Posts Tagged ‘Raquette Lake’

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Paddling In Nessmuk’s Adirondack Wake

Will_Madison - NessmukThe nineteenth-century writings of George W. Sears – best known as Nessmuk – have inspired countless Adirondack paddlers. Among the most recent is his great-great-great-grandson Will Madison.

In September, the twenty-two-year-old St. Lawrence University graduate retraced much of Nessmuk’s 1883 canoe trip from the Old Forge area to Paul Smiths and back. » Continue Reading.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Raquette Lake Railway Creation Myths

forge dock 4a11219uWhile researching the Raquette Lake Railway, I found several historical traditions that were repeatedly used by authors in their works regarding the railroad’s origin. Below I examine these traditions and then provide my research on its origin from period correspondence and historical sources, including the rationale from the words of its builder, Collis P. Huntington. » Continue Reading.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Raquette Lake Mystery: An Albany Mayor’s Secret Irish Family

George Thacher SrOne 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.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Flatwater Paddling: Raquette Lake’s South Inlet

Lunch spot a turnaround point for South InletMy canoe was starting to look lonely. That was my excuse to go paddling.

Skimming through my collection of paddling guidebooks, I decided on South Inlet, a tributary of Raquette Lake. With deep water and no discernible current, the inlet is one of the more reliable places for a mid-summer paddling trip, when many of the North Country’s waterways have dried up. And unlike other streams in the area, there are no beaver dams to carry over, making this a great trip for children and those with a limited sense of adventure. » Continue Reading.

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.

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