Fort Ticonderoga recently awarded Peter S. Paine, Jr. the Marquis de Montcalm Award. The award is Fort Ticonderoga’s highest honor and was given in recognition of Paine’s years of leadership and service to the museum. The award was presented at Fort Ticonderoga’s Annual Summer Gala held at Fort Ticonderoga on August 12th. Paine was presented the award and given a reproduction of a Chevalier of the Order of Saint Louis, a prestigious French medal given to the Marquis de Montcalm in 1757. » Continue Reading.
On Thursday, August 24, 2017 at the Schuylerville Town Hall, 12 Spring Street, The American Revolution Round Table of the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys will host a talk with archaeologist David Starbuck on 18th Century Military archaeology in the Upper Hudson and Champlain Valleys. The presentation will begin at 7 pm.
The waterway that runs between Albany and Canada contains the richest cluster of 18th-century military sites in the US. Fort William Henry and Fort Ticonderoga experienced fierce conflict during the French and Indian War, and the Saratoga Battlefield is forever linked to the American Revolution. While military historians have told and retold stories of the area’s battles and generals, archaeologist David Starbuck turns to the daily lives of soldiers, officers, and camp followers by examining the many objects and artifacts they left behind. » Continue Reading.
John Brown Lives! in partnership with Lake Flower Landing will host a screening of the documentary I Am Not Your Negro on Thursday, August 24, 2017, in Saranac Lake.
A film for these times, Raoul Peck’s award-winning documentary on writer James Baldwin draws inspiration from Baldwin’s final but unfinished manuscript, Remember This House, and the narrative relies almost exclusively on his writings, read by Samuel L. Jackson. Documentary footage of police violence against Black people in the 1960s is juxtaposed against shots of similar violence today.
The screening will be followed by an open-ended conversation with novelist Russell Banks, Nell Painter, Edwards Professor of American History, Emerita, Princeton University, and David Goodman whose brother Andrew Goodman was one of three young Civil Rights activists murdered in Mississippi, during Freedom Summer in 1964, by members of the Ku Klux Klan. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack History Museum will continue its summer lecture series on Thursday, August 24 with “History of Hiking in the High Peaks” by presenter Sharp Swan. Swan is a local historian and board president of the Essex County Historical Society.
The High Peaks of the Adirondacks little resemble the mountains that settlers first gazed upon. Man has radically changed the landscape by logging all but 5 percent, starting fires destroying thousands of acres, and now loving the mountains to death. This lecture will explore these stories as well as the lives of guides, hurricanes and more about the High Peaks. » Continue Reading.
Champlain Valley fossils, ancient reefs, and old forts are the topics professor and paleontologist Nancy Budd will cover on August 19 at the Crown Point Historic Site, from 10 am to 12:30 pm. The program is sponsored by Champlain Area Trails (CATS).
After a 45-minute presentation in the Museum’s theater, program participants will find and identify fossils in the rock exposures at the historic site. Most fossils in the Champlain Valley are approximately 460 million years old and are remnants of what was once a shallow sea along the edge of the Adirondacks. The climate of the Champlain Valley was subtropical, and the fossils include a diverse group such as sponges, brachiopods, gastropod snails, bivalves, and trilobites and many others. » Continue Reading.
The weather was clear and cool on Wednesday, September 26, 1979, the day of the big jump. Reporters, film crews, and spectators were on hand. Ken Carter showed up driving a red Chevrolet, certainly not his jump car, and obligingly drove up the ramp a couple of times so that photographers could get some good shots. He posed, looking out over the St. Lawrence for dramatic effect. A bit later, he walked partway up the ramp and made note of a “slight rise” in the middle that would have to be fixed before his rocket car could be used on it. Several thousand people remained on hand for ten hours, anxious to view what they considered a historic, and certainly wacky, event.
Late in the afternoon, the gate at the apex of the ramp was removed, divers were positioned in the middle of the river passage, and a film crew hovered aloft in a helicopter. Ontario police moved the crowd back to a safe position. To great effect, Carter’s rocket car rolled onto the newly paved runway (resurfaced because it had become overgrown with grass). » Continue Reading.
Fort Ticonderoga will host a two-day battle re-enactment highlighting the 1777 Brown’s Raid on Ticonderoga on Saturday and Sunday, September 9-10, from 9:30 am to 5 pm.
Programming throughout the weekend will highlight the American raid on Ticonderoga in their attempt to recapture the fort. Visitors will have the chance to learn about the Royal Navy’s role in the attack and experience the battle from a completely new angle on Lake Champlain aboard tour boat, Carillon. Atop Mount Defiance, learn about the guard of Rangers who had attacked British-held Fort Ticonderoga with their own cannon. » Continue Reading.
The Ticonderoga Historical Society has received the donation of a table that was once in the “banqueting hall” of the original John Hancock mansion in Boston. The table was the gift of Benn and Claire Eilers of Bend, Oregon. Benn Eilers is a descendant of Hancock’s sister-in-law, Sarah Quincy.
With leaves that extend to 30 feet, the table is constructed of birds-eye walnut, a relatively rare wood. It is believed that George Washington dined at the table while visiting the Hancock House in Boston in 1789, during Hancock’s time as Governor of Massachusetts. » Continue Reading.
My family has always enjoyed going to one of the numerous historical re-enactments offered around the Adirondacks. It gives us an opportunity to be a part of history and to learn about the past. It’s a chance to experience a moment in time that helped shape our country. The annual Crown Point French and Indian War Reenactment is part of a two-day festival held at the Crown Point State Historic site on August 12-13 bringing visitors into a temporary 18th century encampment overlooking beautiful Lake Champlain.
French, British, and Native American reenactors will be setup around the Crown Point State Historic Site ruins. There are two historic fortifications at the Crown Point location, Fort Frederic and Crown Point. Fort Frederic was built by the French around 1734 and used as the main base to raid neighboring British settlements throughout New England. As a result, the British military spent years trying to overtake the fort. In 1759, the British troops were finally successful and began the building of their own fort, “His Majesty’s Fort of Crown Point.” Though there was never just one battle at Crown Point, the area was the center for almost 20 skirmishes. » Continue Reading.
Although ticket refunds were offered, Ken Carter maintained that the 1976 attempt to jump the St. Lawrence River had been postponed, not canceled, and would likely take place in spring 1977 – which it didn’t. In June it was announced that the plan had been revived for September, but with a different car — a rocket-powered Lincoln Continental Mark IV, powerful and sturdy, but hardly an aerodynamic vehicle. Work resumed on the launch ramp in anticipation of a long-delayed but substantial payday.
Each week from July into September, newspaper articles touted the jump, adding to the growing frenzy and Knievel-like atmosphere. When questions were raised about potential issues with large freighters that daily plied the waters of the St. Lawrence, Carter assured everyone there would be no problem. But the truth was that he had no control over that aspect of the jump. St. Lawrence Seaway authorities announced that water traffic would continue as usual, and that “Carter will have to schedule his jump between the vessel movement.” To calm any doubts that might have surfaced, he confirmed at an Ottawa press conference that all systems were go. “The only thing that’s going to stop me this time is my death. If I die before the 25th, then I won’t be there.” » Continue Reading.
Fort Ticonderoga has announced the Fourteenth Annual Seminar on the American Revolution September 22-24, 2017.
This weekend seminar focuses on the military, political, and social history of the American War for Independence.
The Seminar takes place in the Mars Education Center and is open to the public; pre-registration is required. » Continue Reading.
Crown Point State Historic Site will host its annual French and Indian War Encampment on August 12 and 13, 2017.
This is the largest event of the year at the site and features authentically clad French, British, and Native American participants camped among the fort ruins.
Guests to the camp will be able to interact with the participants portraying various people of Crown Point’s past and also have the opportunity to purchase some of the 18th century wares produced and exhibited by artisans and merchants. » Continue Reading.
Author Marty Podskoch will give a presentation on the new edition of his book, The Adirondack Fire Towers: Their History and Lore, The Southern Districts at the Stillwater Hotel on Wednesday August 9th at 7 pm. He will highlight the Stillwater Fire Tower restoration work and discuss the history of the fire towers in the Southern Adirondacks.
The new edition features a chapter devoted to the men and women who helped restore the Adirondack fire towers since Podskoch’s book was first published in 2003. The six restored towers in this volume include those at Stillwater, Spruce, Adams, Hurricane, St. Regis, and Lyon mountains.
The book also contains information on the 28 state and three private towers in Herkimer, Warren, Washington, Saratoga, Lewis, Fulton, and Hamilton, counties. » Continue Reading.
Bizarre. That’s the best description of events forty years ago when the North Country found itself the focus of national attention. I’m accustomed to researching much further back in time to write stories, but this one is a doozy that younger folks probably never heard of and older folks might have forgotten by now. It took place back in the 1970s when daredevils were popular, led by Evel Knievel, who became more famous for his failures — crashes resulting in multiple bone fractures — than his successes, where he landed safely and was unhurt.
Most of us who witnessed Knievel’s career will remember one jump above all others — Idaho’s Snake River Canyon. He performed on motorcycles, so the rocket-shaped vehicle he used in Idaho was named the Skycyle X-2. Canada’s answer to Evel Knievel was Ken Carter, a.k.a. the Mad Canadian, Kamikaze Ken, or Crazy Ken. He performed many times in upstate New York. » Continue Reading.
Last month we went to see Bill Killon’s documentary, “Colvin: Hero of the North Woods” at the Adirondack History Museum in Elizabethtown. Surveyor and forest-preserve advocate Verplanck Colvin has always been something of a hero of mine, and not because he has the funniest name associated with the Adirondacks. He doesn’t. He doesn’t even have the funniest name beginning with V, an honor that goes to — and I assume I will get no argument here — the mountain that goes by the name of Vanderwhacker.
It’s an excellent film, drawing on the observations of a veritable Mount Rushmore of contemporary Adirondack voices, and deftly and artfully edited by Killon to show Colvin’s strengths, weaknesses and complexities. In a classic touch, an Adirondack downpour lends a comforting background serenade to an interview with Tony Goodwin, symbolic, perhaps, of the waters that Colvin was so inclined to protect. » Continue Reading.