The Adirondack region relies heavily on tourism to support local economies – and if early returns are any indication, there’s good reason to be optimistic as the summer season begins picking up.
Two reports released in recent weeks show more people are packing their bags and heading out for mini-vacations – a good sign for hoteliers and restaurant owners in popular destinations like Lake Placid and Lake George. The first report came from the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Numbers for Memorial Day weekend this year showed a 17 percent increase in attendance over last year – and that’s with 41 parks opening at the last minute due to the state’s ongoing budget crisis.
The second report – a survey conducted by the New York State Hospitality & Tourism Association – backs up the state’s numbers. NYSHTA is a not-for-profit trade organization representing some 1,300 businesses in the lodging and attractions industry. The survey found that 70 percent of hotel managers and lodging owners reported better business this year for Memorial Day weekend than in 2009.
Kim Rielly of the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST) says more people are taking unplanned vacations this year.
“These reports are consistent with our findings,” she said. “We’re looking forward to a good year, because there’s pent-up demand. People haven’t been traveling as much due to the economic downturn.”
Rielly also notes that recent negative press for the airline industry (see: volcanic ash and strikes) has more people looking for drive-to destinations.
“That’s the Adirondacks,” she said.
“Our proximity to millions of people in the New York metro area and the Montreal area works to our advantage,” Rielly added.
Rielly says that in Essex County, occupancy rates are already up over last year.
“And, from what we’re hearing from the area lodging industry, people are making a lot of last-minute travel plans,” she said. “Consumer confidence seems to be up, so we’re optimistic.”
Now for the part that may – no pun intended – dampen some of that optimism:
The warm temperatures throughout the Adirondack and North Country regions in April and May flirted with the record books on several occasions. And, of course, most travelers to the area are here for outdoor activities.
“I was on my bicycle in February,” Rielly quipped. “But in all seriousness, we’ve been blessed with some fantastic weather. That’s absolutely going to play into that last-minute decision making and hopefully it will continue into the summer.”
A bill that would have limited the sale of phosphorus-based fertilizers linked to algae blooms has been gutted by lobbyists’ pressures on legislators.
Among other things, the new version of the bill would prohibit municipalities from enacting stronger regulations without the authorization of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
“This was a compromise; the industry did not want local governments passing more restrictive laws once a statewide law was enacted,” said a source within the DEC. “The agriculture community is freaking out about the bill as it stands now,” the source added. Dan Macentee, a spokesman for Betty Little, Lake George’s representative in the State Senate, confirmed that additional amendments were being drafted to address the concerns of the New York State Farm Bureau. Those amendments are likely to weaken the bill even further, a Senate source said. “The bill’s sponsor, Senator Antoine Thompson, is amenable to amending even his own bills,” said the Senate source. A spokesman for the New York Farm Bureau did not return calls seeking comment before press time.
The current version of the bill restricts the use of fertilizers containing phosphorus within twenty feet of a water body, rather than prohibiting the sale of fertilizers with phosphorus throughout the state, as last year’s version of the bill did.
Prohibiting the use of fertilizers with phosphorus is a crucial step in protecting Lake George’s water quality, said Peter Bauer, executive director of the Fund for Lake George. “Legislation to control phosphorus pollution from household cleaning products and lawn fertilizers is critical to help manage and reduce water pollution. Lake George is enormously important to the local economy. Lake George’s high property values, robust tourism season, sport fishing and boating industries, all require clean water,” said Bauer. If the current version of the bill is enacted, New York State’s regulation of phosphorus would be far weaker than a town-wide ban proposed by Lake George Supervisor Frank McCoy, said Bauer.
The Town of Lake George will consider the proposal as early as June 14, when it is scheduled to conduct a public hearing on the proposed ban. If the ordinance is adopted, Lake George will not only be the first town within the watershed to limit phosphorus, but the first community within the Adirondack Park to take that step.
Lake George Town officials officials have posted a survey on the Town’s website to solicit comments about the proposal. The survey will be found on the left side of the site under the heading “Give us your opinion,” along with a conceptual description of the proposal. Opinions submitted through the website will be presented at the public hearing, said McCoy.
Illustration courtesy Lawn to Lake, a program of the Lake Champlain Basin Program.
The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Thursday, June 10, 2010 at APA Headquarters in Ray Brook, NY. The June meeting will be one day only and will consider the creation of a Moose River Plains Intensive Use Camping Area, renewing four previously approved general permits on wetlands, communications towers, hunting and fishing cabins, and development rights, amendments to the Town of Hague, Bolton, and Westport local zoning programs, and revisions to the definition of “boathouse,” and easing the permitting process for businesses, among other topics. Meeting materials are available for download from the Agency’s website. The Full Agency will convene on Thursday morning at 9:00 for Executive Director Terry Martino’s report which will include a resolution recognizing the contributions of long serving past Agency Board Member, James T. Townsend.
At 9:30 a.m., The State Lands Committee will hear a second reading for the Jay Mountain Wilderness and the Hurricane Mountain Primitive Area Unit Management Plans. These plans are actionable items; however, the Board will not act on the fire tower proposal included in the Hurricane Mountain Primitive Area at this time.
APA staff will request authorization from the Board to proceed to public hearing on reclassification proposals for state land in Herkimer and Hamilton Counties including a proposal to create a 2,925 acre Moose River Plains Intensive Use Camping Area. The committee will also hear an informational presentation from DEC staff on the working draft for the Moose River Plains Unit Management Plan. Public review of the draft Unit Management Plan will be conducted jointly between DEC and APA as part of a coordinated SEQR review process on both the Unit Plan and the reclassification proposals.
At 11:15, the Regulatory Programs Committee will consider renewing four previously approved general permits which are set to expire on August 12, 2010. The general permits include:
2005G-2 Minor Projects Not In or Impacting Wetlands
2005G-3 Replacement of or Installation of Certain New Telecommunications Antennas on Existing Towers or Other Tall Structures
2005G-4 Hunting and Fishing Cabins Greater Than 500 Square Feet in a Resource Management Area
2005G-5 Subdivision to Convey Two or More Lots Without Principal Building Rights
The Committee will then hear a first reading for a new draft general permit which, if authorized, would expedite APA approval for a change in use in existing commercial, public/semi-public and industrial structures. This proposed general permit is the latest in ongoing efforts by the APA to improve administrative efficiency.
At 1:00, the Local Government Services Committee will consider approving proposed amendments to the Town of Hague and the Town of Bolton’s approved local land use programs. Agency staff will then provide the committee with an overview on local land use controls inside the Adirondack Park.
At 1:45, the Park Policy and Planning Committee will hear a first reading on the Draft Memorandum of Understanding for APA’s review process of DEC projects on State Easement Lands inside the Adirondack Park. The MOU defines working relationships, provides guidelines for outlining new land use and development subject to Agency review and establishes review protocols for future DEC projects proposed on lands with State-owned conservation easements.
Following this discussion, the Committee will determine approvability for a proposed map amendment in the Town of Westport, Essex County.
At 3:00, the Legal Affairs Committee will meet to discuss and act on regulatory revisions for the definition of “boathouses”. The proposed definition is available as a pdf.
At 4:00, the Full Agency will convene to take action as necessary and conclude with committee reports, public and member comment.
The next Agency meeting is July 8-9 2010 at the Adirondack Park Agency Headquarters.
August Agency Meeting: August 12-13 at the Adirondack Park Agency Headquarters.
Lake George Association (LGA) lake stewards are once again on duty at boat launches around Lake George for the summer, inspecting boats and educating boaters on how to prevent the spread of invasive species. They began their work on Memorial Day weekend.
Coordinated by the LGA, the program seeks to contain the spread of three species already present in Lake George: Eurasian watermilfoil, zebra mussels, and curly-leaf pondweed, as well as a possible fourth – brittle naiad – which was found and removed from Dunham’s Bay last summer. The program also helps prevent new invasive species from being introduced, such as spiny waterflea and water chestnut, which are present in nearby water bodies. » Continue Reading.
“After Years of Neglect, Bolton Landing Landmark to be Sold.” That’s the headline of a lead story in this week’s issue of the Lake George Mirror, which was written after the 1820s house was sold at an auction held on the steps of the Warren County courthouse last week. We also published an editorial, “Save the John Tanner House.” Since the issue appeared on local news stands earlier this week, it’s become common knowledge that whoever buys the house will probably demolish it. But a committee to save the building headed by Bolton Town Historian Ted Caldwell has already been formed. Below is the story that appeared in the Mirror. The 19th century Federal home on Bolton Landing’s Main Street that has slowly deteriorated and appears to be all but abandoned will finally be sold.
Following a court-ordered auction, held on May 26 at the Warren County Municipal Center, ownership of the property passed from Northwest Bay Partners to Glenn C. Waehner of Fresno, California.
“It was never Mr. Waehner’s intention to hold the property; his goal is to sell it to someone who will either restore or re-develop the property,” said Justin Heller, an Albany attorney representing Waehner.
McDonald Real Estate Professionals has been retained by Waehner to list the property for $975,000, said Frank McDonald.
“We hope it will become a small, upscale year-round inn,” said McDonald. “That will fill a void at that end of town and in the community itself, which has many types of accommodations but nothing like that.”
The property’s previous owner, Northwest Bay Partners, owes Waehner $1.4 million, said Heller.
Waehner won the property with a bid of $625,000; that amount will be deducted from the $1.4 million owed to him by Northwest Bay Partners’ principal, Michael C. O’Brien Jr. said Heller.
“Mr. Waehner believes the property is worth substantially more than $625,000,” said Heller. No one else placed a bid, although at least three prospective buyers attended the auction.
Northwest Bay Partners purchased the house in 1995 for $650,000, according to Bolton developer Rolf Ronning, who owned the house at the time.
Ronning himself purchased the house in 1982 for $125,000, he said.
Until 1959, the house was part of a farm known as Ryefield that extended eastward to Potter Hill Road and included the whole of Dula Pond.
In 1959, the Myers family sold the property to Canoe Island Lodge owner Bill Busch and Lamb Brothers Marina partner Norm Lamb, who turned the house into a restaurant which they called Evergreen Acres.
The property was later logged, sold and subdivided; carved from the former farm were developments like Mohican Heights and Heritage Village.
The house was built in the 1820s by John Tanner, a native of Hopkinton, Rhode Island who acquired more than 2,200 acres in Bolton, including Green Island.
Converted to Mormonism in 1832, he was baptized in Lake George across the street from his house and moved to Kirtland, Ohio with ten other Bolton families.
According to Pat Babé, the director of the Bolton Historical Society, people visit the museum every summer seeking information about John Tanner and his house.
“They all get so excited when I take them out to the front steps and point across the street to what we call Evergreen Acres and say that that is the original Tanner House,” said Babe.
Babe said the visitors are invariably Mormons researching their genealogy. More than 15,000 people trace their lineage to Tanner.
Lake George’s Supervisor wants his town to become the first within the Lake George watershed to ban the use of lawn fertilizers containing phosphorus.
If the ordinance that Supervisor Frank McCoy has proposed is adopted in June, Lake George will not only be the first town within the watershed to limit phosphorus, but the first community within the Adirondack Park to take that step, said John Sheehan, a spokesman for the Adirondack Council.
“The Lake George Park Commission should follow the town’s lead and ban phosphorus in fertilizers everywhere on the lake,” said Sheehan. » Continue Reading.
Three Lake George environmental conservation groups have released a final design for the West Brook Gaslight Village Project, a stormwater treatment system that will be located on the parcel on the south side of West Brook. Dubbed the “West Brook Conservation Initiative,” the Lake George Association, the FUND for Lake George and the Lake George Land Conservancy, have been working together to develop the project under the terms of a conservation easement they jointly hold with three municipal partners: the town and the village of Lake George, and Warren County.
The final plan includes restored wetlands and an environmental park that will be built on 4.9 acres south of West Brook Road where the Charley’s Saloon building stands south of the former Gaslight Village. The entire 12-acre project represents one of the most important conservation efforts in Lake George’s history, according to advocates. Designed by the Chazen Companies, the plan for the south parcel of the property will restore wetlands to naturally slow stormwater generated from the Route 9 corridor and adjoining properties, capture sediment and filter pollutants which currently make there way to a growing delta at the mouth of West Brook. Due to the filling of historic wetlands, channeling of the stream, and development in the stream’s watershed, West Brook today is the single largest source of contaminant — pollution, nutrients and sediment — entering the south basin of Lake George. The delta at the mouth of the brook has grown to over 7,000 square meters. The land was once part of the Delaware & Hudson Railroad Yards, and later a string of attractions related to the property next door which housed Gaslight Village from 1959 to 1989.
The project will feature a settling pond to trap and retain sediment, a shallow marsh where wetland plantings will store and treat run-off, and a gravel wetland where dense root mats, crushed stone and a microbe rich environment will improve the water quality before it is conveyed to West Brook. Environmental engineers believe that the best way to treat stormwater is through natural processes of wetlands, where water is captured and retained for a period of time and allowing sediment and nutrients to be dropped out as the water is cleansed.
Project engineers estimate that 90% of the sediment will be successfully treated by this system and over one-half of the nutrients will be removed. The wetland systems are designed to also provide an open environmental park, with interpretative signage, nature trails, elevated walkways, a pavilion, an outdoor classroom, gazebo, overlooks and picnic areas for the general public.
”This project will capture and treat millions of gallons of stormwater that annually flow into the lake untreated,” Peter Bauer, executive director of the FUND for Lake George, said. The project has been carefully designed to require minimal or no maintenance according to Bauer including the use of drought resistant meadow-like grasses will require no mowing, watering or fertilizing. Minimal mowing is expected to be necessary in selected areas close to West Brook Road for aesthetic purposes, although the grass seed to be used there is a mix of fescues that will produce a low-growing and drought tolerant grass. New native plants, shrubs and trees will require little or no weeding, pruning or fertilizing. Periodically – after a few years of maturity – the wetland plantings will need to be thinned and excess plant materials removed.
Some $200,000 in state and federal funding will be used to complete the construction of the project, but money is still needed to repay for the land. In addition to the $2.1 million loan on the Gaslight Village purchase by the LGA and the FUND, the Lake George Land Conservancy is carrying a $2.7 million loan on the 1,400-acre Berry Pond tract, which protects the upland watershed for West Brook.
Demolition of Charley’s Saloon is expected to begin in mid-June, following the conclusion of Americade; construction of the storm water management complex will begin after the Adirondack Nationals Car Show in early September.
The Boy Scouts of America has been called the largest environmental organization in the country, and its handbook a conservation best seller.
That both were launched one hundred years ago on Lake George, at Silver Bay, might have remained forgotten were it not for the work of a fifteen year old film maker from Latham.
Blake Cortright’s “First Encampment,” a documentary about the Scouts’ first camp at Silver Bay, will be shown on the Capital District’s WMHT on May 29 and on other public television stations later this year.
In 1910, representatives of boys’ groups from across the country gathered at Silver Bay to create an experimental camp devoted to the teaching of outdoor and leadership skills. Among them were Dan Beard and Ernest Thompson Seton, both writers, editors and illustrators who were friends of the vigor-worshiping Theodore Roosevelt.
At the end of a trail through the woods, the groups set up camp and built an amphitheater they called the Council Ring, where the Boy Scouts of America came into being around the blazing fires.
(Seton, who wrote the Boy Scout Handbook, designed the Scouts’ uniform at the site.)
“I would not have known about the First Encampment had our troop not made a pilgrimage to Silver Bay in 2008 to trace the roots of scouting,” said Cortright, an Eagle Scout himself.
At the very same Council Ring, Silver Bay volunteer and historian Robert James regaled the scouts with the tale of the organization’s birth.
“For forty five minutes, the kids listened with rapt attention,” said Cortright.
That presentation was the germ of the documentary, which relies upon James’ research and features interviews with him at his home in Slingerlands.
Silver Bay’s archives provided many of the early 20th century photos illustrating the narrative, much of it delivered by John Kearny.
Kearny, a Lake George steamboat captain, actor and voice-over artist, was recruited by his son Kyle, a scouting friend of Cortright’s.
Once the documentary was completed, Cortright’s mother Connie made certain that it was seen.
“I made a cold call to WMHT and persuaded the staff to watch it,” said Connie. “They called back a month later and said they were prepared to put it on the air. I didn’t realize at the time how difficult it is to get something broadcast.”
“First Encampment” is Cortright’s first documentary, but unlikely to be his last. He hopes to go film school.
“I learned everything by doing it backwards, but it was a wonderful experience,” said Cortright.
In September 1755 the most famous Indian in the world was killed in the Bloody Morning Scout that launched the Battle of Lake George. His name was Henderick Peters Theyanooguin in English, but he was widely known as King Hendrick. In an unfortunate twist of linguistic and historical fate, he shared the same first name as another famous Native American, Hendrick Tejonihokarawa, who although about 30 years his senior, was also famous in his own right. He was one of the “Four Indian Kings” who became a sensation in London in 1710, met Queen Anne, and was wined and dined as an international celebrity.
Both Hendricks were Mohawk warriors. Both were Christians who aided Great Britain against France in their struggles for empire. Both served as important sachems who stressed cooperation instead of bloody confrontation and who helped negotiate the relationship between their fellow Mohawks and European colonials who recognized that the Iroquois Confederacy was critical to the balance of power in early 18th century America. Both Hendricks, were later confused by historians into one man. Eric Hinderaker’s The Two Hendricks: Unraveling a Mohawk Mystery sets out to unearth the lives of these two important Mohawk men and untangle their stories from a confused history of colonial Native American relations. King Hendrick (1692-1755), whose death in battle and burial place are memorialized in almost forgotten ground along the highway between Glens Falls and Lake George Village, was already famous at the time of the Bloody Morning Scout, the same attack that claimed the life of Ephraim Williams, founder of Williams College (the year before he died he gave an important speech at the Albany Congress of 1754). His death during the French and Indian War in the cause of British Empire however, propelled his fame and ships and taverns were named in his honor abroad.
The earlier Hendrick (c.1660-c.1735) took part in King Williams War, including the failed attempt to launch an all-out invasion of Canada in retaliation for Frontiac’s raid in February 1690 which destroyed Schenectady. He was among the Mohawks of Tiononderoge (the Lower Castle), who were swindled out of their lands along the Mohawk by their colonial neighbors.
Part of the value of The Two Hendricks, however, lies not only in its untangling of the two men, but also in coming to grips with the ways in which the swindling often worked both ways. Hendrick, a common Dutch name equivalent to Henry, was just one part of their names, but Mohawk names comprise the other part. Hinderaker’s new book demonstrates that both Hendricks gave as well as they got in building alliances, fame, and power that left them among the most famous Native Americans in history.
Photo Above: Henderick Peters Theyanooguin (King Hendrick), wearing the English coat he wore on public occasions and his distinctive facial tattoo. This print, published just after his death and titled “The brave old Hendrick, the great Sachem or Chief of the Mohawk Indians,” is considered the most accurate likeness of the man.
Photo Below: Hendrick Tejonihokarawa, one of the “Four Indian Kings” who traveled to London in 1710. The print, by John Verelst, is entitled “Tee Yee Neen Ho Ga Row, Emperor of the Six Nations.” The title “Emperor” was a bit of a stretch, he belonged to the council of the Mohawk tribe, but not to that of the Iroquois Confederacy as a whole.
Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.
The Rogers Rangers Challenge has been resurrected by its original co-founder, Dr. Dave Bannon and Rogers Island Visitors Center. The original Challenge began in 1991 and ended in 2001. The run, paddle, bike triathlon starts at the Hogtown trailhead on Buck Mountain in the Town of Fort Ann at 8:00 am on Sunday June 13th. Registration for the Challenge is due by May 23rd. This race is dedicated to the memory of Major Robert Rogers and his Independent Company of Rangers who lived on Rogers Island at Fort Edward during the French and Indian War.
A 7-½ mile run starts at the Hogtown trailhead over Buck Mountain and ends at the Fort Ann Beach on Lake George. The 3-mile canoe/kayak goes from the beach to Dome Island on the lake and back to the beach where the bike trek starts. The bike portion of the race winds through beautiful Washington County and ends at Rogers Island Visitors Center on Rogers Island in Fort Edward. This event can be done as a team or individually. Although it is not required entrants are encouraged to dress in period clothing. Eileen Hannay, manager of Rogers Island Visitors Center, explains: “The event is quite unique. Racers will find French & Indian War and Native American reenactors along the route as they experience some of the challenges the terrain offered Rogers Rangers more than 250 years ago.”
Mark Wright, one of the original co-founders and an Army Major will be coming from Maine to participate in the challenging event. Dr. Bannon explains: “The most difficult part of this triathlon is the run down Buck Mountain towards Fort Ann Beach. The going is steep and rough with many obstacles.”
Registration forms can be found at www.rogersisland.org. For more information call Rogers Island Visitors Center at 518-747-3693.
The Rogers Rangers Challenge is sponsored by: Adirondack Trust Company, Ferring Pharmaceuticals, Glens Falls National Bank and The Anvil Inn Restaurant. Proceeds for this event benefit Rogers Island Visitors Center.
Nobody comes to Lake George in winter. That’s the conventional wisdom, apparently confirmed by the experience of resorts like The Sagamore, which now closes its doors in November.
But according to a study released by the Warren County Tourism Department in April, people are interested in visiting Lake George and Bolton Landing in the off-season; they even recommend it as a destination to others.
Of the 577 people who completed a Warren County Tourism Department on-line survey, more than a third visited the Lake George region between December and March, said Kate Johnson, Warren County’s director of tourism. “Almost 90% of the people who visited us at that time of the year rated their experience as either ‘Very Good’ or ‘Excellent,’” said Johnson. “I’m still gratified by how many people are pleased with their visits to Lake George and will recommend it to others.”
Johnson said 100% of the people surveyed would recommend Lake George to their friends and family.
“It doesn’t matter what the season, people like Lake George,” said Johnson
And they like the same things about Lake George in season and out, Johnson said.
46% of the winter visitors said Lake George’s scenic beauty was a major draw and 22% engaged in outdoor activities.
Summer visitors expressed similar preferences, although an even higher percentage said they came to Lake George for its range of outdoor activities, from golfing and horseback riding to boating and swimming, said Johnson,
According to the survey, the majority of winter visitors stayed two to three nights in Warren County. More than 86% visited Lake George during their stay and roughly 40% visited Bolton Landing. Only 25% visited North Creek, the site of Gore Mountain and assumed by many to be Warren County’s single winter destination.
“This report gives us the kind of feedback we need,” said Bolton Supervisor Ron Conover, who serves on Warren County’s Tourism Committee. “By promoting our natural resources year-round, we’re doing the right thing.”
Conover added, “The report also reminds us that it’s our lake’s scenic beauty that draws visitors. We have to maintain our tourism infrastructure, such as our beaches and parks.”
In the two centuries that followed the French destruction of Fort William Henry in 1757, the only visible reminder of the fort was the old well on the grounds of the hotel.
“The French,” wrote Seneca Ray Stoddard in his 1873 guide to Lake George, “burned whatever they could not carry off. They could not steal or burn the ‘Old Fort Well’ however, and it still remains, partially filled with stones and rubbish.”
It was rumored that the British hid their gold and silver in the well during the seige of 1757. After the surrender of the fort to the Marquis de Montcalm, the officers’ wives who had been told that they would be granted safe passage to Fort Edward threw their jewelry into the well “having a premonition of disaster,” according to one account. According to Stoddard’s tale, “On the night of August 9, 1757, as the Indians went about the fort, killing and scalping the sick and wounded, two women were thrown headlong down the well after having been scalped.”
Despite that rich history, the well has been excavated only twice; in the 1950s and again in 1997, under the supervision of archeologist David Starbuck.
The well was dug in late 1755, after Sir William Johnson defeated the French at the Battle of Lake George and began building Fort William Henry. Rogers’ Rangers, it is believed, actually dug and built the 40 ft deep stone well.
At least one source has it that the completion of the well was commemorated with a dance and a ration of rum for all.
Approximately one hundred years after the destruction of the fort, the first hotel was built on the site.
“Honeymoon couples would walk by the well and throw silver coins into it, believing that this offering to the legends of the ghosts which have been said to inhabit the walls of the old report, would bring them good luck, and future happiness,” the Lake George Mirror reported in 1955.
When reconstruction of the current replica fort began in 1953, the bottom was only 19 and 1/2 feet from the curb, indicating that that in the intervening years about 20 feet of of dirt and debris had accumulated.
According to David Starbuck, archaeologists were unable to dig deeper than 23 feet before hitting water when excavating the well in 1960. In 1997, Starbuck began a new archaeological dig at the fort, part of which was an excavation of the well. With the aid of sections of steel culvert with which to line the well and prevent it from collapsing, Starbuck himself was able to reach a depth of 30 feet.
“Since 1960 the well had been the center of attention for every school child who visited the fort,” Starbuck wrote in his “Massacre at Fort William Henry.” “They left us with a forty year legacy of tourist memorabilia.”
Starbuck and his assistants found toys, sunglasses and a lot of bubblegum.
At 27 feet from the surface, Starbuck made a discovery that completes our knowledge of the well’s construction. “The well had been lined at its bottom with vertical wood planks, creating a water tight barrel that prevented silt from washing in,” Starbuck reported. “(Each of the planks) was three inches thick, and twelve inches wide. Massive and tightly joined, the boards were waterlogged and swollen, and groundwater could seep into the well only by running over the tops of the planks through knotholes.”
Fort William Henry’s Archaeology Hall includes a full scale recreation of the well, enabling viewers to experience for themselves Starbuck’s sensations as he stood at the bottom of the well, sending up buckets of earth, debris, and the thousands of coins visitors have tossed into the well over the years. (The treasure, we assume, went elsewhere.)
Gerry Bradfield, the fort’s curator at the time, installed a video camera within the well’s shaft and taped the entire process.
The Archaeology Hall and other rooms throughout the Fort contain thousands of artifacts discovered on the grounds of Fort William Henry since the 1950’s, when the reconstruction of the fort began. Recent discoveries, such as pre-historic pottery shards as well as buttons from the uniforms of American soldiers in the War of Independence, suggest that the site was used before and after the fort was burned in 1757.
The exhibits are part of a larger “Living History Program” designed to enable visitors to better understand the history of the colonial era. The program includes tours led by guides in authentic costumes, the firing of 18th century muskets and cannons, recreated scenes of life at the fort and scenes from the events that took place there, as well as visits to dungeons, a powder magazine and a crypt of the victims of Montcalm’s 1757 massacre. Visitors can also view the 1936 film version of Cooper’s “Last of the Mohicans,” believed by many to be the best and most graphic portrayal of Montcalm’s siege and the ensuing massacre.
The Fort William Henry Museum is open from May through October.
Photo of Old Fort Well, circa 1959, Lake George Mirror files
The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) 14th annual gala and auction, “Black Fly Affair: A Hikers Ball,” will be held from 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., Friday, May 21, at the Fort William Henry Hotel’s historic White Lion Ballroom, overlooking Lake George. The Black Fly Affair is ADK’s largest fund-raising event of the year, and proceeds from this year’s event will help support ADK’s education intern programs.
Recommended attire for the event is semi-formal dress (black tie) and hiking boots, although the dress code will not be strictly enforced.
Peter and Ann Hornbeck are honorary chairs, and Gregory McKnight will be master of ceremonies. Beverages will be provided by Adirondack Winery and Cooperstown Brewing Co., and there will be dancing to the music of Standing Room Only. ADK boasts one of the largest silent auctions in the region in addition to its very lively live auction, where guests will bid on original artwork, outdoor gear, weekend getaways, cultural events and more. Jim and Danielle Carter of Acorn Estates & Appraisals will conduct the auction. A preview of auction items is available at the ADK Web site, www.adk.org.
Tickets are $45 in advance and $55 at the door. To make reservations, visit www.adk.org or call , Ext. 14. To donate an auction item or to become a corporate sponsor, contact Deb Zack at , Ext. 42. Discounted room rates for Black Fly attendees are available at the Fort William Henry Hotel and the Best Western of Lake George.
The Adirondack Mountain Club, founded in 1922, is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to protecting the New York State Forest Preserve and other wild lands and waters through conservation and advocacy, environmental education and responsible recreation.
The Lake George Association (LGA), now celebrating its 125th anniversary, has announced its 2010 summer schedule of ecology educational programs for the public. The LGA is the oldest lake association in the United States, and one of the oldest non-profit conservation organizations in New York.
Families, schools, businesses and individuals interested in preserving the Lake George region for future generations are invited to join the LGA for one or more of many educational offerings this summer; most are free of charge. Free family hands-on water ecology programs will take place on Thursday mornings from 10-11 am; topics include Lake Invaders, Creek Critters and Fish Food.
Lake lovers of all ages are invited to participate in on-lake learning adventures aboard the LGA’s Floating Classroom. Trips for the public will take place on Thursday mornings in July and August at 11 am, leaving the dock at Shepard Park in Lake George. Additional times are available for groups.
Four free workshops, entitled Landscaping with Native Plants, Aquatic Invasive Plants – Do’s and Don’ts, Water Conservation, and Lawn Care and Pest Management will be offered on four Saturday mornings this summer.
The public is also invited to participate in two clean-ups – one at West Brook and the other on Log Bay, and in LGA’s annual loon census count on July 17.
The organization’s 125th annual meeting, open and free to all, will take place on Friday, August 20 at 11 am at the Lake George Club. Reservations are required for the annual meeting and for the floating classroom trips.
Then on Saturday, I think the Natalia Zuckerman and Andy Friedman concert looks like a very good bet. They both have strong guitar and vocal styles. I’m also intrigued by Gordon Stone‘s banjo playing – having checked some of it out on line – his music is complex and can get really exciting. If one is feeling ambitious it should be possible to catch both of those shows, missing only an hour of one.
Another thing I’ve noticed while looking around the Park schedules this week, are the number of orchestras giving performances, surely an indication of the warmer weather to come. Thursday, April 22nd:
In Saranac Lake, Open Minded Mic Night at BluSeed Studios. Sign up at 7 and starts at 7:30pm. There is a $3 cover. Fantastic audience and fantastic talent.
In Canton, an Chapel Organ Recital will be held from 12:15 – 1:15 pm at the Gunnison Chapel at St. Lawrence University. Free admission.
In Potsdam, Ten Speed Taxi will rock La Casbah from 9 – 11:45 pm. For more information, call (315) 379 – 9713.
Saturday, April 24th:
In Long Lake, the 19th Annual Spring Blossom Fiddle Jam at the Town Hall. Workshops are at 2 and 3:15 pm, to register call (518) 624-3077 ext. 13. The open jam starts at 6 pm.
In Saranac Lake, Natalia Zuckerman with Andy Friedman at BluSeed Studios. The concert starts at 7:30 pm and the charge is $14/ $12 for members. For reservations call (518) 891 – 3799.
In Saranac Lake, “An Evening of Operetta and Broadway” will be presented by the High Peaks Opera Studio. This concert will be held at Saranac Village at Will Rogers at 7:30 pm. A donation of $5 is suggested. Call Debbie Kanze at (518) 901 – 7117 for more information.
In Saranac Lake, a new Chamber Musical “At Saranac” will be performed for the first time by Phil Greenland and Tyler Nye. The show starts at 8 pm in the John Black Room of the Saranac Laboratory and a $5 donation is suggested. For more information, call (518) 891 – 4585.
In Lake Placid, a Open Mic will be held from 8 – 10 pm at the Cabin of The Northwoods Inn. Special guests are poets; Paul Pines and Theo Hummer. For more information call (518) 523 – 1312.
In Lake Placid, David Knopfler at LPCA. Concert starts at 8 pm and tickets are $16. Call (518) 891 – 2512 for reservations.
In Queensbury, Coffee House & Open Mic will be held at the UU’s Church on 21 Weeks Road. a $4 donation includes fruit, desserts, tea and coffee.
In Lowville, The Black River Valley Concert Series presents “Zen Is For Primates”. Doors open at 7:45 and the concert starts at 8 pm and will be held at the Lewis County Historical Society. For more information email; [email protected] .
Sunday, April 25th:
In Long Lake, the 19th Annual Spring Blossom Fiddle Jam starts back up at noon. The event is held at the Long Lake Town Hall.
In Lake George, a benefit “Spring Fling” will be held at the Adirondack Pub & Brewery. Tickets are $20, for more information call (518) 668 -2616.
In Canton, The Best of The Classics: String Orchestra will be held at the Gunnison Chapel from 2 – 3:30 pm. Free admission.
Tuesday, April 27th:
In Potsdam, The Crane Symphonic Band will perform at 7:30 pm at the Helen Hosmer Hall, SUNY Potsdam. It’s a free concert.
Wednesday, April 28th:
In Lake Placid, The Syracuse Symphony Orchestra will perform at 8 pm at LPCA. Tickets are $15 and less. For reservations call (518) 523-2512.
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