The Adirondack Park plays an important part in the history of the United States, from the Great Camp culture to its land preservation. It has been a summer White House and two-time Olympic host. The Adirondacks are also known for Teddy Roosevelt’s historic ride from Mount Marcy to the North Creek Depot.
Teddy Roosevelt Weekend, September 14-16, is hosting a variety of activities showcasing Roosevelt’s Adirondack ties. Free lectures, wagon rides, Color Run, guided hikes, log rolling competition, tours, and blacksmithing demos are just a few of the planned events.
According to Judy DePasquale, co-chair for Newcomb’s Teddy Roosevelt Weekend, the celebration commemorating Roosevelt’s “wild ride” has been taking place for over 20 years and is as pertinent as ever.
“When President McKinley was shot at the Buffalo Pan-American Exhibition, Roosevelt was told to continue with his plans for a family vacation in the Adirondacks. They didn’t want to alarm the public with concerns about McKinley’s health,” says DePasquale. “Roosevelt was on Marcy when word reached him that McKinley had taken a turn for the worse. It’s on a stretch of Rt. 28 that McKinley died and Roosevelt became president.” [Roosevelt took the official oath of office in Buffalo.]
DePasquale explains that each year a theme is chosen to demonstrate Roosevelt’s ties to the Adirondacks. Friday’s theme celebrates the centennial of women winning the right to vote in New York State. Saturday’s focus is the centennial of the United States entering World War One and Sunday’s theme is Upper Works and Tahawus Day.
“We are highlighting four different towns at this year’s TR Weekend showing how World War One impacted the Adirondacks. Roosevelt’s own family was affected by this war. He lost his son Quentin,” says DePasquale. “Roosevelt’s four sons were in World War One and each received training at the Plattsburgh Officer Training School.”
In addition to the Plattsburgh training camp, 35 Newcomb men fought during the First World War, a significant number considering the town’s population at that time. Tupper Lake built a veterans’ camp for returning soldiers recovering from “shell shock” or “solders’ disease.” DePasquale states that the camp doesn’t exist anymore, but is provided medical facilities and a chance for men to swim, boat, and be with their families before returning to their daily duties. Saranac Lake became inundated with veterans suffering from tuberculosis and helped them to recovery.
TR Weekend opens on Friday with an exhibit at the Newcomb Historical Museum, an international dinner, and program featuring highlights of events that resulted in women winning the right to vote in New York State on March 26, 2017.
“During TR weekend, we try to provide as many free activities as possible,” says DePasquale. “The only thing people have to pay for is the seaplane ride and any of their meals. This year if you are a veteran, you do eat for free.”