Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Horace Brown: Master Horseman of Northern NY

One of my favorite people to visit when I was a child was my maternal grandfather, who owned a 100-acre farm in remote northwestern Clinton County. Ninety acres of the property were wooded (I loved exploring nature); he had cows, horses, and a dog (I loved animals); and he was an avid fisherman (I lived on the riverbank in Champlain and loved fishing). From my perspective, everything about my Grandpa Jim (Lagree) was cool (this was back in the ’60s, so “cool” is appropriate).

On the wall near his usual sitting area in the living room was a framed photo of a horse and sulky with the caption, “Dan Patch.” Since it was my grandfather’s picture, I knew it had to be something cool, and I was right. As he explained to me, Dan Patch was the greatest trotter ever. Trotting, as I learned, was once the most popular sport across Northern New York.

Within a general loop from Albany north to Glens Falls and Plattsburgh; west to Malone, Ogdensburg, Potsdam, and Watertown; south to Boonville; southeast back to Albany; and many stops in between, dozens of communities in the Adirondacks and foothills had trotting tracks of varying quality. Participants ranged from farmers to professional horsemen, all of them eager to put their horses’ abilities up against others for bragging rights, money prizes, and, of course, side bets. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

1967 Stony Creek Search for 11-Year-Old Debbie Butler

Search for 11-Year-Old Debbie ButlerWhen historians look through archival photos, it can be difficult to analyze an image’s authenticity. The question is not whether the image is genuine, per say, but how frank or candid the photo really is. This can be especially challenging when looking through photographs taken by government agencies who, understandably, have an agenda and often preserved images that were created with a certain narrative in mind. This is why, while the historic photos of Forest Rangers that graced the glossy pages of the Conservationist Magazine have become iconic, I tend to prefer to obtain photos from the rangers personal collections. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Ticonderoga Historical Society Launching Steamboat Education Project

The Ticonderoga Historical Society has been awarded a $5,000 Corridor of Commerce Grant from the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership. The grant will fund the creation of a website and student writing competition to commemorate the 200th anniversary of steamboat operations in the Champlain Valley and surrounding area.

While the specific website content is under development, it’s expected to include archival materials that provide students and other viewers with a record of the travels and culture of steamboats as well as related vessels and operators that interacted with steamboats. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Captain Marvel of Port Henry

tom tyler as captain marvelOn August 9, 1903, Helen and Frank Markowski had a baby boy in Port Henry they named Vincent. Like many fathers and brothers in the area, Frank and Frank Junior, Vincent’s older brother worked in the mines for the Witherbee Sherman Company.

Around 1924 at the age of 21, Vincent moved to California and changed his name to Tom Tyler. He found work in the film industry as a prop man and an extra. His appearances as an extra lead to his first starring role in “Let’s Go Gallagher” (1925). Tom became the King of B-Westerns during the silent era and into the talkies of the 1930’s. Over his entire career, he acted in more than 180 movies and TV shows from 1924 to 1953. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 4, 2017

A Short History of Wilbur’s Raquette Lake Hotel

The Forked Lake House built near the carry between Forked Lake and Raquette in about 1873.This is the story of how an unambitious, unsociable man who could barely support himself, much less his family, and had no experience whatsoever in running a hotel, came to build and run the first hotel on Raquette Lake. That such a person who, according to one of his relatives, “was neither suited to the country, nor the people” and “made enemies through the country” could be capable of this feat seems to defy all we know about other proprietors of pioneer hotels.

Wilber, the man who built the hotel, came into the Adirondacks from the West around 1855, a time when all the inhabitants of Raquette Lake could fit into a present-day family’s SUV. He named his establishment the Raquette Lake Hotel, but contemporaries called it Wilbur’s or Wilber’s. But very little was known about this pioneer hotel owner, why he came here, why he built the place. Even his proper name remained something of a mystery. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Fort Ticonderoga Opens For Season May 6th

fort ticonderogaFort Ticonderoga will open for the 2017 season on Saturday, May 6. Fort Ticonderoga is a historic site, museum, and family destination which tells a new story each year through historical interpretation. This year is 1757, the year made famous by the novel Last of the Mohicans. Visitors will discover the real story of 1757 as they step into Fort Carillon (later named Ticonderoga) bustling with activity with French soldiers, native warriors, and cannon preparing to take the fight for New France all the way up Lake George to British-held territory. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A New Stoddard Mini Exhibit at Chapman Museum

Travelers on the porch at the Halfway House, 1870. The Chapman Historical Museum has opened a new mini-exhibit of Seneca Ray Stoddard photographs. Featured are images of the stage coach trip that visitors in the 1870s experienced from the train station in Glens Falls to the Fort William Henry Hotel at the south end of Lake George. In addition to the Halfway House, highlights include the tollhouse in French Mountain, Bloody Pond, Col. Ephraim Williams’ monument, and the grounds of the hotel. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Steven Engelhart: Every Community Needs a Beating Heart

Old Forge Hardware CompanyThere is overwhelming evidence that the most successful communities — with thriving economies, healthy schools and social and cultural institutions — are those that embrace their own history and preserve their historic buildings. Good jobs, protection of natural resources, and good leadership are perhaps even more important. Historic preservation is a critical element in the revitalization of struggling communities and it is a visible expression of a community investing in itself and improving its own quality of life.

Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) has always been a strong advocate for the connection between historic preservation and community vitality. We work to preserve individual buildings, yes, but we also advocate for preservation because historic places can become affordable housing, attractive spaces for businesses, innovative cultural centers, new farms, restaurants and other attractions. Preservation is about finding new uses for historic structures, not just saving buildings. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Suffrage Rally Reenactment to Commemorate Suffrage Centennial

gazebo in city parkThe Glens Falls Area Suffrage Centennial Committee will present a Suffrage Rally reenactment to commemorate the New York State Woman Suffrage Centennial to be performed in Glens Falls on Sunday, May 7 from 1 to 3 pm at the gazebo in City Park. This event is free and open to the public.

The Suffrage Rally will reenact the history of the campaign for women’s voting rights through historical speeches, letters and songs. Featured will be national figures such as Susan B. Anthony, Inez Milholland, and Carrie Chapman Catt, all of which had local ties. Visitors will also hear from lesser known suffragists, like Warren County leader of the New York State Woman Suffrage Party, Emily Nordstrom. Reenactors presenting the anti-suffragist view will also be on hand. Dr. Charles Dana, neurologist, and Lucy Price, a Vassar girl who spoke here while making a tour of the northeast in 1915, are on the roster. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, April 29, 2017

New Book: John Apperson’s Lake George

john appersons lake george A new book by Ellen Apperson Brown, John Apperson’s Lake George (Arcadia Publishing, 2017), offers a significant collection of many Apperson photos published for the first time.

Writing from Virginia where John Apperson spent much of his youth, Ellen Apperson Brown has compiled an interesting collection of captioned images, along with an introductory essay that reveals much of the public, and private, life of her great uncle, who had such a large impact on protecting Lake George and the Adirondacks.
» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Crown Point Cannon Trail Monument Being Dedicated

crown point barracksThe Friends of Crown Point State Historic Site will host an unveiling ceremony May 13th for a monument commemorating the Crown Point cannon that Henry Knox hauled from Lake Champlain to Boston at the beginning of the American Revolution.

Re-enactors portraying the patriot Green Mountain Boys, under the command of Captain Seth Warner, will arrive to commemorate the May 11, 1775 liberation of 111 cannon from the few British soldiers posted at the fort. An outdoor reception of light refreshments, will follow, rain or shine and is free to the public. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Adirondack Regiment Focus of Civil War Roundtable

Home again lithograph by FabroniusOn Sunday, April 30th, at 2 pm at the St. Lawrence County Historical Association, Dallas Robinson will give a first-person presentation in the character of a member of the 118th New York Volunteers at the North Country Civil War Round Table.

The “Adirondack Regiment” was formed from enlistees from Clinton, Essex, and Warren counties in 1862, and eventually was the first Union unit inside Richmond, the Confederate capital, at the end of the war. Robinson is a veteran Civil War re-enactor living in Norfolk, and gives presentations on the Civil War at local schools and in Masonic Lodges. » Continue Reading.


Monday, April 24, 2017

Diverse North Country: Canadians of Clinton County

Abutting Lake Champlain at the northeastern corner of New York State, Clinton County has long been a site of exchange and encounters. Local toponyms attest to French imperial ambitions in the colonial era: Champlain, certainly, but also Ausable, Point au Roche, Point au Fer, Chazy, and, facing Chazy on the lake, Vermont’s Isle La Motte. In turn, the historic sites of Crown Point and Ticonderoga are monuments to the strategic importance of Lake Champlain from a military perspective. By linking New York City and Montreal through the Hudson and Richelieu rivers, the lake was witness to the clash of empires that ended with the collapse of New France in the 1760s.

In the early nineteenth century, Clinton reaped the economic benefits of this natural hydrographic corridor. And while international trade boomed, the region received an ever-rising number of French-Canadian farmers, farm laborers, and craftsmen who sought to escape difficult economic straits along the St. Lawrence River. What the French had not seized by force of arms they conquered through sweat and toil. To this wave of migrants, especially those who arrived in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, tens of thousands of county residents can today trace their lineage. » Continue Reading.


Monday, April 24, 2017

Fort Ticonderoga Brings Education Onto Lake Champlain

Students aboard CarillonFort Ticonderoga recently received a grant from the South Lake Champlain Fund of the Vermont Community Foundation to support regional youth maritime educational programs. Aboard the 60-foot touring Carillon, each 90-minute narrated boat tour focuses on the historical importance of the Lake Champlain waterway through centuries of history, and highlights elements of geography, natural history, and lake stewardship. This experience enables students to better grasp the strategic importance of the Champlain-Hudson corridor in the 18th century and its role in the founding of America. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Adirondack Historic Preservation Award Nominations Sought

Old Warren County Courthouse_ Lake GeorgeAdirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), the historic preservation organization for the region, has opened nominations for its 2017 Preservation Awards. For over 20 years, these annual awards have recognized sensitive restoration, rehabilitation, and adaptive reuse of historic structures, as well as individuals who have promoted historic preservation and community revitalization consistent with AARCH’s mission.

Projects of all sizes and scopes are eligible for consideration. The deadline for nominations is July 1, 2017. A celebration of the 2017 award winners will be on September 18, 2017, at a farm-to-table luncheon at the Nettle Meadow Farm, a 2016 AARCH Presevation Award recipient in the town of Thurman near Warrensburg. » Continue Reading.


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