Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A Fisher of Men and a Fish in the Water

A few weeks ago, the Adirondacks and North Country lost a native who led a unique life, a man who three years ago added “author” to his resume. Robert “Bob” Manning of Massena passed away on September 28 at the age of 81. My personal connection with him is a strange one indeed. We met back in 1966, but I hadn’t been in touch with him since 1969, so you might suppose that our phone conversation in 2014, when we became reacquainted, might have been a bit awkward.

It sure could have been, but not for the reason you might be thinking — that 45 years had passed. No, that wasn’t an issue at all, but these next few lines should help explain my use of the word “strange.” When I knew him back in the 1960s, he was a Catholic priest and one of my schoolteachers (nothing odd about that). He called in 2014 to ask if he and his wife could come and visit me (and there it is!). » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

New Exhibit On Water At Chapman Museum

Water fountain in front of the Rockwell House, Glens FallsThe Chapman Museum in Glens Falls has announced a new fall exhibit, H2O: A Brief History of our Relationship to Water, which will open October 19th with a reception from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.

H2O examines the historical uses of water in the Glens Falls region from the mid-19th century, when people depended on private wells, to the present day. It explores the development of a municipal water supply after the Glens Falls fire of 1864, the transition from water power to electrical generators on the Hudson River, the role of the river and the Feeder Canal in transportation, and controversies surrounding pollution and access to the watershed. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A 1940 St. Lawrence Co Army Maneuvers Project

The Cavalry Camp Near Canton – St. Lawrence Co. Army Maneuvers, 1940On Thursday, October 19th, 2017, at noon, the St. Lawrence County Historical Association will host a panel of local residents who will recall their experiences during the 1940 U.S. Army Maneuvers that were held around the North County.

This panel is part of the Brown Bag Lunch Series, lunch time lecture series dedicated to the memory of Patricia Harrington Carson, who founded the series during her 24 years as a Trustee of the St. Lawrence County Historical Association. » Continue Reading.


Monday, October 16, 2017

1900 Suffrage Convention Reenactment Set For Glens Falls

YMCA building in glens fallsThe Glens Falls Area Suffrage Centennial Committee has announced they will hold a 1900 Suffrage Convention reenactment to commemorate the New York State Woman Suffrage Centennial in Glens Falls on Saturday, October 21 from 1 to 3 pm at the First Baptist Church at 100 Maple Street.

The event will reenact the annual New York State Woman Suffrage Association Convention held at Rockwell House, and Ordway Hall in Glens Falls in the autumn of 1900. Speeches will be presented by historians and reenactors in period attire. National figures to be portrayed at the Convention include Carrie Chapman Catt, Rev. Anna Howard Shaw, and Mary S. Anthony, sister of Susan. Local figures will be portrayed as well, including Addison B. Colvin, Mary Loines, and Susan Bain. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Jack Lagree: Dannemora’s Bobsled Guru

Flush with success in the North Country Championships, taking first and second place, the Lagree Bobsled Club teams were off to St. Moritz, Switzerland, to practice and prepare for the upcoming world championships. In the end, the American squads were disappointed with their results in Europe, finishing fifteenth and twenty-third.

For Jack Lagree, it meant nothing more than getting back to work. He was already planning to prepare up to four sleds for the next Olympics. Despite growing competition from several large American corporations, the results coming out of Jack’s tiny garage were highly sought after by the best bobsledders in the country.

He made no secret of the process. Purchasing old sleds from Italy (machines that he claimed were the best in the world), he then stripped them down and rebuilt them based on his own designs and modifications. The results were indisputable. » Continue Reading.


Monday, October 9, 2017

Mohawk Iron Workers ‘Skydancer’ Film Screening Planned

skydancerTAUNY, Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, has invited the public to a presentation of Skydancer, a film about the Mohawk iron-workers who regularly commute from Akwesasne to New York City to work on the “high steel,” building the skyscrapers of Manhattan.

This 2011 film by Academy Award-nominated director Katja Esson follows iron-workers Jerry McDonald Thundercloud and Sky Fox as they shuttle between the hard drinking Brooklyn lodging houses they call home during the week and their family lives, a grueling drive six hours north back home to Akwesasne, NY, on the weekends. Through archival documents and interviews, it also explores the broader history of the Mohawk skywalkers, presenting the nuanced and visually stunning stories of these renowned men who, over six generations, have been traveling to New York City to work on some of the biggest construction jobs in the world. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Two New Adirondack Historic Architecture Guides Published

A Guide to Architecture in the AdirondacksTwo books published this year have significantly expanded our understanding of Adirondack architecture. People familiar with the Adirondacks know that twig furniture and palatial robber baron wilderness compounds are the exception, not the rule, for the Adirondack built environment. Unfortunately, until this year there have been no real resources that document the diversity of what really exists along the roadsides and in the settlements of the region. Now, at last, two truly amazing new books have arrived to fill the void. Both books belong in the bookcase of anyone who wants to know more about the Adirondacks.

Destined to become the reference book most often used to jog the memory is A Guide to Architecture in the Adirondacks by Prof. Richard Longstreth ($34.95, 427 pages). Published by Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) and produced by Adirondack Life this book covers the most significant buildings and structures throughout the region. Longstreth is a well-known architectural historian who teaches at George Washington University. He has deep first hand knowledge of the subject having been an inquiring seasonal resident of the Adirondacks since 1978. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Jack Lagree: Dannemora’s Bobsled Guru

Long before the 2015 escape of Richard Matt and David Sweat, the word Dannemora instantly conjured images of the prison. While the high wall dominates the landscape, the village does have other historical connections, some of them in the world of sports, including one through the person of John “Jack” Lagree. Jack was a native of Churubusco, a tiny hamlet in northwestern Clinton County.

Blessed with engineering talent, mechanical skill, and a strong, traditional, North Country work ethic, he rose to national prominence in the world of bobsleigh competition (referred to hereafter by the more popular term, bobsled). » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Oral, Video History Workshop at Adirondack History Museum

Zahavi interviewing McDonaldThe Adirondack History Museum in Elizabethtown will present an Oral and Video History Workshop for its annual Historians Day on Friday, October 13 from 10 am to 4 pm.

Dr. Gerald Zahavi will offer participants basic and practical instruction for undertaking digital audio and video oral history projects. The main emphasis is on high quality, low-cost options for individuals and institutions.  » Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 1, 2017

Relevance of World War II Talk Oct 3rd

hiroshimaOn Tuesday, October 3 at 7:30 pm, the Whallonsburg Grange Hall will present “Why World War Two Still Matters,” with Andy Buchanan. This is the second lecture in the fall Lyceum series entitled “What’s the Big Idea?” featuring six lectures from authors, educators, journalists, and scientists.

This lecture will focus on the redivision of the world that emerged from the ashes of World War II, new “spheres of influence” reverberate in the present. How US domination was assembled, deliberately and consciously, during this period and its consequences. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Judge Stops Adirondack Rail-Trail Plan

Adirondack Scenic RailroadA state Supreme Court judge has ruled in favor of the Adirondack Railway Preservation Society in its suit against the state to stop the removal of 34 miles of railroad tracks between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid for the construction of a multi-use recreational trail.

Judge Robert Main issued a decision on Tuesday, saying that the state’s 2016 Unit Management Plan for the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor violated the State Land Master Plan (SLMP), Adirondack Park Agency Act, and state historic laws. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Immigrants Are Our History: So What Do We Do Now?

Spending so much time conducting research in old books and newspapers, I’m often left shaking my head when today’s news headlines call to mind a favorite saying: “Those who don’t know history are condemned to repeat it.” We use the concept all the time for personal decisions.

Before making a purchase — car, washing machine, cable package, cell phone — have you ever referred to a magazine like Consumer Reports, read online reviews, or asked a friend how their own choice worked out? If so, you checked with history to avoid making a poor choice. It’s a simple concept: learn a product’s history and you’re not doomed to repeat it. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

NiMo, Raquette River Power Film Screenings in Canton

Niagara Mohawk brochure cover, c. early 1950sTAUNY, Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, will present a screening of two Niagara Mohawk promotional videos, Floating Islands and Workhorse River, on Thursday, September 28 from 7 to 9 pm at The TAUNY Center in Canton.

These videos will give viewers the chance to witness the Raquette River power project – and one of the river’s most distinctive and challenging features, the “floating islands” of Higley Flow – through the eyes and ears of the Colton building boom era. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Fulton Fryar’s Closet At Seagle Music Colony

Fulton's room exteriorBack in 1957 John Seagle invited a young singer to his training program, the Seagle Music Colony. The young singer’s name was Fulton Fryar and this is significant because Fulton was the first African-American to come to the Colony. This was several years before the Civil Rights Movement would win its hard-earned victories in Congress and at this time much of America was still segregated, but John thought him talented and wanted him to come study at Seagle Music Colony.

John’s solution to accommodate Fulton for his stay in Schroon Lake was to have a small bedroom built on the side of the laundry building. Fulton sang in all the shows that summer, sang in the vesper and town concerts, and other than sleeping separately, lived a regular colony life. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Adirondack History: A Strange Case of Mistaken Identity

While it’s not gallows humor by definition, finding laughter in stories related to death can be a difficult proposition. In this case, rest assured: there’s actually not much death involved, and if your funny bone is intact, what follows should tickle it at least a bit.

In mid-August 1904, a number of regional newspapers reported a drowning near Underwood at the west end of Raquette Pond in Tupper Lake. Witnesses who saw a man jump into the water near the bridge there narrowed the possibilities to two: that he jumped in to retrieve his hat when it was blown off by the wind, or he committed suicide. The one thing everyone agreed on was that the man had deliberately entered the water where the current was strong and the depth may have been twenty feet or more. His body was recovered after a brief search and delivered to the undertaker, where locals came to help identify the victim. » Continue Reading.


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