Friday, August 14, 2009

Pieces of Fort Edward Revealed During Hudson Dredging

A piece of historic Fort Edward, site of the Great Carrying Place portage between the Hudson River and Lake George and prominent in the history of the French and Indian War and the American Revolution, is reported to have been brought up while dredging the Hudson River for PCBs according to the Glens Falls Post Star.

“Neal Orsini said he was awakened at 4 a.m. by the noise of a clamshell dredge pulling the piece of wood, which he estimated to be about 14 feet long, from his property,” the paper reported. “There was a breakdown somewhere in the system and they took a piece of old Fort Edward out of the bank they weren’t supposed to be touching,” Orsini said, “It was really loud.”

Orsini also told the paper that a clamshell dredge removed a section of riverbank. “It left a gaping hole in my river bank,” he said. The paper is reporting that archeologists are on the scene and a “survey is being performed on the pieces taken from the area.”

Fort Edward was built in 1755 on “The Great Warpath” between Albany and the head of northward navigation at Lake George. It’s three components, the fort itself, a fortified encampment on Rogers Island, and a Royal blockhouse built in 1758 across the river was Britain’s largest military outpost in North America during the French and Indian War housing more than 15,000 troops. An earlier stockaded area named Fort Nicholson was located there in 1709 during Queen Anne’s War; it was rebuilt as Fort Lydus (primarily the trading post of John Lydus) and in 1731 was rebuilt as Fort Lyman. It was renamed For Edward by Sir William Johnson during the French and Indian War in 1755.

Although the historic site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it has been largely forgotten, after the area was heavily contaminated with PCBs, and has fallen into disuse except for the Rogers Island Visitors Center. The Associated Press reported this week that three entities are hoping to purchase parts of the site including the Archaeological Conservancy, the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and archeologist David Starbuck, who has been excavating the site since at least 2001.

Rogers Island was also the base camp of Major Robert Rogers and his company of Rangers and it was there that he composed his “Ranging Rules” which form the basis of military tactics adopted by irregular fighting forces all over the world. The site is considered the birthplace of the U.S. Army Rangers. The fort fell to British forces under John Burgoyne in 1777 during the American Revolution.

The dredging project is in its fourth month of removing approximately 2.65 million cubic yards of Hudson Riverbed sediment contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). General Electric is believed to have dischargeed more than 1 million pounds of PCBs from its plants in Hudson Falls and Fort Edward into the Hudson River. The company then fought a legal, political, and media battle to avoid cleanup for nearly 20 years. GE fought the Superfund law in court and conducted a media campaign to convince the public that cleaning the toxic waste from the river would stir up PCBs. This week high levels of PCBs downriver slowed the dredging. GE was ordered by the EPA to clean up a 40-mile stretch of the Hudson River it contaminated in 2002.

Photo: Fort Edward from “A Set of Plans and Forts in Americas, Reduced From Actual Surveys” [1763]


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Newcomb VIC To Host Geology Festival Saturday

The history and culture of rocks in the Adirondack Mountains will be celebrated on Saturday, August 15 during the second annual geology festival, Rock Fest 2009, from 10am to 4pm at the Adirondack Park Agency Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC) in Newcomb. The VIC staff has teamed up with the Adirondack Museum and SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry’s Adirondack Ecological Center to present lectures, field trips, exhibits, and children’s activities. Free and open to the public, Rock Fest was designed to be a day-long exploration to increase appreciation and understanding of regional geology.

Exhibits and lectures at Rock Fest will focus on the geological history of the Adirondack Mountains and man’s relationship with natural resources of the Adirondack Park. Mining history will be presented by Adirondack Museum educators.

Here are the Rock Fest 2009 lectures and field trips:

10am Lecture: Adirondacks- Geology in the Park, with William Kelly, State Geologist, NYS Geological Survey

10:30am Lecture: Rocks as Resource with Steve Potter, Division of Mineral Resources, NYS DEC

11:15am-12:30pm Field Trip: Rocks in Place, with William Kelly and Steve Potter

1:15pm-2:15pm Lecture: Out of the Earth: Mining History of the Adirondacks, with Christine Campeau, Adirondack Museum

2:15pm Field Trip: Of Mines and Men: The McIntyre and Tahawus Mines, with Paul B. Hai, SUNY-ESF’s Adirondack Ecological Center

Exhibitors (10am to 2pm) will include: The Adirondack Park Institute, the Adirondack Museum (making sandpaper with kids), Natural Stone Bridge and Caves, High Falls Gorge, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and New York State Geological Survey.

The Newcomb VIC is located 12 miles east of Long Lake on Route 28N. For more information about the VICs, log on to the centers’ Web site at www.adkvic.org.


Monday, August 10, 2009

A New French and Indian War Guide Book

A new guidebook to 19 French and Indian War historic sites invites travelers travel to destinations in New York and Pennsylvania. The Great Lakes Seaway Trail has published Waterways of War: The Struggle for Empire 1754-1763, A Traveler’s Guide to the French & Indian War Forts and Battlefields along America’s Byways in New York and Pennsylvania.ports. It’s one of the best general guides to the French and Indian War I’ve seen and covers the fortified houses, American and French forts, Lake George shipwrecks, and other battlefields and historic sites from the period. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

‘Mapping the Adirondacks’ at the Adirondack Museum

Adirondack Museum Librarian Jerry Pepper will present an illustrated presentation entitled “When Men and Mountain Meet: Mapping the Adirondacks” at the Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake on Monday, August 10, 2009. Part of the museum’s Monday Evening Lecture series, the presentation will be held in the Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. There is no charge for museum members. Admission is $5.00 for non-members.

A contested terrain amid warring nations, a frontier rich in timber and minerals, a recreational and artistic paradise and a pioneering wilderness preserve, the Adirondack Mountains are an intensively mapped region. Using rare and rarely seen maps, drawn from the over 1400 historical maps and atlases in the Adirondack Museum’s collection, “When Men and Mountains Meet: Mapping the Adirondacks” will chart the currents of Adirondack history, as reflected through the region’s maps.

The Adirondack Museum introduced a new exhibit in 2009, “A ‘Wild, Unsettled Country’: Early Reflections of the Adirondacks,” that showcases paintings, maps, prints, and photographs illustrating the untamed Adirondack wilderness discovered by early cartographers, artists, and photographers. The exhibition will be on display through mid-October, 2010.

Jerry Pepper has been Director of the Library at the Adirondack Museum since 1982, he holds Master degrees in both American History and Library Science.

Photo: “A New and Accurate Map of the Present War in North America,” Universal Magazine, 1757. Collection of the Adirondack Museum.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Follow "In Stoddard’s Footsteps" in Placid

His career spanned the settling of the Adirondacks, the heyday of the guide, the steamship, and the grand hotel. Pioneer photographer Seneca Ray Stoddard produced over 8,000 images of a changing landscape — the largest documentary record of regional life in the late nineteenth century. Adirondack photographer Mark Bowie followed in Stoddard’s footsteps more than a century later, faithfully photographing once again the exact locations of many of his classic images.

Join Bowie on Tuesday, August 11, 2009 at Lake Placid Center for the Arts as he compares the Adirondacks of today with Stoddard’s. The comparisons are fascinating, sometimes surprising, in every case, illuminating. The program is sponsored by the Adirondack Museum and will begin at 7:30 p.m. There is no charge for Adirondack Museum members and children of elementary school age or younger. The fee for non-members is $5.00.

Mark Bowie is a third generation Adirondack photographer. He is a frequent contributor to Adirondack Life and Adirondack Explorer magazines. His photos have been published in Natural History, as well as by the Sierra Club, Conde Nast Publications, Portal Publications, and Tehabi Books. Bowie’s first book is Adirondack Waters: Spirit of the Mountains (2006). In Stoddard’s Footsteps: The Adirondacks Then & Now was recently published. He has recently completed work on a third book, The Adirondacks: In Celebration of the Seasons, released in the Spring of 2009.

Photo: Grand View House, Lake Placid, 1893. Photograph by Seneca Ray Stoddard. Collection of the Adirondack Museum.


Monday, August 3, 2009

A Talk on Adirondack Blogs and Local Media History

I’ll be giving an informal talk about Adirondack blogging, trends in local media history, the new book (Historic Tales from the Adirondack Almanack), and their connection to Hulett’s Landing at 7:30 pm, this Saturday, August 8th, at the Hulett’s Landing Casino. I hope you’ll come out for the event.

The original Casino was built on the over the waters of Lake George at Hulett’s Landing in 1917-18 and burned down in 1953. It was rebuilt in the center of the community in 1954 and operated until 1973. It was closed for 16 years before Al Kapusinski reopened it in 1989. It’s the only establishment in Hulett’s for dining and drinking.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Great Camps to Skyscrapers: Architecture of Robert H. Robertson

Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) is presenting a free lecture Monday, August 17, 2009 at 7 p.m. at the Essex Community Church, in Essex. “From Great Camps to Skyscrapers: Rediscovering the Remarkable Architecture of Robert H. Robertson,” will be presented by Daniel Snydacker, Ph.D., executive director, Pequot Library, Southport, CT, and architectural historian.

Robert H. Robertson, the architect of Camp Santanoni, and Shelburne Farms in Vermont, was born in Philadelphia in 1849 and did his training with other, well-known American architects. He did not go to Europe to study at schools such as Les Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris as did his contemporaries Richard Morris Hunt and others. This non-academic training is clearly evident in much of his work which is profoundly American in so many ways. Robertson led the way in the development of several important categories of American architecture. He competed successfully with the greatest architects of the late 19th century and, in some of his work, anticipated the greatest architects of the 20th century.

Ironically, Robertson has dropped out of sight among those who study American architectural history. Unfortunately, his papers and drawings apparently have been lost and this may account for the lack of interest among scholars. Many of his buildings survive, however, and they bear eloquent testimony to the skill and creativity of their designer.

Robertson worked in a broad swath down the East Coast from the Adirondacks, to Tuxedo Park, through the Berkshires, into both Southport and Newport, and then, with a flourish, he designed a string of handsome, groundbreaking tall office buildings and churches right down the middle of Manhattan. His commissions reached as far West as Ohio and included several lovely homes in New Jersey and on Long Island.

Robertson’s architecture is human in scale. His had an unerring, firm control of massing. His roof lines are breathtakingly strong and powerful. He demonstrates a mastery of detail which he exercises with an often playful eclecticism that reflects the influence of William Morris, John Ruskin, and others in the arts and craft movement. The more one sees of his work, the more one recognizes his genius. The lecture will help put his local buildings into a broader context by circling out past the rest of his work and coming back again to understand the true importance of Santanoni and Shelburne Farms.

Admission is free; donations are suggested.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Adirondack History Lectures At Keene Valley Library

There are several interesting upcoming Keene Valley Library Adirondack History Lectures (beginning tonight) that will include Adirondack writer Andy Flynn, historian Fran Yardley, and NCPR journalist Brian Mann. The full schedule details are below.

A unique Adirondack treasure, the Keene Valley library was created in 1885 with an initial gift of $200.00 and a collection of just 167 volumes. Today the library holds more than 20,000 items thanks in part to members of the Keene Valley Library Association, organized in 1891. The library building was completed in 1896 and the organization was granted a charter in 1899.

The Library has been expanded several times over the years beginning with the addition of a childrens’ room in 1923 and a fireproof room to hold the historical collection in 1931 which includes the Archives of the Adirondack Mountain Reserve. The library also includes a small collection of 19th and early 20th century landscape paintings which hang in the main reading room. They have been selectively chosen to reflect the tradition of artists finding inspiration in the High Peaks.

Adirondack Lecture Series:

Fran Yardley: A Photo Presentation: Stories and History of the Bartlett Carry Club on Upper Saranac Lake Wednesday, July 29 at 7:30 PM
Fran will present a portion of the wealth of material she has discovered as she researches the history of Bartlett Carry on Upper Saranac Lake from 1854 to 1985 for her upcoming book. Bartlett Carry is a short portage from Upper Saranac to Middle Saranac Lake, part of the historic transportation route from Old Forge to Saranac Lake used for centuries. Photographs date back to pre-1890. Spend an evening diving into this rich history. Bring stories of your own about this venerable, historic spot in the Adirondacks.

Andy Flynn: Turning Points in Adk History
Monday Aug. 3 at 7:30 PM
Andy is the educator at the Visitor’s Interpreter Center in Paul Smiths. He is the author of Mountain Heritage: Adirondack Attic, a series of books with stories based on artifacts found in storage and on exhibit in the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake. His books will be available for purchase and Andy will do book signings.

Brian Mann: Ten Years at the NCPR News Bureau Monday, Aug.10 7:30 preceded by dessert reception at 6:00
Brian Mann, News Reporter and Adirondack Bureau Chief for North Country Public Radio. Brian moved from Alaska to the North Country in 1999 to help launch NCPR’s News Bureau. Brian is a frequent contributor to NPR and writes regularly for regional magazines including Adirondack Life and the Adirondack Explorer.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dog Day At The Adirondack Museum

On Saturday, August 1, 2009 the Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake will celebrate all things canine. “Dog Days of Summer” will return for a third season with a variety of dog demonstrations, programs, and activities. All dogs are welcome when accompanied by well-behaved owners.

The event will include a few simple rules and regulations for doggies and their people: dogs must be leashed at all times; owners must clean up after their pets – special bags will be available; dogs will only be allowed on the grounds – not in the exhibit buildings; Doggie Day Care will be available throughout the day at no charge, with the understanding that dogs cannot be left for more than an hour; poorly behaved or aggressive dogs will be asked to leave the museum grounds with their owners.

“Dog Days” demonstrations will include “Dancing With Dogs” at 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on the museum’s main lawn. Join members of the Adirondack High Peaks Training Club for Canine Freestyle behaviors, Solo Freestyle performances, a Formation Dance routine, and a Square Dance. Whether you have two feet or four paws, this fun-loving group of dogs and owners will get you moving!

The “JAZZ Agility Group,” featuring a variety of dogs going through their paces on an agility/obstacle course featuring hurdles, weave poles, and tunnels, will demonstrate at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

Adirondack Museum Curator Hallie E. Bond will offer a Brown Bag Lunch program in the Mark W. Potter Education Center at 12:00 noon entitled “Historic Hounds: A Ruff Account of Dogs in the Adirondacks.” The presentation will showcase a portion of the more than 800 historic photographs of dogs in the museum’s collection. Dogs are welcome in the Education Center.

Nationally recognized Adirondack folksinger and storyteller Chris Shaw will share songs and a few humorous stories about man’s best friend in two short sets at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. Shaw has released nine recordings: his 1988 debut album, Adirondack, has been inducted into the Library of Congress Folk Archive. He has appeared at the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian Institution, the Philadelphia Folk Festival, the Old Songs Folk Festival, and the Chautauqua Institute, as well as music halls, festivals, and coffee houses across the United States and Europe.

From 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. “Doggy Booths” featuring working dogs, including the Champlain Valley K-9 Search and Rescue Dogs, will be open. Dog owners will answer questions about training, care, and the work of their dogs.

Museum visitors and their pets are invited to participate in the Rustic Agility Course from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and join the Pooch Parade, a who’s who of dog breeds at 2:30 p.m.

This year the Adirondack Museum will support the work of the Tri-Lakes Humane Society, a no-kill shelter caring for stray and unwanted domestic animals, by holding a collection drive as part of the “Dog Days of Summer” festivities. Visitors are asked to bring a donation of food, toys, or cleaning supplies to the museum. A drop-off spot will be located in the Visitor Center. Needed items include: Science Diet puppy and dog food, Kong and Jolly toys, dog beds, biscuits and jerky treats for dogs of any size, Clorox bleach, paper towels, toilet paper, Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, and large, heavy-duty garbage bags. The museum will deliver donations to the shelter.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Huntington Lecture Series At The Newcomb VIC

Adirondack Park Agency Visitor Interpretive Center on Route 28N in Newcomb is hosting the Summer 2009 Huntington Lecture Series. Each lecture on Thursdays at 7:00 PM. Here is the remaining schedule:

July 23 – Wilderness Pioneer Bob Marshall’s Adventures in the Adirondacks
Phil Brown – Adirondack Explorer

July 30 – Where, How Fast and How Far do Adirondack Deer Move? Exciting New Insights from GPS Collars
Matthew Smith – Graduate Student, SUNY-ESF

August 6 – Coyotes, Deer, and the “Landscape of Fear”
Dr. Jacqueline Frair – SUNY-ESF Faculty and Robin Holevinski – SUNY ESF Graduate Student

August 13 – Minerals of the Adirondack Highlands
Michael Hawkins – New York State Museum

August 20 – Vernal Pools: Teeming with Life and Mystery
Mary Beth Kolozsvary – Biodiversity Research Institute at NYS Museum


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

North Creek Depot Museum Lectures, Events

One of the great gems of the Adirondack region is the North Creek Railroad Station at North Creek in the Town of Johnsburg, Warren County. Listed on the State and National Historic Registers the railroad line hugs the western shore of the Hudson River and includes the restored station, freight, and engine houses currently occupied by the Upper Hudson River Railroad, a sand tower, and a ninety foot turntable.

Throughout the summer they offer an unique series of lectures called “Platform Talks” about the history of the area and its relationship to the railroad. There are an number of other events as well:

July 23 Platform Talk, “Sleeping in the Cellar.” Bert Miner recounts his younger days of hosting skiers.

July 30 Platform Talk, “The Adirondack Peddler.” Milda Burns and Ray Flanigan amuse with tales of the Adirondack peddler.

August 13 Platform Talk “Getting Started in Model Railroading.” Bill Bibby educates us on scenery, scale, and material sources for building your own model train.

August 14 The Depot Museum Hoe Down! Fun-raiser event of dinner and square dancing. Ticket information to be announced.

August 15 10-12pm Spring Chidlren’s Workshop – Allie Rose leads a hands-on demonstration about wind energy and participants will build a wind turbine model. This workshop is free and open to children age 7 and older. Adults are encouraged to attend with their children.

August 20 Platform Talk, “Stories from the field.” Steve Engelhart of Adirondack Architectural Heritage offers his expertise on the architecture of the area.

The North Creek Depot Museum is open Wednesday 1-3pm Thursday & Friday 12-5pm Saturday & Sunday 12-4pm. Call for information about private tours at (518) 251-5842 www.northcreekdepotmuseum.com.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Barrels, Buckets, and Casks: Coopering at Adk Museum

Coopering is the ancient art of making casks, barrels, vats, buckets, and other circular or elliptical wooden vessels bound together by hoops. Historically, wooden barrels were used for the storage and transportation of all sorts of goods. Coopering was a valuable skill. David Salvetti will demonstrate the art of coopering at the Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake on July 18, 19 and 20, 2009. The
demonstration will be held in the Mark W. Potter Education Center from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and is included in the price of general admission.

David Salvetti’s love of woodworking began at age seven – with simple
projects such as birdhouses. In 2005, at the age of fourteen, woodworking became something more. The Salvetti family visited the Adirondack Museum in July of that year. The rustic furniture on exhibit fascinated David. Inspired by what he saw, Salvetti cut a sapling on the family’s property and built a twig chair. Another chair
followed in 2006 – winning “Best in Show” (4-H Youth Division) at the Oswego County Fair. David entered the white birch chair in the 2007 New York State Fair, Adult Arts and Crafts competition – winning another blue ribbon. David’s prize-winning rustic chair is on display at the Adirondack Museum and will become part of the permanent collection.

David Salvetti’s exploration of traditional woodworking techniques has led him to build his own shed, making shingles to cover the structure by hand. He has learned to make watertight wooden buckets without nails, adhesives, or modern sealants. He demonstrates his skills at Fort Ontario State Historic Site in Oswego, N.Y.

Coopering is part of a summer-long series of craft and trade demonstrations at the Adirondack Museum. To see a complete listing, visit the museum’s web site www.adirondackmuseum.org and click on “Special Events.”

Photo: Wooden sap bucket, ca. 1800s. Collection of the Adirondack Museum.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Theatrical Exploration of the Champlain Quadricentennial

The Adirondack History Center Museum in Elizabthetown is presenting the annual Bits and Pieces Festival, From the Center of the World: A Celebration of Lake Champlain, beginning Friday, July 17 at 11:00 am. An inter-generational group of actors takes on 400 years of history with reflections on the Quadricentennial. Five production dates are scheduled: three Fridays at 11:00am on July 17, 24, 31 and two Sundays at 4:00pm on July 26 and August 2.

The performance project has been created in collaboration with the Depot Theatre, the Westport Central School and the Westport Heritage Festival. It focuses on seven pivotal moments in Lake Champlain history that have global significance. The moments are depicted through fictional characters using soliloquies to explore their personal connections to each event, the changing landscape, and the curious process of human “discovery.” The production moves the audience through and around the museum. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Crown Point Pier and Champlain Lighthouse Reopened

Restoration work on the Crown Point Pier and Champlain Memorial Lighthouse has been completed and both facilities are once again open to the public. Restoration work on the pier included reenforcement of the bulkhead and piers, removal of zebra mussels, refurbishing of the metal trusses and decking, repair of the roof — including replacement of broken slate shingles, thorough cleaning of exterior and interior surfaces and placement of new signs.

Work on the lighthouse included restoration of the Rodin sculpture, thorough cleaning and repair of outer stonework and thorough cleaning, resealing and painting of the interior. The Rodin sculpture has not been placed back on the lighthouse, but will be prior to the Quadricentennial Celebration in September. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Adk Museum Presents The Adirondack Mining Village

Mining was once a major industry in northern New York State. Small iron mines and forges appeared along Lake Champlain in the late 1700s. In the 1820s, the industry began to grow rapidly, reaching its peak in the mid-to-late 1800s. The story of mining is much more than minerals found and ores extracted. This Monday, July 13, 2009 Dr. Carol Burke will explore human aspects of Adirondack mining in an illustrated program entitled “The Adirondack Mining Village” at the Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake.

Part of the museum’s popular Monday Evening Lecture series, the presentation will be held in the Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. There is no charge for museum members. Admission is $5.00 for non-members.

Burke’s presentation reflects an ongoing project that documents accounts of the daily lives or ordinary people who lived and worked in the now abandoned mining villages of Tahawus and nearby Adirondac (known in the 1950s as “The Upper Works”). Dr. Burke will share photographs and recollections of everyday life in these former company towns.

Carol Burke, a Professor at the University of California at Irvine, is a folklorist and journalist whose ethnographic work has produced books that document the lives of Midwestern farm families, female inmates in our nation’s prisons, and most recently, members of the armed services. Six months ago she was embedded with an army unit in northern Iraq.

Dr. Burke spends her summers in the Adirondacks and is currently documenting the everyday life of the once-flourishing mining village of Tahawus. Before joining the faculty at the University of California at Irvine, Professor Burke taught at Vanderbilt University, Johns Hopkins University, and the United States Naval Academy.

The broad story of mining in the Adirondacks is one of fortunes made and lost, of suicide, madness, and ambition, and the opening of one of America’s last frontiers. Mining shaped the physical and cultural landscape of the Adirondack Park for generations. The Adirondack Museum plans to open the completely revitalized exhibit “Mining in the Adirondacks” in 2012 to share this incredible history.

Photo: Adirondack Village, Near the Upper Works. From Benson J. Lossing’s The Hudson, from the Wilderness to the Sea, 1859.