Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Adirondack Rush of ’49: Searching For Uranium

After the big news of a possible uranium ore bed near Plattsburgh failed to pan out in early 1949, the search for ore continued locally and nationally.

Many magazines, including Life (“The Uranium Rush”) and Popular Mechanics (“The ’49 Uranium Rush”) featured stories on the phenomenon that was sweeping the country. The coincidence of timing — the 100th anniversary of the 1849 California gold rush — made for enticing newspaper headlines as well. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, February 25, 2018

Resistance: Ron Stafford’s Gift to Local Governments

Senator Ron Stafford with a former Town of Bolton Supervisor, Frank Leonbruno, in Bolton Landing, July 2001Having spent more than a decade as an aide to an upstate New York senator, the late Ron Stafford, I retain some residual habits, one of which is flipping through the Governor’s budget proposals as soon as they’re released, alert, I would hope, to anything that might have an impact on our region, positive or negative.

That’s how I happened to become aware of a proposal in this year’s budget to remove Forest Preserve lands from the real property tax standard and authorize New York State to send Adirondack communities “payments in lieu of taxes.”

I gave it more than a cursory glance because in 1989, when I worked for Senator Stafford, the current governor’s father, Mario Cuomo, proposed something very similar. » Continue Reading.


Friday, February 23, 2018

Sarah Pell’s Struggle for History, Human Rights

Mrs. Pell, President Taft, A. C. Bossom” July 6, 1909.Fort Ticonderoga’s “Fort Fever Series” continues on Sunday, March 11, at 2 pm with a program on “A ‘Charmingly Aggressive Woman’: Sarah Pell’s Struggle for History & Human Rights” presented by Miranda Peters, Fort Ticonderoga’s Director of Collections.

This program will explore images, archival materials, and collections never before seen by the public, and recently cataloged by museum staff that reveal glimpses of Sarah Pell’s life and work. This program is part of the National Women’s History Month celebration. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

An Adirondack Uranium Rush

It’s hard not to think the above title is ridiculous. Believable possibilities would be iron, feldspar, talc, or garnet. But uranium? And on top of that, a rush? With the excitement of hopeful lottery players, folks in the past have swarmed the mountains and lowlands at word of supposed gold discoveries, or silver, or other metals, all of them precious in terms of financial value to the finder. But rushing to find radioactive materials — the stronger the better — in the Adirondacks? Really?

For the first four decades of the twentieth century, large mines at a few locations worldwide provided the bulk of uranium used in America. Discoveries of ore in Quebec and Ontario in the early 1900s caused speculation that deposits existed in the Adirondacks as well due to a shared geological history. In 1914, George Chadwick, professor of geology and mineralogy at St. Lawrence University, opined that “there’s no special reason” why radium-bearing rocks wouldn’t exist in the local mountains. Perhaps none had been found, he said, because no one had looked for them. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, February 18, 2018

Naming the Lakes of the Eckford Chain

Ebenezer EmmonsIn the summer of 2017 the League of Extraordinary Adirondack Gentlemen (LEAG) held their annual camp-out at Great Camp Santanoni on Newcomb Lake.

I met there, for the first time, a gentleman new to the group. As a result of this meeting, he and I decided to expand our friendship and paddle the Eckford Chain: Raquette, Utowana, Eagle, and Blue Mountain lakes.

We set out one fine August morning from Raquette Lake, crossed the lake, and proceeded up the Marion River, through the carry, putting back in at the Utowana dock, continuing through Utowana Lake into Eagle Lake, and then into Blue Mountain Lake and pulled-out at the Blue Mountain beach.

Our conversation (and questions) turned to the name Eckford Chain of Lakes.  » Continue Reading.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Pete Nelson: Let’s Do a Landa!

Last summer my wife Amy and I took a trip to Norway.  During part of our trip we camped at Lysefjord, famous for its sheer cliffs including Preikestolen, about which I wrote previously.  Lots of Norwegians and visitors from other European countries car camp as their preferred mode of tourism, meaning those facilities see a brisk business.

Preikestolen is one of Norway’s most famous destinations, so we were glad to catch a spot at the nearby campground.  It was well-run, with charming Dutch hosts, and we were quite happy with our stay.  But by late morning of our departure our mood had changed to regret.  That’s because twenty minutes after leaving we stumbled upon the most remarkable place for camping I’ve ever seen.  It’s called Landa Park and its conception is brilliant.  It left me thinking someone ought to try a similar thing here in the Adirondacks.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Susan B. Anthony’s 1855 Winter North Country Adventure

Susan B Anthony circa 1855On February 19 our nation celebrates President’s Day to recognize the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and George Washington (February 22). Between these two days is February 15, the anniversary of the birth of another great American, Susan B. Anthony.

Although it is not yet a national holiday, Susan B. Anthony Day is a New York State commemorative holiday and places such as Seneca Falls and Rochester, hold grand celebrations. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Marie Curie Once Visited the North Country

History credits the discovery of uranium to a German chemist, Martin Henrich Klaproth, in 1789. In 1896, just over a century later, a French chemist, Eugene-Melchior Peligot, discovered uranium’s radioactivity.  Uranium ore, known as pitchblende, was revealed shortly after by Marie and Pierre Curie as the source of radium, which they mentioned as a possible future treatment for cancer.

Polish born Marie, (her name was Sklowdowska) was the first woman to win a Nobel prize, and the first person to win twice — in 1903, in physics, for her work on radiation, and in 1911, in chemistry, for discovering polonium and radium. Only she and Linus Pauling have won in two different fields. (She also developed the practical use for x-rays that dramatically enhanced patient care on the battlefields of World War I). » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Fort Ti War College on the Seven Years’ War

fort ticonderogaRegistration is now open for Fort Ticonderoga’s Twenty-Third Annual War College of the Seven Years’ War May 18-20, 2018.

With a panel of distinguished historians from across the United States, this seminar focuses on the Seven Years’ War in North America, also known as the French & Indian War. The War College takes place in the Mars Education Center and is open to the public; pre-registration is required. » Continue Reading.


Monday, February 12, 2018

Six-Weeks of World History Set For Grange

world history lecture whallonsburg grangeAndrew Buchanan, lecturer in global and military history at the University of Vermont, will be presenting on “A History of the World in Six Weeks” at the Whallonsburg Grange on Tuesday, February 13th at 7:30 pm, continuing on subsequent Tuesdays until March 20th. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, February 10, 2018

1775 British Garrison Living History Event at Fort Ti

1775 British Garrison Living History EventFort Ticonderoga has announced a one-day living history event on Saturday, February 17th, looking at British garrison life in February 1775, three months before Ticonderoga was pulled into the American War of Independence.

This Living History event will feature the weapons, tactics, trades, and people during peacetime at the fort. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, February 8, 2018

A Little North Country Sign Humor

An oldies channel recently played an old favorite of mine from the past: “Signs,” which originated with a Canadian group in 1971, the Five Man Electrical Band. A line of the song called to mind a rather interesting hike from long ago. The second stanza begins with, “And the sign said anybody caught trespassin’ would be shot on sight,” a lyric reminiscent of certain signs that once caused me more than a little consternation.

In the late 1970s, while exploring the fringes of a unique natural area in Clinton County, I found myself on a very old, rocky, uneven road that crossed both state and private land. The owners of the private land, according to my map, had taken liberties with their property claims, planting some of their posted signs on state-owned land. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, February 8, 2018

Wanakena Ranger School History Talk Feb 15th

Ranger School, as seen from Cranberry Lake

Dr. Michael Bridgen will speak about the Wanakena Ranger School, and the events and figures that formed it at a St. Lawrence County Historical Association Brown Bag Lunch event on Thursday, February 15th, at noon.

Since the Wanakena Ranger School was established in 1912, it has trained over 5000 students in forest and environmental technology.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Whiteface Ski History Slideshow in Placid Thursday

The Wilmington Historical Society will present “Whiteface Ski History” at the Lake Placid Olympic Museum, located in the Olympic Center, on Thursday, Feb. 8, at 7 pm.

The free presentation will include an overview of Wilmington’s Whiteface Mountain ski area history from the 1940s to the 1980 Olympics. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, February 4, 2018

Soldiers of Color at Fort Ticonderoga Feb 11th

fort ticonderoga reenactmentFort Ticonderoga’s “Fort Fever Series” continues on Sunday, February 11, at 2 pm with a program on “Soldiers of Color at Ticonderoga” presented by Stuart Lilie, Vice President of Public History and Operations.

This program will focus on the diversity of soldiers who fought at Ticonderoga and examine how attitudes about soldiers of color varied dramatically within the numerous armies and empires that held Ticonderoga. The program is part of the National Black History Month celebration.

The great campaigns of the French & Indian War and Revolutionary War have frequently been envisioned with long battle lines of soldiers as equally white as they were uniform. However, small, but significant numbers of African or African-American soldiers appear in nearly every army that came to Ticonderoga. » Continue Reading.