Friday, August 8, 2008

Adirondack Finch Pruyn Lands Acquisition Presentation

Dubbed “The largest conservation and financial transaction in the history of The Nature Conservancy in New York,” the recent purchase of former Finch and Pruyn wild lands in the heart of the Adirondacks includes more than 80 mountains and over 250 miles of rivers and shorelines (70 lakes and ponds) in the towns of Newcomb, Indian Lake, North Hudson, Minerva, and Long Lake. It also includes the Essex Chain lakes, the Upper (Upper) Hudson Gorge, OK-Slip Falls (itself a natural wonder), the Opalescent River headwaters, and the Boreas Ponds.

In terms of flora and fauna the area includes rare ferns and mosses growing around even rarer limestone outcroppings and includes 95 significant plant species (37 of which are rare in New York and 30 rare or uncommon in the Adirondacks). The area is also home to the Bicknell’s Thrush and the Scarlet Tanager – the purchase was important enough to make to Adirondack Almanack’s list of Seven Natural Wonders. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

New Edition of Eastern Region Trail Guide Published

The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) has published a new edition of Adirondack Trails: Eastern Region, and the book is now available for purchase from ADK and from bookstores and outdoor retailers throughout the Northeast.

The latest edition in ADK’s comprehensive Forest Preserve Series of guides includes completely updated trail descriptions for the region extending from Lake Champlain on the east; to the High Peaks, Hoffman Notch Wilderness and Schroon Lake in the west; and Lake George and the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness in the south.

Each Forest Preserve Series guide covers all New York state trails in its region, and they include complete information on lean-to shelters, campsites, water access, distances, elevations and road access. Detailed driving directions make it easy to find each trail.

This 3rd edition was edited by Neal S. Burdick and David Thomas-Train, and produced by ADK Publications staff Ann Hough of Keene, Andrea Masters of Ballston Spa and John Kettlewell of Saratoga Springs.

Purchase of this and other publications helps support ADK’s programs in conservation, education, and recreation. Also available are hiking, canoeing, rock-climbing, and cross-country skiing guides; natural history guides; and cultural and literary histories of the Adirondack and Catskill Parks.

To place an order contact ADK, 814 Goggins Road, Lake George, NY 12845, (518) 668-4447, (800) 395-8080 (orders only), or visit ADK’s Web site at www.adk.org.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

New Northern Forest Institute Announced For Newcomb

The DEC has officially announced that the historic Masten House (at left), on the site of the former iron mines in Tahawus in Newcomb, Essex County, will be the site of “a new leadership and training institute that focuses on the research and management of northern forests.” Northern forests is intended to mean the area that “extends from Lake Ontario at Tug Hill, across the Adirondacks to northern Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.”

Regular Almanack readers know that Eliot Spitzer’s budget called for $125,000 from the Environmental Protection Fund to be put toward SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s purchase and rehabilitation of the Masten House – that had apparently fallen through, late in the budget process, but was apparently found somewhere in DEC’s budget..

The DEC’s press release notes:

The project is a cooperative effort that will enhance forest preserve and wildlands management research and contribute to the local economy. ESF will run the Northern Forest Institute (NFI) on a 46-acre portion of a property owned by [Open Space Institute’s] Open Space Conservancy and leased on a long-term basis to the college for $1 a year. Establishment of the institute is being aided by a $1 million grant from Empire State Development to OSI and $125,000 from DEC to ESF. In addition, DEC has committed $1.6 million over the next four years to ESF scientists who will conduct three research projects on visitor demand, experiences, and impacts, as well as a training program for DEC employees responsible for managing recreational visits to New York State forest preserve lands.

The NFI will focus on meeting the educational and research needs of professional audiences, including representatives of state agencies, business leaders, and educators. The institute will also serve the general public, particularly college and secondary school students.

Here is some history of the Masten House from DEC:

Masten House is within the state historic district that encompasses the former town of Adirondack at the southern entrance to the High Peaks Wilderness area. The town was settled in 1826 and was home to one of the region’s first iron mines and early blast furnaces. The village was resettled in the late 19th century as the Tahawus Club…

The eight-bedroom Masten House was built in 1905 near secluded Henderson Lake and was used as a corporate retreat by NL Industries, which operated a nearby mining site. Masten House is within the state historic district that encompasses the former town of Adirondac at the southern entrance to the High Peaks Wilderness area. The town was settled in 1826 and was home to one of the region’s first iron mines and early blast furnaces. The village was resettled in the late 19th century as the Tahawus Club. Then-Vice President Theodore Roosevelt was staying at Tahawus in 1901 when he learned that President William McKinley had been shot. [Actually, as is noted by a commenter below, Roosevelt already knew McKinley was shot, he thought that the President would be OK and so went to Tahawus].


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Adirondack Museum Receives $1.3 Million Bequest

Forwarded from the Adirondack Museum for your information:

Caroline M. Welsh, Director of the Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake, New York announced today the receipt of a $1.3 million bequest to the museum from the estate of the Mr. and Mrs. Horace N. Holbrook of Schenectady, N.Y.

The gift has been added to the museum’s endowment, helping to ensure a solid financial foundation in support of collections, exhibitions, and programs for years to come.

The generosity of the Holbrook bequest came as a surprise, although indications of the Holbrook’s enduring interest in the Adirondack Museum have been visible for more than twenty years.

Horace Holbrook and his wife Marion visited the Adirondack Museum in the summer of 1984 bearing gifts – original paintings by the artists Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait and Jonathan Bradley Morse. The 1882 work by Morse depicts the Holbrook’s summer residence, Camp Lawrence, on Fourth Lake. The couple became museum members in 1989.

Holbrook, a retired economist for the State of New York, passed away in 1992 and left the bulk of his estate to the museum in trust, receivable upon the death of his wife. The bequest was made in memory of Holbrook’s great aunt, Elizabeth Norton Lawrence of Utica, N.Y.

With the exceptions of a “montage of photos of Camp Lawrence” and the couple’s modest home in Schenectady, there was no sense of the true value of the bequest. Marion Holbrook died in April 2007.

According to the Adirondack Museum’s Director of Institutional Advancement Sarah Lewin, estate planning is sometimes difficult for people to consider. She says that the story of the Holbrook’s forethought and immense generosity shines a light on the impact of planned giving on not-for-profit institutions such as museums.

Donors can realize substantial tax and estate benefits through planned giving. Gifts can take the form of bequests, charitable remainder or lead trusts, retirement plan assets, life insurance policies and tangible personal or real property. To discuss any of these options with the Adirondack Museum, please call (518) 352-7311, ext. 125.


Monday, August 4, 2008

Welcome to The New Millionaires’ Row at Lake George

The Albany Times Union ran a story this week that is one of the few looks at the really wealthy in our area:

” ‘It boggles my mind when I give a client a monthly bill for $500,000 and they just open their checkbook and write me a check without flinching,’ said Dean Howland. He’s been building high-end custom homes on Lake George for two decades and recalls only a few buyers who took out a mortgage…”

Today’s buyers typically come from the New York metropolitan area and often own their own business or amassed wealth as CEOs and money managers.

They generally refuse to be identified publicly (fear? humility? shame?) but they include this family:

Howland is building the Assembly Point complex for a Westchester County family in the construction business downstate. The owners, who asked that their names not be used, paid more than $1 million for an undistinguished house on a waterfront lot just south of Diamond Point on the lake’s west side. They tore down the old house and paid $500,000 to blast 10 feet into bedrock for a foundation, terrace the steep slope to the lake and truck in tons of gravel for a storm water management system. An adjoining parcel came up for sale. They bought that, too.

The couple’s 21-year-old daughter desired privacy, so they built a cottage with a loft, deck, gourmet kitchen and bath with Italian glass tile.

A partial tally of their lakefront compound reveals: 15 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, 6 kitchens, 18 plasma TVs, eight security cameras, one infinity edge pool, one sauna, one steam room, one boccie ball court, one Hummer, one Corvette, one Harley, two horseshoe pits, five kayaks, three Jet-Skis, two canoes, three golf carts and a boathouse with four motorboats.

Among those actually named in the piece include Robert J. Higgins (Trans World Entertainment Corp.); Lewis Golub (Price Chopper); John Breyo (Ayco); George Hearst (Times Union); Bob Bailey (Racemark International); and Vincent Riggi (Turbine Services Ltd.).

Stephen Serlin, Glens Falls obstetrician / gynecologist is owner of the 1895 Tudor revival Wikiosco, built for Royal C. Peabody in 1895 (that’s it at left). Peabody was founder of the Brooklyn Edison Co. – one of the country’s oldest electric companies and one that was charged with bilking its customers in 1920. It’s 11,000 sq-ft located just south of the Hearthstone Point, has “seven bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, seven fireplaces, staff quarters, a guest cottage and a 20-car garage. The asking price is $17.9 million.”

Phillip H. Morse, vice chairman of the Boston Red Sox, who got rich developing cardiac catheters, owns a newly built compound on the northern tip of Assembly Point estimated to be worth more than $20 million. The main house is over 10,000 sq-ft.

One wonders large a house it would take to cover the 2.6 million people in New York State without health insurance.


Thursday, July 31, 2008

Adirondack Museum Goes to the Dogs

The Adirondack Museum will once again offer the “Dog Days of Summer” on August 2, 2008 featuring canine demonstrations, programs, and activities. One highlight is demonstrations of Skijoring dry land training, but there will also be a pooch parade and history presentations reflecting the role of dogs in the Adirondacks. Here are the details from the Museum’s press office:

The event will include a few simple rules and regulations for doggies and their people: dogs must be leashed at all times; owners must clean up after their pets – special bags will be available; dogs will only be allowed on the grounds – not in the exhibit buildings; Doggie Day Care will be available throughout the day at no charge, with the understanding that dogs cannot be left for more than an hour; poorly behaved or aggressive dogs will be asked to leave the museum grounds with their owners.

Curator Hallie Bond will offer a richly illustrated program, “Dog Days in the Adirondacks” in the museum’s Auditorium at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Bond will share the adventures and exploits of Scotty, Gardie, Dandy, Fritz, Jack and Lucy – historic Adirondack characters whose stories have never been told – because they were dogs.

“Dog Days” demonstrations will include “Agility” at 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon featuring a variety of dogs going through their paces on an agility/obstacle course featuring hurdles, weave poles, and tunnels. “Dry Land Training for Skijoring” will be demonstrated at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Skijoring is a winter dog- or horse-powered sport popularized in North America and derived from the Scandinavian sport of pulka. It involves a horse or from one to three dogs hitched directly to a human being on skis. Skijoring was a demonstration sport in the 1928 Winter Olympics.

While skijoring behind a dog, the person wears a hip harness with a clip for attaching a lead, which is attached to the harness worn by the animal. The dog provides extra power to the skier who uses either a classic cross-country technique, or the faster skate skiing technique.

Any dog over the age of one year and in general good health can pull a skijorer, assuming they are physically able to do so. The classic northern breeds, such as Siberian and Alaskan Huskies, Malamutes, or Inuit dogs take to skijoring with glee. However, any pet dog is capable of enjoying this and many cross-breeds are seen in harness.

The dogs are taught the classic “mushing” commands to start running (hike), turn (gee and haw), and stop. Training is best done on foot, before the person straps on their skis, to avoid being pulled into objects, like trees or half-frozen creeks!

The “Dog Days” dry-land demonstrations will include: Bikejoring – dogs and a bicyclist working together; Canicross – dogs and a runner working together; and Cart or Scooter – dogs pulling a two or three-wheeled rig. Betsy McGettigan, Grace McDonnell, and Amelia and Royal McDonnell (two up-and-coming young skijorers) will be the presenters.

Museum visitors and their pets are invited to participate in the Rustic Agility Course from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and join the gala narrated Pooch Parade at 2:00 p.m. The 2007 parade featured a who’s who of dog breeds. Not to be missed!

For information call (518) 352-7311, or visit www.adirondackmuseum.org.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Adirondack Artist Tour Includes 12 Jay Studios Saturday

This press release regarding the upcoming Jay Studio Tour is forwarded for your information:

The village of Jay, with its picturesque New England style village green and quaint covered bridge, transforms itself Saturday, July 26th into a town wide artist’s colony open to the public. Over the years, this very unique community has become a haven for the creative spirit. With it’s astonishing views, good studio spaces, and welcoming and tolerant philosophy, artists and crafts people have found a nurturing and supportive home in this village among the High Peaks.

For one day, July 26th from 10 to 6 PM, 12 of Jay’s studios will be open to the public. The tour is organized to follow a map that winds from village to farmland and mountaintop and showcases Jay’s physical beauty as well as the talents of her residents.

At Young’s Gallery, Sue Young will be demonstrating raku at 11 and 3 o’clock. Raku is a Japanese firing technique that was “Americanized” in the 1950s to produce glazes with a lustrous appearance. Terry Young will be making paper using plant materials from his garden and cotton linters. Terry will also be hand binding his book “Twenty Ways to See Whiteface” in the afternoon. There will be ample opportunity to engage both artists in a discussion of their work and technique. The gallery also features work by both Sue (traditional pottery) and Terry (paintings and clay sculpture) as well as many other North Country artists.

The newest addition to the Village Green in Jay is The Amos and Julie Ward Theater. The building will be open; Holly Carey’s quilts will be hanging in the theater space and there will be a gallery of work from the JEMS Saturday Artists’ Series. Holly’s Carey does primarily bed quilts, machine pieced and quilted. Her affinity for color and texture inspires her traditional patterns

Next door to the theater is the Village Green Gallery, a one-day collaborative Gallery effort by photographer Nadine McLaughlin, Philadelphia ceramicist Joan Marie Turbeck and painter Joan Turbek. Nadine’s sensitive photos of local landscapes and animals are currently the featured exhibit in the Amos and Julia Ward Theatre next to the Gallery. She will be showcasing her books of original poetry, cards, and prints in both venues. Joan Turbek’s illustrative watercolors will be shown and Joan Marie Turbek will contribute several pieces of clay sculpture highlighting her whimsical and provocative take on vegetables.

The Jay Craft Center, home, studio and craft shop of Lee Kazanis and Cheri Cross, will introduce guest potter Julia Geronski. Julia will be demonstrating wheel throwing and press molding techniques.

Opening his studio for the second year will be Bill Evans. Located on Rt 9, the building which houses both Bill’s gallery space and living area has been in renovation since 2006. Bill’s landscapes of the Adirondacks are well known and highly respected; he has work hanging at The Birch Store and Skylight Gallery in Keene Valley. Bill will be showing primarily oil landscapes-many of local scenes. This is a unique opportunity for a once a year look into the creative process.

Buttons Buttons is a working design studio producing pillows and decorative items made from vintage and antique textiles and buttons. Designer Barbara Smith will be introducing her line of evening bags created from a special collection of rare and unusual antique materials. This year, the studio tour will feature the grand opening of “Ben Lacy’s Cabin”-a handmade one room 1920’s cabin. Moved from Lacy Road in Keene and reconstructed in Jay, it houses the Buttons Buttons showroom for the Adirondack Collection of pillows.

Grace Pothast at Gallery in the Glen will be demonstrating watercolor and egg tempera in the converted milk house of the dairy farm she shares with her family. Grace will also feature a special children’s studio where the youngsters can create their own work of art.

Nearly at the top of the Jay Mt. Road you will find W.P. ‘Pete’ Jennerjahn’s studio. Pete will discuss and illustrate the differences and similarities between the various mediums: graphite, watercolor, pastels, oils and acrylic. It is a breath-taking location and a chance to see a large body of work representing a lifetime of experience.

Located on the Trumbull’s Corner Road in one of Jay’s most interesting homes is Swallowtail Studio where Wayne Ignatuck designs and builds furniture. Wayne recently completed a collaboration with architect David Childs. The child’s desk they built is being shown at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake. Recently, Wayne has been expanding the definition of rustic furniture. Work presently in the studio will include furniture custom designed for the newly rebuilt Lake Placid Lodge.

Paul’s Café at Standard Falls Iris Garden will feature a special day of baker Nancy Garrand’s Chocolate Extravaganza: every and anything chocolate. The café has become the home of the Land of Makebelieve artifacts and mementoes.

Nationally recognized photographer Nathan Farb rounds out the Studio Tour this year. Nathan’s books include “The Adirondacks”, “100 Years of the Adirondacks”, and “Adirondack Wilderness”. He will be previewing another book entitled “Summer of Love’, and showing excerpts from a video project from Arkansas that he has been working on. The studio is handicapped accessible and will be American Sign Language interpreted. Nathan will be available to sign his books and discuss his photography.

The Tour Map is available at all of the tour locations, many businesses in the area and for download at the tour website: Jaystudiotour.com.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bluegrass Benefit at Lake Placid August 1

The Lake Placid Center for the Arts and the Adirondack Museum have organized an evening of bluegrass headlined by the Larry Stephenson Band at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, August 1st at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. The concert will open with the Albany Region’s Dyer Switch Band. Tickets are $15 and proceeds will benefit the Adirondack Museum and the Lake Placid Center for the Arts.

Here’s more from a recent press release:

Performing for over a decade, and still on fire, bluegrass fans everywhere have enjoyed hearing the Larry Stephenson Band on the circuit’s top festivals. Youthful professionalism, material choice and high- energy concerts have propelled this group to the top of their field. Bluegrass Canada raves, “A true treasure is the singing of Larry Stephenson. This guy is one of the Bluegrass has ever seen.”

Beginning his musical career in his early teens, Larry Stephenson honed his talents playing mandolin and singing high lead and tenor while residing in his home state of Virginia. In the early 1990’s, when increasing opportunities for appearances on national television made it advantageous to relocate to the epicenter of the country and bluegrass music industries, he relocated to Nashville. From this base he now continues to make guest appearances at the legendary Grand Ole Opry as well as on Nashville-based TV productions.

Contrary to the norm on ‘music row’ in Nashville, where artists’ record label affiliations are often notoriously short-lived, Larry continues to record for one of the country’s preeminent independent record companies. 2008 marks his 19th anniversary of making records for the highly respected Pinecastle label.

Stephenson’s distinctive, crystal clear voice towers over the band vocals, delivering a strong message, whether in an old folk song, a ‘brush arbor’ gospel quartet or one of his many top ten trios that have graced the national bluegrass song charts.

Larry Stephenson remains one of the few artists whose solidly tradition-based, contemporary interpretations of the music keeps him on the cutting edge of the bluegrass charts. This multi-award winning group has gained the respect over the years of first generation legends such as, Jimmy Martin, Mac Wiseman, Jim & Jesse, The Osborne Brothers and others.

Stephenson is an inductee in the Virginia Country Music Hall of Fame, and a four-time winner of the “Contemporary Male Vocalist Award” at the prestigious SPBGMA (Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America) Convention. In 2004 the band clinched the “Song of the Year Award” at the same convention, with the title track “Clinch Mountain Mystery.” The same CD stayed on the bluegrass charts for one solid year, debuting at #18 and staying in the top 5 for seven months, then hitting #1 in December 2004.

Bluegrass Now Magazine quotes, “One of the best and most influential of high lead/tenor singers in recent years.” While Bluegrass Unlimited claims Stephenson is, “One of the finest voices in Bluegrass today.” The evening will open with a performance by members of the International Bluegrass Music Association, Dyer Switch Band. The Band plays hard-driving traditional, original, and unique bluegrass and acoustic music. Performing since 1992, Dyer Switch was inducted into the New York State Country Music Hall of Fame and nominated for five consecutive years as Bluegrass Band of the Year by the Northeast Country Music Association. In 1998, “Gotta Feelin’,” from the band’s third recording, “American Airwaves,” was
nominated for “Song of the Year” by the Northeast CMA. Dyer Switch has received considerable air play in North America and Europe, and a song that band member JoAnn Sifo wrote was number one on the European country charts. The band has been has been featured on Northeast Public Radio, and in 1997 opened for Ralph Stanley at a concert in upstate New York.

This versatile and engaging band with dynamic stage presence has captivated audiences throughout the Northeast, Midwest, and South at festivals, clubs, coffeehouses, fairs and live radio shows. The band brings together hard-driving renditions of traditional tunes from first-generation bluegrass giants like Bill Monroe and Ralph Stanley, their own powerful originals and fresh and innovative versions of songs from other genres.

Purchase your tickets today for an Evening of Bluegrass at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts by calling 518.523.2512. Tickets are $15, and we do anticipate that this show will sell-out. For additional information visit online at www.LakePlacidArts.org or http://www.adirondackmuseum.org. To learn more about the artists, visit: www.larrystephensonband.com or www.dyerswitch.com.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Adirondack Murray Lecture at the Adirondack Museum

From a recent Adirondack Museum Press release:

On July 5, 1870, the New York Daily Tribune reported that “nature tourists” were flooding to the Adirondack Mountains. “Last summer, Mr. Murray’s book drew a throng of pleasure-seekers into the lake region,” the paper noted.

“Mr. Murray” was the Reverend William H.H. Murray, a New England clergyman, author of Adventures in the Wilderness: or Camp-life in the Adirondacks, and one of the all-time most passionate boosters of the outdoor life in the North Country.

On Monday, July 21, 2008, Dr. Terrance Young will offer an illustrated program entitled “Into the Wild: William H.H. Murray and the Beginning of Camping in America” at the Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake, New York.

Part of the museum’s Monday Evening Lecture series, the illustrated presentation will be held in the museum’s auditorium at 7:30 p.m. There is no charge for museum members. Admission is $4.00 for non-members.

Dr. Young will explain how Reverend Murray’s book was the first to present Adirondack camping as a form of pilgrimage to wild nature. Every tourist and would-be camper who came to the Adirondacks in the summers of 1869 and 1870 had a copy of Adventures in the Wilderness tucked into his carpetbag, rucksack, or bundle. The result was the transformation of this previously remote and quiet region into an accessible, bustling destination.

Young is an Associate Professor of Geography at the California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, Ca. He teaches and writes about the historical geography of American recreation, and its relationship to the natural environment. He is the author of Building San Francisco’s Parks, 1850 – 1930, a book about the city’s municipal park system.

Dr. Young is currently working on a book about the history and meaning of American recreational camping entitled Heading Out: American Camping Since 1869.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Best Bets – Adirondack County Fairs Guide

Local fairs start this week, so here is a full list of Adirondack County Fairs, listed according to opening date. I’ve included a few of the most important regional fairs as well. Enjoy!

Lewis County Fair
7/15 through 7/19; Lowville, NY
http://www.lewiscountyfair.org/

Saratoga County Fair
7/15 through 7/20; Prospect Street, Ballston Spa, NY
http://www.saratogacountyfair.org/

Jefferson County Fair
7/15 through 7/20; Coffeen Street, Watertown, NY
http://www.jeffcofair.org/

Booneville-Oneida County Fair
7/21 through 7/27; Adirondack High School, Booneville, NY
http://www.frontiernet.net/~boonvillefair/index.htm

Clinton County Fair
7/22 through 7/27; Morrisonville, NY
http://www.clintoncountyfair.com/

Warren County Youth Fair
8/2 (only); Schroon River Road, Warrensburg, NY
http://counties.cce.cornell.edu/warren/

Franklin County Fair
08/02 through 08/10; East Main St., Malone, NY
http://www.frcofair.com

St. Lawrence County Fair
8/4 through 8/10; East Barney St., Gouverneur, NY
http://www.gouverneurfair.com/

Herkimer County Fair
8/12 through 8/17; Frankfort, NY
http://www.herkimercountyfair.org/

Essex County Fair
8/13 through 8/17; Main St., Westport, NY
http://www.essexcountyfair.org

Washington County Fair
8/18 through 8/24; Route 29, Greenwich, NY
http://www.washingtoncountyfair.com/

New York State Fair
8/21 through 9/1; State Fair Blvd., Syracuse, NY
http://www.nysfair.org/fair/

Champlain Valley Exposition
8/23 through 9/1; Pearl St., Essex Junction, VT
http://cvexpo.org/

Vermont State Fair
8/29 through 9/7; S Main St., Rutland, VT
http://www.vermontstatefair.net/


Saturday, July 12, 2008

History of Electric Boats at The Adirondack Museum

Although they were popular in the Adirondacks in the 1890s and early 1900s, according to the G. W. Blunt White Library at Mystic Seaport, Connecticut, no one is really sure who founded the Electric Launch Company (“Elco”):

Electric motors that could be used for marine application had been invented by William Woodnut Griscom of Philadelphia in 1879, and in 1880 he started the Electric Dynamic Company. In 1892 Griscom’s electrical company went bankrupt, and Electric Dynamic Company was bought by Isaac Leopold Rice who founded Electric Storage Battery Company (“Exide”). Rice had become interested in Electric Launch Company; they had been buying his storage batteries. He also was interested in Holland Torpedo Boat Company. He purchased the latter and merged it, along with Elco, into the Electric Boat Company in 1899. In 1900, Elco, which had previously acted as middleman by farming out the hull contracts and installing Griscom’s motors and Rice’s batteries, built its own boat-building facility at Bayonne, NJ.

Join Charles Houghton, former president of the Electric Launch Company will present a program entitled “Batteries Included: The History, Present, and Future of Electric Boating” at the Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake that will be presented this Monday, July 14, 2008 in the Auditorium at 7:30 p.m.

The company provided 55 electric launches for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago to ferry sightseers over the fair’s canals and lagoons. Elco shifted to gasoline engines by 1910 and had a long life building military and some of the first widely produced pleasure boats. During World War One, the company built 550 sub chasers for the British navy. In 1921 they introduced the popular and (reasonably) affordable 26-foot Cruisette, a gas engine cabin cruiser. During World War Two Elco developed the the PT Boat, an 80-foot torpedo boat with a Packard aircraft engine.

At the end of the war, the company merged with Electric Boat of Groton, CT to form the nucleus of General Dynamics. By 1949, General Dynamics’ CEO thought he could make more money by building military craft and Elco’s workers were fired, the shipyard in Bayonne, New Jersey and all its equipment was sold.

The company was re-incorporated in 1987 but didn’t shift into electric boats again until 1996 the year Monday’s speaker, Charles Houghton, became company president. Under his direction the company began building electric motor boats and electric drives for boats and sailboats.


Friday, July 11, 2008

2008 Annual Adirondack Loon Census

The Zen Birdfeeder points us to the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Annual Loon Census, set to take place Saturday, July 19th:

The Annual Loon Census provides valuable data for the Loon Program to follow trends in New York’s summer loon population over time. Hundreds of residents and visitors throughout New York assist them each year by looking for loons on their favorite lake or river. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Newcomb VIC to Host Climate Change Lecture

According to a media release we received last week, the SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry’s (ESF) Adirondack Ecological Center (AEC) and the Adirondack Park Agency Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC) in Newcomb will feature a presentation on climate change during the Huntington Lecture Series at 7 p.m. this Thursday, July 10th at the Newcomb VIC.

Colin Beier (that’s him at left) is a research associate at the AEC. He will present a program titled “Changing Climate, Changing Forests: from Alaska to the Adirondacks.”

Beier will demonstrate that the impacts of climate change in the far north are much more than disappearing sea ice; the boreal forests are changing dramatically, due to increased fire, insect outbreaks and tree diebacks. These are all are linked to climatic changes in the last century. » Continue Reading.


Monday, July 7, 2008

Andy Flynn’s New Blog ‘Adirondack Writer’

Adirondack Almanack gets a lot of requests to link to new blogs and nearly all of them we turn down because they don’t have anything to do with the Adirondacks. By the way, our criteria for inclusion as an Adirondack blog is simple – it should be written in or about the Adirondacks. A new blog from Andy Flynn promises both.

Flynn, from Saranac Lake, reports that he:

Writes the newspaper column, ‘Adirondack Attic,’ which runs weekly in five northern New York newspapers. It features stories about artifacts from the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, N.Y. Andy is the author of the book series, New York State’s Mountain Heritage: Adirondack Attic, with volumes 1-5 in stores now. He owns/operates Hungry Bear Publishing and lives in Saranac Lake, N.Y. During the day, he is the Senior Public Information Specialist at the NYS Adirondack Park Agency Visitor Interpretive Center in Paul Smiths.

A recent post covered his so far unsuccessful attempts to save a historic one-room schoolhouse in Ellenburg Center (Clinton County):

In this case, I contacted the Adirondack Museum to see if they were interested in saving this schoolhouse, No. 11, in Clinton County. Not really. You see, they already have a one-room schoolhouse, the Reising Schoolhouse, built in 1907 in the Herkimer County town of Ohio. The Reising Schoolhouse was located in the extreme southern part of the Adirondack Park. The Ellenburg Center schoolhouse is located in the extreme northern part of the Adirondack Park.

The Adirondack Museum’s chief curator suggested I call Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) in Keeseville, which I did. The director and I spoke about the situation and agreed it would be a good idea to see the structure first. If anyone can help with saving an historic building in the Adirondack Park, it is AARCH.

So, that’s where we are. If there is any way to help, we’ll try to make it happen. Maybe we’ll get lucky and find someone in the Adirondack region, hopefully in Clinton County, who can help preserve this one-room schoolhouse, an important part of our rich North Country heritage.

Give Andy’s new blog a read, and lend a hand in his latest effort if you can.


Saturday, July 5, 2008

Great Camps of the Adirondacks at the Adirondack Museum

From an Adirondack Museum media release:

Adirondack rustic lodges or “great camps” as their wealthy owners called them, were summer vacation homes. Built primarily of wood and stone and set deep in the great forests, the truly fabulous structures are today both relics of a bygone age and prototype for the contemporary architect, amateur builder, and historian.

On Monday, July 7, 2008, Dr. Harvey H. Kaiser will offer a program entitled “Great Camps of the Adirondacks, 25 Years Later” at the Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake, New York.

The first offering of the season in the museum’s Monday Evening Lecture series, the slide-illustrated presentation will be held in the museum’s auditorium at 7:30 p.m. There is no charge for museum members. Admission is $4.00 for non-members.

Dr. Kaiser’s talk will be based on his book Great Camps of the Adirondacks. This seminal study of rustic architecture is about great camps built from 1870 to 1930, establishing a style of domestic architecture imitated throughout the country in similar terrain of lakes, timber, and native stone.

Kaiser will preface his observations on the architecture with the history of the Adirondacks and the social forces that created structures that retain their charm and utility, in some cases a century and a quarter after construction. There are fascinating accounts of both the personalities who engineered and financed fabulous great camps, and of the buildings themselves.

When he wrote Great Camps, Kaiser made a strong case for preservation. The destruction of these remarkable structures would have been an irreparable loss, not only to our architectural heritage but also to every individual to whom they are a resource and inspiration.

In his presentation, Kaiser will offer observations on the book’s concerns, the changes that rescued the camps from demise, and the resurgent interest in rustic architecture.

Dr. Kaiser is president of Harvey H. Kaiser Associates, Inc., a consulting firm providing services domestically and internationally in architecture, urban planning, and facilities management.

In addition to Great Camps of the Adirondacks, Kaiser’s current research interest is historic architecture in the national parks. He is the author of Landmarks in the Landscape: Historic Architecture in the Western National Parks, guidebooks on parks in the far and southwest.

The Adirondack Museum tells the story of the Adirondacks through exhibits, special events, classes for schools, and hands-on activities for visitors of all ages. Open for a new season from May 23 to October 19, 2008. Introducing Rustic Tomorrow — a new exhibit. For information about upcoming exhibits and programs, please call (518) 352-7311, or visit www.adirondackmuseum.org/



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