Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Women of WWI Laid the Groundwork for Rosie the Riveter

WomenWWI AIn observing National Women’s History Month 2016 (March), the National Women’s History Project (NWHP) has adopted the theme, “Working to Form a More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government.” Among the women specifically cited is Judy Hart (1941–present), whose 27-year career with the National Park Service included a stint as the first superintendent of the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Park in Richmond, California, a facility she helped create.

As the NWHP notes, “over 9,000 Rosies have contributed their stories to the park, and more than 2,000 have donated their personal items and mementos.” It’s fortunate that the Rosies are so well represented, but unfortunate that their World War I counterparts, who laid the groundwork for the Rosie movement, are largely overlooked. » Continue Reading.


Monday, February 29, 2016

Bobcat Ranney: The Hermit Of Tombstone Swamp

Bobcat Picture from Adirondack MuseumIn this digital age, it’s hard for anyone to escape entirely from the eyes of the world, and that goes for Adirondack hermits, too. Even dead ones.

A case in point is Archie “Bobcat” Ranney, who lived in a cabin near Bakers Mills, sometimes surviving on porcupine meat.

I learned about Ranney from Dick MacKinnon, a native of Schenectady, who in turned learned about him from Jim Osterhout, a childhood friend who once met the hermit. Dick sent me a bunch of emails with articles about Ranney as well as a few photos. I then stumbled across more articles about him on my own. Everything was online.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, February 29, 2016

‘Lies My Teacher Told Me’ Author Speaking in Placid Friday

lies my teacher told meThe author of a best-selling book decrying the state of history education in the United States will speak at a teacher workshop in Lake Placid on Friday, March 4.

John Brown Lives! will host James Loewen, author of Lies My Teacher Told Me, at a day-long workshop, “Teaching the Past & Why It Matters Today,” meant to help teachers, librarians and others working with students constructively engage issues of social justice in the classroom and community using history and dialogue as primary tools.

First published in 1995, Lies My Teacher Told Me challenged traditional historical narratives taught to students. After comparing a dozen history textbooks then in widespread use, Loewen concluded that the books were filled with an “embarrassing blend of bland optimism, blind nationalism, and plain misinformation.” » Continue Reading.


Monday, February 29, 2016

Local Irish History Focus of Exhibit, Programs

Ti Historical SocietyThe Ticonderoga Historical Society has released a line-up of exhibits and programs for 2016. Principal exhibits will include a look at pivotal world events through Adirondack eyes.

Opening March 18, A Terrible Beauty addresses how Irish-Americans in Ticonderoga, the Adirondack region and New York State provided support for Irish independence and the subsequent creation of the Irish Free State. The opening will feature a program by Diane O’Connor.

In addition to the exhibit of nearly 100 loaned items relating to Irish freedom, the Historical Society will four Irish-themed movie and discussion evenings on April 15, May 20, June 3 and July 8. Movies will include “The Quiet Man,” “Michael Collins,” “The Wind that Shakes the Barley,” and “The Secret of Roan Inish.” » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Students To Compete In North Country History Day

History-Day-2014-550x437Thirty students from across the North Country will compete in the regional New York State History Day contest held at Fort Ticonderoga on Saturday, March 5, 2016. Students placing first and second in their categories will advance to the New York State History Day Contest in Cooperstown on April 18.

Each year two million students across the country participate in the National History Day program according to Rich Strum, Fort Ticonderoga’s Director of Education and North Country History Day Regional Coordinator. Students research history topics of their choice related to an annual theme and create exhibits, documentaries, performances, research papers, and website designs.

Students may enter in competition at the regional, state, and national level. Participants include students in grades 6-8 in the Junior Division and grades 9-12 in the Senior Division. National History Day also provides educational services to students and teachers, including a summer internship program, curricular materials, internet resources, and annual teacher workshops and training institutes. » Continue Reading.


Monday, February 22, 2016

Ice Boating On Lake Champlain Lecture Thursday

Adirondack Ice BoatingThe Lake Champlain Basin Program will present a talk about ice boating on Lake Champlain by Andrew Sajor, an ice boat sailor and earth science educator. The free program begins at 6:30 pm on Thursday, February 25, 2016 in the Lake Champlain Basin Program Office and Vermont Fish and Wildlife Building, 54 West Shore Road, Grand Isle, Vermont, located just north of the Grand Isle ferry entrance. Homemade desserts will be served. For further information, contact the Lake Champlain Basin Program at the LCBP at (802) 372-3213.  Photo: An ice boat outing on Mirror Lake.


Monday, February 15, 2016

An Ausable Forks Man’s Dramatic Wilderness Crash Landing (Story Conclusion)

P3A LoonLkCrashSiteHaving endured incredible hardships since leaving the site of their crashed Douglas B-23 “Dragon Bomber” nearly two weeks earlier near the Oregon – Idaho border, Ausable Chasm native Adgate Schermerhorn and his two partners were growing more and more weary. “Late the next night we sighted buildings, but were so tired we crawled into a culvert for five hours of sleep. It was pretty snug in there. Water and stone are both warmer than a snowbank, and it felt good.

“At daylight, we dried our leggings and shoes over a fire and trudged on to a little building. This turned out to be a false alarm, as it was another empty shack. Then we found another room with a window open and crawled in. This turned out to be a CCC camp shower room. There were slats piled up here, and they were pretty soft compared to tree boughs, so we piled them up and went to sleep again for a while. » Continue Reading.


Monday, February 8, 2016

Adirondack Roots Saved Adgate Schermerhorn’s Life (Part 2)

P2A IdahoMapDuring the first few days, planes had been seen and heard overhead near the site of Adgate Schermerhorn’s crashed Douglas B-23 “Dragon Bomber.” Flares launched by the men had gone unnoticed, however.

On the third night, realizing they were trapped in what could well become a wintry mass grave, the men decided on a plan: Lieutenant Schermerhorn and two others, Staff Sergeants Ed Freeborg and Ralph Pruitt, would undertake a literally do-or-die effort to find help. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Edward Shepard: The Man Behind Shepard Park, Erlowest

Edward M. Shepard and the Making of a People’s ParkIn 1955, the main building on the campus of the College of the City of New York was renamed Shepard Hall in honor of Edward Morse Shepard, the political reformer who died on Lake George in 1911.

Shepard graduated from City College in 1869 and was the chairman of its Board of Trustees from 1904 until his death.

When the building was renamed in his honor, Shepard had been dead for more than forty years. Presumably, his contributions to the institution were far greater than those of the average college trustee.

And according to Sidney Van Nort, who oversees City College’s archives and special collections, Shepard’s spirit pervades the campus, whether today’s students acknowledge that or not. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Update On Fort Ticonderoga’s 1826 Pavilion Project

Designing the Future for Fort Ticonderoga's PavilionThe design phase has begun for Fort Ticonderoga’s Pavilion, an 1826 historic home and later hotel located on Fort Ticonderoga just east of Fort Ticonderoga. John G. Waite Associates, Architects PLLC, a consultant firm in the field of historic preservation architecture, has been hired to prepare schematic design and design development documents.

The Fort Ticonderoga Association is expected to use the documents in the stabilization and restoration of the building as part of a larger master plan for the site. » Continue Reading.


Monday, February 1, 2016

Adirondack Roots Saved Adgate Schermerhorn’s Life

P1A AdSchermerhornAdgate Schermerhorn was born in 1918 in the hamlet of Ausable Chasm, about a mile northeast of Keeseville. A horseman (he started riding at age five) and outdoorsman who loved the Adirondacks, he graduated from Keeseville High School in 1935 and worked as a lumberman in the North Country. He then attended the St. Lawrence School of Agriculture at Canton, earning a degree in 1939 from the Division of Technical Engineering. He worked as a refrigeration service man in the Plattsburgh area, but moved to Pennsylvania in December 1940 after securing a position with GE in Philadelphia. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, January 30, 2016

A Mystery Map of the Adirondacks

1863 - resizedOne of the wonderful ways to study the gradual settlement of the Adirondacks is to study its early 19th century maps, especially the locally-surveyed county maps, maps of real and proposed railroads, and a great variety of state maps.

In most all cases, while the maps themselves may be obscure, or hard to find – and for some sections of the Adirondacks, incomplete or inaccurate – their principal authors are well known. A map that does not name its creator is about as common as a book that does not name its author. Yet, we came upon just such an Adirondack map. » Continue Reading.


Monday, January 25, 2016

Censorship: The Great Comic Book Crisis

ComicCover01History can be entertaining, educating, and eye-opening. For example, read the next two paragraphs, and insert the same term (singular or plural as appropriate) to fill in every blank, choosing one of two options: video game or computer.

“Give a child a ________ and he will sit with his nose in it instead of getting out and playing with other children, or entertaining himself by tinkering, building, or joining the family group at whatever they are doing. You can’t even make a dent on the consciousness of a child engrossed in a ________. He may hear the sound of your voice, but the words don’t sink in. He’s off in a dream world, where he isn’t learning anything or doing anything. And you can’t get at him.

“Sure, he’s quiet—and that seems to be enough for a lot of parents. But what is a boy or girl going to be like when he is grown if the greater part of his formative years is spent in a ________ dream world? The experts seem to differ on whether or not ________ are bad for children. But this much any parent knows. Give a child all the ________ he wants and he won’t be much interested in anything else. Like the satisfaction of any other appetite, overindulgence can lead to ill effects.” » Continue Reading.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Charles Redfield: Newspaper Ink Ran Through His Veins

MaloneTelBldgThe Malone Telegram, recently passing the 110th anniversary of its founding (December 9), was the brainchild of Charles M. Redfield, who was cautioned back in 1905 that starting a daily newspaper in a small city with two established weeklies (the Palladium and the Farmer) was foolhardy. But Redfield forged ahead, confident that the response received in advance from advertisers would support the venture — and he was right.

For those who probe newspaper archives while researching historical topics, people like Charles Redfield are important and much appreciated. In that regard, Redfield’s efforts were vital in a number of communities prior to his tenure in Malone.

Redfield was born in December 1859 in Woodville, about 20 miles southwest of Watertown in Jefferson County. The family lived in different locations, and at age 12, Charles became a newspaper delivery boy for the Watertown Times. While still in his teens, he joined the Times as a “printer’s devil,” an apprentice, which meant helper, trainee, and all-round go-fer. » Continue Reading.


Monday, January 4, 2016

A Historic Defeat For Forest Preserve Exploiters

old white pine that would have been flooded by the Higley Mtn Dam. The tree, while dead, still stands today. It takes more than 4 people to put their arms around it.During his years as a senior advisor to many younger Adirondack conservationists, Paul Schaefer told some interesting stories. He witnessed the following incident in the New York State Legislature in 1953, when he was about 45-years-old, at the height of his effectiveness as a conservation organizer. The following story is about passage of what was called the Ostrander Amendment, an amendment to Article 14, Section 1 – the “forever wild clause” – of the New York State Constitution.

In 1953, the Ostrander Amendment had been twice passed by the State Assembly and the bill was on the floor of the State Senate, then being chaired by Lieutenant Governor Frank Moore. The Clerk of the Senate began to read the bill when a State Senator came up to the Lt. Governor’s desk, grabbed the bill from the Clerk, and quickly left the Senate Chamber. The Lt. Governor sent one of his aides after him and as the aide rushed out of the Senate chamber, he saw the Senator headed into a washroom. Following him, the aide found the State Senator about to flush the bill down the toilet. The aide, a big man, grabs the Senator by the collar, snatches the bill from his grasp and takes it back to the Senate Chamber and hands it back to the Lt. Governor, who said, according to Paul, “the next man who tries to take this bill I will personally hit with this gavel.” » Continue Reading.


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