The Town of Bolton, where David Smith lived and worked for more than three decades, now has an even greater share in the legacy of that artist, commonly acknowledged as the greatest American sculptor of the 20th century.
Earlier this fall, Candida Smith, the artist’s daughter, presented a work welded by Smith in 1946 to the Bolton Free Library, saying her father would have appreciated this re-affirmation of his many and deep connections to the community.
“My father’s real inspiration was the support and love of Bolton Landing,” she said, noting that Smith frequently used the welding skills that forged brilliant works of art to repair a neighbor’s plow. Smith’s affection for Bolton Landing and its people was reciprocated, Smith said.
“When he was accused of being a communist, a neighbor came to his defense by stating ‘if David Smith is a communist, there should be more of them,’” she recalled.
“It was a warm community,” Smith said. “When my sister Becca and I arrived here every summer, we knew we were loved, that we had a place here. We only have one home: Bolton Landing.”
While Bolton Landing provided Smith with a network of extended neighbors, the hills above Bolton Landing where he lived held perhaps an even stronger, denser community, said town historian Ted Caldwell, who introduced Candida Smith.
“These wonderful neighbors were his community, a community nestled under the ridge of hills to the west, hills David Smith lovingly called Tick Ridge,” said Caldwell.
That community was the seedbed for the work Smith donated to the library: a 14 pound, welded iron key inscribed “Mayor of Tick Ridge.”
Smith made the piece to honor a local man coming home from World War II, Philbert Ainsworth, said Dida Smith.
According to Caldwell, the Ainsworths were neighbors of Smith’s and the other families on Tick Ridge.
“If David Smith wanted a cup of sugar or a scythe or a little gossip, he could cross Edgecomb Pond Road to visit John and Mary Neuman. He could go north to Valley Woods Road to visit Charlie Goggi or the small farms of Howard and Rachel Smith or Albert Belden. He could stop at the intersection Edgecomb Pond Road and Finkle Road to see Bernard and Bea Ainsworth or he could stop at the top of Slaughterhouse Hill to visit Ray Swinton,” Caldwell said.
It was a neighborhood that consisted of people who felt, and said, “If I wanted people to know my business, I’d live in town,” noted Smith.
In 1946, Dida Smith said, David Smith sculpted the large key to be presented to Ainsworth at a coming home party that included most of the neighborhood.
“It was as though he was being presented with a key to the city, although in this case the city was Tick Ridge,” said Smith.
The party was held at the Hollywood, a local bar and restaurant that was situated on the site where Frederick’s restaurant now stands, said Smith.
According to Megan Baker, the Bolton Free Library’s director, a ribbon was made by Dorothy Dehner, Smith’s first wife, so that the key could be hung from Ainsworth’s neck.
“The stories I’ve heard relate that the key was so heavy Ainsworth fell over,” said Baker.
Dida Smith later acquired the work and decided to donate it to the library earlier this summer.
“This is where we learned to read, as many of you did,” said Smith. “This library has meant a great deal to my family over the years.”
Presenting the key to Bolton Landing, Smith said, “It’s a bit eccentric, but so are we.”
Members of the Bolton Free Library’s board of trustees accepted the work on behalf of the Bolton Community.
“This will forever be a part of the Bolton Free Library,” said Hal Heusner, the chairman of the library’s board.
The work will be displayed on a wood pedestal by Bolton furniture maker Tom Brady and on a base by Mike Zuba, near a collection of art books donated in Smith’s memory by friends of the artist after his death in 1965.
The presentation of the key was made before an audience of roughly one hundred friends, neighbors and town residents, many of them relatives of Smith’s neighbors on Tick Ridge.
The presentation ceremony and the reception that followed was called ‘Coming Home,’ explained Megan Baker.
“We’re commemorating the fact that David Smith made this piece in Bolton and it’s returning to the town. But we also wanted to commemorate the piece itself and the reason why it was made by David Smith – to welcome home a fellow Boltonian,” said Baker.
“We also wanted an opportunity to thank Candida Smith for her extraordinary generosity; the entire community came together to help us do that,” said Baker.
“Many people played a vital role in making this event possible,” said Baker.”Kate Van Dyck created the posters and invitations; Cheryl and Buzz Lamb have donated wine and the following restaurants have donated food: Blue Water Manor, Villa Napoli, the Algonquin, Lakeside Lodge, Ryefield and Cate’s. We’re thank everyone for their support.”
The key and the story of its origins, said Ted Caldwell, “is more than a story about a simple piece of art; it’s a story about Bolton, about neighbors and about David Smith’s love of Bolton.”
That, he said, is what makes the donation of the key to the library such a singular gift to the town.
But the key will soon be recognized with a place in the cannon of David Smith’s work, said Peter Stevens, the executive director of the David Smith estate.
According to Stevens, the key will be included in the next edition of the artist’s catalogue raisonne.
For more news from Lake George, read the Lake George Mirror or visit http://www.lakegeorgemirror.com
The big event this weekend will be in Albany where Phish is playing two shows at the Knickerbocker Arena (Times Union Center). I’ll be attending at least Friday night. Raisinhead is playing a post-Phish show at Jillian’s downtown Saturday night. Happy Thanksgiving. Friday, November 27
There’s a new cookbook tailored for the season, Northern Comfort: Fall & Winter Recipes from Adirondack Life. Edited by food writer Annette Nielsen, it includes more than 100 traditional and contemporary dishes gleaned from the magazine’s 40-year history. It focuses on regional flavors, including wild game, maple, apples, hearty vegetables and hearth breads. Paperback, 142 pages, $15.95. Click here to hear an interview with editor Annette Nielsen by Todd Moe, of North Country Public Radio.
The day-long meeting will focus on the potential of this emerging industry in the Adirondacks and North Country, with an emphasis on business creation. Topics include biomass market supply and demand, policies affecting biomass energy markets, project finance perspectives, and technology. Experts will discuss these issues from a developer’s perspective. Several Adirondack institutions, including the Wild Center, Paul Smith’s College and a few schools have announced intentions to switch from oil to wood-based heat and/or power. The weak economy and lack of start-up capital has stalled some initiatives, however. Paul Smith’s College trustees this year tabled a proposal to build a wood-chip co-generation plant as cost projections came in millions of dollars higher than initial estimates.
Biofuels are derived from plants, sometimes corn and switchgrass; in the Adirondacks biomass almost always means wood. Although this region still identifies forest products as a mainstay of its economy, in reality very few people work in logging anymore. Select hardwood and spruce logs are exported, often to Canada. Paper mills that ring the Adirondack Park have either shut down or no longer get pulp from local logs, with a couple of exceptions.
Foresters say biofuels have the potential to revive Adirondack logging if a critical mass of demand can be established. Low-quality trees that once went to pulpmills could be ground into chips or pellets instead. (Forest ecologists are also weighing the benefits of the carbon neutrality of wood fuels vs. the ability of uncut forests to store greenhouse gases.)
The conference program, registration, and accommodation information can be found on the Adirondack Research Consortium’s Web site, adkresearch.org.
Nature is constantly at war with itself. Romantics tend to see nature as colorful sunsets, fox pups playing around their dens, and bluebirds feeding their young. People with a more utilitarian outlook see nature as either a source of food (deer, turkeys, blackberries), or something to be conquered at all costs (human needs come first). There is truth in all views, but not one of them is exclusively “correct.” Nature has its warm fuzzy moments, but in reality, it is, as the saying goes, “red in tooth and claw.” This holds true for plants as well as animals. Sometimes I think it’d be kind of nice to come back as a tree. Trees can live a long time. They provide food and shelter for birds and other wildlife. They help pull pollutants from the air and make oxygen for us to breathe. But they are also food and shelter for insects and fungi and myriad other pathogens. And then there’s the weather: wind storms, ice storms, lightning – these can all take their toll.
Not far from my house there’s an area that was once cleared and is now rapidly returning to a cluttered, tree- and shrub-filled tangle of growth. Certain species dominate the growth, and in the shrub department it is blueberries, chokeberries, and choke cherries.
Choke cherries (Prunus virginiana) are a native shrub that can grow to 30 feet in height. Around here, however, every specimen I’ve seen has been shorter than I, courtesy of the local pruning service: Odocoileus virginiana, the white-tailed deer. The berries are full of antioxidants and are edible by people (best in jams and syrups, where you can counteract their astringency with a good dose of sugar). Keep in mind, though, that the plant is toxic to horses.
Choke cherries, like other cherries and plums, are susceptible to a native pathogen called Black Knot Fungus (Dibotryon morbosum). The patch of choke cherries that I visit weekly is riddled with this fungus. It looks like someone has stuck a bunch of burned corndogs on the branches. This time of year the blackened growths are as obvious as the nose on your face, but when the disease is in its earliest stages, it can be very difficult to detect. If you are growing cherries or plums commercially, or even for your own enjoyment at home, you will want to know how to detect this virulent pathogen as soon as possible.
Black knot begins its colonization when spores are released from the parent fungus. The spores come in two varieties. The first are asexual, called conidia, and they appear as an olive-green, velvety growth on the black knot cankers in their second spring of growth. From early spring to early summer, wind and rain break off the conidia and spread them to new infection sites. The second kind of spores are ascospores, and these are formed sexually through the fruiting structures of the fungus, which are found on knots that are beginning their third year of growth. Like the conidia, they are spread by wind and splashing rain from early spring to early summer.
Once the spores are airborne, either blown or splashed, some will land on young wood, such as twigs and branches. Here the spores settle in for the long haul, either entering the plant via wounds or directly inserting themselves through the bark. Often entry is at the crotch of the twigs and branches. If the weather is wet (wet being a relative term, for it only needs to be wet for a few hours), and the temperature is between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, conditions are ripe for infection.
So, the spores start to grow. Mycelium snake their way into and all along the wood of the tree/shrub. During the first year of growth, a small brownish blob may appear on the infected stem. It’s not terribly noticeable, which is why the disease is easily overlooked until it is well-established. Year two rolls around, and now the knot grows rapidly. At first it is soft and develops a greenish-brown color: this is the sign that the conidia are developing. As summer number two progresses, the knots, which are now rather large (they can grow up to a foot in length over time), start to harden and turn black.
Eventually the knots can encircle the twig/branch on which they are growing, effectively girdling it. The end result is a dead twig/branch above the knot. And even though the knot is now hard and crusty, its edges can continue to grow. Eventually, the oldest parts of the knot will break down, and this opens them up to invasion by boring insects (not insects that are dull conversationalists, but insects that will chew their way into the woody tissue of the plant, potentially bringing with them a whole new set of pathogens).
Some authorities consider black knot to be a minor disease, while others call it a serious problem. The latter are probably involved with commercial fruit growers, for whom black knot can indeed be a serious problem. But even if you only have a single cherry or plum, you want to know how to deal with this fungus, for if left untreated, it will work its way through the cherry and plum population, eventually killing off all the trees.
The first thing to do is routinely inspect your trees. You want to nail the fungus as early as possible, so know what the first summer’s growth looks like. If you miss it, and you don’t notice the knots until they are well-formed, it is still not too late. Grabbed your pruners and cut off the offending branch(es). You want to cut about eight inches below the canker to ensure that you are getting most of the mycelium inside the wood. Gather all your prunings and burn them. Or bury them deep in the ground.
If cankers have formed on the trunk of your tree (not as common, but still possible), dig them out with a knife and chisel, taking an additional inch of wood all around. If the resulting hole is greater than two inches across, paint it with shellac and cover with tree-wound dressing. You will also want to destroy all affected wild trees/shrubs in the immediate area. The recommended distance is 600 feet. If you have an orchard you need to protect, contact your local extension office to find out what dormant sprays and fungicides are recommended.
It’s a war zone out there. Fungi, insects and other pathogens are attacking trees and shrubs; trees fight back with sticky saps and toxic chemicals. Some plants call in the cavalry, in the form of insects that will attack the offenders (such as ladybugs vs aphids). The next time you go for a walk in the woods, think about this. Take a look around. See if you can find some evidence that all is not as calm as it seems.
The Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake has announced its 2010 Cabin Fever Sunday schedule. Complete information about all of the Cabin Fever Sunday programs can be found on the Adirondack Museum’s web site at www.adirondackmuseum.org . In addition to the cabin fever programs, the museum will introduce a program in North Creek, on January 10th, entitled “North Creek Songs and Stories – Working for the Man.” The special presentation will feature folktales and music from the region’s mining and logging industries with Lee Knight and Christine Campeau.
Here’s what’s on the Cabin Fever Sunday schedule: Jan. 17, “19th Century Magic and Beyond,” a magic show featuring Tom Verner
Feb. 14, “Passion in the Park,” Valentine’s Day presentation with Curator Hallie Bond
Feb. 28, “Rosin & Rhyme” with Bill Smith and Don Woodcock, at Saranac Village at Will Rogers
Mar. 14, “Epic Stories of the Iroquois,” by Darren Bonaparte
Mar. 28, “Moose on the Loose in the Adirondacks,” with Ed Reed
Apr. 11, “An Armchair Paddlers’ Guide to the Schroon River” by Mike Prescott
Photo: A vintage valentine from the collection of the Adirondack Museum.
In a mad rush of holiday cheer, too many side dishes and the turkey/tofurkey debate, it is easy to forget that some people will not have an argument over the necessity to recreate meat-shaped products out of tofu. Those and many others will be wondering where their next meal will be coming from.
For the 11th year the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) Holiday Train will be pulling into over one hundred towns in seven states and Quebec raising awareness for local food pantries.
The northeast sector of the tour starts Thursday, November 26 at Rouses Point at approximately 11:00 pm. Each stop is a little over a half hour. Crowds will be treated to live entertainment as well as a festively decorated train, free of charge. All that is asked is a donation to the local food pantry. In addition, to providing the gaily lit-up train and live bands CFR donates funds to each stop’s food bank.
The US portion of the tour is hosted by Prescott a brother (Kaylen) and sister (Kelly) duo hailing from the Canadian musical legacies Family Brown (award winning country band formed by their grandfather, uncle and mother) and later Prescott-Brown (their parents’ award winning band). Prescott’s own style has them performing at such venues at the Ottawa BluesFest and welcoming their first cd, “The Lakeside Sessions.”
Singer/songwriter Adam Puddington will take the stage with his own unique brand of music lightly influenced by Gordon Lightfoot, Neil Young, and Blue Rodeo. Other musical guests will be Sean Verreault best known as part of the blues rock band Wide Mouth Mason and Milwaukee native Willy Porter’s blending of folk music rounds out the program.
Local food banks will be collecting non-perishable food items and donations at each location so all the audience has to do is stand back and enjoy.
Each event does take place outside so dress warmly. Some locations have vendors set up to sell hot refreshments but it is not something to count on. The focus is on the food pantries and making sure their shelves are stocked for winter.
So for whatever reason you are thankful, take an opportunity to kick off the holiday season with a lively concert and a contribution to a food pantry.
Northeast Schedule Thursday, November 26 Rouses Point – 11:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., Rouses Point Station
Saturday, November 28 Binghamton – 8:45 p.m. to 9:15 p.m., CP East Binghamton Rail Yard, Conklin Ave.
Sunday, November 29 Oneonta – 3:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m., Gas Avenue Railroad Crossing Cobleskill – 6:15 p.m. to 6:45 p.m., Cobleskill Fire Department, 610 Main Street Delanson – 8:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Main Street Railroad Crossing Schenectady – 9:30 p.m. to 9:45 p.m., Maxon Road Monday, November 30 Saratoga Springs – 12:00 p.m. to 12:30 p.m., Amtrak Station Fort Edward – 1:45 p.m. to 2:15 p.m., Amtrak Station Whitehall – 3:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m., Amtrak Station Ticonderoga – 5:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Pell’s Crossing, Amtrak Waiting Area, Route 74 Port Henry – 6:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Amtrak Station, West side stop Plattsburgh – 9:15 p.m. to 9:45 p.m., Amtrak Station
This is George, a turkey who lives down the hill. She’s so cute and sociable she’s been granted a Thanksgiving reprieve. She was hatched this summer in Standish and brought to Saranac Lake by a family who intended to fatten her up for a November feast. George endeared herself so much that she’s the one who’ll be feasting. She lives with eight peacocks and probably thinks she is one. Have a happy Thanksgiving, George.
Margaret Gibbs, Director of the Essex County Historical Society / Adirondack History Center Museum in Elizabethtown has sent along the following notice of the 150th Commemoration of John Brown scheduled for December 6th. Regular Adirondack Almanack readers know that I have been writing a series of posts on John Brown, his anti-slavery raid on Harpers Ferry Virginia, subsequent capture, trial, and execution. You can read the entire series here.
Here is the press release outlining the commemoration events: On Sunday, December 6, 2009 the Adirondack History Center Museum is commemorating John Brown on the 150th anniversary of his death and the return of his body to Essex County. Events are scheduled in Westport and Elizabethtown in recognition of the role Essex County citizens played at the time of the return of John Brown’s body to his final resting place in North Elba. In the cause of abolition, John Brown raided the U. S. arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia on the night of October 16, 1859. The raid resulted in the capture of John Brown and the deaths of his sons Oliver & Watson and his sons-in-law William and Dauphin Watson. John Brown was tried in Charles Town, Virginia on charges of treason and inciting slaves to rebellion and murder. He was found guilty and hanged on December 2, 1859.
John Brown’s body was transported from Harper’s Ferry to Vergennes, VT, accompanied by his widow, Mary Brown. From Vermont the body was taken across Lake Champlain by sail ferry to Barber’s Point in Westport, and the journey continued through the Town of Westport and on to Elizabethtown. The funeral cortege arrived in Elizabethtown at 6 o’clock on the evening of December 6th 1859. The body of John Brown was taken to the Essex County Court House and “watched” through the night by four local young men. Mary Brown and her companions spent the night across the street at the Mansion House, now known as the Deer’s Head Inn. On the morning of December 7th the party continued on to North Elba. The burial of John Brown was on December 8th attended by many residents of Essex County.
The commemorative program on December 6th begins at 1:00 pm at the Westport Heritage House with award-winning author Russell Banks reading from his national bestselling novel, Cloudsplitter, about John Brown, his character and his part in the abolitionist movement. The program continues with a lecture by Don Papson, John Brown and the Underground Railroad, on whether or not Brown sheltered runaway slaves at his North Elba farm. Don Papson is the founding President of the North Country Underground Railroad Historical Association. The program continues in Elizabethtown at 3:30 pm at the United Church of Christ with The Language that Shaped the World, a tapestry of sounds, stories and characters portraying the human spirit and the fight for freedom. At 4:30 pm a procession follows John Brown’s coffin from the United Church of Christ to the Old Essex County Courthouse. At 5:00 pm the public may pay their respects at the Old Essex County Courthouse with the coffin lying in state. The program concludes at 5:30 PM with a reception held at the Deer’s Head Inn.
The cost for all events of the day including the Deer’s Head Inn reception is $40 ticket, or a $15 donation covers the programs at the Westport Heritage House and The Language that Shaped the World only. Reservations are requested. The procession and Courthouse are free and open to the public. The Westport Heritage House is located at 6459 Main Street, Westport, NY. The United Church of Christ, is located beside the museum on Court Street, Elizabethtown, NY. For more information, please contact the museum at 518-873-6466 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The December 6th program is part of a series of events from December 4-8, 2009 presented for the John Brown Coming Home Commemoration through the Lake Placid/Essex County Visitors Bureau. For a complete schedule of events go to www.johnbrowncominghome.com.
Since 1948 when Camp DeBruce opened in the Catskills, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has operated a residential conservation education summer camp for young New Yorkers. Four camps, Camp Colby (near Saranac Lake), at the Pack Demonstration Forest in Warrensburg, and DeBruce and Rushford (downstate), serve children 12 to 14 and also provide locations for week-long Ecology Workshops for 15 to 17-year-olds. Students who want to attend the camps can choose from one of eight weeks in July and August. They are encouraged to participate in Returnee Week, for campers who have already had the camp program. Returnee week includes special trips and activities and includes more than 200 annual returning campers. According to the DEC, “Returning campers are specially chosen for their demonstrated interest in building upon their outdoor recreation experiences and their knowledge of the state’s natural resources.”
This past week DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis announced that DEC and the National Heritage Trust (NHT) has established a summer camp scholarship fund in memory of Emily Timbrook (above left), a camper who attended and later volunteered at Camp Rushford in Allegany County and who was tragically killed in an automobile accident in April 2009.
The money collected through donations to the scholarship fund will be used for scholarships to send some returning campers to DEC’s summer camps for free.
Those who want to contribute to the scholarship fund to help send a young person to camp can send a check to NHT Camps, c/o Director of Management and Budget Services, NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-5010.
Those wishing to make a contribution in memory of Emily Timbrook, should write “Emily” in the memo section of the check. NHT is tax exempt pursuant to Section 170(b) of the Internal Revenue Code and has been designated a 501(c)(3) corporation. The Trust will send out acknowledgment letters to donors.
Information and detailed program descriptions of the environmental education camps are available at www.dec.ny.gov/education/29.html. For additional information contact email@example.com or call 518-402-8014. Registration starts in early February.
One hundred and fifty years ago, while John Brown waited to hang for leading the raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia, his compatriots were led to the Charles Town court and tried before Judge Andrew Parker.
Edwin Coppoc, who served under Brown’s command in the engine house, was tried on the same charges as Brown: conspiracy to incite a slave insurrection, treason against the State of Virginia, and first degree murder. His trial began the day before Brown was sentenced and ended the next day with convictions on all counts. Before he was sentenced, Virginia Governor Henry A. Wise appealed to the Virginia legislature to reduce his maximum sentence to life in prison, apparently on account Coppoc was a Quaker. That request was rejected. » Continue Reading.
Lake Placid Skater blog author Christie Sausa is looking for our help. Sausa entered a blog contest sponsored by Microsoft Office and the United States Olympic Committee. Two lucky bloggers will win a trip to Vancouver to cover the Olympics on their blog. Last week, Sausa learned that she has been chosen as one of contest’s semi-finalists in the Student Category. The ten semi-finalist were chosen by a panel of celebrity judges, including five-time Olympic gold medalist Bonnie Blair and online video stars Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld from CollegeHumor.com. Now Christie Sausa needs our help – you can vote here. The next three finalists for each category will be decided by online voting. We can help Sausa by heading over to the contest site and casting your vote for our local favorite. You can vote once per day per email address.
The Adirondack Park Agency will not hold its December 10-11, 2009 regularly scheduled board meeting. According to an APA press release, “No agency proceedings requiring Board action are necessary before the regularly scheduled January 2010 meeting.” APA Chairman Curtis F. Stiles stated (in the release) that “Due to a lack of actionable content for our December meeting, it is in the best economic interest of the Agency and New York State to cancel our meeting originally scheduled for December 10 and 11, 2009.” The Agency will resume its monthly meeting schedule January 14 and 15, 2010.
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