Friday, May 17, 2019

Athol’s “A Woman’s Place” (1974-1982) Presentation

Near the last day of A Woman’s Place in 1982During the summer of 1974 women gathered for weekend retreats in Paradox, NY at the site of The Highland Community School. Seven bonded, pooled their resources, and bought an abandoned rustic resort on 23 acres of land in Athol, just northwest of Lake George in Warren County. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Nominations Sought for Adirondack Preservation Awards

2018 AARCH Preservation Award WinnersAdirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), the historic preservation organization for the Adirondack Park region, has opened nominations for its 2019 Preservation Awards.

For over 23 years, this annual awards program has recognized the sensitive restoration, rehabilitation, and adaptive reuse of historic structures throughout the region, and highlighted individuals who have promoted historic preservation revitalization efforts in their communities. The awards honor the preservation work of organizations, municipalities, and individuals who make the Adirondack region a better place to live, work, and visit. » Continue Reading.


Monday, May 13, 2019

Historical Pilgrimages to the John Brown’s Farm

Barber in November 1912Memorial Day weekend is approaching, and along with the “unofficial start of summer,” the Adirondacks will experience its annual influx of vacationers. But in years past, visitors arrived in May for another purpose: a pilgrimage to the John Brown farm in North Elba, New York. At the farm, a wreath would be laid upon the abolitionist’s grave, and the song “John Brown’s Body” was sung. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, May 12, 2019

Elizabethtown Civil War POW Benjamin Hall Talk in Ti

depiction of Andersonville Prison by John L Ransom

In 1861 Benjamin Hall of Elizabethtown in Essex County was one among many young men who enlisted to fight against the South in the Union Army.

His wartime experiences took him to some of the major battlefields of the American Civil War, and finally to the notorious Confederate prisoner of war camp at Andersonville, Georgia. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 11, 2019

Vulcalock: Inventor William Geer’s Industrial Game-Changer

In the northeast corner of New York, just a few miles from where I grew up, is the village of Rouses Point. Lying directly south of Montreal, it has long provided access for rail shipments to U.S. markets. Where the main highway heading west exits the village is an underpass beneath the rails, so road traffic is not impeded by trains, but it’s a different story within the village, where the tracks cross three streets. I loved it as a young boy when my dad got stuck at one of those crossings, which forced us to sit and watch as sometimes more than a hundred rail cars crawled by — boring for adults, but for a young boy, it was a rare chance to see all sorts of rail cars up close.

Among them were many tanker cars, which — I didn’t know it at the time — resulted from an invention by a little-known North Country man whose work had repercussions around the world. His name was William C. Geer, who, as recently was shared here on Adirondack Almanack, created a golf ball that endured for decades as a professional standard, and a gas mask that helped protect millions of Americans who fought during World War I. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 4, 2019

A Local Inventor Helped Supply WW1 Gas Masks

Recently on Adirondack Almanack, two inventions of Ogdensburg native William Chauncey Geer (who lived in Potsdam for ten years of his youth) were addressed, one of them a writing implement to replace pens, pencils, and crayons (an idea that was ultimately relegated to oblivion). The other was a highly successful project resulting in a standard golf ball used by professionals for more than two decades.

Three of Geer’s other works deeply impacted America and the world. The subject here is the third most prominent among them — the gas mask. Its importance rose unexpectedly to critical levels during the First World War when the Germans began engaging in large-scale chemical warfare. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, April 28, 2019

In 1969, Citizens Saved the Upper Hudson from Destruction

Fifty springs ago, the Upper Hudson River was conserved as a wild, free flowing river. The Schenectady Gazette’s writer Pete Jacobs reported the news in the April 17, 1969 edition of that newspaper:

“Without opposition, the Assembly gave swift approval to legislation prohibiting the construction of the Gooley Dam on the Upper Hudson River, branded by conservationists as a threat to the wild river country.”

In addition to Gooley, the bill blocks construction of any reservoirs on the river from Luzerne to its source in the Adirondack Park. » Continue Reading.


Friday, April 26, 2019

North Country at Work Event, Exhibit In Plattsburgh

The Clinton County Historical Association has announced an opening reception for the new photo and audio exhibit “Clinton County at Work” will take place Thursday, May 2, from 6 to 8 pm, at the Clinton County Historical Museum, 98 Ohio Avenue, Old Base Museum Campus in Plattsburgh. » Continue Reading.


Monday, April 22, 2019

Pete Seeger’s Local Connections; Seeger Centennial Set for Grange Hall

Whallonsburg Grange Hall

The late folksinger Pete Seeger had a long connection to the North Country, beginning as a 20-year-old member of the Vagabond Puppeteers, according to Whallonsburg Grange board member Mary-Nell Bockman. In the summer of 1939, the group traveled to rural communities all over Upstate New York, including St. Lawrence, Franklin and Clinton counties, performing in support of dairy farmers on strike against the big milk monopolies.

Seeger was good friends with the artist Rockwell Kent and his wife, Sally, and visited Asgaard Farm several times. After meeting Adirondack folklorist Marjorie Lansing Porter at a folk festival in Schroon Lake, he worked with her to record an album of traditional regional tunes called Champlain Valley Songs in 1960. He performed at Plattsburgh State, Clarkson University, and other colleges in the region numerous times in the 1960s. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, April 21, 2019

John Brown Day 2019 Planned For May 4th

john brown dayJohn Brown Lives! has announced “John Brown Day: A Day of Reflection. A Day of Action.” is set for May 4th, 2019 from 2 to 4 pm, at the John Brown Farm State Historic Site.

John Brown Day is a commemoration honoring women and men whose work invokes the passion and conviction of the 19th-century abolitionist who dedicated his life to the cause of liberation. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, April 21, 2019

Ticonderoga’s Legacy Subject of New Exhibit at Fort Ti

ticonderoga a historyFort Ticonderoga has announced a new exhibit, “Ticonderoga, A Legacy,” which explores the tradition of Ticonderoga through popular and military culture over two centuries, including the U.S. Navy vessels that have borne its name. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, April 20, 2019

Rogers Rangers Movie Night in Ticonderoga

Northwest Passage Walter Brennan Spencer Tracy Robert YoungThe Ticonderoga Historical Society is set to open its 2019 free movie series with a showing of the classic Spencer Tracy film Northwest Passage on April 26th.

The 1940 early Technicolor film is based on the 1937 best-selling historical novel by the same name, authored by Kenneth Roberts, from a serialized version that had previously run in the Saturday Evening Post.  The film is set along the  New York and New Hampshire frontier during the French and Indian War including at Crown Point, Lake Champlain, and the Connecticut Valley.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, April 18, 2019

Some Old Adirondack Laws Were Nothing To Sneeze At

For a long time now, my youngest son has operated a research laboratory in Singapore. Moving there from America was quite the culture shock, but he was clearly impressed with how clean everything was, a result of many laws that we in the US would consider overbearing. He remains very respectful of the culture there and wouldn’t joke about some of their laws, including one reinforced by signs in and near elevators: No Urinating in Lifts. For me, it instantly begs the question: was this common enough to merit a statute?

But before we scoff at the rules in other countries, consider a few of our own from right here in the Adirondacks. A foray into my vault of odd items culled from the pages of old regional newspapers yields a few similar gems. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

A History of Adirondack Blackface at Whallonsburg Grange

funs famous fellowsThe Whallonsburg Grange Hall in Essex, is set to welcome historian and author Amy Godine to the Lyceum lecture series on Tuesday, April 23 at 7:30 pm. Her lecture will focus on the history of minstrel shows and blackface performances in theaters, Grange halls, churches, schools and other venues in the North Country, and the impact of this and other racist imagery. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Gouverneur’s Rhoda Fox Graves, NYS Political Trailblazer (Conclusion)

The Ogdensburg Journal-Republican, forced to eat crow after rejecting Rhoda Graves’ claims of Warren Thayer’s corruption, applied twisted logic to justify their stance and the senator’s behavior. They opened with: “Senator Thayer has retired…. It was found that he was on the payroll of a utility corporation and, we feel, working against the interests of the average resident of this district who has been forced to pay unjust rates.” The words “we feel” simply did not apply. There was no question he had been putting the financial screws to his voters while protecting a power company and lining his own pockets.

And then came the kicker, a painful contortion of words—possibly the weakest excuse they could have drummed up—to justify years of unethical, anti-constituent acts by the man they supported. “Senator Thayer was at least consistent. During his entire political life, he has been a close ally of the power groups, a fact that he has never denied. Head of a power company, he was elected to the Assembly and then the Senate, and could not have been expected to change his views.” In any day and age, no matter what your politics are, that’s a sign of having drunk the Kool-Aid. » Continue Reading.