|In the northwest corner of the Adirondack Park lie Cranberry Lake and the village of Wanakena. This remote area was the last-settled part of New York State; from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s, its name evoked the very essence of wilderness. Initially, sportsmen, naturalists, and artists flocked to the area. By 1900, summer tourism was booming. The logging industry followed, to harvest the virgin timber; after that, the state purchased the mostly cleared lands. Today, seventy-five percent of the lake's shoreline is state owned, and the Five Ponds Wilderness, south of Wanakena, is one of the largest and wildest areas in the Adirondacks.
Author Susan Thomas Smeby is a cofounder and board member of the Wanakena Historical Association and a longtime postcard collector. In Cranberry Lake and Wanakena, she showcases more than two hundred vintage images of the area, most predating World War I. Around these images she weaves significant detail to bring to life an early time when a diverse people—year-round residents, tourists, sportsmen, guides, loggers—shared the woods, waters, and folklore of Cranberry Lake.