Posts Tagged ‘Johnsburg’

Thursday, August 9, 2018

A Partnership For Wilderness, 1946-2018

In July 1946, Howard and Alice Zahniser drove with their children to the Adirondacks for the first time. Howard had started work as the first executive of The Wilderness Society in Washington D.C. the year prior. Howard would begin drafting the federal Wilderness Act of 1964 (66 drafts in all) from a cabin he acquired in the Adirondacks.

Howard kept a journal of his first trip to the Adirondack Park.  The rest of us know about it thanks to his son Ed Zahniser’s small book, Where Wilderness Preservation Began – Adirondack Writings of Howard Zahniser (Ed Zahniser, Editor., North Country Books, 1992). For 72 years the extended Zahniser family, now including the fourth generation, has returned to the same place in the Adirondacks. This August I held a cook-out to welcome them back. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 5, 2018

Mateskared: The Zahniser Cabin in Johnsburg

In the mid-1990s Harold Allen reminisced about my father Howard Zahniser: “He bought the place, and he never had seen it,” Harold said. “Paul Schaefer was the one who told him about it.”

Pansy and I were sitting at their kitchen table. Her parents, John and Hester Dalaba, named their girls for plants—Pansy, Daisy, Blossom, Fern, and Carnata — and their boys for trees — Oliver and Linden.  Harold, Pansy’s husband, sat in his favorite easy chair, next to the door to their closed-in front porch. “We even tried to give it away,” Harold said of their first attempts to sell what became Mateskared to our family, “because we didn’t want to pay the taxes on it.” They paid $3 school tax and $8 land tax. Harold knew exactly what they paid, because he was the collector for school taxes then. “Here now school and land taxes are $2,000 a year,” Harold said of their present home just down the hill from Mateskared. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Collaboration Yields Dividends At Tannery Pond Center

tannery pondWhat follows is an essay by the Board of Trustees of  the Tannery Pond Center, located on Main Street in North Creek.

Enhanced collaboration between the Town of Johnsburg (TOJ) and the non-profit Tannery Pond Center (TPC) organization has brought this region the wonderful opportunity of having more varied and more frequent entertainment, educational programs, and other events scheduled at the Tannery Pond Community Center (TPCC) for the benefit of the residents of, and visitors to, this region.

In this special partnership between the TOJ and the TPC, the TPC raises money (currently about $65,000 a year) to bring an amazing variety of musicians, lecturers, and other entertainers to the Center and manages the operations; while the TOJ, which owns the facility, maintains the building and funds a part-time employee whose primary charge is scheduling. Over 500 events, meetings and activities were held in the building in 2016, with only a handful of days in which no one occupied any space. » Continue Reading.


Monday, November 28, 2016

A Master Trail Builder; A Vision For North Creek

route-28

To really understand this story, you have to bear in mind two distinctive things about North Creek.

One, it butts up against the mountains much tighter than most Adirondack communities. Start on the path that runs beside Town Hall (within sight of the Hudson), and within minutes you’re climbing steeply up Gore Mountain, entering one of the largest wilderness complexes in the Park. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, October 8, 2016

Wevertown Farm Is A Microcosm of Adirondack History

kenwell farmTravelling on NYS Rt 28 just north of Wevertown, you may have taken little notice of the old abandoned farm on your right. If you did, you’ll probably gave it little thought; it is, after all, just a few run down barns and pasture overgrown with weeds and “poverty grass”. Yet this farm is a microcosm of Adirondack History.

Andrus Wever and his family were the first to open up the forest and to settle and farm on this site. Andrus was a Revolutionary War veteran who had served with the 6th Albany County Militia. At that time, Albany County included most all of Northern New York, the present state of Vermont and theoretically extended west all the way to the Pacific Ocean. The 6th was called up when General Burgoyne’s Army invaded from the north and Andrus likely saw combat at the battle of Saratoga in 1777. The 6th Albany County Militia was also part of the pursuit party that chased Sir John Johnson and his Royal New Yorkers back north after Johnson’s raid of Johnstown in 1780. It’s unclear if Andrus was a member of that pursuing party, but it’s intriguing to speculate he first came through the wilderness of what is today Wevertown during that pursuit. Andrus’ father, William, was also a patriot and apparently served in the American Revolution on Long Island. He was captured and died of small pox on a British prison ship in Boston Harbor. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Bobcat Ranney and Howard Zahniser: An Exchange of Letters

Bobcat Picture from Adirondack MuseumIn Summer 1946, at the invitation of Paul and Carolyn Schaefer, Howard and Alice Zahniser and family made their first trip to the Adirondacks, from their home in Maryland where Howard had begun work with The Wilderness Society. Zahnie, as he was known, had met Paul Schaefer and Schaefer’s mentor John Apperson that February at the 1946 North American Wildlife Conference in New York City. There, Schaefer and Apperson showed their film about dam threats to Forest Preserve wilderness in the western Adirondacks.

It was Wilderness Society policy that any threat to wilderness must be considered a national issue. Accordingly, at the Conference Zahnie offered Schaefer the Society’s help to fight the series of dam proposals in what became known as the Black River Wars. Paul had suggested then that Zahnie and family visit the Schaefer family and their Adirondack camp off Edwards Hill Road out of Bakers Mills, New York, the coming summer. It was there that he met Archie “Bobcat” Ranney.  The day the Zanhisers left Washington, D.C., a letter arrived from Ranney, addressed from Bakers Mills: » Continue Reading.


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Ranger Bowback: Recycling Long Ago

Ranger Bowback Cover - Adirondack FarmHow fashions do change. Years ago we were thought to be the oddballs because of the togs we wore. We were taught to wear long sleeves. Many dresses coming into style in our younger days had short sleeves, so we wore shirts or blouses with long sleeves under our dresses. Maybe we were not in style then, but with today’s layered look many women are wearing similar outfits. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Ranger Bowback: An Old Fashioned Johnsburg Kitchen

Ranger Bowback Cover - Adirondack FarmI recall my mother Hester Dalaba walking back and forth in our old-fashioned kitchen with her hands holding her stomach as she sang, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full into His wonderful face, the things of earth will look strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” She was in pains now for the birth of her ninth child. None of her children had been born in a hospital. With her first, Violet, she had been living in a log house next to the house at Hillmount Farms that she and my father built. My sister Blossom was born in the home of Hester’s sister Lillian Morehouse, across Edwards Hill Road. All the other children—Pansy, me, Rose, Fern, Lynden and Oliver—were born here. Now the ninth, Carnata saw the light of day here too.

Mama was a strong believer in prayer and praise, and she could sing in times of severe pain. The kitchen was her favorite place and it became a chapel that day. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, July 16, 2016

With ‘Leaves Torn Asunder’ An Adirondack Historian Turns Novelist

leaves torn asunder book coverAfter two award-winning Adirondack non-fiction histories, author Glenn L. Pearsall of Johnsburg has turned novelist.

Leaves Torn Asunder: A Novel of the Adirondacks and the American Civil War was published by Pyramid Press of Utica.

Inspired by true events, Leaves Torn Asunder portrays a time rarely covered in Adirondack literature. Pearsall’s research included soldier diaries and letters, town enlistment and cemetery records, regimental histories, and visits to the exact places on Civil War battle sites where local men fought and died. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, July 2, 2016

Life With Horses, And Hunting Parties

Ranger Bowback Cover - Adirondack FarmThe Ranger’s brother Charlie did most of the horseshoeing and set many a shoe. Uncle Charlie was a little harsh. He expected obedience and may not have believed in ”horse lib,” but he could make and train a horse.

Nellie and Topsy were young horses Papa bought from his brother Wilber, who had a mare name Mabel and had raised these colts, a beautiful pair. Prince was a lovely horse Papa liked very much. We were a large family, and many times cash was not plentiful. Papa would get his supplies on credit at the Frank Thissell store in the village of Bakers Mills. Papa wanted to get the bill paid and made some arrangement for paying them $100 and the horse Prince. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Ranger Bowback: Stone Boats, Snowdrifts, and Church on Sundays

Ranger Bowback Cover - Adirondack FarmUncle Charlie Dalaba was one of the helpers many times for sugaring. He was a bachelor for years. Then he married a lady preacher, pastor of the Bakers Mills Pentecostal Holiness Church. Esther Thomas was a city girl from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and before her conversion and ministry she had played in theaters. One name she mentioned was Helen Hayes, who was a child. When the opportunity for a part in a movie came, she listened. The child must have curly hair, which she did not have. Her mother thought her daughter would make a good actress and carefully curled her hair. Esther got the part and a movie career.

In the country, Aunt Esther Thomas Dalaba decided to learn what she could about her new way of life. One of those experiences led her to go watch the making of maple syrup. Aunt Esther was so large that walking was impossible. The men helped her onto the lumber wagon box and gave her a joyride to the back roads. Over the bumpy roads and swaying on the seat as the wagon wheel hit a stone, she laughed with pleasure and some alarm. What a good sport. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Ranger Bowback: His Horses and Labors

Ranger Bowback Cover - Adirondack FarmHillmount Farms on Edwards Hill Road was made of many rolling hills. The Ranger’s team of horses was his companion for many days of labor. The team drew the plow over the hilly terrain. There were several kinds of plows used by the farmers, such as the side hill plow, flat land plow, and sulky plow. The Ranger used the side hill plow most, for plowing deep furrows, turning the sod to the right as he went up and around and down a field. The next furrow overlapped, falling into the path of the one just plowed.

Long wooden curved handles were fastened to the plow for the farmer to hold onto. It was difficult for the teamer to hold the lines, so he tied them together and threw them over his shoulder. They dropped to his waist, leaving him in control of the plowing. The horses were well trained with “gee” to turn to the right and “haw” to turn to the left. The horses understood these words. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Gore Mountain Community Fund Accepting Grant Applications

community fund for the gore mountain regionThe Community Fund for the Gore Mountain Region (CFGMR) is accepting applications from area schools, municipalities, nonprofit, and community organizations for its 2016 grant cycle.

A component fund of Adirondack Foundation, CFGMR was established in 2005 and offers grants to organizations in the towns of Johnsburg, Chester, Minerva, Horicon and Schroon. Grants will support community beautification, historic preservation, culture and the arts, education, recreation, and programs for youth, seniors, and veterans. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Adirondack Wilderness: Wild By Law, Not Administrative Whim

Wilderness around Fulton Chain from Castle Rock above Blue Mountain LakeThe former chief of publications at The Smithsonian Institution Paul Oehser once joked that “You’ve never experienced wilderness until you’ve driven through Iowa on Interstate 70 in a heavy rainstorm!” His quip reveals one of many connotations of the inextricably entwined words wilderness and wildness.

Paul Oehser’s use of wilderness to evoke chaos harks back to Europe when urban areas began to be seen as a high earthly expression of order. By contrast, wilderness was unordered landscape outside the pale of humankind. Watch TV news today however, and our modern unordered wilds seem to be big cities. Their seeming disorder makes the wilds of the Adirondacks places of cooperation and restoration. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Ed Zahniser: Sweeping the Garden

“Don’t step too far back in the pantry or you might fall into the cellar,” my mother Alice admonished us kids at our family’s Adirondack cabin Mateskared. Foreboding powers seemed to emanate from our fieldstone cellar walled by the cabin’s foundation.

When I was very young the cellar lurked dungeon-like, unseen below, and haunted with that adult admonition. Its night version—“Howard! What’s that noise in the kitchen?”—audibly whispered from the other bedroom split the pitch-dark, timeless expanse of childhood cabin nights. » Continue Reading.



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