The Adirondack Park Agency board will soon lose its strongest defender of wilderness: Dick Booth does not intend to serve another term.
Booth’s current four-year term expires June 30, but he said he will stay on awhile if a successor is not appointed by then.
A professor in Cornell’s Department of City and Regional Planning, Booth told Adirondack Almanack he is leaving partly out of frustration with decisions at the agency. He also said the long drive from Ithaca to Ray Brook for monthly meetings and poring over stacks of documents in preparation for those meetings proved draining over the years.
“I’ve been there eight and a half years,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed it, but at some point it’s time to step aside.”
Plans are afoot to honor suffragist Inez Milholland on the centennial of her death while campaigning for Votes for Women. Milholland was the daughter of Lewis, NY native John Milholland, and is buried in the family plot in Lewis.
This year is the centennial of Milholland’s death in Los Angeles of exhaustion and pernicious anemia. The loss of the charismatic 30-year-old New York attorney intensified women’s efforts for the ballot and led to the picketing of the White House in January 1917, considered among the most important activist efforts in the campaign to secure the vote for women. » Continue Reading.
In 1955, the main building on the campus of the College of the City of New York was renamed Shepard Hall in honor of Edward Morse Shepard, the political reformer who died on Lake George in 1911.
Shepard graduated from City College in 1869 and was the chairman of its Board of Trustees from 1904 until his death.
When the building was renamed in his honor, Shepard had been dead for more than forty years. Presumably, his contributions to the institution were far greater than those of the average college trustee.
And according to Sidney Van Nort, who oversees City College’s archives and special collections, Shepard’s spirit pervades the campus, whether today’s students acknowledge that or not. » Continue Reading.
During his years as a senior advisor to many younger Adirondack conservationists, Paul Schaefer told some interesting stories. He witnessed the following incident in the New York State Legislature in 1953, when he was about 45-years-old, at the height of his effectiveness as a conservation organizer. The following story is about passage of what was called the Ostrander Amendment, an amendment to Article 14, Section 1 – the “forever wild clause” – of the New York State Constitution.
In 1953, the Ostrander Amendment had been twice passed by the State Assembly and the bill was on the floor of the State Senate, then being chaired by Lieutenant Governor Frank Moore. The Clerk of the Senate began to read the bill when a State Senator came up to the Lt. Governor’s desk, grabbed the bill from the Clerk, and quickly left the Senate Chamber. The Lt. Governor sent one of his aides after him and as the aide rushed out of the Senate chamber, he saw the Senator headed into a washroom. Following him, the aide found the State Senator about to flush the bill down the toilet. The aide, a big man, grabs the Senator by the collar, snatches the bill from his grasp and takes it back to the Senate Chamber and hands it back to the Lt. Governor, who said, according to Paul, “the next man who tries to take this bill I will personally hit with this gavel.” » Continue Reading.
We all know that Thomas Jefferson gets credit for writing the Declaration Of Independence. As important as that historical document is however, it’s the Constitution that dictates how democracy works in the United States. But who was its author?
James Madison of Virginia has been called the “Father of the U.S. Constitution”. Some historians say no other delegate was better prepared for the Constitutional Convention, and no one contributed more to shaping the final document. It was Gouverneur Morris, the New York City native and Pennsylvania delegate (at 36, the youngest), who the Rutledge Committee asked to pull together the disparate ideas and thoughts of the convention and mold them into a single document. Morris immediately went to work – in four days he had a full draft ready. » Continue Reading.
The Town of Newcomb will celebrate author, statesman, naturalist and historian Theodore Roosevelt at the annual TR Weekend, September 11-13, 2015.
The event includes re-enactors portraying TR (Joe Wiegand) and his mother, wife, two daughters, and niece (portrayed by five Newcomb Central School seniors). Also scheduled are free guided tours by horse-drawn wagon of Great Camp Santanoni, a bike tour of the Essex Chain Lakes, tours of the Upper Works mining area, a woodsmens’ demonstration, fishing tournament and other events for children, an ice cream social, and fireworks. “Meet The Roosevelt Women” will take place on Saturday at 6:30 pm at the Newcomb High Peaks Overlook on Route 28N. » Continue Reading.
One 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.
On 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.
Nearly a century ago, a North Country man played a role in one the most remarkable murder cases in New York State history. Attorney James J. Barry was a Keeseville native, born there in late 1876 and a graduated of Keeseville’s McAuley Academy in 1898. In 1901 he moved to Schenectady where he worked for General Electric. He later attended Albany Law School, graduating in 1908 and setting up shop in Schenectady, his adopted home.
The Adirondacks were his real home however, and he maintained strong ties here. To share with others the joys of spending time in the mountains, he helped form the Northmen’s Club, of which he was president in 1907. Many times in the ensuing decades, he took club members, friends, and public officials on visits up north. Jim Barry was never away for very long. » Continue Reading.
On Tuesday, January 6, the Press-Republicanreported a remarkable achievement of Essex County Board of Supervisors Chair Randy Douglas.
Here’s how the newspaper’s article began: “Jay Town Supervisor Randy Douglas was sworn in Monday for an unprecedented sixth term as chairman of the Essex County Board of Supervisors.” The italics are mine. Their claim is wrong.
Among the subjects I’ve covered on Adirondack Almanack is Willis Wells, a shining star of Essex County’s past and a member of the Lake Placid Hall of Fame. I recently discovered that the articles about his great career, and even his obituary (he died in 1949), were in error. Both sources noted that Wells had served eight terms as chairman of the Essex County Board of Supervisors, including six consecutive. Actually, he served nine terms, including seven consecutively. Bold headlines pronounced his election each year. » Continue Reading.
That report, based on four years of research, is also politically judicious. It avoids condemning hydrofracking or sensationalizing its potential health risks. Instead, it concludes that “the overall weight of the evidence from the cumulative body of information” studied for the report demonstrates that there are “significant uncertainties about the kinds of adverse health outcomes that may be associated with HVHF [High Volume Hydraulic Fracking], the likelihood of the occurrence of adverse health outcomes, and the effectiveness of some of the mitigation measures in reducing or preventing environmental impact which could adversely affect public health.” The 184-page report is buttressed by 74 references, mostly well-documented studies and reports from the past few years. » Continue Reading.
In 1935, New York State held a large celebration commemorating 50 years of its Forest Preserve. The jubilee, with parades and the unveiling of a new monument, centered in Lake Placid and the list of attendees included Conservation Commissioner Lithgow Osborne, Governor Herbert Lehman and even President Franklin D. Roosevelt. New York had much to be proud of, having preserved “wild forest lands” for the previous 50 years with the promise of forever ahead.
A similar celebration would be held for the centennial, but the 50th anniversary resonates in a different way. It was still close enough to the actual events, and many remembered them, along with the decades of debate over the appropriateness of forest lands to fend for themselves, remaining uncut and wild. » Continue Reading.
There will be many eulogies this week for Mario M. Cuomo. For me, the former Governor, like a certain white pine in our woods whose annual whorl of branches totes up the years I have lived here, is a measure of my time on this earth.
Thirty years ago last summer, Mario M. Cuomo gave that great address in San Francisco to the Democratic National Convention. I had just moved to upstate New York that year to be with Susan. As Governor, Mario Cuomo helped define the first eight years I worked for the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.
For many property owners in Inlet, the abstract of title invariably lists James and Jennie Galvin as early, if not the first, owners. But until I began researching this narrative, I believed, as have other Inlet landowners and early 20th century newspapers, that the Galvins were sole owners of the 6,000 acres surrounding the Head of Fourth Lake. I learned that Galvin was an agent for the Fulton Chain Club and it was through his efforts that the land was sold for hotels and camps, and ultimately to the first residents of Inlet.
James Galvin, the son of an Irish immigrant, was born in 1835 in Wilna, Jefferson County. His father Edward was a successful farmer and also managed a prosperous charcoal production trade. James was listed as a farmhand and a farmer on the 1850 and 1860 censuses, respectively, but from the age of fifteen, he dealt in horses and cattle and became successful in buying stock both in New York and Canada. He commanded large credit with banks in both regions. » Continue Reading.
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