Monday, December 22, 2014

Benny Rolfe: A Pioneer of Radio

5A BAROpensAtPalaisIn the 1920s, pioneer of silent films and legendary trumpeter Benny Rolfe was in great demand. The Amalgamated Vaudeville Exchange gave him office space to organize and produce band acts. The Edison Company signed him as their “ace band attraction” and sought a recording deal.

Benny also scored big at the Palais d’Or, signing a four-week contract to play for the patrons of New York’s most successful restaurant. The Palais announced the new venture with a splash of advertising for “Twelve men, led by the greatest trumpet virtuoso of all time, who has organized more successful dance orchestras than any other man in the music world.”

Performing for the lunch-hour crowd, Benny was an immediate sensation. Edison moved quickly with plans to broadcast the show live on five radio stations. A week later, the Rolfe orchestra was being heard far and wide during three lunch sessions and two evenings. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Adirondack Murray’s Guide Honest John

Honest john“Honest John Plumbley [sic], the prince of guides, patient as a hound, and as faithful, – a man who knows the wilderness as a farmer knows his fields, whose instinct is never at fault, whose temper is never ruffled, whose paddle is silent as falling snow, whose eye is true along the sights, whose pancakes are the wonder of the woods…”

– Rev. William H. H. Murray, Adventures in the Wilderness, 1869.

William H. H. Murray is widely credited with bringing the masses to the Adirondacks.   The historian Warder Cadbury said, “Murray quite literally popularized both wilderness and the Adirondacks.” “Murray’s Rush”, the onslaught of tourists who rushed to the mountains in response to his book, gave rise to the claim that the Adirondacks are the birthplace of the American vacation.

John Plumley* is the man who brought the Adirondacks to Murray. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Exploring the Cold River Country

ADK Wilds for JohnAuthor William J. “Jay” O’Hern has once again shown himself to be a tireless researcher. While letters, journals and old newspapers and magazines are valuable to his work, Jay favors a more hands-on approach. A seasoned Adirondack adventurer himself, he has always preferred interviewing people with knowledge of his subjects. He likes to visit the places he writes about.

So it was that he and his wife Bette backpacked to the Cold River Valley for a trip that provides the framework for Adirondack Wilds: Exploring the Haunts of Noah John Rondeau (2014). Jay serves as a guide to who followed the same trails decades before. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Sixty Hours Without Power

December storm 2014, 27 inchesEssex County Officials have asked NYSEG to request more crews in addition to the 30 trucks already on the job. NYSEG Representatives have stated that they have, and there are 25-30 more crew on their way… and that the New York State Emergency Management Office and the Governor’s Office have been continuously advised of power outages.

–  Jay Supervisor Randy Douglas in an e-mail residents December 11th.

The “Beep-Beep” woke me up. Then again “Beep-Beep.” I knew what that meant. It was the notification mechanism on our smoke detectors designed to send a warning signal indicating no electric power. This did not surprise me since a snowstorm had been predicted. It was still dark this Wednesday morning. I went back to sleep, unconcerned, having weathered many power-outages before. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Book Review: ‘Adirondack Trail Skier’

trail skier bookAfter last week’s snowstorm, a lot of people got out to ski and or at least were prompted into thinking of skiing. Ah, but where to go?

For years, the bible for the region’s cross-country skiers has been Tony Goodwin’s Ski and Snowshoe Trails in the Adirondacks.

Now there’s another book on the market: Adirondack Trail Skier by Spencer Morrissey.

Morrissey self-published his guidebook in 2013, but I didn’t get a copy until late last winter, so I held off reviewing it until now. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Where Was the Mysterious Station 77?

Colvin-Survey-Disk-Best-PictureThanks to the good faith and honesty of Kyle Kristiansen, the young man who unearthed a benchmark disk from Verplanck Colvin’s 1882 Adirondack Survey in a New Jersey field, I had in my possession a triangulation survey bolt marked Station 77.

Colvin and his crew placed thousands of benchmarks, but only about three hundred of these nickel-plated copper triangulation bolts, which I was told were numbered roughly from 1 to 299.

I assumed it would be a simple matter to find records that would positively identify it. I was mistaken. » Continue Reading.


Friday, December 19, 2014

DA Won’t Press Charges In Death At Indian Lake Church

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA Hamilton County prosecutor will not press charges in the death of a man who died of a cardiac attack at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Indian Lake during an altercation with parishioners.

District Attorney Marsha King Purdue described the deceased—44-year-old Joseph Berg—as “a deeply troubled man” who had been drinking heavily before attending the 4 p.m. mass on June 28. She said his blood-alcohol level was about three times higher than the legal limit for drivers in New York State. » Continue Reading.


Friday, December 19, 2014

This Week’s Adirondack Web Highlights


Friday, December 19, 2014

New ‘Adirondack Explorer’ Features Ice Climbing

CoverALast winter, at age fifty-nine, I took up ice climbing. My first route was the popular Chouinard’s Gully above Chapel Pond. Don Mellor, the author of Blue Lines: An Adirondack Ice Climber’s Guide, led all three pitches.

Later in the season, I climbed four classic routes with Dan Plumley: Roaring Brook Falls, the Cascade (between Cascade Lakes), Multiplication Gully in Wilmington Notch, and Chapel Pond Slab. On each climb, Dan led and thus assumed the lion’s share of the risk. » Continue Reading.


Friday, December 19, 2014

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories


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