Almanack Contributor Richard Tucker

Richard Tucker was born and raised on a potato farm in Gabriels, NY. He has had a life-long focus on the history of the Adirondacks and the potato industry in northern New York. He is senior editor of "The Adirondack Chronology" and the progenitor and author of "A Potato Chronology" and "A Potato Glossary", each published online. For several years, he was chair of the Adirondack Research Library, now of Union College. His writing has appeared in American Alpine Journal, Canadian Alpine Journal, Journal of the New England Ski Museum, Adirondack Life, Adirondack Explorer, Adirondack Almanack among others. His research on various topics has appeared in the published works of many others.

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Will Martin’s 1902 Tragedy


old black and white photo of men posing

Photograph of a group of guides and sports posing with deer heads. Back row: 2. Henry Smith, 5. George Lyon, 7. John or Ed Roark; Seated: 2. Ben Muncil. Photograph by Charles Derby. Photo credit: Paul Smith’s College Joan Weill Adirondack Library Archives

By Richard E. Tucker

On Sunday morning, 2 February 1902, when Will Martin and Ed Rork set out from McColloms to check their trapline, it was just a regular winter day.  So far as they knew, they were going to check their traps laid at various places between McColloms and Madawaska.  They would eat dinner at the Madawaska House with their fellow guide and friend Jimmy Eccles at the New York & Ottawa train stop of the same name situated near the outlet of Madawaska Pond and return to McColloms around dark.  This was not unusual.  They had done it many times before.

The weather that morning offered no clues as to what was about to happen.  Yes, the barometer had been falling, and yes, it was snowing lightly, winds were calm, but this was nothing unusual for this time of year.  Temperatures had been warm for the week prior and were still hovering around freezing.  The snowpack was thin and moist.  Travel would be fast and easy along the trail through the woods between McColloms and Madawaska.

What they did not know and could not have known is that the Weather Bureau had been issuing warnings of an approaching severe winter storm.  Their report was carried in The Watertown Times, but clearly the hotel/resort in McColloms where they were living had not yet received this issue of the Times, or even if it had, more certainly, neither Martin nor Rork had read it, otherwise they might never have set out to inspect their trapline on that Sunday morning.

» Continue Reading.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Julian Reiss’s Missing Airplane Engine

Julian Reiss Airplane Wreckage (Peter Reiss Photo)

Julian Reiss’s plane crash on the evening of Halloween 1958 remains one of the more unusual in the Adirondacks. While most Adirondack plane crashes involve Forest Rangers, State Police, and many civilian volunteers, this one was different. This search was over almost before it got started when the ‘victims’ walked out of the woods the next day. Shortly thereafter, the Lake Placid village police, the NY State Police and its investigation division, the BCI, became involved.

Earlier that day Reiss had picked up his plane in Norwood, MA, where it had gotten a new engine and a thorough checkout. He then flew to Immaculata College in Malvern, PA, where he landed on the front lawn to pick up his daughter Patti before heading home to Lake Placid. He stopped for fuel in Warren County and continued homeward. Around 6 pm he flew into a violent cold front with squally winds, rain, sleet and snow flurries. » Continue Reading.

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