Thursday, January 6, 2022

For Whom Was William Blake Pond named?

william blake pond sign

William Blake Pond is located near Thirteenth Lake in North River, NY and is part of the 114,000 acre Siamese Ponds Wilderness Area. It is a popular hiking destination.  In the early 1900s the water from the pond was piped downhill to Frank Hooper’s Vanning Jig. The jig used a lot of water to separate garnet from the hornblende and feldspar stone in which it was encased.

But exactly who was this William Blake for whom the pond was named?

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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Relive Henry Knox’s Epic Feat at Fort Ticonderoga

fort ticonderogaFort Ticonderoga, a premiere historic and travel destination, will present a one-day living history event on December 4, 2021 to highlight Henry Knox’s epic feat as he prepared to move massive cannon from Ticonderoga to Boston to force the British evacuation of 1776.

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Kid next to water
Wednesday, November 17, 2021

On the idea of an Adirondack Mountains National Park

adirondack national park mapOn a fall Saturday afternoon in the early 1990s some friends and I met up with wilderness coalition leader Paul Schaefer (1908-1996) at his cabin. Deciding to spend the night with him at the cabin, we drove Paul into North Creek for something to eat. We tried the area’s hotel. One of the hotel staff took a look at Paul’s red plaid hunting jacket and asked him if could change into something more formal. At that, we turned heel and, walking across the street, the side bordering on the Hudson River, entered Smith’s restaurant. Paul was immediately comfortable, having eaten here many times. Someone greeted him, a fellow deer hunter who remembered him. We took a booth and Paul ordered a steak.

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Monday, November 15, 2021

A remembrance from growing up near Akwesasne

david fadden, photo by linda Friedman Ramirez

Editor’s note: In recognition of November being Native American Heritage Month, reader Joel Rosenbaum shared this story:

By Joel Rosenbaum

The grandfather of David Fadden (see here for a recent profile on David Fadden), Ray Fadden, was always talked about with a great deal of respect in my family, where I grew up in Massena, N. Y., not far from the Native American reservation (Akwesasne) in Hogansburg, N. Y.

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Tuesday, November 2, 2021

A New Clue to the Origin of Saranac Lake’s “Ampersand”

ampersand

One of the most popular hiking destinations in the Saranac Lake region is Ampersand Mountain.  Standing at 3,353 feet, Ampersand provides one of the most exceptional view of the Saranac Lake region – and beyond.  From the expanse of the bare, granite summit, your eyes will gaze about a 360° panorama, whose beauty you will wish you could seal in your mind indefinitely.  The waters of the Saranac Lakes, Raquette Pond and River, Long Lake, and Ampersand Lake.  A plethora of Adirondack peaks such as Mount Van Dorrien, the MacIntyre Range, the Sawtooth Mountains, the Seward Range, Stony Creek Mountain, the McKenzie Range, Whiteface Mountain, and the Sentinel Range.

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Monday, October 18, 2021

Help support Historic Saranac Lake’s collections

bottles

A generous local collector, Richard Monroe, donated 25 of these Collins Brothers bottles to be sold to further the preservation and use of Historic Saranac Lake’s collections.

Each bottle will be sold for $100, with options for a clear or blue bottle (shipping available). Please note: these bottles are old, and were discovered after spending many years in local lakes and rivers, and therefore may contain small imperfections.

The sale will be open to the public on Tuesday, October 19 at 12:00PM (EST). The sale will be first-come, first serve, so mark your calendars! A link will be added to this page at that time.

Please note: these bottles are identical to ones contained in our permanent collection. If you would like to see these bottles in the future, please get in touch! Questions? Send us an email!


Tuesday, September 28, 2021

David Gibson to give Paul Schaefer talk at Union College

Paul Schaefer Adirondack Conservation – Paul Schaefer and Links in a Long, Historic Chain with David Gibson

September 30, 2021
(Rain Date October 7, 2021)
5:00 p.m.

Kelly Adirondack Center Amphitheater
897 St. David’s Lane, Niskayuna

This event is free and open to the public.

As the years go by, let us never forget that Paul Schaefer and his allies during the 20th century saved the Forest Preserve and the integrity of our 19th century ‘forever wild’ constitution for current generations. His victories over those who would exploit the Forest Preserve were never assured. This program will review how Schaefer and allies did it, what we owe them today, and how we try to extend their legacy in the 21st century.

Paul Schaefer (right) with his mentor John S. Apperson in the Adirondacks
photo by Howard Zahniser


Monday, August 30, 2021

A view of St. Regis Mountain fire tower

My first day at Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC) back in June I sat on a couch in front of the bird feeders eating lunch. As I ate and watched the birds I noticed something else out of the corner of my eye. I saw a tiny spec peeking out over St. Regis Mountain’s bare top. It was the St. Regis Mountain Fire Tower, the longest active fire station in the Adirondacks.

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Sunday, August 29, 2021

The Great Canoe Race Conspiracy

How the Adirondack Park Agency lead counsel’s legal shenanigans denied the Environmental Conservation Department a canoe racing victory 

The year was 1977. I was 13 years old. It was the summer before I entered my freshman year at Saranac Lake High School.  My Dad, Tom Monroe, had just been appointed in April by Commissioner Berle as DEC’s (then referred to as “Encon”) Region 5 Regional Director, following the long and distinguished career of the legendary William E. Petty.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Adirondack Story Project tops goal

Adirondack community story project
Keene Valley Library celebrates the success of project, replicated across the country

Town of Keene residents have exceeded this summer’s 200-story goal for stories available through Adirondack Community: Capturing, Retaining, and Communicating the Stories of Who We Are. 

Adirondack Community, sponsored by the Keene Valley Library, is a multi-year local history project that collects and organizes 3- to 5-minute audio stories and related photographs from town of Keene community members through an online platform to share the rich social and cultural history of this community located in New York state’s Adirondack Mountains. Stories are used in classrooms from elementary school through college. In a town of about 1,100 residents, over four times that number of users have clicked on the website to listen to stories and podcasts have been listened to almost 1,400 times.

Since project launch in June 2019, volunteer storytellers have recorded over 220 stories. The celebration planned for late this month has been postponed due to current COVID-19 concerns.

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Saturday, August 21, 2021

Paul Smith’s College celebrates 75 years

paul smithsPAUL SMITHS, N.Y. – The 75th anniversary of Paul Smith’s College is underway as the College of the Adirondacks celebrates its position as one of the iconic educational institutions in Northern New York.

Phelps Smith, son of (Apollos) Paul Smith who passed in 1937, founded the college through his bequest. It was his father Paul who built the Paul Smith’s Hotel in 1859, one of the first resorts in the Adirondacks. 

The college’s first class matriculated in 1946. Two and four-year degrees are offered in environmental sciences, hospitality, forestry, business, and a new Master’s degree in natural resource management rounds out the academic offerings. Most recently, it has committed to a sport and education initiative whereby PSC has developed official working relationships with USA Nordic and US Biathlon. Student/athletes in those sports can attend PSC, train right outside their dorm rooms, and simultaneously pursue an education. 

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Sunday, August 1, 2021

Message In a Bottle

bottles on shelves

When I was a boy growing up in our house on 1 Stevenson Lane, my mom had an antique bottle collection that she kept on a shelf.  One of those bottles had a rustically intricate attached metal stopper. The engraved circular glass on the front read “ISAAC MERKEL & SON, BOSS LAGER, SARANAC LAKE.” That bottle always held a special fascination for me. I still have it.

It all began innocently enough, quite by accident really, about three summers ago as I quietly rowed my Zen boat canoe from South Creek into camp. As I crossed some shallows near the shore of an island as I entered the lake, something glistened blue, reflecting morning sunlight from the lake’s bottom.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

The Proposed Great Schroon Lake (or the Dams that Never Were)

Line drawing of the proposed Tumblehead Falls Dam (1895 )

Line drawing of the proposed Tumblehead Falls Dam (1895 )

I recently saw a Facebook post by singer/songwriter Dan Berggren in which he outlined the Rural Free Delivery route, of his Uncle Harry, in Minerva, N. Y. from 1915-1945.  The song “When Harry Carried the Mail”  reminded me of an article that I wrote for Adirondack Life, March/April, 2012 titled “Great Schroon Lake: The Dam Plan Would Have Altered the Park.”

In that article I wrote about the proposed dam that was to be constructed on the Schroon River at Tumblehead Falls, not far from Chestertown. (Great Schroon Lake: The Dam Plan Would Have Altered the Park) That dam was to be located at what has become to be known as Hello Mountain at mile marker 71 of the Northway. (On the mountain side across the Schroon River valley there are large white plywood letters spelling out the word “Hello” )  This was going to be the anchor of one side of a 70 foot-tall dam that would have impounded the Schroon River, all of Schroon Lake, Paradox Lake and Brant Lake.  However there is more to the story than appeared in that article.

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Thursday, July 22, 2021

A Story of an Aluminum Basket

Linking communities, social media, and family

A few weeks ago, I found an aluminum basket at a shop in Massena. In style, it mimics baskets that are traditionally made from black ash. Available information indicated it was made by someone who worked at Alcoa some years ago.

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Thursday, July 15, 2021

John Brown Farm and New York’s Voter Suppression History

voter suppressionThis year we are celebrating New York State’s acquisition of John Brown Farm 125 years ago.  And it is good that we are.

But let us also recall a 200th Anniversary linked to the John Brown Farm – a connection that has particular importance this year as we witness a voter suppression spree around our country.  Two hundred years ago, that was us–our New York ancestors–enacting explicit rules to keep blacks from voting.

John Brown and his family came here to the Adirondacks as part of an effort to counteract New York State-sponsored suppression of voting rights for black men.

We are now seeing a wave of voter suppression efforts in states controlled by Republican legislators fearful of losing their majority power.  Well, guess what?  That’s exactly what was going on here in good old New York back in the early 1800’s.  We New Yorkers apparently were leaders in voter suppression.  We even put it into the state constitution!  That’s more than the states are doing today.

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Kid next to water

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