Saturday, June 3, 2023

Historic marker unveiled at Glove Theatre

glove theatre historic marker

The Gloversville Theatre Corporation Board of Directors will host a ceremony to unveil an official NYS Historic Marker under the marquee of the historic Glove Theatre, 42 N. Main Street, Saturday, June 3 at 2 pm, prior to the Southern Adirondacks Food and Wine Festival and Glove Cities Arts Alliance 2023 Arts Walk.

At the unveiling, speakers include NYS Senator Mark Walczyk (SD 49), NYS Assemblymember Robert Smullen (AD 118), Fulton County Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman John Blackmon, City of Gloversville Mayor Vincent DeSantis, Executive Director of the Fulton County Historical Society & Fulton County Historian Samantha Hall-Saladino, and Glove Theatre Vice President Alex Miller.

The NYS Historic Marker was fully funded with a grant from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation. The Pomeroy Foundation is committed to “supporting the celebration and preservation of community history by providing grants to obtain signage in the form of roadside markers and plaques”. While there are other markers in Fulton County, The Glove Theatre marker is only the Foundation’s second granted in Gloversville. The first was awarded in 2022 to Post 137 of the American Legion, of which Gloversville native and U.S. Congressman Lucius N. Littauer was the sole financial donor.

The Glove Theatre will be hosting Wonder Women, an evening music festival on Saturday, June 10th, which will feature a mix of local and regional musical talent and honor local females for their positive impact within the Fulton County community. The show will commence at 7 pm with tickets at $10. Musicians include JoAnn Sifo, Olivia Hanifan, Cosby Gibson, and Journey Blue Heaven. The honorees include Jennifer Donovan, Indiana Nash, and the late Barbara C. Henry. The evening will be hosted by WENT’s Patti Noble.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Keeping forests as forests: Clarence Petty’s vision

clarence petty memorial

Clarence Petty (1905-2009) grew up in the Adirondacks and eventually had a career with the state conservation department. His biography by Chris Angus, The Extraordinary Adirondack Journey of Clarence Petty. (Syracuse University Press, 2002) is still available.  After a few years with the new APA, upon retirement in 1974 Clarence became one of the great citizen advocates for conservation. I first met him in 1987 in the board room of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks, where his voice stilled the room. He never dominated a meeting, but when he did speak his voice carried to good effect. He declared his point of view firmly, born of his life’s experience, with a chuckle or two to lighten the atmosphere and to illustrate his point.

Clarence’s core message cut through the many emergencies we were addressing at any given time to remind us that the surest way to protect Adirondack land was to acquire it as Forest Preserve or as conservation easements, and to follow up those actions with more DEC real property staff and forest rangers to ensure that the state could compete for the real estate, as part of the statewide open space plan, and also be a good steward of that land over the long term.  “We’ve got to get busy protecting more of the Adirondacks” was his frequent take-away message, followed quickly by “and we’ve got to take care of the Forest Rangers,” points well taken and easily remembered between meetings.

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Saturday, May 20, 2023

Thanks for everything, Robert!

man in brown shirt and baseball cap

By Emily Martz, Executive Director, Great Camp Sagamore

At Great Camp Sagamore, we believe that everyone should have the chance to experience the transformative powers of connecting and learning in the remote Adirondack mountains. For the last seven years, Great Camp Sagamore’s retiring Historian, Robert Engel, has been integral to this vision. As he retires, we ask you to join us in thanking Robert for his dedication to historic preservation and life-long learning, and for all that he has done to inspire staff and tens of thousands of visitors over the years.

For Robert’s first two seasons at Sagamore (2016 & 2017), he was camp’s sous chef. “Despite my History Museum Studies degree and 30+ years working in the field,” Robert says, “including as Director of the Rensselaer County Historical Society, my dream was to create the best restaurant in the Adirondacks. Great Camp Sagamore’s kitchen was practice for that. Then, I became the historian – phew!” We will miss Robert’s sense of humor rooted in his desire to help make everyone feel welcome.

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Friday, May 19, 2023

“I’m new at this, what’s your excuse?”

Guest playing tennis and ball boy, Sagamore Lodge, ca. 1913.

Guest playing tennis and ball boy, Sagamore Lodge, ca. 1913.

By Robert Engel

Great Camp Sagamore’s Historian from 2017 – May, 2023

Margaret Emerson Vanderbilt loved to compete. She also expected her guests at Sagamore to engage each other on the field of battle, be it croquet, tennis, or canoe racing. As a guest of Margaret’s, you didn’t have to win but you did have to play. Did the actress Gene Tierney and the business magnate Howard Hughes confront one another on Sagamore’s tennis court? Sure they did, maybe. Did General George Marshall play Madame Chiang Kai-Shek in a croquet match on the Main Lodge lawn while discussing the fate of the world? Why not?

Competition was Margaret’s way of drawing people together. The idea was that if you met someone new at Sagamore and then spent the day either teamed together, or competing against one another, you would have plenty to talk about at dinner.

The best part was that famous guests did not need to discuss the work that made them famous. They could instead talk about missed wickets and sizzling backhands. At Sagamore, they had the rare opportunity to feel and act unaffected by their fame. How wonderful.

There’s a favorite moment near the end of the history tour at Great Camp Sagamore. The guide has led his or her group out of the Playhouse, where Margaret’s guests might have competed at pool, ping pong, dancing, and martini mixing, not necessarily in that order. Now, at the closed entrance of the last building on the tour, the guide will recap Sagamore’s gaming traditions as they ask first-time visitors to guess the function of the building they are about to enter. Does anybody know?

That’s right, the Vanderbilts bowled.

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Thursday, May 4, 2023

Will Martin’s 1902 Tragedy


old black and white photo of men posing

Photograph of a group of guides and sports posing with deer heads. Back row: 2. Henry Smith, 5. George Lyon, 7. John or Ed Roark; Seated: 2. Ben Muncil. Photograph by Charles Derby. Photo credit: Paul Smith’s College Joan Weill Adirondack Library Archives

By Richard E. Tucker

On Sunday morning, 2 February 1902, when Will Martin and Ed Rork set out from McColloms to check their trapline, it was just a regular winter day.  So far as they knew, they were going to check their traps laid at various places between McColloms and Madawaska.  They would eat dinner at the Madawaska House with their fellow guide and friend Jimmy Eccles at the New York & Ottawa train stop of the same name situated near the outlet of Madawaska Pond and return to McColloms around dark.  This was not unusual.  They had done it many times before.

The weather that morning offered no clues as to what was about to happen.  Yes, the barometer had been falling, and yes, it was snowing lightly, winds were calm, but this was nothing unusual for this time of year.  Temperatures had been warm for the week prior and were still hovering around freezing.  The snowpack was thin and moist.  Travel would be fast and easy along the trail through the woods between McColloms and Madawaska.

What they did not know and could not have known is that the Weather Bureau had been issuing warnings of an approaching severe winter storm.  Their report was carried in The Watertown Times, but clearly the hotel/resort in McColloms where they were living had not yet received this issue of the Times, or even if it had, more certainly, neither Martin nor Rork had read it, otherwise they might never have set out to inspect their trapline on that Sunday morning.

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Monday, May 1, 2023

Tales of the Adirondacks, Past & Present: Who Was That? by Paul Martin

Historic photo of the Ausable Club

Our next OurStoryBridge story share is titled, Who Was That? by Paul Martin. In this story that he recounted for Adirondack Community, Martin shares a fascinating tale about how a young man who worked as a caddy at the Ausable Club located in Keene Valley once met a celebrity. To listen to this story in its entirety, please visit this link:

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Monday, April 24, 2023

Marathon swimmer achieves new recognition

diane struble in a swimsuit and goggles, waving at the camera

Diane Struble, first person to swim the 32-mile length of Lake George in 1958, will  once again be bringing international attention to the area. She is being  posthumously inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame  (IMSHOF, with a ceremony to be held at Fordham University,  NYC, on May 6, 2023.  

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Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Tales of the Adirondacks, Past & Present: Who is the Newcomer?

Betsey Thomas-Train moved to the Adirondacks with her husband in 1981, where they raised three children. Our next OurStoryBridge story share features Betsey from Adirondack Community in the town of Keene. Learn how, through a library lecture, Betsey discovered something shocking about her roots and her connection to the Adirondacks. 

Listen to “Who is the Newcomer?” by Betsey Thomas-Train in its entirety at the following link:

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Sunday, March 26, 2023

Tale of Two Sagamores lecture set for April 7

Great Camp Sagamore & The Sagamore Resort

Great Camp Sagamore & The Sagamore Resort join together to invite you to an evening lecture highlighting the history of both of these Adirondack icons. All are welcome to gather on Friday, April 7 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. for a Tale of Two Sagamores lecture at the Sagamore Resort Conference Center in Bolton Landing, NY.

Historian and author Bill Gates will speak about the rich history of The Sagamore, one of the Adirondack’s most iconic resorts. Robert Engel, historian of Great Camp Sagamore, will share the fascinating history of one of the first Great Camps in the Adirondacks. Both speakers will provide insight into the history and significance of these two Adirondack icons.

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Monday, March 20, 2023

Tales of the Adirondacks, Past & Present: Winning the Olympic Gold Medal by Charity Marlatt

Bobsledders Alan Washbond and Ivan Brown at the 1936 Olympics.

In the spirit of sharing informational, intriguing, and inspiring stories to help highlight the rich social and cultural history of New York State’s Adirondack Mountains, The Adirondack Almanack will share stories written by those who live, work, and play in the ADK, courtesy of OurStoryBridge/Freedom Story Project. These stories, which will be a combination of current and past events, people, outdoor activities and more, will be published on a weekly basis, starting with today’s first story titled, Winning the Olympic Gold Medal by Charity Marlatt. The stories will focus on various locations situated in the Adirondack region, including the High Peaks, the town of Keene, and many other areas around the Park. Stories are compartmentalized into the following categories, arts & culture, catastrophes, work, people, outdoor activities, daily life, community, and natural & man-made environments. 


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Monday, March 6, 2023

Untangling Timbucto and the Roots of Gerrit Smith’s Land Grants of 1846


History has done a poor job of defining and interpreting Gerrit Smith’s 1846 land grants and the Timbucto settlers in North Elba. More recently, scholars have been exploring and telling this rich and fascinating black history of the Adirondacks. However, confusion, fiction, and exaggerations have crept into some narratives. As an independent scholar of history, I believe we need to be vigilant to keep history factual, especially given the current attacks on re-writing and re-framing history. Conjecture and opinions should be stated as such, facts should be backed up by reliable sources and verified by evidence.

Many historical accounts about the land grants and Timbucto are chocked full of errors and myths rather than historical facts. Among these are Alfred Donaldson’s chapter on John Brown in A History of the Adirondacks, Volume II (1921), Mary Lee’s article in New York Times (1929), Beatrice Hughes article in New York State Conservationist (1921), Richard Henry Dana’s article in Atlantic (1871), and various narratives quoting Lyman Epps Jr. These are not reliable sources.

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Sunday, March 5, 2023

North Creek Depot Museum Presents New Video “Interview with the Curator”

Curator Greg Schaefer with host Erin Corr

North Creek, NY – The North Creek Depot Museum is proud to present a new video titled, “Interview with the Curator.”


The North Creek Depot Museum produced a video titled “Interview with the Curator” with President and Curator Greg Schaefer and host Erin Corr. The video was presented as part of an exhibit of winter sports, titled “Daring Descents” (through February 28th) at the Tannery Pond Center in North Creek on Friday, January 20. During the interview, Greg spoke about the story of the Adirondack Railroad and its effect on the region during the period between 1930 and 1945. He described the history of the “Snow Trains” that brought the first skiers up from Schenectady and later from New York City. This was the beginning of the development of skiing at Gore Mountain.

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Thursday, February 23, 2023

HISTORICAL PROFILE:  Fish Hawk Cliffs of Lower Ausable Lake

aerial show of lower ausable lake

Overlooking the northern end of Lower Ausable Lake in Keene are two open ledges which are popular destinations for hikers:  Indian Head and Fish Hawk Cliffs.  The lookouts, both of which are accessible via trail, offer spectacular views of the lake, the Colvin Range to the left, and Sawteeth Mountain and the Lower Great Range to the right.  The Fish Hawk Cliffs are reachable in 0.2 miles via the connector trail from Indian Head to the Mt. Colvin Trail but prepare for a steep into a col along the way.  What follows is some of the history behind Fish Hawk Cliffs which you may not be aware of.

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Friday, February 10, 2023

The Heart of the Adirondacks: The Totten & Crossfield Purchase

The boundary of the Totten and Crossfield Purchase, represented within the bounds of the Adirondack Park. Shown within the Purchase are the gores and numbered townships.

The Totten and Crossfield Purchase is a massive land tract named for Joseph Totten and Stephen Crossfield, two shipwrights from New York City who, acting as front-men for two prominent land speculators, acquired the 1.15 million acres from the Mohawk and Caughnawaga Indians in 1772.  This tract was sometimes referred to as Jessup’s Purchase.  While much has been written about the Purchase, I want to impress upon the reader, especially those who live or enjoy leisure time in the Adirondack Park, the great extent of this tract and provide a quick overview of its history.  If you would like to learn more about this very famous and important Adirondack land tract, see Volume 1 of A History of the Adirondacks by Alfred Donaldson, Rural Indigenousness by Melissa Otis, and Verplanck Colvin’s State Land Survey reports (which are available online through Google Books).

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Thursday, February 9, 2023

Who was Julian Walbridge Rix?

The cover of December 6 1884 - Harper's Weekly

During the winter of 1884-85, Harper’s Weekly, A Journal of Civilization” ran two issues that contained articles dealing with the need for the State of New York to create a Forest Preserve to regulate the logging industry and protect water resources.  The first article ( Harper’s Weekly, Saturday, December 6, 1884 ) was accompanied by seven (7) drawings ( engravings ) by the artist Julian Walbridge Rix.  On the cover of that first issue were two (2) illustrations, titled “Destruction of the Adirondacks – Drawn by Julian Rix :  1. Great Burned Tract on the Road to Indian Lake  [and] 2. Ragged Mountain near Schroon River”. 

Further into that issue there were five (5) additional drawings by Rix in which he illustrated forest destruction brought about by mining, lumbering, and forest fire. The article had an accompanying text.  The actual author of that text is unknown but may have been C. S. Sargent.  Professor Charles S. Sargent’s byline does appear in the companion issue of Harper’s Weekly, Saturday, January 24, 1885.  Both articles are written in the same style and they both express the need for the State of New York to protect its mountainous forests. 

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