Jay (New York)
Jay is a town in Essex County in the Adirondacks.
When the town filed application to be set off from Willsborough in 1797, it was known as Mallory’s Bush for one of its earliest permanent settlers, Nathaniel Mallory. Settlements grew quickly along the river and on the plateaus. Lumber was plentiful, iron was available in the ground, and the soil was “vigorous and fertile”. In 1825, an entire town began to develop in AuSable Forks around the lumber and forging business. Jay has broad fields, and open vistas. The pastoral landscape was first developed as an iron ore processing community. The first image of Jay is often a view of the river running through the landscape. Out of the High Peaks the AuSable River tumbles through Keene, and is joined by numerous streams and freshets as it spreads itself out over the Jay fields. Early annual log drives scoured its bottom and cleared its banks. Now the river becomes wider and shallower each year. The river empties into Lake Champlain at Plattsburgh. The river, which has had its role in the successes and disasters that have struck the town, demolished Jay’s most unusual attraction, The Land of Make Believe. The theme park with miniature houses that illustrated specific professions was situated on a curve in the river in Upper Jay. Floods tore away at the park, three floods in its last year of operation. Opened in 1954, it gave up its fight against the river and closed in 1980. Buildings by Arto Monaco, its talented designer, remain at Storytown and Santa’s Workshop. (text does not violate copyright law)