Friday, August 11, 2006

Adirondack Local History Up in Flames

Adirondack landmarks have had a tough year so far – first there was the arson that destroyed the Episcopal Church in Pottersville and then last week the Brant Lake General Store went up in flames.

The Brant Lake General Store was one of those classic places found all around the Adirondacks – part deli, part bait shop, part hardware store, newsstand and convenience store. It only recently changed hands (the new owners added a liquor store) when it caught fire sometime after midnight on August 1. The store’s former owner, Roger Daby, was among firefighters from six local companies and who fought the three alarm fire.

According to the Times Union:

Fire Chief Jim Hayes of the Horicon Volunteer Fire Department said the [Steinman] family that owns the store — a man, woman and three children, escaped shortly before propane tanks and empty kegs exploded in the rear of the store.

Daby told the Adirondack Journal:

“This building was built in 1895. There was as store here in 1865, but they tried to move it across the frozen lake to the Palisades Hotel. It fell through the ice and was destroyed.”

That story reminds this excerpt from an Almanack post from December 2005:

Travel over the ice in the days of fewer bridges meant for more accidents. Albert Rand with his wife and three children were crossing Lake George on the ice in February 1860 when their horse and sleigh “suddenly went through a crack in the ice” just a short distance from the shore. They cried out in vain for help as Rand struggled to drag himself onto good ice and then saved his wife and one of his children – the other two were drowned.

J. M. Riford, a merchant from Moriah in Essex County loaded his wife and their two children into their sleigh and set out to visit his father across Lake Champlain in Warren, Vermont on January 11, 1884. The family had a good team of horses and was expected to make the trip over in one day – they never arrived and were never heard from again. “Their friends fear that they are at the bottom of Lake Champlain or frozen to death under the snow in the Green Mountains,” the New York Times reported.

And in case you didn’t see it this last April, check out Thin Ice: Some Strange and Tragic Stories

I know they are calling for a frost warning tonight, but am I obsessed with falling through the ice – even in this August weather?

By the way: The Glens Falls Post Star has reported that there will be a fundraiser for Steve and Valerie Steinman. It will be held at Jimbo’s Restaurant at the Point O’ Pines Camp on State Route 8 in Brant Lake and will include an auction and dinner (4-7 p.m. Sept. 13). Tickets are $10 at the door and include a barbecue dinner (burgers, hot dogs and ice cream sundaes), live entertainment and a ticket.

A second fundraiser has been organized to help rebuild the historic general store. Checks can be mailed to Glens Falls National Bank, 6353 State Route 9, Chestertown, NY 12817. Any branch can also take donations in person. For more information, call Pat Frasco at 494-5123.

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John Warren has been exploring the woods and waters of the Adirondacks for almost 50 years. After a career as a print journalist and documentary television producer he founded Adirondack Almanack in 2005 and co-founded the geolocation services company Adirondack Atlas in 2015.

John remains active in traditional media. His Adirondack Outdoors Conditions Report can be heard Friday mornings across the region on the stations of North Country Public Radio and on 93.3 / 102.1 The Mix. Since 2008, John has been a media specialist on the staff of the New York State Writers Institute.

John is also a professional researcher and historian with a M.A. in Public History. He edits The New York History Blog and is the author of two books of regional history. As a Grant Consultant for the William G. Pomeroy Foundation, he has reviewed hundreds of historic roadside marker grant applications from around New York State for historical accuracy.




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