Posts Tagged ‘Raquette Lake’

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Philosophers’ Camp Talk In Saratoga Springs

The Story of the Philosophers CampIn 1858 some of the leading lights of American art, literature, and science camped together on Follensby Pond near Tupper Lake at what is now known as the Philosophers’ Camp.

The gathering was organized by Willam James Stillman, artist and editor of acclaimed art magazine of the time, The Crayon. It included transcendental philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, the poet James Russel Lowell, Harvard scientist Jean Louis Agassiz, and others.

The meeting at Follensby was widely covered in the popular press of the time and fueled an interest in the Adirondacks and retreating into the wilderness to write, make art and discuss the issues of the day. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Search for William Wood’s Cabin on Raquette Lake

Wood's Cabin 1851 Jervis McInteeMy last article identified the most likely location of the original cabin built by Matthew Beach and William Wood in the mid-1830s on Raquette Lake. Wood remained on Indian Point until 1859, but sometime between 1844 and 1846 he had a falling out with Beach and built a separate cabin (shown in this 1851 sketch from Jervis McEntee’s diary). » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Adirondack Council Critiques Legislative Session

nycapitolThe Adirondack Council sent the following statement to the press Monday reviewing Adirondack issues from the last session of the NYS Legislature:

Aside from authorizing the addition of 12 acres to the Adirondack Forest Preserve last week, the NYS Legislature did little in May and June to help the clean water, wilderness and communities of the Adirondack Park, the Adirondack Council said today.

“The Legislature and Governor passed a pro-Adirondack budget on April 1, but didn’t accomplish much for the Adirondack Park after that,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director William C. Janeway.  “Lawmakers did pass a bill that will add 12 acres to the 2.7-million-acre public Forest Preserve and we are grateful to the sponsors for guiding it through both houses.  » Continue Reading.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Search for Raquette Lake’s First Cabin

1840 Mathew Beach Cabin sketch2I know where Matthew Beach and William Wood built their original cabin (depicted in this 1840 sketch by John Hill) on Raquette Lake’s Indian Point. Or at least I think I know, or perhaps I should say I have deduced a pretty darn good educated guess. I welcome others to critique my assumptions.

The sketch at left offers little in the way of accurate perception of distances given that the opposite side of North Bay appears as close to Needle Island as the tip of Indian Point. And don’t get me started on the apparent thickness of Needle Island. Yet the drawing holds some surprisingly valuable clues. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Yellow Days: Adirondack Forest Fires And Air Quality

May 31 Forest Fire Haze 002 - EnidWe tend to think of air pollution only occurring in cities, especially over a century ago when there were no air pollution regulations in place and the industrial revolution was in its hey-day. But it appears that air pollution plagued city-dwellers wherever they went.

I spent a day at the Adirondack Museum reading through the camp diary of the Stott family on Raquette Lake (1882-1900). One of the first entries in 1882 is a remark that it was the year of the ‘Yellow Day’ because for a week or so the sky had a peculiar yellowish color to it and the sun hung in the air like a hazy red ball, obscured by fire smoke that filled the atmosphere. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Hermit Who Could Not Escape Civilization

stoddard photoAlvah Dunning was perhaps the most famous of Raquette Lake guides, said to have helped lead the first excursion of sportsmen to Raquette Lake at age eleven. Born in Lake Piseco in 1816, he lived there until 1860 when he was forced to flee after beating his wife.

From that moment on, he removed himself from society in favor of the freedom of the wilderness. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Chasing A Barrel Of China To Raquette Lake

Lord Renfrew

Local Raquette Laker Jim Regan told the following story one night 40 years ago while sitting around a campfire:

“Mr. Reynolds lived in that cabin over there with his wife and kids for a whole year. During that time, in the summer of 1938, he guided for a wealthy English gentleman, a friend of your grandfather [John Boyd Thacher]. Months after the man returned to England, Mr. Reynolds received a wooden barrel filled with good English china. The story goes that Mr. Reynolds, after one too many drinks, was angered that his payment came in the form of this useless luxury. He raised the barrel above his head and tossed it as far as he could off the dock into the Needles Channel, and that china still sits somewhere at the bottom of the lake.” » Continue Reading.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Rendezvous With History At Camp Kirby

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe sun filters through the hemlocks and dapples the ferns on the forest floor as you walk the shoreline from SUNY Cortland’s Camp Huntington to the cabin in the woods called Camp Kirby.

Walking the mile path along the shoreline of Raquette is the only way to get back and forth between these camps unless you take a boat ride. Camp Kirby is available to rent for alumni of SUNY Cortland. We have been renting it with fellow alum friends for the past few summers. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Ebenezer Emmons And Raquette Lake

1849 Birch Pt sketch“After much toil and labor in rowing, in consequence of a strong head wind, we reached the lake at its eastern extremity. This accomplished, our next business was to find the establishment of Beach and Wood situated on some point on the opposite shore. By fortunate conjecture, our guide struck upon the right course and soon landed on Indian Point at the residence of the above named gentlemen. Here we determined to remain till we had thoroughly explored the region.” 

Thus Prof. Ebenezer Emmons described his arrival on my family’s land on Raquette Lake in 1840, captured in this sketch of Beach and Woods’ earlier cabin by John William Hill. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Triangulation of Verplanck Colvin

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 4.08.49 PM“Few fully understand what the Adirondack wilderness really is. It is a mystery even to those who have crossed and recrossed it by boats along it avenues, the lakes; and on foot through its vast and silent recesses…In this remote section, filed with the most rugged mountains, where unnamed waterfalls pour in snowy tresses from the dark overhanging cliffs…the adventurous trapper or explorer must carry upon his back his blankets and heavy stock of food. Yet, though the woodsman may pass his lifetime in some of the wilderness, it is still a mystery to him.”

– Verplanck Colvin, Superintendent of the Adirondack Survey » Continue Reading.


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