Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Fire in The Adirondacks

The burning of the Straight House Hotel in North Creek also set the adjoining Methodist Parsonage on fire. (courtesy Johnsburg Historical Society)

Out west the summer of 2022 will long be remembered as the year of fire, but the Adirondacks also has a history of fire.

The years 1903 and 1908 were two great fire years in the Adirondacks. An article titled “Years of Fire” in the March/April 1981 Adirondack Life notes that “During both years the northeast suffered from drought. Due to sloppy logging, the woods were filled with piles of slash, the discarded tops, and limbs of trees. The railroads, which crossed the Adirondacks in the 1890s, failed to equip their wood and coal burning locomotives with spark arrestors. Although mandated by state law the penalties for violating the equipment law were so insignificant the railroads ignored them, and fires started all up and down the rail lines.”

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Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Proposed dams on the Upper Hudson: A look back

upper hudson dams

While researching an article on the Gilchrist bridge, I was asked about a river feature on the Hudson River, river left, just north ( up-river ) of the Washburn Eddy, or approximately 2 miles south of the Riparius Bridge.   To some the feature appeared as a “C” shaped “dug way” that could have allowed water from the river to “circulate” (be diverted) into the “C’.  To do what ?  Might this be a “channel” for water to be diverted into a hydroelectric powerhouse ?  A review of property / tax maps indicate that there was, across the river, an adjacent small piece of property approximately the same shape and size.  After some deed history research I may have found a possible explanation.  There was proposed (in 1911), several storage dams or containment dams with small power plants with penstocks or water pressure tunnels, planned along the Upper Hudson River in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.   This led to my exploration of these various proposed dams.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Adirondack Mountain Club launches ADK Voices Project 

September 19, 2022 — Lake Placid, NY — As ADK (Adirondack Mountain Club) celebrates its centennial anniversary, the organization has launched an online oral history project called ADK Voices in partnership with Our Story Bridge. Told from the perspective of ADK supporters, the project details the organization’s rich history and notable impact on New York’s public lands and waters.

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Monday, September 19, 2022

Adirondack 102 Club annual gathering slated for Oct. 7 in Inlet

All are invited to attend the Adirondack 102 Club’s annual gathering which is scheduled for Friday, October 7 at noon at The Ole Barn in Inlet. Local author, Charles Herr, will serve as this year’s guest speaker. The get-together is open to the public, as the Adirondack 102 Club is self-described as “a friendly group that is loosely organized.” Anyone in the Inlet/Fulton Chain area who would like to attend is welcome, however all guests must register for the gathering and pay in advance.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Innkeepers Wear White Hats: A homage to The Hedges

the hedges book cover

By Roger Kessel 

In the historical and continuing conflict between preserving the natural beauty of the Adirondack Park and fostering economic development, members of the hospitality industry are not infrequently depicted as the bad guys—the black hats willing to forego preservation of the wilderness in a selfish quest for profit. The reality is much more complicated and, based on my experience, the reverse is true.  Let me explain.

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Saturday, September 10, 2022

Adirondack Architectural Heritage Preservation Awards, annual meeting set for Sept. 17

The Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) Annual Meeting and Preservation Awards event will be held on Saturday, September 17 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the recently-rehabilitated Sandy Hill Arts Center in Hudson Falls, NY.

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Thursday, September 1, 2022

9th Annual Fire Tower Lighting event set for Sept. 3

The 9th Annual Fire Tower Lighting event is scheduled for Saturday, September 3 from 9 to 9:30 p.m. and will include several fire towers in the Adirondacks and Catskills. On the evening of the event, volunteers will light fire tower cabs with high-powered lights, and invite people to visit locations where they could look up, see the light on the horizon, and pay homage to fire observers who would stand watch in the towers, protecting the community and surrounding forest.

Established in 2014, this statewide event is the brain child of Doug Hamilton of the Red Hill Fire Tower Committee, and is meant to showcase the history of fire towers around the state.  They were erected in the early 20th century, as fires ravaged hundreds of thousands of square miles of wild forest.

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Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Adirondack History Museum to host Fires of the High Peaks lecture on Sept. 1

Adirondack History Museum staff are pleased to host a Fires of the High Peaks Lecture by Sharp Swan on the evening of Thursday, September 1 at 7 p.m. The start of the 20th Century saw massive forest fires throughout the Adirondack region. Between 1903 and 1913, about 862,000 acres of forest burned.

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Sunday, August 28, 2022

From Oars to Props: The Transportation Evolution in Long Lake

By Hallie Bond, Town of Long Lake Historian

The Adirondack Canoe Classic, known to many of us as The 90-Miler, is coming up! On September 10, we can stand on the bridge over Long Lake and cheer on those brave souls who are paddling or rowing all the way from Old Forge to Saranac Lake. They will be traveling an ancient route, one that has seen the full range of propulsion options, from human to the gasoline engine. The death this summer of Tom Helms, proprietor for nearly half a century of Helms Aero Service, reminds us that in one Long Lake family we can see most of this evolution happening on this lake over the past 160 years.

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Sunday, August 28, 2022

John Brown Lives! launches Freedom Story Project website

LAKE PLACID, NY  — On August 20, John Brown Lives! (JBL!) launched its “Freedom Story Project” website — www.freedomstoryproject.org — during the first-ever Adirondack Family Book Festival at the John Brown Farm State Historic Site.

 

Martha Swan, Executive Director of John Brown Lives!, said, “This website includes the first of many three- to five-minute personal accounts of the activism and engagement of ordinary people working for justice and for human and civil rights, not only here at home, but around the world.”

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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Making waves for clean water: A look back to 1972

clean water act anniversary

An influential film highlighted Adirondack rivers

As the Adirondacks celebrates the 50th anniversary of the nation’s Clean Water Act (1972-2022), I thought to thumb through a set of old reports to find out what the nonprofit advocate Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks was doing or thinking about at the origins of the Clean Water Act during 1972.

So much of a groundbreaking environmental nature was happening in 1972 that shared the spotlight with the national Clean Water Act. Here is a small sampling from the Association’s 1972 report, authored by its president at the time Arthur Crocker, and by its vice president Paul Schaefer:

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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

EVENT: History and Lore of the Northern Adirondack Fire Towers

Mount Arab fire tower

Marty Podskoch will give a PowerPoint and storytelling presentation on his book, Adirondack Fire Towers: Their History and Lore, The Northern District, on Thursday, August 18th at 7 PM at the Adirondack History Museum in Elizabethtown. The book contains information and photographs about the fire towers in the northern part of the Adirondack Park that include St. Lawrence, Franklin, Clinton, and Essex counties.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Ticonderoga Historical Society presents program on Benedict Arnold on Aug. 12

Ticonderoga, NY – The Ticonderoga Historical Society will present a free public program on Friday, August 12 at 7 p.m. at the Hancock House located at 6 Moses Circle in Ticonderoga, NY. “Benedict Arnold: The Traitor Who Saved Ticonderoga” will be presented by Brian O’Connor, who will discuss Arnold’s role at the Battle of Valcour Island in October 1776.

 

“As an overwhelming British force headed south from Canada, Arnold assembled a ragtag fleet to meet it in a desperate naval action,” said Brian O’Connor.  “Though defeated, his heroics gave our infant nation a year to breathe & win the pivotal victory of Saratoga the following year.”

 

O’Connor, a former history professor, currently serves as Director of Libraries at North Country Community College. The program will be held outdoors under a tent, and attendees should bring their own lawn chairs.

 

Reservations may be made by calling the Hancock House at (518) 585-7868 or via e-mail: tihistory@bridgepoint1.com.

 

Photo at top: Benedict Arnold. Photo provided by Diane O’Connor of the Ticonderoga Historical Society.


Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Adirondack Water Week celebrates the history of waterways

(Paul Smiths, NY, August 1, 2022) – Adirondack Water Week kicks off on Friday, August 5 and runs through Sunday, August 14 this year. The 3rd annual event celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, historic legislation that protected our nation’s water resources. Adirondack Water Week is a collaboration involving several organizations and businesses and features more than two dozen programs across the Adirondack region.

The program is coordinated by the Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute and is funded in part by the Lake Champlain Basin Program. One of this year’s highlights is the Adirondack Watershed Challenge, a family event encouraging people to get outside and celebrate time spent on Adirondack waters.

 

“The challenge lets families work through a list of fun activities that they can do in their own town,” said Tom Collins, AWI’s education and outreach program specialist and the Water Week coordinator. “Visit a
local lake or pond, take a picture of wildlife, pick up litter from the shoreline, and eat local ice cream.”

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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Organizations mark 50th Anniversary of Clean Water Act with new museum exhibit, other events

The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum is marking the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Clean Water Act of 1972 this summer with a new exhibit and public activities. In tandem with partners around the Champlain Valley, the exhibit and activities give the public the chance to celebrate the importance of clean water through history, action, and educational events.

The new exhibit, “The Clean Water Act,” explores the history that led to the passage of the Clean Water Act, key parts to know about this federal legislation, how it relates to Lake Champlain, and people of the Champlain Valley who continue the fight for clean water. Featured locals include Tom Jorling, one of the architects of the Clean Water Act in 1972, former DEC commissioner for New York state, and professor and attorney; Kelley Tucker, executive director of the Ausable River Association; and Iris Hsiang, youth member of the Vermont Climate Council and founder of the Youth Organizing Coalition.

The exhibit was made possible with generous support from the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership. The Clean Water Act exhibit is open for all to visit for free in-person at the museum in Vergennes, VT or online at www.lcmm.org/Clean-Water-Act.

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