Monday, November 30, 2015

Chapman Museum Celebrates 50 Years

Mayor Donnelly, Ralph Lapham, Frank Morey 1967This year the Glens Falls – Queensbury Historical Association, which operates the Chapman Museum, celebrates its founding 50 years ago.  To kick off the occasion the museum will host a free open house on Saturday, December 5, from 10 am to 4 pm, and a special reception Saturday evening from 5 to 7:30 pm for members and other supporters.  Guests are also invited to explore the Holiday Display in the historic DeLong House, which this year will feature a 1912 Christmas. » Continue Reading.


Monday, November 23, 2015

William Anderson: Troy Newspaperman, Adirondack Booster

GraftonFreshAirHomeAt the age of fifteen, William Anderson of Troy was a busy boy. Besides working as a messenger for the common council and handling desk clerk duties at a local library, he had toiled as a newsboy for the Troy Times since he was twelve years old. Newsboys were once a critical part of operations for most newspapers. Instead of being hired, they were independent, which was good for the newspapers but not so good for the boys. They purchased papers and hawked them on the streets, earning a tiny amount of profit for each one sold, and taking the hit for papers that went unsold. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Lake George Steam Whistle Recalls A Bygone Era

Lake George - The Adirondac - Lake George Mirror File PhotoFor some folks, the bright notes they hear whenever Shoreline Cruises’ Adirondac circles Bolton Bay have a familiar ring.

That’s because they’re piped from an old fashioned brass steam whistle that once belonged to the Pamelaine, the private steamboat of Bolton Landing’s own Mason ‘Doc’ Saunders.

The Adirondac’s pilots blow the whistle in honor of Saunders, who died in 2006. Back in the day, that is, in the 1960s and 70s,  Lake George experienced something of a steamboat revival, and Mason Saunders quickly became its ringmaster. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Comments Sought On APA’s Rail-Trail Plan Review

NYC Railroad from Lake Clear LodgeThe Adirondack Park Agency (APA), at its November board meeting, announced a public comment period for Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan conformance regarding proposals from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) to amend the 1996 Remsen – Lake Placid Travel Corridor Unit Management Plan (1996 Plan).

APA will accept Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan conformance comments until December 18, 2015» Continue Reading.


Saturday, November 14, 2015

Forest Ranger History Is Rooted In The Forest Preserve

11037634_10205087400337684_4617104302708756954_nMost people think of today’s Forest Rangers as the stewards of the Forest Preserve and experts in wildland firefighting and search and rescue. The Rangers share their origins with the Forest Preserve itself. The decal on the side of a Forest Ranger vehicle states “serving since 1885.”

It was in May of that year that Governor David B. Hill signed into law Chapter 283, which authorized the appointment of a wildland fire fighting force called Fire Wardens. These men, according to their appointment, would “take charge of” and “direct the work necessary for extinguishing” fires that occurred in their assigned areas. Fire Wardens were generally only paid when involved in actual suppression but they did have some police-like powers with respect to fire and establishing a fire fighting force. Their official warrant stated, “All persons in the territory, whom you may order to render you such assistance, are required by law, to obey your order, and any person who may refuse to act in obedience to your order is, by statute, liable to a fine of not less than five nor more than twenty dollars.” » Continue Reading.


Friday, November 13, 2015

Amelia Earhart’s Visit To Lake George

Amelia Earhart on Lake GeorgeAmong the celebrities who have spent summers on Lake George, we can include Amelia Earhart, who visited the lake long before she became the most famous female aviator in the country.

For six months in 1919, she, her mother and sister rented a cottage in Huletts Landing. Earhart, then aged 22, took an automobile repair course in Massachusetts in the spring and then rejoined her family for the summer, intending to enter a pre-med program at Columbia University in the fall. » Continue Reading.


Monday, November 9, 2015

State Plans To Give Lake Placid Train One More Season

Adirondack Scenic RailroadThe state will allow Adirondack Scenic Railroad to run its tourist trains for just one more season on the tracks between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake, according to a final proposal by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and state Department of Transportation.

In the proposal, released last week, the departments are sticking with their original plan to remove 34 miles of track between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake – the north end of a 119-mile rail corridor owned by the state. » Continue Reading.


Monday, November 9, 2015

Two North Country Men Linked By Death Coincidence

WalterEMurphyOn January 7, 1933, the lives of two North Country men converged briefly nearly 300 miles from home in the Jamaica section of Queens in the City of New York. By odd coincidence, without ever meeting, they were fatally wounded within a few feet of each other. The older of the two was Walter Murphy of Ausable Forks, who joined the New York City police force in June 1926. The following year, he was cited for bravery after stopping a runaway horse (the cause of many deaths and injuries in those days), and in early 1933 he made headlines for a murder arrest. He frequently visited family in Ausable Forks, and had just left there nine days earlier after spending Christmas in the Adirondacks.

On the fateful day, Murphy was off duty, and with a friend had stopped at a service station for gas and to make some minor repairs to his car. While cleaning up in the washroom, they overheard a commotion outside. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, November 7, 2015

LaChute Portage: The Greatest Adirondack Trail

Lachute River in Spring (Tony hall Photo)I’ve known of the Champlain Valley’s storied past for a long time. But despite a lifetime association with the Adirondacks, I had never been there. Being reasonably well-read in history is hardly adequate to actually experiencing it, so when I was hired to teach at North Country Community College’s Ticonderoga campus I became excited at the chance to do some exploring. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Hotel Saranac Restoration Update Planned

Hotel Saranac postcard, courtesy of Nora BouvierHistoric Saranac Lake’s annual meeting will feature Fred B. Roedel III, Managing Member and CFO of Roedel Companies, who will present an update on the multi-million dollar renovation of the historic Hotel Saranac in the center of Saranac Lake.

“The re-imagined Hotel Saranac will be a historical, upscale, full-service property offering updated guest rooms, a fully restored grand ballroom, full service spa, elegant restaurant and a distinct and unique gift shop,” according to an announcement sent to the press. “The project also includes the construction of a parking structure that will support the Hotel.” » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Rally Planned To Support Keeping Rail Line

ADIX6076-High-Peaks-Aaron-Keller-PhotoGroups working to preserve the historic Adirondack Railroad corridor have announced that a rally will be held on November 7th at noon at the Saranac Lake Union Depot.

The State of New York has proposed an amended Unit Management Plan, calling for the conversion of the Rail Corridor between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid to a 34-mile recreational trail. » Continue Reading.


Monday, November 2, 2015

Raquette Lake Railway Creation Myths

forge dock 4a11219uWhile researching the Raquette Lake Railway, I found several historical traditions that were repeatedly used by authors in their works regarding the railroad’s origin. Below I examine these traditions and then provide my research on its origin from period correspondence and historical sources, including the rationale from the words of its builder, Collis P. Huntington. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Snowmobile Racing in the Adirondacks

Adirondack Snowmobile RacingIn the motor toboggan era – the time before the advent of the modern snowmobiles we know today – motor sleds had been too slow for racing excitement. As a result they remained strictly utilitarian vehicles racing only occasionally for promotional purposes. Motor toboggan and later snowmobile maker Polaris traveled each year at the end of the 1950s to trapper festivals at The Pas, Manitoba where they helped organize ad hoc races.

“We tried to rig them a little bit so we had a zig-zag effect,” David Johnson said, remembering one of the first informal races, “one guy ahead, and then the other, and so on, at a terrific speed of about 20 miles per hour.” In February 1959, Johnson won the first organized men’s race on an oval at The Pas and in 1960, the first cross-country race was held there. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

John Brown Event: American Martyr, Hero

John Brown by Southworth and Hawes - 1856A lecture titled “American Martyr: Why John Brown Is Thought Of As A Terrorist Instead Of A Hero” will be given by John Brown scholar Louis DeCaro Jr. on Saturday, October 17 from 3:30 until 5 pm at John Brown Farm in Lake Placid.

In December of 1859 John Brown was executed after leading an anti-slavery raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia, part of the radical movement of tens of thousands of Americans struggling to undermine the institution of slavery in America before the Civil War. His body was returned to his farm in North Elba. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

For Matthew Armer, the Prison Gate was a Revolving Door

MatthewArmer1951Delving deeply into the history of Clinton Prison in Dannemora for an upcoming book (already in progress before the recent escape) has led me to profile many criminals who have done time there. Not all of them will make the cut for the book, but what stands out across a wide range of criminals is recidivism. It was not unexpected — Clinton is, after all, New York’s principal home for repeat violent felons and incorrigibles — but it’s often surprising how many people among those who have options choose crime as a way of life.

From the Albany area was a young man who had options, but typified those who eschew a mainstream lifestyle for a darker path. In the end we’re left straining for a hint of any redeeming value. » Continue Reading.


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