Saturday, July 5, 2008

Great Camps of the Adirondacks at the Adirondack Museum

From an Adirondack Museum media release:

Adirondack rustic lodges or “great camps” as their wealthy owners called them, were summer vacation homes. Built primarily of wood and stone and set deep in the great forests, the truly fabulous structures are today both relics of a bygone age and prototype for the contemporary architect, amateur builder, and historian.

On Monday, July 7, 2008, Dr. Harvey H. Kaiser will offer a program entitled “Great Camps of the Adirondacks, 25 Years Later” at the Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake, New York.

The first offering of the season in the museum’s Monday Evening Lecture series, the slide-illustrated presentation will be held in the museum’s auditorium at 7:30 p.m. There is no charge for museum members. Admission is $4.00 for non-members.

Dr. Kaiser’s talk will be based on his book Great Camps of the Adirondacks. This seminal study of rustic architecture is about great camps built from 1870 to 1930, establishing a style of domestic architecture imitated throughout the country in similar terrain of lakes, timber, and native stone.

Kaiser will preface his observations on the architecture with the history of the Adirondacks and the social forces that created structures that retain their charm and utility, in some cases a century and a quarter after construction. There are fascinating accounts of both the personalities who engineered and financed fabulous great camps, and of the buildings themselves.

When he wrote Great Camps, Kaiser made a strong case for preservation. The destruction of these remarkable structures would have been an irreparable loss, not only to our architectural heritage but also to every individual to whom they are a resource and inspiration.

In his presentation, Kaiser will offer observations on the book’s concerns, the changes that rescued the camps from demise, and the resurgent interest in rustic architecture.

Dr. Kaiser is president of Harvey H. Kaiser Associates, Inc., a consulting firm providing services domestically and internationally in architecture, urban planning, and facilities management.

In addition to Great Camps of the Adirondacks, Kaiser’s current research interest is historic architecture in the national parks. He is the author of Landmarks in the Landscape: Historic Architecture in the Western National Parks, guidebooks on parks in the far and southwest.

The Adirondack Museum tells the story of the Adirondacks through exhibits, special events, classes for schools, and hands-on activities for visitors of all ages. Open for a new season from May 23 to October 19, 2008. Introducing Rustic Tomorrow — a new exhibit. For information about upcoming exhibits and programs, please call (518) 352-7311, or visit www.adirondackmuseum.org/


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

In The Adirondacks Mining Accidents Once Occurred Regularly

According to the Associated Press the deadliest mining accident in American History was an explosion in a Monongah, West Virginia coal mine in 1907 in that killed 362 people.

Other recent mining accidents include:

2001: Explosions at a Jim Walter Resources Inc. mine in Brookwood, Ala., kill 13 people.

1992: A blast at a Southmountain Coal Co. mine in Norton, Va., kills eight.

1989: An explosion at a Pyro Mining Co. mine in Wheatcroft, Ky., kills 10.

1986: A coal pile collapses at Consolidation Coal Co.’s mine in Fairview, W.Va., killing five.

1984: A fire at Emery Mining Corp.’s mine in Orangeville, Utah, kills 27.

Here in the Adirondacks, mining accidents occurred with regular frequency in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The Chateaugay Ore & Iron Company mines have claimed several men. William Otten was killed on March 13, 1928; later that year, 21-year-old Lyon Mountain miner Floyd Rounds was seriously injured when dust from an explosion was thrown into both his eyes.

Fred Brinks, an Englishman, was killed on July 9, 1927. Polish miner Aleksandra Dachkon was killed at the Lyon Mountain mines in 1920. Another Polish immigrant, Edward Suzbalia, a foreman and 18-year veteran of the Lyon Mountain mines fell into Number 11 Mine in 1909. He fell 200 feet landing on his head and died instantly leaving a wife and two children. “He was held in the highest esteem both by his superior officers,” the Plattsburgh Sentinel reported, “and the men with whom he worked and was considered one of the most careful and reliable men in the employ of the company.”

Three men were killed and one seriously injured in one terrible week in 1927. One was 50-year-old George Bouyea who fell 300 feet into a shaft at Lyon Mountain. The 18-year company veteran and foreman in charge of repairing motors was adjusting a cable at the top of a shaft when he lost his footing. He was instantly killed leaving a wife and seven children.

In 1907, five unnamed miners – “Polanders, and it was impossible to learn their names” – where injured when the roof of a mine at Lyon Mountain caved in. Two men broke their legs and the other three were less seriously wounded.

Foreign workers frequently went unnamed. “An Italian who was blown up at Tongue Mountain died Thursday,” one report noted. “He accidentally struck a stick of dynamite with a crowbar. The man’s left arm was blown off at the shoulder, there is a compound fracture of his right arm just above the hand, both eyes were blown out of his head, a stone was jammed against his heart and his head was bruised.” It was a remarkable that he wasn’t killed instantly.

Dynamite was the culprit in a fatal explosion at the Harmony Shaft in Mineville in Essex County in 1901. During the day shift a charge of dynamite had failed to explode. When the night crew came on, George Baker was informed about the unexploded charge and Baker, James Tate, and Thomas McClellan went to the spot to correct the situation. The blow of the tapping bar exploded the charge of dynamite and Tate’s head was blown off. Baker was blinded, his arm broken and his face badly injured. McClellan was seriously hurt. Baker lost an eye but he and McClellan recovered. Baker was troubled by what had happened. His wife went insane and was committed to a mental hospital in Ogdensburg. Baker started drinking heavily. In 1915, fourteen years after he the mine accident George Baker tried to kill himself with a shotgun. He overloaded the shells and the gun exploded – not to be deterred, he took up a razor and slit his own throat. He was just 45.

UPDATE 1/6/06: Brian Mann of North Country Public Radio (NCPR) interviewed Lawrence Gooley, Adirondack author of “Lyon Mountain: The Tragedy of a Mining Town” after reading about Adirondack mining accidents here at the Almanack. NCPR has set up a webpage where you can hear the interview here.

UPDATE 5/1/06: The Almanack is now an NCPR Featured Blog.


Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween / Samhain

Happy Halloween, the old Celtic Pagan holiday Samhain and the anniversary of the day Martin Luther began the Protestant Reformation. The old holiday was taken over by Pope Gregory IV in 840.

Also, the anniversary of the death of Houdini in 1926 and of River Pheonix in 1993.

For your scary enjoyment:

Halloween Night 1952
America’s Electric Chair
The Scariest Place in the Adirondacks


Sunday, October 30, 2005

Internet Stuff Sunday – Interesting and Bizarre

Vermont’s Diabologue recently had an interesting reminescence on the early days of the Internet. Say What? has added their own memories of the Commodore 64.

Some folks over at the BlueMoo.net Adirondack community board are worried about their kids holding their breath… yeah… big danger there.

And why we’re on Adirondack community boards, the amazingly dull Adirondacks Live Journal is looking for a new moderator.

In case you missed it… the Queensbury Pagan Day apparently rocked and people are surfing the St. Lawrence!

Oh yeah… got junk mail problems? Think of the fun you can have with this.


Monday, October 24, 2005

Two More Adirondack North Country Soldiers Killed in Iraq

Two soldiers from Lowville have been killed while serving in Iraq. Seamus Davey, 25, and Kelly Cannan, 21. Two more lives lost, two more families damaged. The son’s and daughters of the rich and powerful are avoiding the military like the plague and Iraqi veterans are suffering from plagues of their own.

Some facts from the last Gulf War according to the Department of Veterans Affairs (as of March 1, 2001):
696,661 U.S. troops served in the Gulf War between August 2, 1990 and July 31, 1991 — these are considered “Gulf War Conflict” veterans by the VA

Of the 696,628, 504,047 are separated from service and eligible for benefits through the VA

As of December 1999, more than 263,000 sought medical care at the VA

Of the 504,047 eligible veterans, 185,780 (36%) filed claims against the VA for service-related medical disabilities

Of the 171,878 VA claims actually processed, 149,094 (80%) were approved in part (note — most claims are made up of multiple issues, if any one issue is granted, VA considers it approved)

Of the 504,047 eligible for VA benefits, 149,094 (29%) are now considered disabled by the VA eleven since the start of the Gulf War; and

Another 13,902 claims against the VA still pending.

More than 9,600 Gulf War veterans have died.

Conflict veterans are 51% more likely to have their claims denied than “theater” veterans (those who served in the Gulf since August 1, 1991)