In 2010, the Clinton County Historical Association formed a committee to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. Since its formation, the committee has planned numerous lectures and programs at the Museum, and also took on a research project to culminate in the publication of a book. » Continue Reading.
Posts Tagged ‘Clinton County’
“You can’t go home again” is an adage based on the title of a Thomas Wolfe book, but with a different meaning from Wolfe’s original intent. The adage suggests we can’t relive our youth, and in a wider sense can’t recapture what once was. If that’s true, I recently came as close as one can by visiting my hometown for a book-related event. The result was a Mayberry-like evening with a roomful of nice people, and a close-up look at the accomplishments of a dedicated historian seeking to preserve our heritage.
I was raised in the northeast corner of New York State in the village of Champlain, representative of small-town America in the 1950s and 60s. The Champlain Literary Club recently asked me to speak about my books and the milestones our business has achieved during ten years in business as of October 2014. » Continue Reading.
There are numerous opportunities to continue to education children and families on the importance of local food. The success of the recent Farm2Fork Festival, farm tours and farmers’ markets as well as farm to school initiatives indicate that people are interested in what happens to their food. One place to visit that is continuing that farm to table education is the Babbie Rural and Farm Learning Museum in Peru.
According to Babbie Museum Secretary Carol Rock this weekend’s 4th annual Kids Fair and Festival is a fun educational way to keep families interested in the importance of rural farming traditions. » Continue Reading.
Rouses Point businessman Mark L. Barie has written the first biography of North Country politician Smith Weed. In The President of Plattsburgh, The Story of Smith Weed (Crossborder Publishing, 2014), Barie paints a portrait of Weed – six feet tall, with piercing black eyes – a man who was said to smoke nine cigars a day.
Smith Weed was instrumental in the establishment of the Champlain Valley Hospital, the YMCA, the Plattsburgh Library, and the Hotel Champlain, but was perhaps best known nationally for his central role in “The Cipher Dispatches” voter fraud controversy during the fiercely disputed presidential election of 1876.
Weed was President (Mayor) of Plattsburgh in the mid-19th century and served six terms in the New York State Assembly. The Plattsburgh attorney was also a successful businessman and philanthropist. » Continue Reading.
Like most Adirondack gardeners, my family is just starting to think about starting seeds and planning our summer garden. At Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE), they want to make sure that we are all aware that local farmers are not just thinking about what to plant, but have actually never stop growing and making local food available for our tables.
The annual Food from the Farm event, in cooperation with Adirondack Harvest and CCE Clinton County, is just one way local farmers are making themselves available to let us meet the people that grow our food. » Continue Reading.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner (DEC) has announced the proposal of new regulations that would prohibit hunting or trapping of free-ranging Eurasian boars in New York. The proposal is designed to ensure maximum effectiveness of DEC’s statewide eradication efforts. Public comments on the proposed regulations will be accepted until January 25, 2014.
Eurasian boars were brought to North America centuries ago and wild populations numbering in the millions now occur across much of the southern U.S. In recent years, wild boar populations have been appearing in more northern states too, often as a result of escapes from enclosed shooting facilities that offer “wild boar hunts.” » Continue Reading.
No matter how long a life lasts, the residue left behind is often fleeting, and within a generation or so, most of us are largely forgotten. But it’s also true that every life has a story, and many of them are worth retelling. I often glean such subject matter from obituaries, or from gravestones as I walk through cemeteries. A tiny snippet of information stirs the need to dig for more, perhaps revealing unusual or remarkable achievements and contributions.
A recent example involves Benjamin Wood Haynes, a native of Westford, Vermont, who lived and worked in northern New York in the latter half of the 1800s. Intriguing to me was a reference to him as a “builder,” and so the digging began, yielding some impressive nuggets. » Continue Reading.
Just when you think its time to pack away the swim gear and pull out the skis, its time for the annual Polar Plunge benefiting the Special Olympics. I am not one to actually take the required dip, but hold vigorously to my role as spectator when it comes to braving any Adirondack water in November.
From the Finger Lakes to Lake Champlain and Lake George to Staten Island there are 14 Polar Plunge events scheduled with ones in Plattsburgh and Lake George on November 16. Lake George’s Polar Plunge will kick off from Shepard’s Park while the Plattsburgh participants will brave a chilly Lake Champlain from City Beach.
According to Special Olympics Development Specialist Erin McCartan this is the seventh year of their Lake George plunge and the fourth for their Plattsburgh event. Partnering with the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, the Polar Plunges are one their biggest fundraiser throughout the year. » Continue Reading.
Autumn Leaves, the 18th Annual Glens Falls Chronicle Book Fair, was held at the Queensbury Hotel on Sunday, November 3. Attendance appeared to be excellent, providing evidence that the regional book scene is thriving despite all the changes in publishing in recent years. At the fair, I was afforded the opportunity to visit with a variety of writers, some of whom plan to cover stories of local history. Included in the exchange of ideas were the hows and whys of research, particularly the use of personal interviews, a subject that was fresh on my mind because of recent events.
I should mention that I neglected to reply to comments on my last story, which covered updates on e-books and printed books. I wanted to, but let’s just say it was not a good week. Although I was appearing last weekend on a nationally televised show in relation to one of my books, it was soon relegated to unimportance.
My mom had been hospitalized for two weeks, and she died in the early minutes of November 2—at the very same hour the show was running on Discovery ID. A few days later, her funeral was held—on my birthday. Those were just unfortunate coincidences, and they matter little. Death has a way of putting TV shows and birthdays in perspective. » Continue Reading.
After years of loyal service to his party and resisting against the most powerful men in American politics, M. William Bray was unceremoniously dumped from the New York State Democratic ticket in 1938. The strategy was questionable at best, considering the support he enjoyed in 40 upstate counties.
It was Bray’s growing influence that they feared. For years, Roosevelt, Farley, and others had tried to erode his power base but were unable to do so. In fact, by all measures, Bray was more popular than ever. In 1936, during his third run for lieutenant governor, he had outpolled Governor Lehman by nearly 60,000 votes (3,028,191 to 2,970,595).
It was embarrassing to party leaders that he was favored over the state’s chief executive, and galling to Farley in particular. But dropping a candidate who attracted three million voters seemed akin to political suicide. What could the Democratic Party leaders have been thinking? » Continue Reading.
Bill Bray’s rise to power in New York State politics was an impressive feat. From a poor farm life within a few miles of the Canadian border, he worked hard at becoming a successful attorney. By the age of 39, he was chairman of the state’s Democratic Party and a close confidant of Governor Franklin Roosevelt. Bray was running the show and FDR was a happy man, reaping the benefits of Bray’s solid connections in upstate New York.
Ironically, his following across central and northern New York is what eventually drove a wedge between Bray and the governor, souring their relationship. The falling out was over patronage, a common political practice. Roosevelt balked at Bray’s request to replace the Conservation Commissioner (a Republican) with a deserving upstate Democrat. It was, after all, the payoff for supporting FDR and helping win the election. A month or so later, Roosevelt finally acceded to Bray’s wishes, but the conflict hurt Bill’s standing within the inner circle. » Continue Reading.
As we near Election Day, I’m reminded of a man from a remote corner of the North Country, an individual who was once the right-hand man of a future president—and not just any president. Not everyone loved him, of course, but Franklin D. Roosevelt is one of the few to consistently appear near the top of any list of our greatest leaders. The man I’m referring to was known professionally as M. William Bray (Bill to his friends). He’s a native of the town of Clinton, which borders Canada in northwestern Clinton County.
If you don’t like population explosions, avoid Clinton. Their 67 square miles added 10 new residents between 2000 and 2010, bringing the count to a whopping 737: 11 people per square mile. Many of them live in the hamlet of Churubusco. Such a sparse population provides little chance of producing influential citizens, but Clinton beat the odds. » Continue Reading.
Though many famous artists have used the Adirondacks as the subject of their work, one artist stands out as a painter, activist and illustrator. Rockwell Kent was a prolific artist and through his seascapes and landscapes provided a window into the wilds of Alaska, Newfoundland, Greenland, Tierra del Fuego, the Adirondacks and beyond.
For the second year the Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC) is hosting a Rockwell Kent Day on September 21st from 10 am – 4 pm in Newcomb to celebrate this adventurer with strong ties to the Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.
In the tiny town of Saranac, sometimes referred to as Saranac Hollow, stands a monument to the town’s Civil War veterans. What makes it unique is that, during the war, the townspeople sent over three and a half times its draft quota to the Union Army. With a population of 3,600 people, 416 veterans are honored on the monument.
Walking around an Adirondack cemetery may seem like something straight out of horror films or reserved for a spooky Halloween night, but standing tall in Independence Cemetery is a war memorial that far exceeds any school lessons covering the United States Civil War.
According to the Town of Saranac’s historian Jan Couture it is the only Civil War memorial in Clinton County and the first war memorial of any kind in the county. To first look at it, it seems quite simple but the power is in reading the dedications and recognizing names we assume to be related to these brave lost soldiers. » Continue Reading.
Remember that long-ago weekly ritual, the trip to the dump with Dad? I’m talking about the 1960s, and maybe in some cases the 1970s. If you’re not old enough to look back that far, you’ll be amazed (appalled) to see how trash, garbage, and another-man’s-treasures were disposed of by most folks.
It was a part of small-town life that we can now look back on and be thankful it has largely vanished. From a child’s perspective, the dump was a mysterious and somewhat scary place that you couldn’t wait to visit, and soon enough couldn’t wait to leave. » Continue Reading.
The artist Sheri Amsel has created a beautiful map of the Champlain Valley with illustrations of the region’s wildlife and habitats. It also shows the region’s many hiking trails. I suppose a hiker could fold it and put it in a backpack, but I’ll bet more people will frame it and put in on their wall.
Amsel, a resident of the town of Essex, made the map to draw attention to the natural history and beauty of the valley. “I think the Champlain Valley is an untapped resource,” she said.
The 24-by-37-inch map shows roads, hiking trails, lakes, wetlands, peaks, boat launches, fishing-access spots, and state campgrounds in the Champlain region between Ticonderoga and Willsboro Point. The map differentiates between dirt and paved roads. The trails are numbered and cross-referenced in a table that names the trails and gives the hiking distances. Although the map can be used for planning trips, for serious hikes, you should pack a topographical map. » Continue Reading.
Summer in the Adirondacks is not only about the beautiful wild outdoors, but can be a mixture of cultural activities while enjoying nature with artists and musical entertainment. For the fourth year, Amazing Grace Winery is pairing its fine Champlain Valley wine with local musical talent for a casual evening under the stars.
Established in 2008 in Chazy, Amazing Grace produces cold hardy varietal wines and fruit wines and has a recently expanded 1,400 square foot winery/tasting room as part of its small farm vineyard. In addition to tours, tasting and musical events the vineyard hosts a bimonthly Farmers’ and Craft Market the first and third Sunday in July and August.
“We have tried to keep the summer concert series affordable,” says Amazing Grace Vineyard and Winery owner Mary Fortin. “Most of the performances are free though we do raise money for various local charities like The Food Shelf. People don’t have to donate, but we do ask. We also do charge an admission for the annual musical.” » Continue Reading.
Last week’s coverage here of Airdmore, that unusual camping colony at Elizabethtown in 1922, prompted a number of questions for me, particularly about the unusual surname of the main player, Henry Aird. The name was familiar to me in only one regard―from the plumbing supply company, Aird Dorrance, based in Morrisonville, near Plattsburgh, and with facilities in Ballston Lake and Clifton Park. I wanted to know: could there be a connection between the modern company and the business founded more than a century ago by Henry Aird?
If so, then he left a remarkable and lasting impact on North Country history in an economic sense, creating jobs for more than a hundred years, all of them resulting from choices he made in his business career long ago.
So I started digging. Early on, the effort was plagued by the usual problems that require clarification, especially regarding early records. As uncommon as the name Aird is, there were Airds and Bairds in Elizabethtown at the same time, led by men with the same first name―Henry. Both were among the moneyed class of visitors who frequented the village. Keeping their stories separate was easy enough, but the Airds’ reuse of given names and middle names, and the inconsistent use of middle initials in identifying them in legal papers and newspapers, was another story. » Continue Reading.
Long Lake hosts a full July 4th of activities from face painting to live music, but it’s the bed races that will make a lasting impression. Four pushers and one rider in the bed will attempt to cross the finish line first. Yes, spectators are encouraged. Children will enjoy the field games at the Long Lake Ball Field starting at 10 am with egg toss, three-legged races, sack races and other classic games with prizes for everyone.
Ticonderoga holds to its moniker of the “Best 4th in the North” with a four-day celebration of food, vendors and carnival rides. Starting on July 1st, the music is free to enjoy but there is a $20 bracelet fee, which covers unlimited carnival rides. On July 4th, Ticonderoga has their own bed races, a parade, and live music. Carnival bracelets are only available from July 1-3, tickets will be needed to access the carnival rides on the 4th. » Continue Reading.