The Saranac River has a long and industrious history. At the mouth of the river were once a series of small islands that were eventually joined by fill as land needs around the Saranac River increased. Penstocks from the dam were located here to power several mills and factories. Extensive old docks and other maritime structures are probably to be found underneath this fill. The Saranac was an early industrial power source and a lot of forest, iron, and agricultural products flowed to the Port of Plattsburgh for shipment. Industrial activity eventually closed this river delta area for navigation. In fact, the many saw mills powered by the Saranac River almost filled the bottom of the harbor with a fetid, rotting mass that also interfered with shipping. It took extensive legal action at the turn of the century to remedy this problem.
Learn more about the historic Riverside Cemetery along this river, where sworn enemies lie side-by-side.