Thursday, November 12, 2020

Phil Terrie on an important milestone for the Adirondack Park

Nelson Rockefeller signing legislationHistorian and author Philip Terrie has written an article for Adirondack Explorer about an advisory group that issued its findings in a report 50 years ago, with over 180 recommendations. Much came from that effort, including the creation of the Adirondack Park Agency. As Terrie writes:

“A half century ago, on the 15th of December, 1970, Harold Hochschild presented a substantial document to Nelson Rockefeller. Hochschild was a multi-millionaire industrialist, a seasonal resident of Blue Mountain Lake, and the founder of the Adirondack Museum. Rockefeller was the governor of New York. The document was the final report of the Temporary Study Commission on the Future of the Adirondacks (TSC), appointed by Rockefeller in 1968 and chaired by Hochschild during the final year of its investigations and public meetings and the composition of its final report. The result of the confluence of these two powerful figures and of the document Hochschild handed to Rockefeller was the Adirondack Park Agency and the beginning of the modern era of Adirondack history.”

Read the article and then weigh in here. How did the Temp Study Commission change the way we view and manage the park? What kinds of things should leaders and elected officials be focusing on in the next 50 years?

Photo: Former NYS Gov. Nelson Rockefeller signing legislation/file photo.


Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Support the Preservation of Debar Pond Lodge

Debar Pond LodgeDebar Pond Lodge is an historic Great Camp designed by noted Adirondack architect William G. Distin, a protégé of Saranac Lake architect William Coulter, and built in 1940. This spectacular rustic-style log lodge stands on the shore of scenic Debar Pond in the northern Adirondack town of Duane (Franklin County). It is listed on the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places.
Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) supports the preservation and public use of Debar Pond Lodge. We should treat this valuable cultural resource the way we treat our incredible natural resources – with great care and stewardship.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has released a Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (DGEIS) that calls for the removal of the historic lodge and other outbuildings. AARCH has advocated for the preservation and public enjoyment of this historic site for more than 15 years and has developed multiple alternatives for the site that are legal and compatible with its Forest Preserve setting. That NYSDEC has so completely and thoughtlessly dismissed these alternatives flies against its obligations under the State Historic Preservation Act and sections of Environmental Conservation Law.


Tuesday, November 10, 2020

StoryBridge online story project gains momentum

Libraries and other organizations plan their online story projects using free OurStoryBridge tools

“OurStoryBridge: Connecting the Past and the Present, released at www.ourstorybridge.org on Sept. 29, has received national interest beyond the original expectations of its creators. Based on this interest, OurStoryBridge organizers hope to help New York state libraries and other organizations use this model to create their own audio story projects in 2021.

Shown here: a screen shot from the “Adirondack Community” online story project: myadirondackstory.org

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, November 5, 2020

Dexter Lake and star power in the northern Adirondacks

Last week’s Dexter Lake article covered a decade or two of turmoil near St. Regis Falls around the turn of the century. This week, we return to Dexter Lake eighty years on…

Media coverage of Orrando P. Dexter’s 1903 murder case raged on for quite some time, with national newspapers ‘feasting on the social conflict’ and local editors, worried about the negative impact on Adirondack Tourism, tried to defend the North Country and its people.  As the unsolved murder case slowly faded from the headlines, Dexter Lake once again returned to its quiet former self and all was quiet on the lake for decades. The estate underwent numerous changes in use. It had been a summer camp for boys, sportsman’s hotel, St. Lawrence University research center, and most recently a private residence.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Veteran’s Day Living History Event

In honor of Veteran’s Day, Fort Ticonderoga will be expressing their appreciation for our servicemen and women on Saturday November 14. The day features a live reenactment of the American Army at Ticonderoga as its soldiers looked forwards towards uncertainty after the defeat of the British on October 28, 1776.
Through a dramatic recreation of living history vignettes, visitors will see army officers thank the soldiers for their service and persuade them to reenlist. The soldiers’ life and historic trades programs will highlight the preparations for soldiers marching to General Washington’s aid and the defense of Ticonderoga in the New Year.

This event showcases the efforts which led to the liberty and independence of our nation, allowing us to defend it for generations to come. Virtual visitors from around the globe may tune into Facebook Live as well to watch the dramatic recreation of moments from the American Army at Ticonderoga throughout the day.

“This living history event will highlight the American Army’s trials at Ticonderoga and reflect on the sacrifices which led to victory and independence,” said Beth L. Hill, Fort Ticonderoga president & CEO. “Our commitment to bringing the dramatic and real story of our past to life through unforgettable programs such as the Continue in the Service…and Save their Country living history event is an opportunity to share with our visitors the importance of Ticonderoga in the founding of America. The digital component allows viewers and supporters from across the globe to experience this event from the comfort of their homes.”

Highlighted programming includes guided tours, on-going historic trades programs, and weapons demonstrations. The full visitor schedule can be found at www.fortticonderoga.org.


Monday, November 2, 2020

New film highlights indigenous women’s role in the suffrage movement

North Country Community College, along with Paul Smith’s College and the Zonta Club of the Adirondacks are co-sponsoring a free virtual screening of “Without a Whisper – Konnon:Kwe.”

Telling the untold story of how indigenous women influenced early suffragists in the fight for freedom and equality, the film is by Akwesasne resident Katsitsionni Fox. The film will be available for viewing November 9-15, and a question and answer session with Fox will take place on November 12 at 7 p.m.

Back in 1848 before the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, European colonial women severely lacked rights, while the Haudenosaunee women had strong political and spiritual authority in every aspect of their lives. Communication between early colonial suffragists and Haudenosaunee women in New York State contributed to shaping their thinking, laying the groundwork for the struggle for equality to come.

“Without a Whisper – Konnon:Kwe” Follows Louise Herne- Mohawk Bear Clan Mother, and Professor Sally Roesch Wagner as they explain the narrative about the origins of women’s rights in the united states.

Registration for both the virtual screening and the Q&A is available by visiting https://form.jotform.com/202884609227158 or www.nccc.edu/live.

 


Saturday, October 31, 2020

Happy Halloween! Stories from the Almanack archive

In honor of Halloween, I’ve dusted off some of these gems from the Almanack archive:

A real Adirondack ghost town

Witches brooms

And not for kids….“Naughty nurses and the cult of Halloween sex” 

Almanack archive photo


Thursday, October 29, 2020

Adirondack unsolved mystery: The Dexter murder

 

Murder in the Adirondack wilderness is rare; unsolved murders even more so. After more than a century, the mysterious death of Orrando P. Dexter continues to be a topic of conversation and is part of the region’s legacy that perplexes and mystifies local residents and visitors alike.

Dexter Park is a private preserve, located five miles from the northern border of the Adirondack Park, near St. Regis Falls, about 37 miles northwest of Saranac Lake. The rich history of this property began in the late nineteenth century when Dexter, a wealthy New York attorney, purchased nearly 10,000 acres surrounding the pristine, 200-acre East Branch Pond.

In the late 1800s, Dexter constructed a $50,000 Adirondack reproduction of the German artist Albrecht Dürer’s Nuremberg home and named it Sunbeam Lodge. He built a guesthouse (in which no one ever stayed,) a boathouse, barn, carriage house, and several other outbuildings, and renamed the East Branch Pond after himself. Like many other owners of exclusive Adirondack preserves, he posted and fenced in his entire property.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, October 26, 2020

From the archive: John Brown

A new series on Showtime starring Ethan Hawke as abolitionist John Brown prompted me to dig into the Almanack archive for articles about Brown. (And don’t miss scholar/writer Amy Godine’s virtual Grange Hall talk tomorrow night about the historic statue of Brown at his Lake Placid farm.)

Here are a few gems:


Monday, October 26, 2020

Grange talk about John Brown memorial

From the Whallonsburg Grange Virtual Lyceum Series:

Statues and memorials on public land are being debated across the country. Amy Godine, historian and author, will plumb the lost history and meanings of an Adirondack icon, the statue of John Brown at his farm in North Elba. Whether you love it, hate it, or are not sure of its place today, this 85-year-old landmark memorial to the renowned abolitionist invites fresh consideration.

The Virtual Lyceum series is made possible through the generous support of the Glenn and Carol Pearsall Adirondack Foundation.

This talk is taking place from 7-8:30 p.m., presented via Zoom.

You must register IN ADVANCE so we can email you the Zoom link. You can register for the entire series or for an individual lecture. We will record the lectures and make them available later if you can’t watch them live.

Click here to register for the Virtual Lyceums.


Sunday, October 25, 2020

Mystery of the Buttercup, long buried in Long Lake

buttercupFor many years, this steamboat, The Buttercup, was surrounded by mystery and intrigue while it sat in its watery grave at the bottom of Long Lake. If you look closely, you will see a large hole in the bow of this unique ship. The secret of the who, how, and why of that hole stayed a secret for many years.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, October 24, 2020

History Matters: Humble Spirits

October is a good month for a ghost story. So here is the tale of a humble spirit who for years haunted a cure cottage up on Charles Street in Saranac Lake.

I heard this story from Eileen Black, who has lived in the house for many years and raised her family there. A ghost visited their home several times a year for decades. He would show up at the back walkway, walking towards the house, glancing in the windows. Well-dressed, in an elegant, old fashioned coat and fedora, he looked a bit like Fred Astaire, so the family named him, “Fred.” Eileen, her husband, and children all got used to Fred sightings. He would appear and then be gone, before they could get a good look at him. Guests at the house would see him too. They were never afraid of him; he felt like a friend.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Taking Down a Bear with a Knife on Haystack Mountain

From my research on the history of Mount Matumbla:

The December 16, 1936 edition of the “Plattsburgh Daily Press” gave a riveting report of two local hunters who dispatched a 302-pound black bear with just a hunting knife during a hunt off Mount Matumbla.

Roland Rushford and Joe Weaver, both of Faust, recalled coming across the track of a black bear near their camp at Pitchfork Pond on December 8th. They followed the track for about four miles, upward towards the eastern end of the Mount Matumbla ridge. The newspaper called a point at the end of this ridge “Haystack Mountain.”

When the two men closed in on the bear on Haystack Mountain, the bear rolled onto its side, apparently weakened from exhaustion. Rushford recalls closing in on the snarling bear and ending its life with the thrust of his knife into its throat. Rushford told the paper that he intended to use the bear’s pelt as a rug. A photograph of the knife Rushford used to kill the bear is shown here.

As for Haystack Mountain, this news article was the only instance I found referring to the eastern end of the Mount Matumbla ridge by this name. Further inquiries on Facebook, which asked if Tupper Lake residents ever heard of a Haystack Mountain off Mount Matumbla, went unanswered.

Photo: Carrie Snye’s father stabbed a bear with this hunting knife in 1936. Photo courtesy of Carrie Snye.


Monday, October 19, 2020

Mount Matumbla: The highest point in St. Lawrence Co.

Perhaps the most striking feature of Mount Matumbla is its odd name which “tumbles” off one lips (some pun intended) when pronounced. At 2,688 feet, Mount Matumbla is the highest point in St. Lawrence County, and is about 5-1/2 miles north of Arab Mountain. The peak overlooks the Raquette River to the west, and the St. Lawrence/Franklin County boundary line crosses the Mount Matumbla ridge. There is no trail to the summit, which is on private land, so please respect private property!

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, October 17, 2020

Paying tribute to what’s lost

Sacandaga art

This week’s story about the history of Great Sacandaga Lake and the communities that were lost in the creation of the reservoir/damming of the Sacandaga river struck a chord with readers. It was the most shared story of the week.

In the process, we heard from Northville artist Linda Finch, who happens to be showing a exhibition of her Sacandaga Valley Folk Art. The work is on display at the Northville Public Library until Thursday Oct. 29th. It then moves to the Nigra Arts Center in Gloversville from Nov 12, 2020, to Jan. 21, 2021.

Finch says this about the series: “It’s a historic visual retrospective of the valley before, during and after flooding. All 14 paintings have been meticulously researched as to accuracy. Including the Boneyard Gang, who exhumed some of the 3,872 bodies that were relocated.”

Click here for an overview of this week’s top stories from Adirondack Explorer and the Almanack.

Note: I also run through the week’s top stories in my “Adk News Briefing” email newsletter. Click here to sign up.