Monday, December 10, 2018

Fort Ticonderoga’s Christmas Riot of 1776

RIOT living history eventFort Ticonderoga is set to host a living history event “RIOT! Yankees vs. Buckskins,” on December 15, 2018. Throughout the day, visitors will participate in presentations, weapons demonstrations, historic trades, and living history vignettes. The day is set at the time of disunity between officers unfold during an intense riot that plagued the American army in 1776. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, December 6, 2018

Charles ‘Huckleberry Charlie’ Sherman (Part 5)

It had been a busy year, but if anything, Charlie Sherman was more active in 1915, receiving ample media coverage for his many exploits — and more than a few surprises. In January, the Ogdensburg Journal reported on his visit to Watertown’s relief kitchen located on Jackman Street. He dropped in, looked things over, was offered supper, and accepted, afterward offering effusive praise of the food, facility, and staff, and rewarding them with brief and witty speeches on a number of topics.

At the end of the month, he showed up at Watertown High School and was guided to the auditorium, where he took the stage to perform several songs and a clog dance. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, December 4, 2018

‘Lost Buildings of Saranac Lake’ on Display

Model of the Berkeley Hotel by John WheelerAn exhibition of models by John Wheeler of the lost buildings of Saranac Lake was revealed on Friday, November 30th. The exhibit, titled “Remember When?” will be displayed for the holiday season in the windows of the former Sears building at 66 Main Street. » Continue Reading.


Monday, December 3, 2018

New Book On Adirondack Guideboats Published

adirondack guideboat bookThe life’s work of Stephen Sulavik, The Adirondack Guideboat: Its Origins, Its Builders and Their Boats (Bauhan Publishing, 2018) provides a heavily illustrated history of the iconic Adirondack guideboat.

Stephen Sulavik was a pulmonary surgeon fascinated by the guideboats. Upon his death, his book was shepherded to publication by his friend and former Chairman of the Board of the Adirondack Museum, Robert Worth. He enlisted the help of historian Edward “Ted” Comstock and guideboat builder and expert Christopher Woodward to revise and complete the project. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, December 2, 2018

Winter Experiences at Fort Ticonderoga

Battle on Snowshoes Reenactment Fort Ticonderoga has announced a new schedule of programs during its Winter Quarters season. From now through April, visitors can attend living history events, engaging seminars, specialty programs, behind-the-scenes VIP Tours, and hands-on workshops.

Guests will have the opportunity to explore Fort Ticonderoga during what was traditionally the “Winter Quarters” season for armies of the 18th century. Groups of 15 or more are also invited to schedule a visit to have the entire site to themselves and a dedicated historic interpreter for their tour during Winter Quarters. » Continue Reading.


Monday, November 26, 2018

Huckleberry Charlie: Jefferson County’s Charles Sherman (Part 4)

In fall 1911, Sherman’s gardening skills, which had paved the way for decades of successful peddling, were credited with helping Woodville’s (near Lake Ontario) George Kring develop an especially prolific squash crop, including one vine that yielded 35 specimens. In a strong agrarian economy, such achievements were frequently touted in the press, a welcome bonus for a man with Charlie’s affinity for attention.

For someone who loved being the life of the party, 1913 proved to be a busy and pleasurable year for Charlie, who had entered his seventies. In early June, he joined the festivities as Carthage hosted the statewide convention of the Eagles, a fraternal organization. Said the Watertown Daily Times, “Huckleberry Charlie was much in evidence and was the center of attraction. Mounted on the bandstand and at the head of impromptu parades, he was everywhere to be seen.” » Continue Reading.


Sunday, November 25, 2018

Frederick Douglass Biographer in Saranac Lake Dec 1st

prophet of freedomJohn Brown Lives! is set to host a conversation with Frederick Douglass biographer David Blight and historian Margaret Washington on Saturday, December 1st, 2018, at BluSeed Studios, 24 Cedar Street, Saranac Lake.

An opening reception will begin at 6:30 pm, with conversation begging at 7 pm. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Fort Ticonderoga Plans For Future With New Museum

fort ticonderoga

Fort Ticonderoga was awarded $249,400 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services as part of a $619,630 project to inventory, catalog and store more than 30,000 items from its collection of objects. This three-year project also includes updating of the online collections database recently launched by Fort Ticonderoga.

Additionally, Fort Ticonderoga announced it is beginning the next phase of a $70 million capital campaign to support plans to enhance the visitor experience, which includes the construction of a new museum to house and display the growing collections. The museum is expected to serve as the premier North American military history museum, spanning the early modern era from 1609-1815. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, November 18, 2018

Jefferson County’s Charles Sherman: Huckleberry Charlie (Part 3)

In January 1910, Charlie’s show-biz repertoire was further expanded with “a bunch of new songs and a new spiel” that he performed three times at the City Opera House when an amateur minstrel show came to town. Although he injured his hand working at the paper mill in Great Bend, Charlie continued to rehearse his songs and a monologue about the Pine Plains area, which proved to be a hit of the show. The Watertown Daily Times said, “One of the features not on the program, but which nevertheless called out perhaps a larger share of applause than any other number, was that of Charlie Sherman, Huckleberry Charlie.” Or as the man himself told it, “I made more people laugh than any other two numbers on the program.” » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Bauer: What Does The New State Senate Mean For The Adirondacks?

NYS CapitolOn Election Day in November 2018, voters across New York State voted for a new direction for the 63-member New York State Senate. With some races remaining close and needing to be finalized based on a count of absentee and provisional ballots, it appears that Democrats have elected 40 Senators and Republicans just 23. There is no way to overstate just what a sea change this is for New York State politics.

There is also no way to overstate the questions that this sea change raise for the Adirondack Park, which is cut up into four State Senate districts, each steadfastly represented by a Republican. These four Senators – Betty Little, Joe Griffo, Patti Ritchie and Jim Tedisco – led by Little whose 45th Senate District has the majority of the Adirondack Park, were members in excellent standing in the exclusive club of the Republican Senate Majority. With a membership of around three dozen they unrelentingly, efficiently and ruthlessly wielded power and thoroughly enjoyed their political spoils. » Continue Reading.


Friday, November 9, 2018

The Continuing Saga of Jefferson Co’s Huckleberry Charlie

Charlie Sherman was in great demand and welcome at just about any event he favored, for attracting a crowd was the key to success, and few folks could attract a crowd like Charlie could. He followed an itinerary that lasted for decades, traveling from fair to fair, selling his wares (sometimes vegetables, berries, peanuts, or soda) and working as a huckster, promoting other vendors and exhibits. Roaming the grounds, he delivered spiels, sang, pontificated on everything from politics to local history, talked about his past, and spouted witty sayings, often in poetic fashion. It was a win-win situation, adding to an event’s atmosphere while putting the spotlight on Charlie — and the more attention he received, the more he liked it.

He was already known far and wide as a beloved eccentric, but — either to maintain his status, or because innate quirkiness guided his impulses — Charlie upped his game in the early 1900s by expanding his wardrobe in unusual ways. Whatever the reason, it played out over time as a roaring success. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Cure Porch on Wheels Project Moving Forward

Blue Moon Builders installing custom made sliding windows on the Cure Porch Historic Saranac Lake has been awarded a grant to support the Cure Porch on Wheels project in 2019. The New York Council on the Arts (NYSCA) has approved $16,000 to support programming on Historic Saranac Lake’s oral history booth and mobile exhibit space.

This is the latest of a number of grants that have supported the project. In 2018, a NYSCA Museum Program grant supported the construction of the Cure Porch on Wheels.

The Cure Porch on Wheels project is modeled on the cure porches of Saranac Lake, where tens of thousands of people from around the world came to take the “fresh air cure” for tuberculosis. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Jefferson County’s Charles Sherman: Huckleberry Charlie

The Altona Flat Rock is a rare and spectacular site I’ve referenced here in the past, and was the subject of my first book written long ago (it was updated in 2005 with new glaciology information). Besides details on the unusual topography, glacial remnants, an incredibly persistent fire, and one of the world’s largest dams when it was built in the early 1900s, there was also a human history to tell.

The forbidding landscape, similar to expanses in Maine, was conducive to the growth of blueberries, the harvest of which evolved into a phenomenon. Entire families established temporary villages of tents and shacks on the Flat Rock from July into September, picking thousands of quarts for sale to local customers and East Coast markets, including Boston and New York City.

A similar business was conducted at the same time on what today is known as Fort Drum in Jefferson County. It was originally known as Pine Camp, located on a several-thousand-acre area that historically bore the name of Pine Plains. While the Altona site in Clinton County was known locally as the Blueberry Rock, Pine Plains near Watertown was known for producing great quantities of huckleberries, a close “cousin” fruit that provided the nickname for our subject, Charles Sherman. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 25, 2018

The Legend of Jack-O-Lantern

A Young boy carving a Jack O Lantern Perhaps the single-most-recognizable symbol of the Halloween season is the traditional hollowed out pumpkin carved into a smiling or ominous, illuminated-in-the-dark face. But, “Why,” I’ve often been asked, “is it called a jack-o-lantern?”

While much of what’s known is ambiguous at best, the first widely-accepted mention I can find dates back to the five classes of fairies in Cornish lore: the Small People, the Brownies, the Spriggans, the Buccas, Bockles, or Knockers, and the Piskies. The Piskies went about confusing wary travelers; getting them hopelessly lost and eventually leading them into bogs and moors with a ghostly light called Ignis Fatuus; ‘the foolish fire’. Among the named Piskies were Will-O’-the-Wisp, Joan the Wad, and Jack-O’-Lantern. » Continue Reading.


Monday, October 22, 2018

Hudson River History: The 1903 Spier Falls Disaster (Conclusion)

In spring 1903, more than a thousand men were at work on the final stages of the Spier Falls hydropower project. A large number of skilled Italian masons and stoneworkers were housed in a shantytown on the Warren County (north) side of the river.

Most of the remaining work was on the Saratoga County (south) side, which they accessed by a temporary bridge. But the company feared that the high waters of springtime had made the bridge unsafe. To avert a potential catastrophe, they destroyed it with dynamite. » Continue Reading.