Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Forge House History: The Country Hotel Years

1909 forge house from pond_0If any image represents early Fulton Chain history, it is the Forge House atop the elevation overlooking the pond as a king viewing his realm. When the hotel burned in 1924, prominent citizens planned to quickly rebuild it but the era of the big summer hotel had ended, replaced by smaller, shorter stay motoring hotels to cater to the automobile tourist.

Today, its location is a grassy knoll across from the Old Forge Fire Department building, down the street from the Old Forge Hardware store and behind the Forge Hotel sign.  But while the Forge House existed, the traveler was given the name of an individual there who would not fail to provide necessary comforts.  This narrative is about the hotel’s owners, and about the proprietors and managers who usually were not the owners. » Continue Reading.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Historic Saranac Lake Wins Preservation Award

AARCH AwardOn September 29, Historic Saranac Lake was presented an Adirondack Architectural Heritage Award at a luncheon at the Woods Inn in Inlet. The award was granted for the restoration of the Saranac Lake Laboratory as a museum, community space, and organization offices.

“It is a real honor,” Executive Director Amy Catania said in a statement to the press. “Many community members have put in a lot of hard work on the restoration of this special building. Thanks to everyone’s hard work, we are now open as Saranac Lake’s downtown history center, serving thousands of visitors every year from near and far.” » Continue Reading.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Hog-Pen Charley: One for the Record Books

1885HogpenCharleyHdlineHistorically, New York State has long been home to some of the nation’s toughest prisons. More than a century ago, having served 18 years at Sing Sing, 19 at Auburn, or 31 at Clinton marked any man as one tough son-of-a gun. So what could be said about a man who served all three of those sentences? The toughest SOB ever? Not even close. He was a hard case, no doubt, but in time, dedicated recidivism earned him media portrayals as quirky, unusual, and eventually somewhat endearing. It’s doubtful his victims felt that way, but it happens that some criminals gain personas making them far more acceptable than the average crook. Among those was upstate New York’s Hog-Pen Charley. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Robert Garrow Case Subject Of Fulton County Talk Thursday

Robert GarrowThe Fulton County Sheriff’s Association will offer a public review of the case of convicted Adirondack serial killer Robert Garrow tomorrow, Thursday, October 2 at the Johnstown Eagles Club, 12 S. William St., at 7 pm.  The presentation will be given by regular Adirondack Almanack contributor Lawrence P. Gooley, who is the author of  Terror in the Adirondacks: The True Story of Serial Killer Robert F. Garrow.

Garrow, an abused Dannemora child turned thief, serial rapist, and killer who admitted to seven rapes and four murders (although police believed there were many more). Among his victims were campers near Speculator where Garrow escaped a police dragnet and traveled up Route 30 through Indian Lake and Long Lake and eventually made his way to Witherbee where he was tracked down and shot in the foot. Claiming he was partially paralyzed, Garrow was shot and killed during an attempted prison escape in September 1978 – he had faked his paralysis. » Continue Reading.


Monday, September 29, 2014

Loon Lake: A First Lady’s Failed Adirondack Cure

cottageIn the summer of 1892, the wife of President Benjamin Harrison, Caroline Scott Harrison, became extremely ill. She primarily suffered from tuberculosis, but experienced complications from pleurisy and the accumulation of fluid in her chest. Medical treatment of T. B. at the time mainly amounted to having the patient rest. For this reason, it was felt that a stay in the Adirondacks offered the best chance for restoring the First Lady’s health.

Early in July, the journey from Washington, D.C. to Loon Lake was undertaken, via a special train. The Troy Daily Times dutifully reported on the train’s progress. It arrived in Troy in the wee hours of the morning on July 7, then proceeded to White Creek, Rutland, Vermont, Rouse’s Point, and Malone, reaching the latter place at 10:30 am. There, a crowd that included some local officials met the two-car train, but the President asked that they refrain from cheering, so as not to disturb his sick wife. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Blue Mountain Lake’s Thacher Island Revisited

GHTSr & TomYou see me here standing where my great-great grandfather George Hornell Thacher Sr. once stood on the porch of the family lodge built in 1867 on Thacher Island on Blue Mountain Lake.   The photo is not dated but given his aged appearance (no, the guy on the left), I believe it to be from the early 1880s.

My father spoke of visiting his uncle on the island as a young boy in the 1940s.   No Thacher has had the opportunity to walk the island since then. It had always been a dream of mine to visit my family’s first summer home. A dream fulfilled thanks to the hospitality of John and Janet O’Loughlin, whose family has owned the island for over two decades. » Continue Reading.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Theodorus Bailey: An Uncredited Hero

P2ATheodorusBaileySenators and congressmen reviewed the battle reports from the taking of New Orleans in early 1862 in order to prepare a special resolution honoring Captain Theodorus Bailey and Flag-officer David Farragut. Bailey almost certainly would rise to the top of the waiting list for promotion to rear admiral. However, according to author/Admiral David Porter, as the battle’s description was read aloud by Senator James Grimes and the nation’s legislators reacted with wild enthusiasm, a note was delivered to the speaker.

Reading it, he said, “Stop, we are moving too fast,” after which the note was passed around for all to read. The subject was quickly changed and the lawmakers began addressing unrelated issues, while Bailey sat in disbelief and utter humiliation.

Later, he was quietly informed by Grimes that the note mentioned discrepancies between Bailey’s and Farragut’s accounts of the battle, necessitating further inquiry. Translation: it appeared Bailey had taken more credit than he was due for Farragut’s great achievement. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Diane Chase: Learning About Tahawus

Adirodac_CottageUsually a trip to the Upper Works in Newcomb for my family doesn’t include an extended history lesson, but I always have a few interesting facts to tell our visitors while driving this seemingly endless stretch of County Route 25 to the southern entrance of the High Peaks. We are usually there to hike, though the area’s history is just as vast and interesting as its trails.

I share that the McNaughton Cottage is where Vice President Theodore Roosevelt and his family were staying in 1901 when he took his “midnight ride” after receiving word that President McKinley had taken a turn for the worst from an assassination attempt six days before. The Roosevelt family was climbing Mount Marcy when the official word of McKinley’s fate was received via telegram.

I could even give some vague references to the McIntyre Iron Works Blast Furnace and the dilapidated condition of an old mining town called Adirondac.

But now when we go to the Upper Works, we schedule a bit more time to explore this area with the addition of interpretive signs detailing the historical significance of these buildings, the mining operation and the blast furnace that would produce iron for only two years. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Theodorus Bailey, Chateaugay’s Civil War Hero

P1ATheodorusBaileyIn the New York Times of February 11, 1877, appeared the obituary of a North Country native, Theodorus Bailey, who was born in Chateaugay in 1805 and moved to Plattsburgh with his family around 1811. The Battle of Plattsburgh took place three years later, on September 11, 1814. Although Theodorus was just nine years old, that historic event made quite an impression. His obituary, in fact, pointed out that Bailey “accepted as his pet hero Commodore Macdonough, the American commander in the battle,” and was thus inspired to seek a career in the navy.

It’s also interesting that among the War of 1812 battles that are considered pivotal, Plattsburgh has often been overlooked in favor of three others: Baltimore, Lake Erie, and New Orleans. And yet this same Theodorus Bailey was lauded as a hero of the Battle of New Orleans.

How can that be? Well, there were actually two Battles of New Orleans, but because the name was already taken during the War of 1812, the second one, which occurred during the Civil War, is often referred to as the Capture of New Orleans. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Fulton Chain and Raquette Lake Steamboat Company

photo 4During the summer of 2014, on the lawn at the Goodsell Museum in Old Forge, Kyle Kristiansen, using a metal detector, discovered a metal object. Digging it up, he uncovered a buried metal luggage tag containing the intials “F.C & R.L.S.B.CO.”

These letters stand for the Fulton Chain and Raquette Lake Steamboat Company, a short-lived and relatively unknown concern established for carrying passengers and cargo from Fourth Lake to Raquette Lake in the days before automobiles connected the region.

This is a history of that company and its successors to that trade.  We will probably never discover how that item arrived on the lawn in the Town of Webb. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

September 11th: A Day Of Remembrance, Pride

Battle-of-Plattburgh-300x210As Americans pause today to mark the terrible events of 2001, it would be fitting to also mark a bicentennial of which few Americans are aware, but of which the North Country should be justly proud: the 1814 Battle of Plattsburgh.

These two momentous days, from across a span of nearly two centuries, share an importance that will forever be marked by historians.

Both are absolutely critical to the shape of the America we live in today. Both are fulcra, balancing a more innocent and vulnerable America of the past with a changed nation that confronted a vastly different future world. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The 1981 Ampersand Mountain Search For Kate Dekkers

ampersandmtIn the summer of 1981, in the High Peaks Wilderness, an organized outing consisting of kids and counselors went on a day hike. Twelve children and two adults went up Ampersand Mountain on July 24th to enjoy a summer day in the Adirondacks. Only eleven children returned. A 10-year-old girl, 4-foot-ten-inches tall, wearing blue shorts and a red #88 football jersey went missing, separated from the rest of the group.

It’s the type of unfortunate, yet often preventable incident that regularly happens during summers in the Adirondacks. Most separations like this are solved within hours –  it would take four days to solve the mystery of what happened to young Kate Dekkers. » Continue Reading.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Remembering The Battle of Plattsburgh: September 11, 1814

1816 BaltimoreBOPDisplay“The naval battle of Lake Champlain was probably the greatest feat of arms that our navy achieved in the War of 1812,” said Franklin D. Roosevelt.

From Secretary of Navy William Jones on Oct. 3, 1814: “To view it in abstract, it is not surpassed by any naval victory on record. To appreciate its result, it is perhaps one of the most important events in the history of our country.”

According to Penn University historian John B. McMaster, it was “the greatest naval battle of the war,” and Thomas Macdonough was “the ablest sea-captain our country has produced.”

Like McMaster, author and historian Teddy Roosevelt called it “the greatest naval battle of the war,” and praised Commodore Thomas Macdonough thusly: “Down to the time of the Civil War, he is the greatest figure in our naval history. … he was skillful and brave. One of the greatest of our sea captains, he has left a stainless name behind him.” And one more: looking back, Sir Winston Churchill said it “was a decisive battle of the war.” » Continue Reading.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Case of the Indian Arrow Etched in Stone

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 9.50.31 PMMy cousin Stephen Fitzpatrick showed me a mark that is chiseled into a rock just outside the front door of our family’s little red one-room cabin on Indian Point. The mark vaguely appears like an arrow but with a crosshair at the top instead of a point. Stephen applied an ink dye to the mark so it is more visible in this photo.

Stephen remembers asking his mother about the mark, and she said that her father claimed it was there when he first came to the Point in 1910.

The mark itself is intriguing, but the mystery deepened when Stephen explained that the crosshair is actually a compass rose.   The large line runs almost perfectly north-south, and the smaller line is nearly east-west.

Curiosity piqued, I firmly slapped on my amateur sleuth’s cap. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Glenn Pearsall On John Thurman And Elm Hill

Thurman Marker sign 2The Townships of Johnsburg and Thurman were named for John Thurman when Warren County was split off from Washington County in 1816. Beyond the boundaries of these two townships, however, few have heard of him or his accomplishments.

The story of John Thurman is an important chapter in the history of the Adirondacks. For too many, Adirondack history is limited to the great camps, guide boats, and environmental protection. Yet there is so much more.

For hundreds of years the Adirondacks were a dark and dangerous place; anyone traveling through the area had best be well-armed. However, after the American Revolution the Adirondacks became, for the first time, a land of great opportunity, ready for exploration and commercial enterprises. » Continue Reading.


Page 28 of 97« First...1020...2627282930...405060...Last »