Monday, August 31, 2015

Chet Ross: One Of Warren County’s Finest Pitchers

Chet Ross PitcherThe rector of his Bolton Landing parish, as well as his own father, concluded early that Chet Ross had nothing on his mind but baseball. “I was like a hound dog,” said Ross. “I only went home when I was hungry.”

That dedication allowed Ross to avoid trouble – he never once appeared before his uncle, Bolton Town Justice Jim Ross – and, more important, it enabled him to become one of Warren County’s finest pitchers ever.

The local press dubbed him “Bolton’s husky hurler.” » Continue Reading.


Monday, August 31, 2015

In Whitehall A Twisted Take On Civil War History

The 123rd New York Volunteer Infantry represented Washington County, New York, in the Civil War. Final casualty totals were about 166 dead (69 on the battlefield) and 158 wounded. Among those were 16 killed and 16 wounded from the town of Whitehall. The dead represent 16 grieving families and great loss for the community, a theme replayed again and again across the country.

Among the key words defining America is union, as in the opening words of the Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union…,” and as in pledging “allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.” Yes, it’s even in our name—not America, but the United States of America. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Pete Nelson: Make Newcomb A Hub Of Ecotourism

Newcomb ViewThere has been a long-held belief  about Newcomb among many Adirondackers visitors and residents alike – there’s nothing there.  I’ve heard this about Newcomb on and off for thirty years. It’s Nonsense!

Sure, I don’t deny that the Newcomb area could benefit from more places to dine and stay the night. But I can’t think of any place better equipped to appeal to one class of tourist the Adirondack region has so far mostly ignored: ecotourism. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Unique ‘Five Formidable Forts’ Tour Planned

Crown Point - Photo by John WarrenThe public is invited to take a once-ever packaged tour, on Saturday, September 12, 2015, of Champlain lake shore sites where five military forts were built between 238 and 325 years ago.

Historians will lead guests on a tour of the archaeological sites of two early forts (1660, 1731) at Chimney Point in Addison, Vermont; the ruins of two forts (1734, 1759) in Crown Point, New York; and a Revolution War fort site (1776) in Orwell, Vermont. » Continue Reading.


Monday, August 24, 2015

Lake Champlain Bridge History Tour Planned

Crown Point Bridge Lake Champlain by John WarrenOn Sunday, August 30, 2015, at 1 pm, history and views from the Lake Champlain Bridge will be the highlights of a guided bridge walk offered by the Chimney Point State Historic Site in Addison, Vermont, and Crown Point State Historic Site in Crown Point, New York.  Site manager Elsa Gilbertson (VT) and historian Tom Hughes (NY) will lead the tour.

Participants should meet at the Chimney Point State Historic Site museum on the Vermont end of the bridge to start.  Allow two hours to walk back and forth across the bridge during the tour that explores the 9,000 years of human habitation at this important location on Lake Champlain.  » Continue Reading.


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Raquette Lake Mystery: An Albany Mayor’s Secret Irish Family

George Thacher SrOne mystery remains which my research into the early cabins on Raquette Lake’s Indian Point has never fully solved. Why did the last two generations of our family have no knowledge of the original Thacher cabin on Indian Point from 1878-1886? Why are there no photos or drawings? Why was it abandoned?

Today, my family is proud of its Irish heritage thanks to the courage of my grandfather Kenelm R. Thacher in marrying Catherine Callahan.  Family lore has it that after the marriage Kenelm Thacher was labeled the black sheep of the family, the result of the bigotry toward Catholics by members of my Protestant family.  My aunt spoke of certain Thacher family members who crossed the street in downtown Albany, rather than converse with her parents.  It turns out however, that my grandfather was not the first Thacher to marry a Catholic, to the chagrin of some of his family. » Continue Reading.


Friday, August 21, 2015

Ticonderoga’s Largest Revolutionary War Event of The Year

IMG_0227 - CopyFort Ticonderoga and more than 700 re-enactors will play host to a two-day battle re-enactment highlighting Brown’s Raid of 1777, an attack led by patriot Colonel John Brown to take the British troops garrisoned at the fort by surprise 238 years ago.

The event takes place on Saturday and Sunday, September 12-13, from 9:30 am until 5 pm.  Historic interpreters and re-enactors from across the northeast will bring to life the little-known 1777 action with special programs in the British held Fort and the American camps throughout the weekend. The Brown’s Raid battle re-enactment will take place each day at 1 pm when the raiders will attack the British held lines overlooking Fort Ticonderoga. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Accident or Murder? A Soviet Mystery in Long Lake

Leon Trotsky and Ephraim Sklyansky Red Square review of Moscow troops October 14 1918On Saturday evening, August 22, 2015, at 7:30 pm, at the Long Lake Town Hall, Abbie Verner, Long Lake Town Archivist and President of the Long Lake Historical Society will present a program with slides and music about two men from the Soviet Union who drowned in Long Lake in 1925.

The two men, Isaiah Khurgin, and his colleague Ephraim Skliansky, were prominent Soviet citizens and active in the politics of Soviet Russia. The program outlines their backgrounds, their family information and the possible reason for their visit. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Short History of the Lake George Steamer Sagamore

Sagamore crew by Fred Thatcher published with permission of Bolton Historical SocietyAbout fifteen years ago, a few lake-shore residents commemorated a 100th anniversary – that of the launching of the steamboat Sagamore.

The launching took place at Pine Point in Lake George Village, and according to contemporary accounts, it drew the largest crowds to the village since the introduction of the trolley in 1901. Local schools were closed for the day so that children and their teachers could attend the great event. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Dannemora Prison Break of 1928

dannemora prison before 1930sOn July 29, 1928, Herbert R. Mackie, an inmate at what was then known as Clinton Prison (today called the Clinton Correctional Facility) in Dannemora was being escorted to a practice session for the prison’s band. He told an officer that he had forgotten something, and asked for permission to return to his cell. He was not seen again by prison staff for six weeks.

He was not at liberty during most of that time, however. He was still within the facility, busily digging a tunnel that would be a key part in what seems to have been a carefully planned plot for Mackie to escape the prison with fellow inmate Otto Sanford. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The League of the Kindly Tongue

1916HdlineKindlyLgLodestone’s definition—magnetic, to attract strongly—helps clarify the meaning of the following famous quotation: “A kindly tongue is the lodestone of the hearts of men.” Those are the words of Bahá’u’lláh, founder of the Bahá’í Faith. In more colloquial terms, here’s a very loose translation used by a movie star—Thumper in Walt Disney’s “Bambi”: “If you can’t say somethin’ nice, don’t say nuthin’ at all.”

It suggests that people respond well to kind and friendly words, which is true. That’s the concept behind a movement launched long ago by a North Country man. In this era of routine public rudeness, lightly veiled slurs, and yelling opposing views at each other as a substitute for substantive discussion, maybe it’s time for the League of the Kindly Tongue to rise again.

Yes, the League of the Kindly Tongue was once a thing, born of excessive gossip, rumors, rudeness, and … well, you get the point. It’s hard to imagine such a pro-civility movement taking root, but it did in a very big way. » Continue Reading.


Monday, August 17, 2015

Fish House: Great Sacandaga Lake’s Underwater Mysteries

47One of the real pleasures in researching and writing When Men and Mountain Meet was exploring the actual sites of the historic places mentioned in my book: the little town of Castorland on the Black River, the LeRay Mansion at Fort Drum, Gouverneur Morris’ Mansion at Natural Dam and David Parish’s house, now the Remington Art Museum, in Ogdensburg. And then there was finding Zephaniah Platt’s grave in the Riverside Cemetery in Plattsburgh, in Lake Placid the site of the 1813 Elba Iron and Steel Manufacturing works , Charles Herreshoff’s flooded iron ore mine in Old Forge and the complex of building foundations that made up John Thurman’s 1790 development at Elm Hill.

There was one site, however, that was a little harder to locate than the others; Sir William Johnson’s fishing camp “Fish House”. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Unique Legacy of Lake Placid’s Old McDonald’s Farm

Old McDonald's Farm Lake PlacidOn Saturday an Adirondack Diversity Symposium will be held in Newcomb as part of an effort to make the Adirondacks more attractive to people of diverse backgrounds.

In July, one family celebrated it’s sixtieth anniversary of doing just that – introducing inner city youth to the wonders of nature and, in so doing, helping them on a path towards a healthy and rewarding future. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Bloody Bill Higby of Willsboro

BloodyBillHigbyAs colorful nicknames go, Bloody Bill is tough to beat. It belongs to a number of bad guys, and one very good guy – Bloody Bill Higby, born in Willsboro 202 years ago.

After attending local schools and working on the family farm, he found employment in the iron and lumber business. Higby then enrolled in the Essex County Academy at Westport and went on to graduate from the University of Vermont. After studying law, he began practicing in Elizabethtown in 1847. Three years later, nearing the age of 40, he felt the call of the West amid dreams of striking it rich in California’s gold mines. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Search for William Wood’s Cabin on Raquette Lake

Wood's Cabin 1851 Jervis McInteeMy last article identified the most likely location of the original cabin built by Matthew Beach and William Wood in the mid-1830s on Raquette Lake. Wood remained on Indian Point until 1859, but sometime between 1844 and 1846 he had a falling out with Beach and built a separate cabin (shown in this 1851 sketch from Jervis McEntee’s diary). » Continue Reading.


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