Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Fort Ticonderoga Offering Specialty Tours This Summer

Fort Ticonderoga Guns By Night ProgramVisitors to Fort Ticonderoga will be able to immerse themselves in the history and natural beauty at the Fort during guided specialty tours this summer. Participants can witnesses the power of artillery during the Guns by Night tour; join the Soldier for an Evening program to enlist with your family and friends in the Continental Army; discover the history within the walls of the 1826 Historic Pavilion house during the Pavilion Promenade tour; and enjoy a sunset cruise aboard Fort Ticonderoga’s Vessel Carillon to discover why Lake Champlain is one of America’s most historic waterways. » Continue Reading.


Monday, June 13, 2016

The Babbie Rural and Farm Learning Museum

BabMus01In the northeast corner of New York State, the first weekend in June features Museum Days, during which 16 facilities in Clinton County offer free admission. We were among many who appeared as special guests on both days, offering our books for sale and visiting with attendees, which meant talking a lot about “the good old days.” From that experience, I can assure everyone that a trip to the Babbie Rural & Farm Learning Museum in Peru, where we spent Saturday, is a great idea from several perspectives.

As a museum, it’s a real pleasure, and for children and adults alike, it’s fun and entertaining. But it occurred to me that it’s also a priceless gift to people in their sixties or older, and to the offspring of those folks who have heard stories about childhood chores, tools of yesteryear, and appliances that preceded modern devices. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, June 11, 2016

Farrand Benedict’s Abandoned Newcomb-Long Lake Canal

Contemporary Arial Photograph of the Canal photo Rick Rosen 2008Farrand Benedict, “Professor B,” surveyor and professor of mathematics and engineering at the University of Vermont in Burlington, wrote a proposal for a canal across the Adirondacks in 1846. His plan was to use the Black River Canal with its connection to the Erie Canal at Rome and build a railroad from Boonville, on the Black River Canal, to Old Forge. He was then going to utilize the Fulton Chain of Lakes, Raquette Lake, Long Lake, the Raquette River and the Saranac Lakes with various lock systems, dams, and inclines to the Saranac River for canal boat traffic. He also proposed another railroad to Keeseville and on to Port Kent on Lake Champlain. His objective was to stimulate commerce by using the canal to ship mining ores and logs out of the Adirondacks and to bring agricultural and finished goods in. These plans were stalled by the the expansion of railroads, which were faster and able to carry more goods, and the aftermath of the Panic of 1837.

In an 1846 report to the New York State Senate, Benedict fleetingly mentioned the possibility of another plan: “Extensive lines of small boat navigation… Thus the great mineral district of Newcomb may communicate with Long Lake, thro’ the Rich chain of lakes on the upper Hudson. ” Benedict did not expand on the possibility of a canal system to link the iron mines of Newcomb with the Long Lake, but the idea didn’t die there. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Fort Ticonderoga Focusing Season Around The Year 1777

Fort Ticonderoga SoldiersMy family makes a point of going to Fort Ticonderoga every summer. Tri-corner hats, fife and drum corps, cannons and muskets surround us. Overlooking a beautiful backdrop of Lake Champlain, Fort Ticonderoga is where every day is re-enactment day.

According to Fort Ti President Beth Hill, the curators choose a year from the fort’s history and focus the season’s interactive exhibits, events, and activities around that singular year. This year when we step through the doors of Fort Ticonderoga it will be 1777. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Sweat And Matt Deja Vu: Another Dickinson Center Manhunt

1SweatMattEarly June marks the one-year anniversary of one of the biggest crime stories in the Adirondack region during the past century. The final days of the manhunt for Richard Matt and David Sweat played out in northern Franklin County, focusing mostly on Malone and the large forest south of the village. By coincidence, one of the biggest crime stories of the 1800s unfolded in the same area and shared some key components: murderers on the loose, a manhunt, and Dickinson Center. Both stories rocked a sparsely populated region, where little of consequence ever seemed to happen. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, June 4, 2016

Farrand Benedict: Crossing The Adirondacks

portraitA few years ago I learned of a fascinating but rather forgotten individual in Adirondack history. Along with his slightly older mentor Ebenezer Emmons and his younger contemporary Verplanck Colvin, he was among the first to accurately survey much of the Adirondacks. His name was Farrand Benedict.

Farrand Northrop Benedict was born in New Jersey in 1803, the oldest of seven. His parents died in the early 1830s and he became something of a father figure for his younger siblings. Graduating from Hamilton College in 1823, Benedict studied law and engineering and taught surveying and mathematics in Virginia and in Western New York before taking a professorship at the University of Vermont in Burlington in 1833. Teaching mathematics and surveying, Professor Benedict was known affectionately as “Professor B” or “Little Ben”.

Farrand Benedict first arrived in the Adirondacks in 1835, exploring and working in the Adirondacks, often bringing his wife and his brothers. He visited every year, often several times a year, until 1855. » Continue Reading.


Friday, June 3, 2016

2016 Adirondack Coast Museum Days This Weekend

adk coast arts and history passportThe Adirondack Coast Cultural Alliance (ACCA) again celebrates Museum Days throughout the Adirondack Coast from June 4-5, 2016, inviting visitors and residents to explore the area’s wealth of museums, galleries, and cultural organizations.

For these two days, participating locations will offer free admission, including demonstrations, exhibits, hands-on activities, and more. As the backdrop for many historical events and happenings, lakeside villages, charming hamlets and the historic city of Plattsburgh, the Adirondack Coast offers visitors the opportunity to relive some of the most pivotal moments in our country’s history. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Dannemora Escapee Jack Williams: At First, Too Big to Succeed

DannPicketWall1880As the one-year anniversary of the infamous Dannemora prison break approaches, here’s the story of an inmate linked to a pair of unusual breakouts, excerpted from my book, Escape from Dannemora.

Despite media stories claiming early on that Richard Matt and David Sweat were the first-ever escapees from Clinton Prison, some in the past did it in even more spectacular fashion, and overall, hundreds managed to escape under various circumstances. Among them was Jack Williams, a participant in two Clinton exits involving unusual components featured in no other Dannemora escapes. » Continue Reading.


Monday, May 23, 2016

Losing a Dear Friend and Valued Historian

LyMtMuseumLyon Mountain is mourning the loss of an important community member, one who also meant very much personally to me and my wife, Jill Jones. Rita Kwetcian, 85, passed away late last Thursday. Recently, when caring for her home became too difficult, she moved to 260 Lake Street: A Senior Resort Community in Rouses Point. Otherwise, her entire life was spent in Lyon Mountain, which happens to be the subject of my first book published through our new company twelve years ago. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Railroad Seeks To Block Adirondack Rail Trail

Adirondack Scenic Railroad. Photo by Susan BibeauThe Adirondack Railway Preservation Society has asked a judge to prohibit the state from moving forward with a plan to remove 34 miles of railroad tracks between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid.

In a lawsuit filed in State Supreme Court, the nonprofit organization contends that the plan to divide a state-owned railroad corridor into a rail segment and trail segment violates the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan and the state Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation Law.

It names as defendants the Adirondack Park Agency, APA Chairwoman Lani Ulrich, the state Department of Environmental Conservation, and Basil Seggos, the DEC acting commissioner.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Two Jefferson County Men Who Made Good in Illinois

P1RockfordMfgCo1889A pair of North Country men, born just a few miles apart in Jefferson County, left New York in their adult years and settled about 65 miles apart in Illinois, where each left his lasting mark. Together, their names were also attached to an institution in Arkansas that lives on nearly a century and a half later.

John Budlong was born in February 1833 in Rodman, New York, about eight miles south of Watertown. The Budlong family has many historical connections dating back to the Revolutionary War. John attended several of the best schools in the region: the Rodman Seminary, the Jefferson County Institute at Watertown, the Adams Institute, and Falley Seminary at Fulton in Oswego County. At the age of 18 he began a wide-ranging teaching career, working in North Carolina, Texas, and Missouri before returning to Rodman, where he continued teaching and began studying law. » Continue Reading.


Monday, May 16, 2016

Saranac Lake ‘History Matters’ Speaker Series Expanded

history mattersHistoric Saranac Lake announces an expanded “History Matters” Speaker Series beginning this month. This new series will feature an event each month for the rest of 2016. The expanded series will include presentations by Dr. Ian Orme on the state of tuberculosis today, Dr. Neil A. Holtzman on Dr. Norman Bethune, and Mary-Nell Bockman on historic preservation in Cuba. Dates for each of the presentations will be announced soon.

The series will kick off this Thursday, May 18, with a presentation entitled “Mythbusting the National Register of Historic Places,” which aims to help the owners of historic properties understand the benefits of the register. Rich in history and architecture, Saranac Lake is home to six historic districts and numerous individually-listed properties on the National Register of Historic Places. This means that most of the historic homes or businesses in Saranac Lake are eligible for or already on the National Register. The Register recognizes properties that are historically and architecturally significant in communities across the country. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Free Historic Walking Tours in Potsdam, Ticonderoga, Bluff Point

Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), the historic preservation organization for the Adirondack region, will host a series of walking tours this spring in three communities with unique architecture. Free and open to the public, the tours will take place in Potsdam on May 14, Ticonderoga on May 21, and at Clinton Community College at Bluff Point on Lake Champlain on June 4.

Participants will join local experts and historians in exploring the distinct styles, materials and building designs, and the fascinating history of these very different Adirondack places. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Warrensburg-Glens Falls Trolley Program, Ceremony May 15

trolley carA program on the early 20th century trolley route from Warrensburg to Glens Falls will be presented at the Richards Library in Warrensburg on Sunday, May 15, at 3:30 by Paul Gilchrist, PhD.

Warrensburg was the northern terminus of the Hudson Valley Railway’s trolley line from 1902 until 1928. The presentation of photographs, maps, and aerial photos will follow a ceremony unveiling a roadside plaque marking the location of the Schroon River hydroelectric plant that supplied the trolley line » Continue Reading.


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Aviation History: Air Marking The North Country (Conclusion)

AMP2A 1951CiceroNYShortly after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, it was realized that airmarks could be used by enemy planes, so the order was given to remove 2,500 airmarks that stood within 150 miles of the nation’s coasts. Six weeks later, those marks were obliterated, undoing six years of labor—but shortly after, the blanket order was modified. Why? The absence of airmarks was causing military pilot trainees to become lost. The new order allowed airmarks within 50 miles of flight training airfields.

The national program resumed after the war, with improved methods (including government-supplied plywood templates for lettering) and greater participation, but it’s truly remarkable that despite historic advances in communications and airplanes, the airmark system remained in use into the 1970s.

If you’re old enough to have flown locally back then, you might recall some North Country rooftop markings, some of which are listed below with their year of origin. Most were maintained until the system became outdated. » Continue Reading.



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