuse University, he was hired as the Tupper Lake Free Press editor in 1932. He retired as full-time editor in 1979 and continued writing and editing until his death on April 4, 1995. He was also the Tupper Lake historian for many years.
“Mostly Spruce and Hemlock” details the early days of life in the village of Tupper Lake and the town of Altamont (the name of the town was changed to Tupper Lake in 2004). Histories are offered on the logging industry, railroading, churches, schools, hotels, Sunmount DDSO and businesses such as the Oval Wood Dish Corporation.
The new “Mostly Spruce and Hemlock” includes all of the original text and photos, but there will be some major differences. It is a paperback book, instead of hardcover, and the cover was redesigned. The original book did not include an index- however, the 2009 version has an index, which was written by author and Tupper Lake native Carol Payment Poole. Tupper Lake Free Press Publisher Dan McClelland wrote a new foreword. And the book is dedicated to Simmons and “Tupper Lakers everywhere.”
The reprinting is a joint project between Hungry Bear Publishing and the Goff-Nelson Memorial Library, which received permission to reprint “Mostly Spruce and Hemlock” as a fund-raiser. The library will receive all the author’s royalties plus a retail percentage for copies it sells directly to the public.
Presale orders for “Mostly Spruce and Hemlock” were taken between March and October 2009- anyone who prepaid for a book may pick it up at the library at the book-release party on Nov. 19. Prepaid orders to be shipped will be sent out as soon as the books arrive. No more orders will be taken until Nov. 19- anyone may purchase a copy at the party or during library hours anytime afterward. The books will also be for sale at various locations throughout the Tri-Lakes beginning the week of Thanksgiving. A print run of 2,000 was ordered for the Second Edition.
Based in Saranac Lake, Hungry Bear Publishing is home of the five-volume “Adirondack Attic” book series (Adirondack history) and the Meet the Town Community guide series. The company is owned and operated by Tupper Lake native Andy Flynn, who personally produced and edited the Second Edition of “Mostly Spruce and Hemlock,” and his wife, Dawn, originally from Bloomingdale.
For more information about the new “Mostly Spruce and Hemlock,” call the Goff-Nelson Memorial Library at (518) 359-9421.