Thursday, February 15, 2024

Snow Trains of the 1930s

People exit a snow train at the North Creek station

By James M Schaefer, Schenectady Wintersports Club 

This year, 2024 will be the 90th Anniversary of the Snow Trains that took many skiers and winter sports enthusiasts from Schenectady to North Creek in the southern Adirondacks! But that Snow Train had to wait until March 4th, 1934 to make its historic run. A lack of natural snow was the reason!

Following the 1932 Olympics in Lake Placid, the Schenectady Wintersports Club was organized to spur efforts to get trains to transport skiers to snowy destinations. My father, Vincent Schaefer and his friends, were leaders of the Club. Their 1932-1933 effort started with getting hundreds of Schenectadians, to sign petitions showing interest in a Snow Train.

They convinced the passenger agent of the Boston & Maine Railroad to run several day-trips from Schenectady to the mountains around Wilmington, Vermont. But Old Man Winter did not cooperate!

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, February 11, 2024

Quoting King: The Time is Always Right to Do What is Right

MLK photo

By Melanie Reding, Adirondack Diversity Initiative Associate Director

On Monday, January 15, people across the United States celebrated Martin Luther King (MLK) Day. Our social media channels were full of feel-good MLK Jr. quotes about love and light and doing the right things. Few posts and shares contained words from his Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

In that letter, the lines written are uncomfortable for most. It takes us — specifically the White us and religious us — to task. He calls us out on our silence, slow progress, and our inability to acknowledge the genocide, slavery and White Supremacy our nation’s institutions and systems were built on. That’s not what we want to experience and feel on a “holiday.” It’s not what we want to feel in the face of a world that seems more chaotic than calm.

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Friday, February 9, 2024

The Roosevelts of Johnsburg

The 1858 Chace map of Warren County has all three of Nicholas4 children. Catharine is living with husband J. D. Dunn; Nicholas V is N. Roosevelt north of Nobels Corners and Robert is R. G. Roosevelt to the south at the old Elm Hill estate.

Amid the obscure graves in the Johnsburg Methodist Church cemetery just south of Route 8, are four markers bearing one of the most famous last names in U.S. history. The interred – Nicholas, a second Nicholas, Robert, and Catharine – were all Roosevelts. But were these the Roosevelts, related to two American presidents? And, if they were, how did they end up in the North Country?
By tracing the lineage of these Johnsburg Roosevelts, we discover something surprising. Not only did our local branch have ties to national politics, but they also have an outsized impact on politics, real estate, and even the economy of the Adirondacks.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, February 7, 2024

When The Ghost Whispers “Dig”

This story is my salute to Black History Month. Written as historical fiction, this tale actually represents an intensive, one might even say possessed, multi-year endeavor of excavation, research, analysis and discovery.

I have long been fascinated by the fact that my land and home here in Jefferson County, on a long, low plateau nestled between Watertown and the War of 1812 stronghold at Sackets Harbor, has direct links to the home I grew up in in Saranac Lake.

Not only were both part and parcel of “Macomb’s Purchase”, but the “Military Road” that runs past my current home’s property was originally planned as a military supply route linking Sacket’s Harbor to Plattsburgh, which would have taken it directly past my boyhood home in Saranac Lake.

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Thursday, February 1, 2024

Again?

Punxsutawney Phil

I watched the 1993 film Groundhog Day featuring Bill Murray at least a dozen times. Or maybe it just felt that way. Just as February 2 was on a nonstop loop in the film, this year’s iteration of Groundhog Day is likely to feel roughly the same as all the previous ones. I think it’s a good metaphor for this time of year, as we stumble out each morning in the semi-dark to defrost the car, not even sure what day of the week it is. We probably don’t have the energy for an exciting holiday right now.

The notion that sunshine on the second day in February portends a late spring is an idea that began in ancient Europe. The date marks the pagan festival of Imbolc , halfway between the winter solstice and spring equinox. In the Celtic world, Imbolc was dedicated to the goddess Brigid (Brigit), the traditional patroness of healing, poetry, hearth and home, agriculture and fertility. She was also a fierce warrior who killed adversaries like a champ. As Christianity spread, Imbolc was supplanted by Candlemas Day , but both traditions embrace the “sunnyequals more winter, and cloudy means spring” theme. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, February 1, 2024

New exhibit of Seneca Ray Stoddard photographs

black and white photo by seneca ray stoddard

Fort William Henry Hotel and Chapman Museum team up to exhibit Seneca Ray Stoddard photographs

LAKE GEORGE – Famed Adirondack photographer Seneca Ray Stoddard (1843-1917) didn’t spend all his time in the deep woods. He was also a visitor to the grand Fort William Henry Hotel, where he captured images of its architecture and well-dressed guests. 

A collection of Stoddard’s images now grace the lobby of the hotel, the result of a partnership between the Chapman Museum in Glens Falls, which has more than 4,000 of Stoddard’s photographs, and Fort William Henry

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, January 31, 2024

A Dam We’re Glad Never Happened

An artist’s rendering of the dam proposed at Tumblehead Falls.

This is an artist’s rendering of the dam proposed at Tumblehead Falls. For our simulation of its impact, click here.

Many of us know the story of the Great Sacandaga Reservoir, created in 1930 by the construction of the Conklingville Dam at what is now the reservoir’s north end. Approximately 28,000 acres of land were submerged and 3,000 people were displaced to prevent disasters like the great flood of 1913 that inundated Troy.

To make the way for the reservoir, hundreds of homes had to be submerged and entire cemeteries had to be moved.

Twenty-five years earlier, Glens Falls industrialists Eugene Ashley and Elmer J. West had proposed to similarly dam the Schroon River, not only to manage flooding but to catch and retain spring meltwater so that the stored water could be released during the late summer and fall when it was needed downriver to power water wheels and turbines. Their vision called for a 70-foot-tall containment dam that would have raised the level of Schroon Lake by 30 feet and combined it with Brant Lake, and Paradox Lake, creating a reservoir larger than Lake George.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, January 26, 2024

Saranac Lake Winter Carnival – Past and Present

 

2024 Saranac Lake Winter Creepy Carnival

Driving through Saranac Lake the last few days has been exciting, getting to witness construction of the Ice Palace – brick by icy brick.

The theme for the 2024 Winter Carnival is ‘Creepy Carnival’, which should be pretty fantastic!

We’ve compiled images and a few fun articles  (courtesy of the Almanack archives and https://saranaclakewintercarnival.com/) of the buttons and posters from the last decade of carnivals.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Historic Signage To Be Installed at Inlet’s Arrowhead Park

arrowhead park sign in lnlet

For the first time in its sixty years as Town of Inlet property, Arrowhead Park this spring will have a sign providing its annual visitors with the history of the popular hotels formerly occupying this location. This article acquaints you with the Park, its history, and describes the efforts resulting in historical signage. It may also be a “lessons learned” example in project management for small nonprofits.

The Head of Fourth Lake

For those unfamiliar with Inlet’s location, the hamlet is at the Head of Fourth Lake of the Fulton Chain of Lakes in the West Central Adirondacks. Its name comes from its location at the mouth of the inlet channel flowing from Fifth to Fourth Lake of that chain. Prior to the Town’s establishment in 1902, the Head of Fourth lake was the destination for Native Americans, then guides and hunters and later vacationers on steamers traveling on the chain’s lower lakes, departing from what is today’s Old Forge location. Presently, each September, Inlet is the first takeout for participants in the annual 90 Miler Adirondack Canoe Classic.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, January 20, 2024

2024 Saranac Lake Winter Carnival set for Feb. 2-11

2024 creepy carnival Saranac Lake Wiinter Festival buttonSaranac Lake, NY– Visitors from around the world will travel to New York’s Adirondack Mountains from Feb. 2-11, 2024 to celebrate the annual Saranac Lake Winter Carnival with a ‘Creepy Carnival’ theme. They join in the revelry alongside local residents who have made it their family tradition for generations.

The Saranac Lake Winter Carnival is the longest-running event of its kind in the eastern U.S. dating to 1897. The Carnival began as a one-day event to break the monotony of the long Adirondack winter and has grown into a 10-day festival that includes an Ice Palace, sports, performances, two parades and three sets of spectacular fireworks.

Over the years, the Winter Carnival has retained the warmth, charm and camaraderie of a community celebration. The Carnival is organized by an all-volunteer group called the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Committee, or more formally, the Society for the preservation of Winter Carnival, Saranac Lake, Inc. It is a community-driven festival made possible by the efforts of many volunteers and sponsors.

One of the longest-running traditions at the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival is the Winter Carnival button.The buttons are collected by residents and visitors every year, especially since “Doonesbury” creator and Saranac Lake native Garry Trudeau began designing the buttons in 1981. They can be purchased at various locations around Saranac Lake or by mail order. In 2012, Trudeau also began designing collectible posters as a fundraiser for the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Committee. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, January 13, 2024

Camp Santanoni Winter Weekends: Jan. 13-15, Feb. 17-19, March 16-17

Camp Santanoni, photo by Nancie Battaglia

On January 12, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced three Winter Weekend events will be held in 2024 at the historic Camp Santanoni in the town of Newcomb in the Adirondacks. Hosted by DEC and Friends of Camp Santanoni, along with partners Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), the town of Newcomb, and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s Adirondack Interpretive Center, the Winter Weekends invite visitors to enjoy winter recreation and exclusive winter access to the preserved buildings of the former great camp.

The 2024 Winter Weekend events will take place during the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday weekend, Jan. 13-15; Presidents’ Day holiday weekend, Feb. 17-19; and the weekend of March 16-17.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, January 12, 2024

Saratoga PLAN acquires Snake Hill from Stewart’s Shops

Aerial photo of Snake Hill

A momentous step toward conservation and environmental stewardship has been taken with the successful closure of a $1 million land deal, securing the future of Snake Hill—Saratoga Lake’s largest unprotected shoreline property. The Snake Hill Formation holds a unique distinction as a remnant of the Taconic Mountain lowlands, dating back 450 million years and boasting trees that have stood for over two centuries. Known by its indigenous name, Tor-war-loon-da, meaning ‘hill of storms,’ this landform is mentioned in several indigenous stories and has historical significance. Covering nearly 30 acres within the town of Stillwater, Snake Hill will now be permanently protected.  

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, January 10, 2024

MLK Celebration set for Jan. 15 in Plattsburgh

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Plattsburgh, NY-  The Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration will take place at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, January 15, 2024 at the Newman Center in Plattsburgh, NY. The Martin Luther King Jr. Committee is looking forward to welcoming attendees for this annual celebration. The theme for 2024 is, “Why we can’t wait: Activating our power for equity in justice.” This year’s celebration will feature Mr. William Verity, music director at Plattsburgh High School (PHS). Verity will intersperse reminiscences of his many valued years at PHS as he finalizes his teaching career before moving on to new adventures. He will conduct the PHS chorus and entertain attendees with selections that reflect his long and memorable career which will relate to the program.

Martin Luther King Jr. promoted nonviolence to seek equality for all people. This program will highlight the importance of making positive change without using violence. The program is free and open to the public.

For more information, please contact: Brett Carpenter, Martin Luther King Jr. Committee President, at MLKPlattsburgh@gmail.com or (518) 569-5617.

Photo at top: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Wikimedia Commons photo.

 


Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Beavers Changed His Life Forever

Paul Schaefer presents the beaver gavel to Governor Mario M. Cuomo

Paul Schaefer once told me that his mentor, “Forever Wild” advocate and organizer John Apperson, would occasionally dress in fur to be more noticeable when, during lobbying of the state legislature, Apperson opposed threats to Lake George, the Forest Preserve and its constitutional protection. Schaefer learned from Apperson how and when to be most noticed and effective.

 

For example, as an elder in the wilderness movement Schaefer once stood up (or down) Governor Mario Cuomo. The governor had just signed the Environmental Protection Fund legislation in the summer of 1993. The setting was Split Rock Farm above Lake Champlain. The dignitaries had all spoken and Cuomo was the last to speak. Completing his speech, Cuomo ( like the rest of us in attendance) was completely taken aback when Paul Schaefer rose and moved to the podium. Cuomo was forced to sit in Schaefer’s now unoccupied chair to listen to what Paul had to say. However congratulatory (of the governor) his remarks, Schaefer had the last word.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, December 18, 2023

Lost and Never Found: The Case of Leighton Goodell

Loon Lake Mountain region

The Adirondacks have their share of people who have gone missing and never been found. The cases of Douglas Legg (1971), George Bombadier (1971), Steven Thomas (1976), Thomas Carleton (1993), George LaForest (2006), Jack Coloney (2006), Irene Horne (2007), and Thomas Messick Sr. (2015) are among the more well-publicized in the annals of Search and Rescue. Adam Federman’s article “Lost,” published in a 2010 edition of in Adirondack Life, provides a superb-yet-chilling summary of the those who went missing within the Park between 1951 and 2008. One unsolved missing-person case barely discussed is that of Leighton G. Goodell, who went missing in October 1924 – almost 100 years ago.

» Continue Reading.



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