Wednesday, January 31, 2024

A Dam We’re Glad Never Happened

An artist’s rendering of the dam proposed at Tumblehead Falls.

This is an artist’s rendering of the dam proposed at Tumblehead Falls. For our simulation of its impact, click here.

Many of us know the story of the Great Sacandaga Reservoir, created in 1930 by the construction of the Conklingville Dam at what is now the reservoir’s north end. Approximately 28,000 acres of land were submerged and 3,000 people were displaced to prevent disasters like the great flood of 1913 that inundated Troy.

To make the way for the reservoir, hundreds of homes had to be submerged and entire cemeteries had to be moved.

Twenty-five years earlier, Glens Falls industrialists Eugene Ashley and Elmer J. West had proposed to similarly dam the Schroon River, not only to manage flooding but to catch and retain spring meltwater so that the stored water could be released during the late summer and fall when it was needed downriver to power water wheels and turbines. Their vision called for a 70-foot-tall containment dam that would have raised the level of Schroon Lake by 30 feet and combined it with Brant Lake, and Paradox Lake, creating a reservoir larger than Lake George.

» Continue Reading.

Friday, January 26, 2024

Saranac Lake Winter Carnival – Past and Present


2024 Saranac Lake Winter Creepy Carnival

Driving through Saranac Lake the last few days has been exciting, getting to witness construction of the Ice Palace – brick by icy brick.

The theme for the 2024 Winter Carnival is ‘Creepy Carnival’, which should be pretty fantastic!

We’ve compiled images and a few fun articles  (courtesy of the Almanack archives and of the buttons and posters from the last decade of carnivals.

» Continue Reading.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Historic Signage To Be Installed at Inlet’s Arrowhead Park

arrowhead park sign in lnlet

For the first time in its sixty years as Town of Inlet property, Arrowhead Park this spring will have a sign providing its annual visitors with the history of the popular hotels formerly occupying this location. This article acquaints you with the Park, its history, and describes the efforts resulting in historical signage. It may also be a “lessons learned” example in project management for small nonprofits.

The Head of Fourth Lake

For those unfamiliar with Inlet’s location, the hamlet is at the Head of Fourth Lake of the Fulton Chain of Lakes in the West Central Adirondacks. Its name comes from its location at the mouth of the inlet channel flowing from Fifth to Fourth Lake of that chain. Prior to the Town’s establishment in 1902, the Head of Fourth lake was the destination for Native Americans, then guides and hunters and later vacationers on steamers traveling on the chain’s lower lakes, departing from what is today’s Old Forge location. Presently, each September, Inlet is the first takeout for participants in the annual 90 Miler Adirondack Canoe Classic.

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Saturday, January 20, 2024

2024 Saranac Lake Winter Carnival set for Feb. 2-11

2024 creepy carnival Saranac Lake Wiinter Festival buttonSaranac Lake, NY– Visitors from around the world will travel to New York’s Adirondack Mountains from Feb. 2-11, 2024 to celebrate the annual Saranac Lake Winter Carnival with a ‘Creepy Carnival’ theme. They join in the revelry alongside local residents who have made it their family tradition for generations.

The Saranac Lake Winter Carnival is the longest-running event of its kind in the eastern U.S. dating to 1897. The Carnival began as a one-day event to break the monotony of the long Adirondack winter and has grown into a 10-day festival that includes an Ice Palace, sports, performances, two parades and three sets of spectacular fireworks.

Over the years, the Winter Carnival has retained the warmth, charm and camaraderie of a community celebration. The Carnival is organized by an all-volunteer group called the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Committee, or more formally, the Society for the preservation of Winter Carnival, Saranac Lake, Inc. It is a community-driven festival made possible by the efforts of many volunteers and sponsors.

One of the longest-running traditions at the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival is the Winter Carnival button.The buttons are collected by residents and visitors every year, especially since “Doonesbury” creator and Saranac Lake native Garry Trudeau began designing the buttons in 1981. They can be purchased at various locations around Saranac Lake or by mail order. In 2012, Trudeau also began designing collectible posters as a fundraiser for the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Committee. » Continue Reading.

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Camp Santanoni Winter Weekends: Jan. 13-15, Feb. 17-19, March 16-17

Camp Santanoni, photo by Nancie Battaglia

On January 12, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced three Winter Weekend events will be held in 2024 at the historic Camp Santanoni in the town of Newcomb in the Adirondacks. Hosted by DEC and Friends of Camp Santanoni, along with partners Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), the town of Newcomb, and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s Adirondack Interpretive Center, the Winter Weekends invite visitors to enjoy winter recreation and exclusive winter access to the preserved buildings of the former great camp.

The 2024 Winter Weekend events will take place during the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday weekend, Jan. 13-15; Presidents’ Day holiday weekend, Feb. 17-19; and the weekend of March 16-17.

» Continue Reading.

Friday, January 12, 2024

Saratoga PLAN acquires Snake Hill from Stewart’s Shops

Aerial photo of Snake Hill

A momentous step toward conservation and environmental stewardship has been taken with the successful closure of a $1 million land deal, securing the future of Snake Hill—Saratoga Lake’s largest unprotected shoreline property. The Snake Hill Formation holds a unique distinction as a remnant of the Taconic Mountain lowlands, dating back 450 million years and boasting trees that have stood for over two centuries. Known by its indigenous name, Tor-war-loon-da, meaning ‘hill of storms,’ this landform is mentioned in several indigenous stories and has historical significance. Covering nearly 30 acres within the town of Stillwater, Snake Hill will now be permanently protected.  

» Continue Reading.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

MLK Celebration set for Jan. 15 in Plattsburgh

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Plattsburgh, NY-  The Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration will take place at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, January 15, 2024 at the Newman Center in Plattsburgh, NY. The Martin Luther King Jr. Committee is looking forward to welcoming attendees for this annual celebration. The theme for 2024 is, “Why we can’t wait: Activating our power for equity in justice.” This year’s celebration will feature Mr. William Verity, music director at Plattsburgh High School (PHS). Verity will intersperse reminiscences of his many valued years at PHS as he finalizes his teaching career before moving on to new adventures. He will conduct the PHS chorus and entertain attendees with selections that reflect his long and memorable career which will relate to the program.

Martin Luther King Jr. promoted nonviolence to seek equality for all people. This program will highlight the importance of making positive change without using violence. The program is free and open to the public.

For more information, please contact: Brett Carpenter, Martin Luther King Jr. Committee President, at or (518) 569-5617.

Photo at top: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Wikimedia Commons photo.


Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Beavers Changed His Life Forever

Paul Schaefer presents the beaver gavel to Governor Mario M. Cuomo

Paul Schaefer once told me that his mentor, “Forever Wild” advocate and organizer John Apperson, would occasionally dress in fur to be more noticeable when, during lobbying of the state legislature, Apperson opposed threats to Lake George, the Forest Preserve and its constitutional protection. Schaefer learned from Apperson how and when to be most noticed and effective.


For example, as an elder in the wilderness movement Schaefer once stood up (or down) Governor Mario Cuomo. The governor had just signed the Environmental Protection Fund legislation in the summer of 1993. The setting was Split Rock Farm above Lake Champlain. The dignitaries had all spoken and Cuomo was the last to speak. Completing his speech, Cuomo ( like the rest of us in attendance) was completely taken aback when Paul Schaefer rose and moved to the podium. Cuomo was forced to sit in Schaefer’s now unoccupied chair to listen to what Paul had to say. However congratulatory (of the governor) his remarks, Schaefer had the last word.

» Continue Reading.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Lost and Never Found: The Case of Leighton Goodell

Loon Lake Mountain region

The Adirondacks have their share of people who have gone missing and never been found. The cases of Douglas Legg (1971), George Bombadier (1971), Steven Thomas (1976), Thomas Carleton (1993), George LaForest (2006), Jack Coloney (2006), Irene Horne (2007), and Thomas Messick Sr. (2015) are among the more well-publicized in the annals of Search and Rescue. Adam Federman’s article “Lost,” published in a 2010 edition of in Adirondack Life, provides a superb-yet-chilling summary of the those who went missing within the Park between 1951 and 2008. One unsolved missing-person case barely discussed is that of Leighton G. Goodell, who went missing in October 1924 – almost 100 years ago.

» Continue Reading.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Plan underway to preserve 123-year-old Tuscarora steamboat

Tuscarora steamboat. Historic image

A group of Adirondack residents and boat experts is outlining a future for the 123-year-old steamboat. In 1900 William West Durant—known for great camps and grand schemes— commissioned A. C. Brown, of Staten Island, to build a coal-fired passenger steamboat on the shore of Blue Mountain Lake. Beginning that June the Tuscarora traveled from Marion River Carry through Utowana, Eagle and Blue Mountain Lakes, delivering visitors to Gilded Age hotels and lakefront estates. For nearly three decades it operated much like the other excursion boats on the Fulton Chain, the Saranacs and across the Adirondacks.

» Continue Reading.

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Poinsettia: A Sub-Tropical Plant That’s A Christmas Tradition 

Illustration of a poinsettia

Poinsettias are among the most popular potted flowering or foliage plants of the Christmas Season. They have been for decades. According to the 2020 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Floriculture Report; the most recent statistics available); the wholesale value of U.S. grown poinsettias, that year, was $157-million. At the retail level, by most estimates, poinsettias contribute more than $250-million to the U.S. economy.

Paul Ecke Ranch 

Long-recognized as the largest and most successful poinsettia breeder in the world, Paul Ecke Ranch in Encinitas, California was founded in 1924, by German immigrant entrepreneurs who moved to the U.S. in 1902. For three generations, the Ecke family grew and sold poinsettias; first as cut flowers and field-grown landscape and mother plants and, eventually, as greenhouse-grown stock-plants. They moved their stock-production facility to Guatemala during the 1990s and, in 2012, sold the business and the name. The leadership team stayed on.

» Continue Reading.

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Of War and Peace: On the Heart of the Adirondacks

beach photo provided by Sam Levine

he night before, a group of Amish sung lullabies on an island below a full moon at the end of June. It was a cool, still night, on a lake, George Pataki, former governor of New York State, called the “heart of the Adirondacks.” 

I was up to my knees in clear, warm water ready to push-off. To say thanks to the beach and forest, where I slept, cooked, and swam for two-nights, I looked back, like I did from the back of our silver 1990 Toyota Land Cruiser, when my mom whispered: “Say goodbye.” As we drove-away from our home.

To the other side of a river; a new home; a new county; a new place. » Continue Reading.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

What’s In A Name: Styles Brook of Keene


styles brook book cover

By John Sasso

Recently, author and Keene resident Lorraine Duvall released her latest book, Where the Styles Brook Waters Flow: The Place I Call Home. Her book is a collection of stories which were told to her by her neighbors about life along the Styles Brook Valley, along with her own personal recollections. The waters of Styles Brook flow westward for about seven miles from The Glen, a hamlet tucked between the Jay and Hurricane Mountains, into the East Branch of the Ausable River. The brook is fed by smaller brooks and ponds on these mountains, such as O’Connell Brook, Madden Brook, and Merriam Swamp.

» Continue Reading.

Friday, November 24, 2023

The Albany 1913 Flood: The Possible Consequences for the Adirondacks ( Part II )

Damage of the 1913 Floods ( Albany / Troy street scenes.)

As a reminder, in Part l, I discussed the record-breaking flooding in the cites of Albany, Troy, and Schenectady on Easter weekend in March of 1913. The heavy rains began on Good Friday and lasted for five days. The excessive rain combined with the spring snow melts from the Adirondacks created massive flooding. The floodwaters destroyed bridges, railroad tracks, power stations, and sewage treatment plants. In Troy, the floods burst gas lines and fires were ignited thought. In addition to the massive flood damage, there was a water pollution problem. Pumping stations were turned into standing reservoirs and water treatment facilities were contaminated with raw sewage and there were several deaths from typhoid fever.

» Continue Reading.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

The Albany 1913 Flood: The Possible Consequences for the Adirondacks (Part I )

Damage of the 1913 floods

By Mike Prescott

It was Easter weekend in March 1913, when without warning upstate New York was struck with a massive storm. The Hudson River rose above all previous recorded levels. The flooding was a result of a huge violent storm system that had developed in the Midwest and lasted for five days.

On Good Friday, March 21, 1913 a strong high-pressure system brought hurricane winds and heavy rain into western New York with gusts of ninety miles an hour in Buffalo. Wind, rain, and sleet downed telephone and telegraph lines across the eastern seaboard. Information about the severity of the storm was unable to be communicated thought the eastern portions of the Nation much less New York State.

» Continue Reading.