Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Ticonderoga’s Hancock House Celebrating 90 Years

hot box honeyThe Ticonderoga Historical Society will celebrate the 90th birthday of the Hancock House, its architecturally significant headquarters building, on Saturday July 16th. The gala “Roaring Twenties” evening, will be complete with flapper dresses and hot jazz.

Burlington-based Hot Box Honey headlined the Hancock House’s 2015 USO Show. Led by jazz vocalist Jane Evans and guitarist Gregory Evans, Hot Box Honey is an eight-piece band with horns, multi-vocalists, guitar, double bass, piano and drums. They will showcase an upbeat mix of swing, Latin, and jazz standards from the 1920s era. Also entertaining during the picnic supper portion of the evening will be the Saratoga Springs barbershop quartet The Elderly Brothers. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Irish Military Encampment And Concert Saturday

hair of the dog bandMilitary living historians and authors will cover the grounds of the Hancock House in Ticonderoga on Saturday, August 13 for a day-long event celebrating Irish history. The evening will feature a concert by “Hair of the Dog,” the well-known Celtic band with a large fan base across the United States and Europe. Opening for the band is the popular local trio “Loose Monkeys.”

The afternoon will also include several brief programs highlighting the Irish in the American Civil War and How the Adirondacks worked for Irish Freedom. William L. McKone, author of Vermont’s Irish Rebel – Captain John Lonergan and President of the Fenian Historical Society, will present a program on the Fenians. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Around The Campfire With Old Mountain Phelps

Orsen PhelpsOrson Schofield “Old Mountain” Phelps (1816-1905) was the archetypical Adirondack guide.

Guide historian Chuck Brumley attributed this to the wide literary attention Phelps received from early city visitors to the High Peaks, including Verplanck Colvin and Charles Dudley Warner. Phelps was painted by Winslow Homer. He became a stock character in the guidebooks of E.R. Wallace and S.R. Stoddard.

Phelps certainly had the requisite outdoor skills to be a well-known Adirondack guide, and he cut many High Peaks trails still in use, as well as naming a number of high peaks. But it was his personality and aphorisms that caught the imagination of many of the “city men” he guided. He amused and impressed his clients with rustic humor and philosophy.

It is this aspect of Phelps that is apparent in a previously unknown collection of papers recently acquired by the Adirondack Research Library of the Kelly Adirondack Center of Union College. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Why We Celebrate the Fourth the Way We Do

1876 ODJ4thJulyFRFourth of July celebrations across the Adirondacks and foothills are rooted in regional and national traditions. The principal components — parades, social gatherings, feasts, and fireworks — have endured since the early 1800s. They’re actually based on suggestions by one of our Founding Fathers.

During the first century of the nation’s existence, memories of the revolution remained strong, spawning several customs that have since disappeared. Besides parades, food, and fireworks, it was common during that time to skewer King George in a variety of ways. Some towns presented plays with characters from the revolution, generating boos and hisses when the king’s character appeared on stage. All events of those days featured speeches that were widely anticipated, including at least one mocking King George for his treatment of the colonies. Another highlight in every city, town, and village celebration was a reading of the Declaration of Independence.

Each July, newspapers recounted the festivities held in communities large and small, from Albany and Troy to Plattsburgh, Ogdensburg, Watertown, and scores of small villages. Reading of the Declaration of Independence at each location was a revered tradition and truly the heart of every celebration. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, July 3, 2016

Saranac Laboratory Museum Free Admission Days for Residents

Petrova Elementary 4th graders on a recent field trip to the Saranac Laboratory MuseumHistoric Saranac Lake has announced a monthly free admission day for residents of the Saranac Lake School District. On the last Saturday of every month, through September, the Saranac Laboratory Museum will be free of charge for all local residents. Admission to the Museum is normally $5 for adults, and children are always free of charge. Admission is also free for Members of Historic Saranac Lake. » Continue Reading.


Friday, July 1, 2016

Free Museum Board Training Being Held

MANY LogoThe Museum Association of New York (MANY) has announced a lineup of free Board Development Workshops, sponsored by the New York State Office of Cultural Education. In partnership with the New York Council on Nonprofits, MANY aims to raise the professionalism and leadership of cultural institutions by providing quality board training for museums.

Below are dates and addresses for regional events scheduled in Albany and Utica: » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Hallie Bond On Women, Boats, and Lake George

Women recreating on Lake George, circa 1917“As to ‘physical exertion,’ there is no such exertion known here. It is the laziest of all imaginable places.” So “Adirondack” Murray appealed directly to women, even those “fragile or delicate,” in his 1869 Adventures in the Wilderness.

In those decades after the Civil War, Murray was not alone in feeling that women — at least upper middle class city women — were delicate and fragile. Not only were they supposedly far less strong than men, but they were supposed to conserve what energy they had for the female functions. Bearing children and keeping a genteel home was her highest and best duty. She could breathe fresh air on gentle strolls, but that was about it for exercise.

As Murray pointed out, though, “tramping is unknown in this region. Wherever you wish to go, your guide paddles you.” The Adirondack region was ideal for women. They didn’t even have to walk to enjoy the scenery and breath healing “air odorous with the smell of pine and cedar and balsam.” » Continue Reading.


Monday, June 27, 2016

Skiffs to Sail Ferries: Vermont’s Small Boat Traditions

A Lake Champlain sail ferry (courtesy of the the Benson Museum, Benson, VT).Boat builder Douglas Brooks will present an illustrated program, “From Skiffs to Sail Ferries: The Story of Vermont’s Small Boat Traditions,” at the Chimney Point State Historic Site in Addison on Wednesday, June 29, 2016, at 7 pm.

Brooks will share his extensive research on historic boatbuilding traditions in Vermont and his work recreating some of these historic vessels.  » Continue Reading.


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Nominations Sought for 2016 Adirondack Preservation Awards

The Paradox House Retreat in Schroon LakeThe historic preservation organization Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) has opened nominations for its 2016 Preservation Awards. For the past 20 years, these annual awards have recognized sensitive restoration and rehabilitation efforts and adaptive reuse of historic structures that are consistent with AARCH’s mission of long-term stewardship.

Projects large and small in the Adirondack region that have been completed during the past two years are eligible for consideration. The deadline for nominations is July 20, 2016. Announcement of the 2016 award winners will be on October 3, 2016, at a luncheon at the Whallonsburg Grange Hall in Essex, a 2015 AARCH Preservation Award recipient. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Restored Stillwater Fire Tower Grand Reopening July 2nd

Photo of workers on the Stillwater FiretowerThe volunteer group Friends of Stillwater Fire Tower has just completed restoration of the Stillwater Fire Tower. One hundred and twenty-five people hiked to the summit to work on the tower, or attended planning meetings. Mostly North Country and Stillwater locals, but volunteers from all over NY, as well as NJ, MA, PA, DE and FL also took part. The group is partnered with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, who purchased the materials locally and transported them up the mountain.

On Saturday, July 2, 2016, there will be a public Grand Opening celebration at the tower from 11 am until 3 pm.  There will be an attendant in the tower to answer questions or help explain the views of the High Peaks in one direction, and the 195 wind turbines on Tug Hill in the other. An 1920 panoramic map and alidade will be on the fire tower’s new map table. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The North Country Man Who Threatened A President

P1JosephDoldoWhen presidential historians and scholars rate America’s greatest leaders, Franklin Delano Roosevelt is among the few who nearly always appear among the top five, along with Washington and Lincoln. While others certainly served admirably, those three achieved elevated status by facing stern tests of leadership during great crises in our history: the battle for independence, the fight to preserve the Union, and in FDR’s case, both the Great Depression and World War II.

It’s less well known that Roosevelt very nearly didn’t serve as President due to assassination attempts prior to his first inauguration. One of those stories brought ignominious headlines to the North Country over a period of several months.

Roosevelt first won the presidency in November 1932. The 20th Amendment was ratified on January 23, 1933, officially establishing January 20 as the new inauguration date for all future presidents, and making FDR the last President to be inaugurated on March 4. He very nearly didn’t survive the waiting period. » Continue Reading.


Monday, June 20, 2016

Chapman Museum Talk On Stereo View Photographers

The Freshet at Glens Falls April 22nd 1869 by George W. ConkeyThe Chapman Museum will host a talk on stereo view photographers, “Not Stoddard: Stereoviews,” on Tuesday, June 21 at 7 pm.

People often mistakenly assume that S. R. Stoddard was the only landscape photographer in the region, but he was just one of several who produced stereographs in the mid-to-late 19th century. » Continue Reading.


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.



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