Sunday, June 10, 2018

Adirondack Coast Museum Days 2018 Set

Babbie Rural & Farm Learning MuseumThe Adirondack Coast Cultural Alliance’s Annual Museum Days will take place Saturday and Sunday, June 16-17, 2018.

Sixteen museums and historic sites will offer free admission from 10 am to 4 pm.

Residents and visitors are encouraged to explore Clinton County’s artistic, agricultural, military, and industrial heritage through exhibits, demonstrations, and hands-on activities. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, June 7, 2018

Tour Underground RR, Antislavery Sites in Keeseville, Peru

north star underground railroad musuemThe North Star Underground Railroad Museum has announced the return of its popular mini-bus tours of antislavery and underground railroad sites in Keeseville and Peru.

New this year, photo albums will help passengers follow the narrative, new information has been added on the Episcopal and Wesleyan Churches, and passengers can hear the recently discovered story of a man who escaped from Baltimore, Maryland, and reached Canada via Albany, Saratoga, Warren, Essex and Clinton Counties. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The End of Ben Harder’s Very Hard Life

In October 1884, St. Lawrence County newspapers reported that a notorious miscreant, who had been arrested many times on various charges, had turned over a new leaf. “Ben Harder, of Black Lake, has reformed and is waging an uncompromising warfare against the fish pirates of the lake.” He had removed one illegal hoop net and a half-mile of illegal gill nets from Black Lake (in Morristown) and turned them over to the local game protector, who burned them.

However, rather than proof of reform, Harder’s removal of the nets was undertaken for a less than savory reason: to thwart his rivals. Charges of burglary and illegal fishing were brought against him, and a court appearance was scheduled for mid-December. When he failed to show, an arrest warrant was issued and successfully executed, but Harder, too drunk to stand before the judge, was locked up overnight. The next morning he argued to delay the case, but when that proved unsuccessful, he pleaded guilty to taking fish illegally and was sentenced to a month in jail. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Very Hard Life of Ben Harder

Ben Harder’s life story intrigued me after I encountered his name while researching a violent crime of more than a hundred years ago.

He was described as an elderly, disabled war veteran, a “helpless cripple, and he drags himself about from place to place on his hands and knees.” I wondered, could that have been true? Could he have made his way through life in that manner for more than forty years? The need to know was irresistible, so the digging began.

What resulted was in a way compelling, but hardly expected. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 24, 2018

High Peaks Hiking, WWI: New Adirondack History Museum Exhibits

wwi fighter planesThe Adirondack History Museum is set to open for the 2018 season on Saturday, May 26th with a seasonal exhibit reflecting on World War One and a new permanent exhibit, Hiking in the Adirondack High Peaks.

The exhibit, Over There: Local Boys Go to War, examines the impact of World War I on the men of the Adirondacks. The exhibit features local stories and experiences presented through photographs, artifacts, and ephemera. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 19, 2018

Ed Zahniser: A Shepherd’s Tooth Expedition

Howard Zahniser Cabin Bakers Mills Johnsburg NY photo by John WarrenAs we made forays out from Mateskared, our family’s cabin in Baker’s Mills, most often Schaefers were the way-showers and Zahnisers their eager followers. On their 1946 backpacking trip to Flowed Lands and Hanging Spear Falls on the Opalescent River in the High Peaks with Ed Richard, Paul Schaefer went so far as to carry my father on his shoulders across one difficult and hazardous approach by narrow ledge to the falls themselves up through the boulder-strewn canyon of the Opalescent. Paul’s accounts of the trip never mentioned that fact, gleaned from my father’s journal. But it set a suitable tone for our families’ joint wildlands outings. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Stillwater Fire Tower Gets New Interpretive Sign

stillwater mountain fire tower signThe Stillwater Fire Tower has received a new interpretive sign that recounts Stillwater’s the towers that preceded the present 1919 steel tower. The latest tower was reopened after restoration in 2016.

The sign is bolted to the tower near the empty drill hole in the bedrock that once held a Verplanck Colvin Adirondack Survey marker from 1882. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Nominations Sought for 2018 Preservation Awards

valcour brewing coAdirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), the historic preservation organization for the region, has opened nominations for its 2018 Preservation Awards

These annual awards recognize sensitive restoration, rehabilitation, and adaptive reuse of historic structures throughout the region, as well as individuals who have promoted historic preservation and community revitalization consistent with AARCH’s mission.  » Continue Reading.


Monday, May 14, 2018

The Old Trail: A Short History of Lyon Mountain

The recent recounting here of personal memories and good times linked to the old trail on Lyon Mountain told only part of the path’s history. A decade ago, a new trail replaced the old one, which had degraded with sections ranging from grassy to rocky to bouldery to muddy to extremely steep, muddy, and slippery. It was a mess compared to paths built by modern trail crews. In 2006, ADK’s Algonquin Chapter completed the plans for a new trail, which was built in the summer of 2008.

Without fanfare, a new trail replaced the old one, but a bit of fanfare might have been nice, considering the old trail’s age and historical significance.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, May 14, 2018

A Woman’s Place: 2nd Wave Feminism in Athol

Moose Mountain LodgeAuthor Lorraine Duvall is set to give a talk on the history of A Woman’s Place, an intentional community located on property formerly known as Moose Mountain Lodge in Thurman, on June 3rd from 2 to 3:30 pm at the Thurman Town Hall.

Five to ten women lived at this Drexel Road site communally at any one time. They provided lodging for guests in four cabins and held retreats in the restored barn, offering self-help workshops at a time when women came together during the second wave of feminism. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 12, 2018

Howard Zahniser’s Poetry Heroes and the Wilderness Act

Howard Zahniser played an important role in mid-twentieth century Adirondack wildlands conservation. His main culture heroes were three poets: Dante Aligheri, William Blake, and Henry David Thoreau.

Although Thoreau is not now widely known as a poet, that’s how he embarked on his rocky literary career that time would eventually secure. As Thoreau scholar Robert D. Richardson has noted: “The two years Thoreau spent at Walden Pond and the night he spent in the Concord jail are among the most familiar features of the American intellectual landscape.” » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Lyon Mountain: Ballard’s Favorite Is Mine As Well

Lisa Ballard’s recent piece, “Her Special Mountain,” which appears in the March/April 2018 issue of Adirondack Explorer, struck a chord with me and rekindled some great memories.

In the opening paragraph, she writes, “You might climb many others, but there’s always one that’s yours… a favorite you climb over and over. It’s your go-to hike when you need exercise, you want to share quality trail time with someone else, or you need to get above the daily fray.”

Lisa’s choice is Lyon Mountain, which, at 3,830 feet, is the highest point in the northern Adirondacks and offers commanding views in all directions. She first climbed it via the old trail when it was being replaced, and soon after ascended on the new trail, which was completed in 2008. In September of that year, the Adirondack Almanack reported the change: » Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 5, 2018

Mateskared: The Zahniser Cabin in Johnsburg

Howard Zahniser Cabin Bakers Mills Johnsburg NY photo by John WarrenIn the mid-1990s Harold Allen reminisced about my father Howard Zahniser: “He bought the place, and he never had seen it,” Harold said. “Paul Schaefer was the one who told him about it.”

Pansy and I were sitting at their kitchen table. Her parents, John and Hester Dalaba, named their girls for plants—Pansy, Daisy, Blossom, Fern, and Carnata — and their boys for trees — Oliver and Linden.  Harold, Pansy’s husband, sat in his favorite easy chair, next to the door to their closed-in front porch. “We even tried to give it away,” Harold said of their first attempts to sell what became Mateskared to our family, “because we didn’t want to pay the taxes on it.” They paid $3 school tax and $8 land tax. Harold knew exactly what they paid, because he was the collector for school taxes then. “Here now school and land taxes are $2,000 a year,” Harold said of their present home just down the hill from Mateskared. » Continue Reading.


Monday, April 30, 2018

Historic Saranac Lake Plans Trudeau Acquisition, Expansion

The E. L. Trudeau home and office, 118 Main Street, c. 1900. The Board of Directors of Historic Saranac Lake (HSL) has announced a plan to pursue acquisition and redevelopment of the former Trudeau home and medical offices at 118 Main Street, Saranac Lake.

The initial conceptual design include restoration of the building’s exterior. The entry level is expected to host museum exhibits, collections storage, and a museum store that will expand upon HSL’s existing exhibits at the Saranac Laboratory Museum nearby. Additional possibilities for the first floor include public space for arts and cultural events, and office space. The second floor will host unique apartments to complement the historic location. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, April 28, 2018

Tapping A Spring and Tipping Outhouses at Bobcat Ranney’s

Photo of Archie “Bobcat” Ranney courtesy of Adirondack Museum.In the Harold and Pansy Allen family’s e-mail newsletter Dogtown News, Harold once recounted how they got the water from the spring — which lies across the road — into their first house, now our cabin named Mateskared.

“Ranney was the proprietor of the Paul Schaefer Club property, the old club,” Harold began, invoking the land directly across our road.

“I asked Archie Ranney if I could go over and pipe that water into the house. Ranney said ‘Oh no. You can not do that.’ So I ignored what he said. I bought pipe and a pump from Ernest Noxon [in North Creek] for $19.50. A week’s wages then were $20. » Continue Reading.


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