The next time you're in a game of trivia with a Lake Placid resident, drop the name Walter Coachman, and see if anyone knows who he is. Coachman and a man named W. T. Sessions probably did more than any others to create jobs in this area around the turn of the century. Their industry was turpentine and their customers included owners of wooden ships that required pine gum caulking for their vessels.
Thus was born Coachman's Consolidated Navel Stores that owned more than 2 million acres of the state's finest pine forests. In camps recalled by this mural, and scattered throughout this region, workers collected gum that was distilled into turpentine widely sold across America.
The extraction process is shown as a worker, known as a "chipper," removes bark and cuts a pattern called "cat faces." The Bark was so strong, virgin trees sometimes required two chippers using the same axe to reach the gum. Inserted into the gash, a metal strip served to direct the gum into clay Herty pots. The pots were emptied into barrels that were lifted onto wagons drawn by mules to the stills where turpentine was refined.
Coachman became a prime developer in this area. Consolidated remains a leader in real estate and agricultural development.
Members of his family still call Lake Placid home.
|John Gutcher||Interlake Blvd and Oak Street||62 ft wide x 14 ft high||Family of Walter Coachman||Look for 5 faces in the foliage||N/A|
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