Posts Tagged ‘Big Moose Lake’

Sunday, October 13, 2019

The Club Camp on Big Moose Lake: A Short History

The Old Club Camp courtesy Roger and Nancy PrattThe Club Camp is often mentioned as the first permanent structure built on Big Moose Lake. The word permanent is rather ironic because this hunting and fishing establishment had a relatively short history of just 28 years. Today the camp’s origins, visitors, and sad end seem largely forgotten.

According to Joseph F. Grady’s The Adirondacks: Fulton Chain-Big Moose Region (1933), the Club Camp was constructed in 1878 at the request of several sportsmen from New York City who had been spending summers on the lake in previous years.

At the time, Big Moose, near Old Forge, NY, was difficult to reach — the railroad would not arrive in the area until 1892. Before 1878, only lean-tos or shanties were available on Big Moose, notably that of businessman William “Billy” Dutton, which was built in 1876, and that of guide Jack Sheppard which was set up around the same time. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, April 9, 2017

Infamous Adirondack Murder Revisited

Chester GilletteIt’s been over one hundred years since a search party found Grace Brown’s body in the bottom of Big Moose Lake, an overturned rowboat floating nearby. In 1906 the face of the man who walked away from that remote bay would become familiar to many Americans as he sat slouched in a chair at his murder trial in Herkimer. The local and national press wrote front-page stories about Chester Gillette, the handsome young man who murdered his pregnant girlfriend so he could rise up the social ladder.

Craig Brandon has a section in the new edition of his book called The Murder That Will Never Die, and certainly for him as a writer this is true. Brandon first published Murder in the Adirondacks in 1986, and the book sold well. When North Country Books asked if he’d be interested in writing a revised edition he jumped at the chance. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, February 4, 2017

The Crego Family: Three Generations of Adirondack Guides

Crego Farmhouse,In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, three generations of the Crego family worked as wilderness guides in the Western Adirondacks. Along the way, they raised families, worked for prominent employers, adapted to new forms of transportation, and helped lay the groundwork for the conservation movement in New York State. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Banned Books Week: An American Tragedy

An_American_Tragedy_Theodore_Dreiser_dust_jacketEvery year I am saddened by how many books still remain challenged or banned from schools and libraries. According to the American Library Association more than 11,300 books have been challenged since the inception of Banned Book Week in 1982.

Even a book that takes place in the Adirondacks came under scrutiny. Theodore Dreiser wrote his 1925 classic An American Tragedy based on the 1906 murder case of Chester Gillette. Gillette brought his pregnant girlfriend Grace Brown to Big Moose Lake where she drowned. Gillette was later tried and convicted for her murder. » Continue Reading.


Monday, August 12, 2013

‘An American Tragedy’ Opera Preview at View

gillette-011View will present Francesca Zambello and the Glimmerglass Festival preview of the opera An American Tragedy on Tuesday, August 20, 2013 at 5:30 p.m. in Gould Hall. Glimmerglass Festival Artistic & General Director Francesca Zambello and singers from the 2013 season will present a program about the opera, An American Tragedy, by composer Tobias Picker and libretto by Gene Scheer.

Based on the Theodore Dreiser novel about the murder of Grace Brown, whose body was found in Big Moose Lake in 1906, An American Tragedy had its world premiere at the Metropolitan Opera in 2005, directed by Zambello. It will be given an original new staging at Glimmerglass in 2014, with a score revised by the composer and librettist. Zambello will talk about the process of bringing this opera to the stage at the Met and the exciting revisions that will be premiered at the Glimmerglass Festival in 2014. Excerpts from the opera, including a new aria, will be performed. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Five Local Sites Nominated for Historic Registers

The New York State Board for Historic Preservation has recommended the addition of five Adirondack and North Country properties to the State and National Registers of Historic Places, including the nationally significant War of 1812 Cantonment in Plattsburgh, and Putnam Camp in St. Huberts.

Listing these properties on the State and National Registers can assist their owners in revitalizing the structures, making them eligible for various public preservation programs and services, such as matching state grants and state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Adirondack Land Trust Sells Mays Pond Tract

The Adirondack Land Trust has announced that it sold to a private buyer a 340-acre parcel for $1.3 million in the towns of Webb and Long Lake. As part of the transaction, the property, which borders the 50,000-acre Pigeon Lake Wilderness, is now protected by a conservation easement, a legally-binding, permanent land preservation agreement.

Known as the “Mays Pond tract” and offered for sale on the open market through real estate broker LandVest, the property includes a rustic cabin and will continue to be used as a private wilderness retreat, as it has for more than 70 years. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Famous Murder Case at the Adirondack Museum

The first program of the Adirondack Museum’s 2012 Cabin Fever Sunday series, “Chester Gillette: The Adirondacks’ Most Famous Murder Case” will be held on Sunday, January 15, 2012.

It’s the stuff movies are made of- a secret relationship, a pregnancy and a murder. Over a century after it happened in Big Moose Lake, Herkimer County, the Chester Gillette murder case of 1906 is the murder that will never die. The murder of Grace Brown and the case following was the subject of Theodore Dreiser’s 1925 book An American Tragedy, and the Hollywood movie A Place in the Sun.

The story continues to be told today with a 1999 Opera at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and in a 2011 documentary North Woods Elegy. Author Craig Brandon, considered among the world’s foremost experts on the case, and author of Murder in the Adirondacks, will present and lead a discussion.

Craig Brandon is a national award-winning author of six books of popular history and public affairs and a former award-winning reporter.

Held in the Auditorium, the program will begin at 1:30 p.m. Cabin Fever Sundays are offered at no charge to museum members or children of elementary school age and younger. The fee for non-members is $5.00. The Museum Store and Visitor Center will be open from noon to 4 p.m. For additional information, please call (518) 352-7311, ext. 128 or visit
www.adirondackmuseum.org.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: Glenmore Bar and Grill, Big Moose

As we traveled the six miles down Big Moose Road to the Glenmore Bar and Grill, we noticed it was populated with summer camps right down to Big Moose Lake. Perplexed by the distinct absence of people on this beautiful summer day in July, we pulled in to the mostly deserted parking lot. Given that it was early afternoon, possibly everyone was out pursuing summer pleasures on the lake or in town at Eagle Bay.

A two-story shingled structure flanked by ancient pines at the water’s edge, dormers peek out from above. With a spacious deck overlooking the lake, the Glenmore exudes history. We passed through the entrance doors to the main floor which houses the restaurant and bar, immediately encountering historic memorabilia and postings at the main entrance. Gleaming pine booths lined a sunny dining area, partially separated from the dining room and bar. Ivy wandered, taking over the room, repeated in stenciled embellishment over the windows. Sunlight streamed through picture windows, competing with rustic hues and textures for control of the lighting. At once dark and light, the hardwood floor, low pine plank ceiling, rough-sawn slab walls painted in tones of sage and brown, and simple pine booths were softly illuminated by daylight. A couple of well-worn plaid sofas faced the stone fireplace, the focal point of the center of the restaurant. A game room and pool table are available for use, but the Glenmore seems to be a venue for long stories and general banter.

The bar, with its panoramic view of the lake, seats 15 to 20 people. A handful of guests intently watched a soccer game as we introduced ourselves, and our purpose, to the bartender. Beer selection is primarily domestic, mostly from the Anheuser Busch and Matt’s brewing families. Canned beers (14 of them) include Utica Club and Genesee. Very retro. As Pam sat at the bar trying to decide what to order from the standard selection of liquors, she noticed that every one of the bar pours on the liquor bottles was not only the same color (green), but were all pointing in the same “wrong” direction. We have been to a lot of bars and have never seen either phenomenon. Not willing to let it go on observation, she mentioned to the bartender that he might have difficulties if he hired a left-handed bartender. Promising that would never happen, he smiled graciously and changed the subject, but seemed pleased that his efforts were noticed. We did take the time to inquire if the Glenmore had any specialty drinks unique to the establishment. Robert shared the ingredient list of the Flaming Glenmore, consisting of coffee, Yukon Jack, Amaretto and whipped cream.

It took some time for him to loosen up, but owner/bartender Robert Muller eventually warmed to our inquisition. He told us of a writers’ group that, for the past 36 years, meets at the Glenmore. Robert is of the opinion that some may no longer write, but continue to enjoy each other’s company, spending a weekend there every year under the auspices of the Tamarack Writers Group. (For the record, he did not use the word “auspices”.)

Kim inquired about hauntings, particularly in the death of Grace Brown in 1906. Grace and her companion, Chester Gillette, had checked in to the Glenmore the night before her demise, which she met at the hands of Gillette while rowing out on the lake. Several locations around Big Moose Lake claim to be haunted by her presence, and the television series Unsolved Mysteries aired an episode based on ghostly encounters in Big Moose in 1996. Robert also mentioned the apparition of a “creepy, tall, old dude” who occasionally makes his presence known.

The Glenmore Hotel Bar & Grill has been in business for 100 years and owned by the current owners, the Muller family, since the 1970s. When a fire of suspicious origin destroyed the original hotel in 1950, the Glenmore Hotel relocated across the street to its present location, originally home to the Big Moose Supply Company. A bar, restaurant and hotel located yards from Big Moose Lake, you can feel the history as you gaze upon the lake from the bar.

In summer months, the Glenmore is open Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. and noon to 1 a.m. on weekends. Closed Monday through Thursday in the fall and spring, they are open Friday through Sunday. Surprisingly, to us at least, Robert, who likes winter best, claims that winter is the best season to visit. Winter hours at the Glenmore begin with opening for the Snodeo, occurring this year December 9-11, and end with St. Patrick’s Day. The no-nonsense menu includes pizzas, salads, burgers, sandwiches and bar munchies in the $7 to $10 range.

The hotel has 11 rooms accommodating up to 24 people. Rooms are simple, unique and comfortable with few amenities. Two full and one half bath are shared by all the guests. They have no WiFi, no cell service either, but a phone booth outside actually appeared to still be in service. History, a remote setting, simple charm, and circumspect hospitality await guests and visitors to the Glenmore Bar and Grill.

Kim and Pam Ladd’s book, Happy Hour in the High Peaks, is currently in the research stage. Together they visit pubs, bars and taverns with the goal of selecting the top 46 bars in the Adirondack Park. They regularly report their findings here at the Almanack and at their own blog, or follow them on Facebook, and ADK46barfly on Twitter.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: Big Moose Inn, Eagle Bay

The Big Moose Inn and Restaurant, located directly on Big Moose Lake in Eagle Bay was the first stop on our Old Forge Summer Tour, more aptly defined as the Old Forge Pub Crawl. Ours was one of just a few cars in the parking lot, but it was early afternoon and we had a long day ahead of us.

The dramatic view of the grand covered porch, dotted with rocking chairs and expanding outward to a vast open deck overlooking the lake, inspires a feeling reminiscent of summer vacations of years past. Several small docks on Big Moose Lake capture attention, drawing the eye along an expanse of lawn to the lake and small beach. Quiet and secluded, The Big Moose Inn has an air of sophistication and Adirondack lore, evoking a sentimental yearning for simpler times. Its timelessness captures the imagination. A novelist could come here to spend a week and leave with a finished manuscript.

Work to be done, we grudgingly entered the tavern, leaving an early summer afternoon behind. The tavern, cool and dark with walls of wood and brick, complemented the exterior charm. We half expected to see Ernest Hemingway entertaining friends in one of the booths, or John Irving alone at the bar, having strayed from his New England comfort zone.

Spot lights shone gently on the dark plank bar which seated about 14, with ample room for standing patrons too. Each of three booths on the opposite wall were illuminated overhead with Tiffany lamps; a cozy room with brick fireplace was tucked away beyond, and provided more private seating.

As Pam’s eyes adjusted to the darkness, Kim immediately pointed out the business cards adorning the ceiling. Skewered with straws, swizzle sticks and cocktail picks, the ceiling was almost completely obscured by thousands of business cards. Hard to describe because of their multitude, some of the cards were obviously yellowed with age. Though barely visible, the ceiling was tile. Mark, the most recent owner, later advised that they came with the inn; that some had been there for thirty years. He felt compelled to leave them for their nostalgic significance, despite criticism from state authorities. Can’t blame him, we would leave them too.

We took a seat at the bar and were immediately greeted by Melinda, the bartender. Upon inquiry regarding drinks unique to the establishment, Melinda offered Pam a Big Moose Manhattan, proudly laced with Adirondack maple syrup. The maple syrup sank to the bottom and Pam showed no shame occasionally enjoying it through the swizzle stick. Just good to see her sipping since this was only our first stop. A variety of flavored vodkas are available, indicating a better than average selection of drinks. Several wine, draft and bottled beer choices are also offered.

Big Moose Inn’s Big Moose Manhattan:
1 part Seagram’s VO
1 part sweet vermouth
Drizzle with real maple syrup and garnish with two cherries

Melinda was courteous, friendly and knowledgeable about the history of the Big Moose Inn, offering a book on the history of Big Moose Lake to help support our questions. She was busy tending to both the bar and the deck patrons, but still took time to alert the proprietor of our presence.

Owner Mark Mayer came out to introduce himself. Obviously quite proud of the Big Moose Inn, Mark spent several minutes sharing history, trivia, hauntings, and his family’s acquisition of the inn. Perhaps the most famous Adirondack ghost, stories of Grace Brown attracted TV’s Unsolved Mysteries several years ago.

Offering 16 rooms, the inn is open year round and entertains summer vacationers and winter snowmobilers. The Big Moose Tavern is open from noon to midnight and Happy Hour drink specials are available from 4 to 6 p.m. They do offer music on occasion, featuring solo artists. Summer and winter hours vary, but claim winter is the best time to visit. We had trouble with this proclamation, given the beautiful view of the lake, the sandy beach and massive porch and deck. The tavern is only open four days, including weekends, after the summer season.

Reluctantly, we left the Big Moose Inn in search of our next destination. One down. Seven to go. In an effort to catch up, we plan to review some of the Old Forge area bars first on the Adirondack Almanack and others on our blog. Lake Placid reviews of The Cottage, Lisa G’s and Dancing Bears have all been completed and posted.

Kim and Pam Ladd’s book, Happy Hour in the High Peaks, is currently in the research stage. Together they visit pubs, bars and taverns with the goal of selecting the top 46 bars in the Adirondack Park. They regularly report their findings here at the Almanack and at their own blog, or follow them on Facebook, and ADK46barfly on Twitter.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Exhibit Features 100 Years of Adirondack Mail Boats

The Town of Webb Historical Association and Goodsell Museum, located at 2993 State Route 28 in Old Forge, Herkimer County, is currently featuring the exhibit “Floating Letters-The Town of Webb’s Mail Boats-Over 100 Years of Postal Tradition and Summer Fun” through the end of October.

The exhibit presents the history of the delivery of mail by boat in the Town of Webb on the Fulton Chain of Lakes, Big Moose Lake, Twitchell Lake, Rondaxe Lake, Silver Lake, and other locations from the early 1880s until the present. The exhibit includes photographs, certificates, ledgers and maps -as well as a wide assortment of custom leather & canvas/cloth mail pouches donated or on loan for the exhibit.

Included in the exhibit is the story of the Railway Postal Office (RPO) – a unique contract issued to Dr. William Seward Webb & the Fulton Chain Navigation Co. in 1901 whereby an official postal clerk rode on the boats to cancel mail, sell stamps & money orders, and perform other postal duties.

Additional exhibits at the Goodsell Museum include those on Adirondack wildlife, the Goodsell Family (George Goodsell was the first ‘mayor’ of the Village of Old Forge in 1903) and the 90th Anniversary of the Thendara Golf Club. The next featured exhibition, on early medicine, will open December 1st. The Webb Historical Association maintains a regular exhibit on early local doctors which will help form the basis the of the new exhibit.

The Goodsell Museum is open year-round; there is no admission charge.

The museum is also participating in Old Forge’s “First Friday Art Walk” events by including special exhibits connecting art with historical themes. On July 1st from 5-8PM they will have one of Lottie Tuttle’s oil paintings on display. Lottie was one of the Adirondack’s first female guides, she and her husband invented the devil bug fishing lure that was manufactured in Old Forge and marketed across the United States in the early 1900’s.

On July 9th the Association will hold its 9th Annual Benefit Auction. Preview and registration starts at 1 pm, bidding at 2 pm with auctioneer June DeLair from Constableville Auction Hall. The auction is held under a tent on the Goodsell Museum grounds and will include antiques, collectibles, new and nearly new items donated from members and friends of the museum.

The Association also has other programs, workshops, and walking tours. More information can be found online or by contacting Gail Murray, Director, via e-mail at historicaldirector@frontiernet.net or by phone at

Photo: The Steamboat Hunter – Captain Jonathan Meeker delivered mail to hotels and camps as early as 1883.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Remembering Anne LaBastille’s Environmental Record

Author, environmentalist, photographer and former longtime Adirondack Park Agency commissioner Anne LaBastille died in Plattsburgh on Friday, July 1st; she was 77.

LaBastille was an outspoken proponent of environmental conservation whose book Woodswoman reached a national audience and served as inspiration for legions of women interested in the outdoors. At the same time she was a controversial Adirondack figure who served as Adirondack Park Agency (APA) commissioner from 1975 to 1993, a tenure that showed her to be a tenacious defender of the wild character of the Adirondack Park.

Born in Montclair, NJ on Nov. 20, 1933, she attended Cornell University and received a B.S. in Conservation of Natural Resources in 1955, long before environmentalism began to emerge as a force for natural resource protection. She left Cornell to attend graduate school at Colorado State University where she received an M.S. in Wildlife Management in 1961. Her Masters Thesis was An Ecological Analysis of Mule Deer Winter Range, Cache la Poudre Canyon, Colorado.

As the modern environmental movement began to take shape following the publication of Silent Spring by Rachel Carson in 1967, LaBastille was already immersed in ornithology and wildlife ecology. During the 1960s her field work produced a number of papers on Guatemalan birds and fish including the Atitlán Grebe (Podilymbus gigas), also known as Giant Pied-billed Grebe or Poc. The flightless upland water bird began to decline precipitously following the introduction of invasive large and smallmouth bass into its home waters of Lake Atitlán, Guatemala in the late 1950s. LaBastille’s “Recent census and observations of the Giant Pied-billed Grebe” (published with C.V. Bowes in 1962) set her on a 25-year project that tracked the decline and eventual extinction of the Poc.

LaBastille’s thesis “The life history, ecology and management of the Giant Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus gigas), Lake Atitlán, Guatemala” was accepted in 1969, the year she received a doctorate degree in Wildlife Ecology from Cornell University. She helped establish a refuge for the Poc in 1966 (the first national wildlife refuge in Guatemala) and while their numbers rose through the early 1970s they were reduced to only 32 by 1983. The last two birds were seen in 1989. LaBastille’s Mama Poc (1990) recounted her experience with the Giant Pied-billed Grebe and its extinction. Her first book, Bird Kingdom of the Mayas, was published in 1967.

In 1974 she helped build her own small cabin at the northeast end of Twitchell Lake, near Big Moose Lake. While her academic work in the 1970s focused on conservation in South and Central America, particularity Quetzals and Giant Pied-billed Grebes, LaBastille wrote a series of children’s books about wildlife for the National Wildlife Federation and Adirondack related works for a general audience. She had three pieces in Adirondack Life in 1972, including “Canachagala and the Erie Canal,” “The Adirondack Museum” and “Canoeing through time: The Eckford Chain.” She continued to contribute regularly to Adirondack Life and other publications for the next several years, most notably “The endangered loon” and “Across the Adirondacks” for Backpacker Magazine in 1977.

LaBastille was part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s DOCUMERICA Project which hired freelance photographers to document environmental problems, EPA activities, and outdoor recreation. The National Archives has digitized and placed online 370 of her photographs.

Her autobiographical sixth book, Woodswoman, in which she relates her Adirondack experiences in a back-to-the-land Thoreau style, was published in 1976. It drew some critical acclaim, but more enduring was the envy and respect of followers of her adventures in the woods and on the waters. Subsequent volumes included Beyond Black Bear Lake (1987) and Woodswoman III (1997). Her most recent book was Woodswoman IIII, published in 2003 by her own West of the Wind Publications of Wesport.

LaBastille wrote in Woodswoman that she came to the Adirondacks to “sit in my cabin as in a cocoon, sheltered by the swaying spruces from the outside world.” In an obituary this morning, long time Adirondack guide and outdoors writer Joe Hackett described LaBastille:

“Following the publication [of Woodswoman], LaBastille became an instant role model for thousands of young women all across the country. Her story offered evidence that a lonely life in the forest can foster great confidence.

“Her story proved to be an inspiration for a generation of female outdoor enthusiasts, and it empowered them to be more independent and self-reliant in their enjoyment of the outdoors.

“In the process of paddling, hiking and camping throughout the Adirondacks, she became an icon of the mountains she wandered. Undoubtedly she cultivated her image, and it didn’t hurt matters that she had blonde hair, a fit figure, a bright smile and a tangible sense of independence. She exuded an air of confidence, and whether she was walking into a diner or paddling across a pond, her presence turned heads. She recognized it and enjoyed it.”

LaBastille received her first (an interim) appointment to the Adirondack Park Agency in 1975 during a time when, as writer David Helvarg has noted, “one of the most militant Property Rights movements in the United States… escalated from protests to punches to vandalism and an organized campaign of terror involving death threats, arson, and gunfire…”. LaBastille became a prominent target.

On August 7, 1992, during the debate over the findings of the Commission on the Adirondacks in the Twenty-First Century, LaBastille’s barns at her home in Wadhams were destroyed in a fire she believed was an act of arson by residents opposed to the APA (the Adirondack Council’s offices were vandalized on several occasions around the same time).

“I’m a woman alone, so I’m a great target” she said at the time, “What’s happening in the Adirondacks reminds me a lot of the death squad stuff in Central America [where the game warden she worked with was murdered].” Although she claimed at the time that she was doing so out of the demands of her career, she stopped regularly attending APA meetings and resigned the following year.

“Anne became a symbol to these people,” former APA Director Bob Glennon (the man who captured arsonist Brian Gale in the act of torching an APA building in 1976) later remembered. “They’d point to her as a world conservationist and say she didn’t represent the Adirondacks’ point of view, meaning theirs.”

During her tenure at the APA, LaBastille’s predicted many of the issues that would come to the fore in later decades. She argued against the proliferation of towers as early as 1976 [pdf], even opposing the location of the 1980 Olympic ski jumps [pdf]. Her work in Guatemala influenced her early warnings about the endangered loon (which she wrote about for Adirondack Life in 1977) and the dangers of invasive species such as Coho salmon [pdf]. In 1982, she voiced concerns about building an Adirondack economy around prisons [pdf].

LaBastille took an early interest in the impact of acid rain on the Adirondacks and wrote
“Death from the Sky” for Outdoor Life in 1979, the first of a series of articles she wrote about the problem for popular audiences in National Geographic, Garden Journal, Sierra, and other publications. Her work contributed to the greater awareness of the problem which precipitated the 1980 Acid Deposition Act. The law established a 10-year US government research program that produced with first assessment of acid rain in the United States in 1991. LaBastille’s Beyond Black Bear Lake is considered one of the first accounts of the impacts of acid rain written for a popular audience.

LaBastille was the first woman awarded The Explorers Club Citation of Merit in 1984 and the Outdoor Writers Association of America’s Jade of Chiefs Award in 1988. In 1990 she recieved honorary doctorates from Ripon College, Wisconsin and the State University of New York at Albany. She was given the Society of Woman Geographers Gold Medal in 1993 and the following year the Roger Tory Peterson Award for National Nature Educator. In 2008 she received the Howard Zahniser Adirondack Award given by the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks and also the the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Adirondack Center for Writing.

In the late 1990s LaBastille began spending less time at her lakeside cabin, and more time at her home in Wadhams near Westport. In 2008 the Almanack reported that she had became too ill to remain at home and her pets were put for adoption. Adirondack Council Conservation Director John Davis later confirmed that “Dear friend and Park champion for decades, Anne LaBastille is for the first time in memory missing a summer at her beloved cabin north of here, due to health concerns.”

Photos: Anne LaBastille with her constant companions at her Twitchell Lake log cabin in 2004 (Courtesy Cornell University); “Rain and Mist on Twichell Lake” (Anne LaBastille, EPA Photo); Souvenir Village Old Forge c 1973 (Anne LaBastille, EPA Photo).

UPDATE: Anne LaBastille’s birth date and age of death were corrected in the this story from 1935 to 1933, based on information discovered by Valerie Nelson of the LA Times.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Adirondack Ice: Local Ice-Out Contests

For many, springtime (mud-season) looms as the longest and most trying of seasons. Skating, skiing, ice fishing and other winter sports are no longer possible; hiking trips await drier footing, paddling is on hold until the ice goes out. Adirondackers, often in some desperation, look for diversions to help them survive this interminable time of year.

With the arrival of March, temperatures start to swing wildly from 5º to 65º. Water drips, brooks babble and lake ice slowly dwindles away; not sinking as some would believe, but rather becoming porous and water filled until finally it melts completely and disappears. This happens bit by bit in different parts of lakes and over a period of many days. Ever resourceful, residents take advantage of this phenomenon to provide entertainment in the form of ice-out contests. » Continue Reading.