Sunday, November 5, 2017

Early Settlers of the Beaver River Country

Fenton’s at Number Four after 1870 Settlement came slowly to the upper Beaver River valley in the west central Adirondacks. John Brown Francis, governor of Rhode Island and grandson of John Brown, the original titleholder, built the first road from Lowville to Number Four in 1822 with the hope of starting a village there. To spur settlement he gave 100 acres each to the first ten families willing to clear the land and establish farms. A number of pioneers moved in, the first of which was a man named Orrin Fenton who arrived in 1826. By 1835 there were about 75 residents. Gradually all attempts at farming failed. By 1864 the settlement of Number Four was nearly deserted. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, November 2, 2017

Military Theaters of the American Revolution Symposium

theatres of the american revolutionThe American Revolution Round Table: Hudson-Mohawk Valleys is hosting a free event on Saturday, November 11, 2017 from 8 am to 4:15 pm. The Military Theaters of the American Revolution Symposium is based on the book of the same name, Theaters of the American Revolution.

Five experts on the American Revolution will discuss the Northern Theater, the Western Theater, the War at Sea, the Southern Theater, and the Middle Theater. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Sarah Bennett’s Babies: Years of Sickness

Local authorities, including the Humane Society, considered taking action to alleviate conditions in  John and Sarah Bennett’s home at Hope in Hamilton County.

Some believed the Bennett’s three sons were being held captive by their mother, perhaps under a kind of spell.  After checking in on the three Bennett brothers,  Dr. George Peters of Gloversville rendered this assessment:

“I have examined George, Ward, and Frank Bennett of Hope, New York, and it is my opinion that if the three young men were taken from their home, or even if they were left at home and placed under the tutorship of a competent person — not necessarily a physician, but a person possessing the ability to develop the confidence which the average man possesses in himself — all three would in a few months time be able to perform labor which any man of ordinary intelligence daily performs.” » Continue Reading.


Monday, October 30, 2017

New Book Tells History Of Park’s African-Americans

It’s obvious to anyone who spends time here that the vast majority of people who live in or visit the Adirondack Park are white. This could have consequences for the Forest Preserve, because the Preserve belongs to all New Yorkers and its future is in their hands.

The latest census data indicate that about 18 percent of the state’s population is African-American (another 19 percent is Hispanic or Latino).

Although few African-Americans live in the Adirondacks, our region is not without its own black history. Most people will think of John Brown’s farm in North Elba and Gerrit Smith’s effort to relocate black farmers. But there is much more to the story.

Sally E. Svenson tells the rest of the story in Blacks in the Adirondacks: A History, a new book published by Syracuse University Press. As it turns out, African-Americans lived and worked in the Park as miners, loggers, musicians, waiters, and baseball players, among other things.

The historian Philip Terrie gives a favorable review to Svenson’s book in the November/December issue of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 29, 2017

Lake George History Roundtable Planned

seneca ray stoddardHistorians, cultural and environmental groups, museums, and community members are invited to a roundtable discussion that highlights the Lake George region communities and their stories on Friday, November 3, 2017, from 10 am to 3 pm, at the Bolton Historical Museum at 4924 Lake Shore Drive, Bolton Landing. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, October 28, 2017

A Short History The Sacandaga Canal Project

documents of the senate 63rd sessionWith the opening of the entire Erie Canal in 1825, a call for more canals and other internal improvements arose from all over New York State. People in many legislative districts thought that if the state could build a canal that had already shown its great value, it could also provide infrastructure projects to help regional economies to connect with the artificial river that joined the interior Great Lakes and the global market through Albany and New York City. This was also the case coming from the legislative representatives from Montgomery County and although many lateral canals would be subsequently surveyed, planned and some would even be built, perhaps the most intriguing was one that never had a shovel turned.

As early as 1826, citizens from Montgomery County were calling for a plan to connect the Erie Canal – which already ran through the county on the south side of the Mohawk River – to the industrializing area around the county seat of Johnstown and further into the wilderness to the north for raw materials. Inhabitants of Montgomery and Hamilton Counties formally called upon the New York State Senate through the Canal Commission for a survey to be conducted and a planned canal from Caughnawaga (present day Fonda) up the Sacandaga River Valley (Journal of the NYS Senate 49 Sess 1826). The original intention was to have a canal of over 30 miles and elevation increase of 350 feet that would connect the Erie Canal to the waters of what is now known as the lower Adirondacks. That could therefore be connected to the head waters of the Hudson River and also through a series of lakes to the Raquette River and the St. Lawrence River. Senators knew that in order to populate that region of the state and exploit its natural resources, some forms of improvements would be necessary. However, their concerns grew over the expense and circuitous route the canal would need to travel. The senate forwarded the recommendation to the committee on canals were it apparently lay dormant. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, October 28, 2017

Postal History of World War One Program in Ticonderoga

wwi postageThe Ticonderoga Historical Society has invited the public to a free program focusing on the Postal Service in World War One, on Friday, November 3 at 7 pm. Featured speaker will be Glenn Estus, President of the Vermont Philatelic Society.

As part of the overall support for U.S. Entry into World War One, The United States Post Office Department participated in efforts to help raise funds. One method included cancelling mail with slogans that encouraged Americans to buy Liberty Loans. The United States was not alone in this effort, and this program will also show how allied nations such as Canada, Newfoundland, UK, New Zealand, and Australia undertook similar programs. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, October 28, 2017

A Spirit of Sacrifice: New York State in the First World War

a spirit of sacrificeA companion catalog to the New York State Museum exhibition of the same name, Aaron Noble’s new book A Spirit of Sacrifice: New York State in the First World War (SUNY Press, 2017) documents the statewide story of New York in World War I through the collections of the New York State Museum, Library, and Archives.

Within the collections are the nearly 3,600 posters of the Benjamin W. Arnold World War I Poster Collection at the New York State Library. The book interweaves the story of New York in the Great War with some of these posters, and artifacts from museums, libraries, and historical societies from across New York State, to illuminate the involvement of New Yorkers in the War. » Continue Reading.


Monday, October 23, 2017

Adirondack Witchcraft? Sarah Bennett’s Babies in Hope, NY

This story is about as bizarre as it gets. Locals in the Wells and Northville area were privy to the odd situation when it first came under public scrutiny a little over a century ago. At that time, a goal of regional counties seeking tourism dollars was providing easier public access to the Adirondacks, which was achieved in part by building new roads and improving old ones.

In southeastern Hamilton County, Northville marked the end of rail access in 1910. From there, stage lines carried visitors north through the hamlet of Hope to Wells and beyond. To accommodate automobiles, which were becoming increasingly common, the road to Wells was chosen for macadamization. The new, hard, flat surface would allow tourists to travel north independently, and then access stage lines from Wells into the mountains. The road would also drastically improve travel conditions for locals using horse-drawn transportation. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, October 21, 2017

A Great Pumpkin Prank; Pumpkin Production In NYS

McGraw hallMcGraw Hall, Cornell University’s first building, is certainly the most recognizable symbol of the University and, arguably, one of the state’s most iconic buildings. Built in 1891 and named for Jennie McGraw, a close family friend of University co-founder, Ezra Cornell. McGraw Hall’s clock tower, which houses the 21-bell Cornell Chimes; played three times a day and heard all over campus, stands 173-feet-tall, with an extremely steep 20-foot-high tiled roof-spire. It holds a commanding presence from vantage points all around the city of Ithaca.

So, on the morning of October 8, 1997, Cornell students, faculty, and staff were baffled when they awoke to find a rather large pumpkin, estimated to have weighed 60-pounds, impaled upon the spire atop the tower. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A Fisher of Men and a Fish in the Water

A few weeks ago, the Adirondacks and North Country lost a native who led a unique life, a man who three years ago added “author” to his resume. Robert “Bob” Manning of Massena passed away on September 28 at the age of 81. My personal connection with him is a strange one indeed. We met back in 1966, but I hadn’t been in touch with him since 1969, so you might suppose that our phone conversation in 2014, when we became reacquainted, might have been a bit awkward.

It sure could have been, but not for the reason you might be thinking — that 45 years had passed. No, that wasn’t an issue at all, but these next few lines should help explain my use of the word “strange.” When I knew him back in the 1960s, he was a Catholic priest and one of my schoolteachers (nothing odd about that). He called in 2014 to ask if he and his wife could come and visit me (and there it is!). » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

New Exhibit On Water At Chapman Museum

Water fountain in front of the Rockwell House, Glens FallsThe Chapman Museum in Glens Falls has announced a new fall exhibit, H2O: A Brief History of our Relationship to Water, which will open October 19th with a reception from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.

H2O examines the historical uses of water in the Glens Falls region from the mid-19th century, when people depended on private wells, to the present day. It explores the development of a municipal water supply after the Glens Falls fire of 1864, the transition from water power to electrical generators on the Hudson River, the role of the river and the Feeder Canal in transportation, and controversies surrounding pollution and access to the watershed. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A 1940 St. Lawrence Co Army Maneuvers Project

The Cavalry Camp Near Canton – St. Lawrence Co. Army Maneuvers, 1940On Thursday, October 19th, 2017, at noon, the St. Lawrence County Historical Association will host a panel of local residents who will recall their experiences during the 1940 U.S. Army Maneuvers that were held around the North County.

This panel is part of the Brown Bag Lunch Series, lunch time lecture series dedicated to the memory of Patricia Harrington Carson, who founded the series during her 24 years as a Trustee of the St. Lawrence County Historical Association. » Continue Reading.


Monday, October 16, 2017

1900 Suffrage Convention Reenactment Set For Glens Falls

YMCA building in glens fallsThe Glens Falls Area Suffrage Centennial Committee has announced they will hold a 1900 Suffrage Convention reenactment to commemorate the New York State Woman Suffrage Centennial in Glens Falls on Saturday, October 21 from 1 to 3 pm at the First Baptist Church at 100 Maple Street.

The event will reenact the annual New York State Woman Suffrage Association Convention held at Rockwell House, and Ordway Hall in Glens Falls in the autumn of 1900. Speeches will be presented by historians and reenactors in period attire. National figures to be portrayed at the Convention include Carrie Chapman Catt, Rev. Anna Howard Shaw, and Mary S. Anthony, sister of Susan. Local figures will be portrayed as well, including Addison B. Colvin, Mary Loines, and Susan Bain. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Jack Lagree: Dannemora’s Bobsled Guru

Flush with success in the North Country Championships, taking first and second place, the Lagree Bobsled Club teams were off to St. Moritz, Switzerland, to practice and prepare for the upcoming world championships. In the end, the American squads were disappointed with their results in Europe, finishing fifteenth and twenty-third.

For Jack Lagree, it meant nothing more than getting back to work. He was already planning to prepare up to four sleds for the next Olympics. Despite growing competition from several large American corporations, the results coming out of Jack’s tiny garage were highly sought after by the best bobsledders in the country.

He made no secret of the process. Purchasing old sleds from Italy (machines that he claimed were the best in the world), he then stripped them down and rebuilt them based on his own designs and modifications. The results were indisputable. » Continue Reading.



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