To the traveler on NYS 8, Bakers Mills is a short string of houses knotted around a store-post office. Adirondack guidebooks say only that this hamlet in the hills between the Sacandaga and Hudson Rivers was "once a prosperous lumber town".

It's easy to envision this forelorn house's spartan parlor and kitchen or the upstairs loft where children slept heated by the kitchen stovepipe as the winter wind made the tin roof hum like a softly-blown kazoo.

But even the simplest house is a set of puzzles. Here the bay with its oversize windows seems like a graft from some grander building. Is it the legacy of an especially prosperous log drive or long summer swatting blackflies in the deep woods?

For everyone but the boss in vest and derby, Adirondack lumbering was dangerous, backbreaking work performed with horses, axes, pikes, and two-man cross-cut saws. However, it appears far from lonely, even in the north woods circa 1910.

In late summer, scattered breakaway logs floating on the Hudson and Sacandaga were harbingers of huge rafts of bundled timber herded like cattle by men in hobnailed boots. Into the 1920s, the passing log drives created a carnival atmosphere in the riverside towns.

The Sacandaga River scene below shows a cleanup operation which involves freeing snagged and stranded logs with iron polehooks. Northville, on the Sacandaga about 30 miles southeast of Bakers Mills, was the terminus of a railroad branch line and the site of several sawmills.