Monday, August 14, 2017

Brown’s Raid 1777 Battle Re-enactment Weekend

Brown’s Raid 1777 Battle Re-enactmentFort Ticonderoga will host a two-day battle re-enactment highlighting the 1777 Brown’s Raid on Ticonderoga on Saturday and Sunday, September 9-10, from 9:30 am to 5 pm.

Programming throughout the weekend will highlight the American raid on Ticonderoga in their attempt to recapture the fort. Visitors will have the chance to learn about the Royal Navy’s role in the attack and experience the battle from a completely new angle on Lake Champlain aboard tour boat, Carillon. Atop Mount Defiance, learn about the guard of Rangers who had attacked British-held Fort Ticonderoga with their own cannon. » Continue Reading.


Friday, August 11, 2017

John Hancock’s Table Acquired By Ticonderoga Hancock House

john hancocks tableThe Ticonderoga Historical Society has received the donation of a table that was once in the “banqueting hall” of the original John Hancock mansion in Boston. The table was the gift of Benn and Claire Eilers of Bend, Oregon.  Benn Eilers is a descendant of Hancock’s sister-in-law, Sarah Quincy.

With leaves that extend to 30 feet, the table is constructed of birds-eye walnut, a relatively rare wood. It is believed that George Washington dined at the table while visiting the Hancock House in Boston in 1789, during Hancock’s time as Governor of Massachusetts. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Annual Crown Point French and Indian War Re-enactment August 12-13

My family has always enjoyed going to one of the numerous historical re-enactments offered around the Adirondacks. It gives us an opportunity to be a part of history and to learn about the past. It’s a chance to experience a moment in time that helped shape our country. The annual Crown Point French and Indian War Reenactment is part of a two-day festival held at the Crown Point State Historic site on August 12-13 bringing visitors into a temporary 18th century encampment overlooking beautiful Lake Champlain.

French, British, and Native American reenactors will be setup around the Crown Point State Historic Site ruins. There are two historic fortifications at the Crown Point location, Fort Frederic and Crown Point. Fort Frederic was built by the French around 1734 and used as the main base to raid neighboring British settlements throughout New England. As a result, the British military spent years trying to overtake the fort. In 1759, the British troops were finally successful and began the building of their own fort, “His Majesty’s Fort of Crown Point.” Though there was never just one battle at Crown Point, the area was the center for almost 20 skirmishes. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Greatest Stunt: Jumping A Car Across the St. Lawrence River

Although ticket refunds were offered, Ken Carter maintained that the 1976 attempt to jump the St. Lawrence River had been postponed, not canceled, and would likely take place in spring 1977 – which it didn’t. In June it was announced that the plan had been revived for September, but with a different car — a rocket-powered Lincoln Continental Mark IV, powerful and sturdy, but hardly an aerodynamic vehicle. Work resumed on the launch ramp in anticipation of a long-delayed but substantial payday.

Each week from July into September, newspaper articles touted the jump, adding to the growing frenzy and Knievel-like atmosphere. When questions were raised about potential issues with large freighters that daily plied the waters of the St. Lawrence, Carter assured everyone there would be no problem. But the truth was that he had no control over that aspect of the jump. St. Lawrence Seaway authorities announced that water traffic would continue as usual, and that “Carter will have to schedule his jump between the vessel movement.” To calm any doubts that might have surfaced, he confirmed at an Ottawa press conference that all systems were go. “The only thing that’s going to stop me this time is my death. If I die before the 25th, then I won’t be there.” » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Fort Ticonderoga American Revolution Seminar Weekend Sept 22-24

seminar on american revolutionFort Ticonderoga has announced the Fourteenth Annual Seminar on the American Revolution September 22-24, 2017.

This weekend seminar focuses on the military, political, and social history of the American War for Independence.

The Seminar takes place in the Mars Education Center and is open to the public; pre-registration is required. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Crown Point French & Indian War Encampment Aug 12-13

French Marine Crown Point State Historic Site will host its annual French and Indian War Encampment on August 12 and 13, 2017.

This is the largest event of the year at the site and features authentically clad French, British, and Native American participants camped among the fort ruins.

Guests to the camp will be able to interact with the participants portraying various people of Crown Point’s past and also have the opportunity to purchase some of the 18th century wares produced and exhibited by artisans and merchants. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, August 5, 2017

New Edition of Fire Adirondack Tower Book Features Restorations

The Adirondack Fire Towers: Their History and Lore, The Southern DistrictsAuthor Marty Podskoch will give a presentation on the new edition of his book, The Adirondack Fire Towers: Their History and Lore, The Southern Districts at the Stillwater Hotel on Wednesday August 9th at 7 pm. He will highlight the Stillwater Fire Tower restoration work and discuss the history of the fire towers in the Southern Adirondacks.

The new edition features a chapter devoted to the men and women who helped restore the Adirondack fire towers since Podskoch’s book was first published in 2003. The six restored towers in this volume include those at Stillwater, Spruce, Adams, Hurricane, St. Regis, and Lyon mountains.

The book also contains information on the 28 state and three private towers in Herkimer, Warren, Washington, Saratoga, Lewis, Fulton, and Hamilton, counties. » Continue Reading.


Monday, July 31, 2017

Ken Carter’s Plan To Jump A Car Over the St. Lawrence River

Bizarre. That’s the best description of events forty years ago when the North Country found itself the focus of national attention. I’m accustomed to researching much further back in time to write stories, but this one is a doozy that younger folks probably never heard of and older folks might have forgotten by now. It took place back in the 1970s when daredevils were popular, led by Evel Knievel, who became more famous for his failures — crashes resulting in multiple bone fractures — than his successes, where he landed safely and was unhurt.

Most of us who witnessed Knievel’s career will remember one jump above all others — Idaho’s Snake River Canyon. He performed on motorcycles, so the rocket-shaped vehicle he used in Idaho was named the Skycyle X-2. Canada’s answer to Evel Knievel was Ken Carter, a.k.a. the Mad Canadian, Kamikaze Ken, or Crazy Ken. He performed many times in upstate New York. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, July 29, 2017

Verplanck Colvin and Politics Today

Colvin HeadshotLast month we went to see Bill Killon’s documentary, “Colvin: Hero of the North Woods” at the Adirondack History Museum in Elizabethtown. Surveyor and forest-preserve advocate Verplanck Colvin has always been something of a hero of mine, and not because he has the funniest name associated with the Adirondacks. He doesn’t. He doesn’t even have the funniest name beginning with V, an honor that goes to — and I assume I will get no argument here — the mountain that goes by the name of Vanderwhacker.

It’s an excellent film, drawing on the observations of a veritable Mount Rushmore of contemporary Adirondack voices, and deftly and artfully edited by Killon to show Colvin’s strengths, weaknesses and complexities. In a classic touch, an Adirondack downpour lends a comforting background serenade to an interview with Tony Goodwin, symbolic, perhaps, of the waters that Colvin was so inclined to protect. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

French & Indian War Bayonet Discovered Near Loon Lake

Loon Lake - Johnsburg Area in 1805Last fall a rusted old military bayonet was unearthed on private property just east of Loon Lake in Warren County. It was taken to David Starbuck, a noted local historical and industrial archeologist who has written extensively on Fort William Henry on Lake George.

Coincidentally, on that day Jesse Zuccaro, a student who has focused his studies on early bayonets, happened to be visiting Starbuck. Together they inspected this new find. After careful examination they concluded it was French in design and probably dated between 1728 and the 1740s. Twenty thousand of these bayonets were made and sent to New France prior to the American Revolution. » Continue Reading.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Warrensburg Anti-APA Sign Comes Down, Headed For Museum

anti-APA sign in WarrensburgOn Friday, Adirondack Experience (formally the Adirondack Museum) removed a familiar anti-Adirondack Park Agency sign on Route 9 at the north end of Warrensburg to add to their permanent collections.

The sign, seen by south-bound travelers, was erected by Ted Galusha in 2005 on the side of his house to protest the Adirondack Park Agency.

In a statement sent to the press from the Adirondack Experience, the museum said it was collecting this sign “because it is part of the ongoing conversation among Park residents, second-home owners, vacationers and conservation advocates about the future of the Adirondack Park.” » Continue Reading.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Walking Tour of Ironville Company Ruins Planned

replica forge in Penfield MuseumThe Adirondack History Museum will host a walking tour of the Crown Point Iron Company ruins on Saturday, July 29.

Local Historian and author Morris Glenn will lead the tour. One of the highlights of the tour will be discussion on the Penfield Forge Project. The projects includes plans to rebuild the replica of the first iron forge in Northern New York that was originally at Frontier Town.

In 2016, the replica forge was moved to the Penfield Museum in Ironville. The five-year project will recreate a facsimile of a working cold-blast iron forge that Major Skene operated in the initial colonial period prior up to the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. The Skene forge was captured by the Colonial forces on Lake Champlain and then used by Benedict Arnold to build the first American Navy. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Hotel Saranac Celebrates 90th Year

hotel saranac lobby postcardHotel Saranac was built in 1927, and opened its doors on July 1 of that year. Now celebrating its 90th year, it remains the last of the grand hotels that once populated Saranac Lake. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Pete Nelson: Adirondack Experience Gets Diversity Right

adirondack experienceOn July 1st I attended the grand opening of the Adirondack Experience’s new multi-million-dollar exhibit Life in the Adirondacks.  Situated overlooking Blue Mountain Lake, The Adirondack Experience (formerly the Adirondack Museum) is a regional icon with an unparalleled collection of Adirondack historical artifacts.  Their new exhibit, intended to interactively place visitors in the context of the Adirondack Park in all its human dimensions, is located in the former Roads and Rails building.

Life in the Adirondacks is a dramatic change in approach and style for a museum renowned for its depiction of history through objects of every description from the last two centuries of human activity in the region.  I spoke with one of the staff who manages collections and she told me the count of items on display in this exhibit space was down from 3,000 to roughly 500.  Those who know the former exhibit will see a much cleaner, streamlined, modern presentation with a number of new “hands-on” interactive displays.  Life in the Adirondacks is bracketed by two video presentations.  The first is a visually striking short film in a small theater that introduces visitors to the spectrum of human passions concerning the Adirondack Park.  The second, near the exit, is an excellent collection of short interviews with various leaders and advocates in the Park, representing different sides of the difficult questions we debate here, from land use to preservation to local economies. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Montcalm’s Cross Battle Re-enactment July 22-23th

Fort Ticonderoga Recreates the Epic 1758 Battle of Carillon: Montcalm’s Cross On July 22 and 23, Fort Ticonderoga July will host a battle re-enactment highlighting the 1758 Battle of Carillon during the French and Indian War. Visitors will learn how the British amassed the largest army in North American history to date, yet was defeated by a French army a quarter of its size.

Highlighted programming featured throughout the weekend brings to life the story of the French soldiers that protected their lines of defense. Visitors will meet the British and Provincial soldiers who fought to drive the French from the rocky peninsula and fortress of Carillon, later named Ticonderoga. Recreated French and British armies will maneuver in battle re-enactments each day. » Continue Reading.