Many organizations introduce their work with the words “were it not for the volunteers, we could not…” That can be justifiably said of the Adirondack Research Library (ARL), formerly part of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks (AfPA).
This largest Adirondack collection outside of the Adirondacks launched in 1979 as part of Union College’s Schaeffer library. It then moved and in 1985, courtesy of then Museum Director Bill Verner (formerly curator with the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake) occupied a corner of the Schenectady Museum. In 1988, ARL became a committee of the nonprofit Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks (1901-2010). Following the untimely and sad death of Bill Verner, in 1989 the Schenectady Museum’s next director told us we had to move out. So, for the next 15 years the AfPA and ARL rented space below a dental laboratory in Schenectady. Suffice it to say, that situation was less than ideal. We made the best of it but dreamed of better opportunities. Much better opportunities.
The lighting of the torch in Beijing on February 4th signified the beginning of the XXIV Olympic Winter Games, where many of the athletes are wearing ice skates as they compete for medals in figure and speed skating and ice hockey. While many people will watch these talented athletes on television, others will brave the weather and go to the local pond or outdoor rink to pass the puck or to simply skate in the crisp winter air.
Robert Rogers and his Rangers return to Fort Ticonderoga Saturday, February 26, 2022 through the dramatic 1759 Battle on Snowshoes reenactment from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
The Battle on Snowshoes event vividly recreates the final winter battle between a scout of Mohawk warriors, British Regulars, and Rogers’ Rangers, versus the French garrison of soldiers, Canadians and Native American warriors at Fort Ticonderoga on March 7, 1759. This event is designed to be a rich experience for guests of all ages as they explore the final Battle on Snowshoes within the year 1759.
Eighty years ago, in 1942, a graduate student named Rollo May was diagnosed with Tuberculosis, the early twentieth century’s version of COVID-19. He later joined the thousands of people who retreated to the Adirondacks to help save them from the disease, which what was then known as “the captain of death.” At the time of his diagnosis, May was a former pastor who had recently enrolled in a psychology program at Columbia University Teachers College in New York. Tuberculosis had threatened to cut short this life that showed so much promise and later heralded the American existential psychology movement.
(Momentary) Victory for paddlers: A recap from 2013 about former Explorer editor Phil Brown’s court battle to uphold paddlers’ rights. (Please note: the case was ultimately decided against Phil Brown and the DEC, who had joined the suit. In 2019, after the case was litigated all the way through the New York Court of Appeals, a New York State Supreme Court ruling established that the Shingle Shanty Brook and Mud Pond Outlet are not “navigable-in-fact,” and the privately-owned waters are not open to the public.)
Some brief history and lore, fact and possibly fiction, of the Hunt branch of my Adirondack gene pool. This story spans the vast rolling wilderness of Connecticut 300 years ago, the tall virgin wilderness forests of Vermont, and then the rugged wilderness of the Adirondacks of New York, and a tiny wooden roof of the 121-year-old Hunt family home in Indian Lake, New York.
Our Indian Lake farmhouse has 121-year-old cedar shakes that are beautifully weathered and dark brown.
At the August 2017 Inlet Historical Society’s Annual Membership Meeting at The Woods Inn, I presented a program about The Neodak Lodge. My research was augmented by Kathy Tortorello, Diane Tyrell and Marylou Arps, granddaughters of Roy and Emma Rogers, who generously provided me with Rogers family information and photographs. That program and its supporting content became the foundation for this history. Also, this is an updated version of the article printed afterwards in the Adirondack Express.
What is the origin of the word Neodak? Three authorities use the term. Two indicate it as the first part of a Cayuga (Iroquois Nation) town name, Neodakheat, in western New York. The third considered the name as typical usage of Native American-sounding names in the Adirondacks, giving Nehasane Park and Neodak Lodge as examples.
A 1927 account about the New Neodak Hotel claimed that Native Americans in the distant past routinely landed at the Head of Fourth Lake and named it “Neodak”, meaning “good location” or “head of the lake.” According to a 1941 report, sixteen Rochesterians representing the “Cayuga Tribe” made the “first” of planned annual pilgrimages to the burial ground of Chief Neodakis (?), “famous Adirondack tribal leader of the 18th century.” Following a ceremony and a steak dinner, the group concluded festivities with an evening “indian circle” council fire, featuring stories, songs and “tribal games.”
Later, a traditional Neodak Lodge event would have a “chief Neodakis” meet the steak roast boat at an Eighth Lake location where a ceremony included the taking of a volunteer female guest as an “indian wife.” Participants sang and danced around a large tree and the Neodak staff treated them to a wonderful feast. Then, wearing headdresses and paint on their faces, they returned on the Osprey to Sixth Lake Dam where they were transported to the Neodak.
AARCH is excited to announce that we will host THREE upcoming virtual webinars exploring a variety of topics and themes. All these programs are FREE and open to the public, and will feature a presentation followed by a Q&A period with attendees via Zoom. Pre-registration for each program is required.
First up on Tuesday, February 8 is Poke-O-Moonshine & Adirondack Fire Towers. Our friend David Thomas-Train, coordinator of the Friends of Poke-O-Moonshine, will share a brief history of Adirondack fire towers, the devastating fires that led to their construction, the evolution of fire tower design, and a detailed history of preservation and restoration at Poke-O-Moonshine Fire Tower.
David will also share more on the Friends’ recent and ongoing trail rehabilitation efforts. This event is co-sponsored by our friends at the NYS Chapter of the Forest Fire Lookout Association (FFLA).
The Eagle Bay Hotel on Fourth Lake opened in June 1897 and operated until it burned on August 7, 1945. On the former Hotel grounds today is Eagle Bay Village, formerly the Eagle Bay Villas. At its demise, the Hotel was part of a group of large, popular early 20th century hotels that included The Arrowhead, The Wood, Rocky Point Inn, Holls Inn and Neodak Lodge on the shores around the Head of Fourth Lake. Only The Wood, now The Woods Inn, remains.
This history is based not only on my research, but also the files of the Goodsell Museum, and information in books such as God’s Country and Fourth Lake Early Camps and Hotels. Looking at the Hotel’s knoll in Eagle Bay from a boat, it is hard to picture the Hotel’s structures that served Fulton Chain guests for almost fifty years.
A look back at some of the top stories from five years ago, when the Boreas Pond land classification dominated the headlines:
Boreas Ponds debate: The Adirondack Park Agency held public hearings on Boreas Ponds at eight different locations around the state in November and December. Hundreds of people spoke, offering a potpourri of opinions. But one constant was a sea of green T-shirts bearing the slogan “I Want Wilderness.” READ MORE
‘What is Wilderness’, commentary by Dave Olbert: What is Wilderness, Wild Forest, Primitive, and so on as we apply these terms to our Adirondack Park? They are labels we give to parcels of land within a line drawn on a map. These terms only regulate what we can and can’t do within the corresponding boundaries on the lands that all New Yorkers own. READ MORE
More on the classification: Ethan Winter writes to urge the APA to reject the classification alternatives it has proposed in lieu of a designation for the Boreas Tract that ensures uncompromised Wilderness and a buffer of at least one mile for the Boreas Ponds. READ MORE
The Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) awarded the LGHA $7,500 for a 2022 Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership (CVNHP) Conservation Community Grant to the Lake George Historical Association for its “Called by the Water” room. This grant provides the LGHA with the capacity to reformat content interpreting the cultural, historical and recreational aspects of the lake itself, including a panel which focuses on the Clean Water Act (2022 is the 50th Anniversary of the act) and how Lake George pollution is regulated. Six large interpretive retractable exhibit panels will be on display in the room for summer season 2022 and will become available for schools and historical venues, including libraries, for loan as a travelling exhibition.
The Alfred Z. Solomon Foundation has awarded the Lake George Historical Association $15,000.00 toward the enhancement of a children’s interactive exhibition installation in the “Called by the Water” room.
The LGHA is sponsoring a Touba Family Foundation grant for $2500 to support area musician Hui Cox to create a musical piece with a video based on the climate countdown clock message of urgency about the climate crisis. An opening rehearsal performance will be produced at the LGHA museum in late spring/early summer 2022 and at a local Glens Falls venue.
First, I discovered a one- of- a- kind vintage Saranac Lake “F.M. Bull” glass & wood stopper pharmacy bottle. Then, Historic Saranac Lake Museum’s Archivist/Curator, Chessie Monks-Kelly, and I joined forces in an endeavor that culminated not only in that F.M.Bull bottle being on display in their pharmacy bottle collection, but also in twenty-five more of my antique Saranac Lake “Collins Brothers” bottles being made available in a very successful fundraising effort through Historic Saranac Lake’s museum store.
William Blake Pond is located near Thirteenth Lake in North River, NY and is part of the 114,000 acre Siamese Ponds Wilderness Area. It is a popular hiking destination. In the early 1900s the water from the pond was piped downhill to Frank Hooper’s Vanning Jig. The jig used a lot of water to separate garnet from the hornblende and feldspar stone in which it was encased.
But exactly who was this William Blake for whom the pond was named?
Fort Ticonderoga, a premiere historic and travel destination, will present a one-day living history event on December 4, 2021 to highlight Henry Knox’s epic feat as he prepared to move massive cannon from Ticonderoga to Boston to force the British evacuation of 1776.
On a fall Saturday afternoon in the early 1990s some friends and I met up with wilderness coalition leader Paul Schaefer (1908-1996) at his cabin. Deciding to spend the night with him at the cabin, we drove Paul into North Creek for something to eat. We tried the area’s hotel. One of the hotel staff took a look at Paul’s red plaid hunting jacket and asked him if could change into something more formal. At that, we turned heel and, walking across the street, the side bordering on the Hudson River, entered Smith’s restaurant. Paul was immediately comfortable, having eaten here many times. Someone greeted him, a fellow deer hunter who remembered him. We took a booth and Paul ordered a steak.
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