Almost lost in the recent “Fiscal Cliff” spectacle was the anniversary marking one of the major positive milestones of our history — President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
On January 1, 1863, some 3 million people held as slaves in the Confederate states were declared to be “forever free.” Of course, it wasn’t that simple. Most of those 3 million people were still subjugated until the Union Army swept away the final Confederate opposition more than two years later. And slavery was not abolished in the entire United States until after the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution passed in 1865. » Continue Reading.
The bottom line: we can market the heck out of Childwold, N.Y. as a tourism destination, but the visitors will stay in Lake Placid anyway.
Marketing alone is not the solution to the sustainable tourism problem.
In a recent post by NCPR’s Brian Mann, he revisits the idea that there is a lack of a coordinated tourism marketing effort for the Adirondacks. He cites the “balkanization” of the region, “with no central governing organization to shape how and where dollars are spent”.
The state acquisition of 69,000 acres of the former Finch Pruyn lands in the Adirondack Park has spurred much discussion. I thought I’d chime in from a tourism perspective.
In general, the purchase will ultimately mean public access to incredible natural resources for recreational activity. Or, according to a press release from Governor Cuomo’s office on August 5th, “Opening these lands to public use and enjoyment for the first time in 150 years will provide extraordinary new outdoor recreational opportunities, increase the number of visitors to the North Country and generate additional tourism revenue.”
I applaud the Governor’s office and their efforts, and appreciate that there is opportunity for the adjacent communities to realize a positive economic impact from the resulting increased visitation. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) summer lecture series at the High Peaks Information Center (HPIC) will focus on the glories of the natural world and serious environmental threats that could greatly alter that world.
The Saturday evening series will include talks on climate change by author Jerry Jenkins and hydraulic fracturing by ADK Executive Director Neil Woodworth; presentations about the Northern Forest Canoe Trail and the backcountry of New Zealand; and even a night of music with the eclectic sounds of Annie and The Hedonists.
Saturday evening lectures at HPIC begin at 8 p.m. All programs are free and open to the public. HPIC is located on ADK’s Heart Lake property on Adirondack Loj Road, about 8 miles south of Lake Placid. » Continue Reading.
John Brown Farm State Historic Site will once again commemorate Juneteenth with a family-friendly celebration of freedom. The free event will take place onsite in Lake Placid Saturday, June 16th from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Brendan Mills, Site Manager and Curator at John Brown Farm Historic Site, says,“ The first Juneteenth took place on June 19, 1865 when Union soldiers told slaves in Galveston, Texas that they were free. It was a moment of triumph. The day and celebration eventually became known as Juneteenth. I wanted to have something to celebrate here.”
Mills organized the annual celebration that will include The Lake Champlain Mass Chorus, Sombabeats African Dance Tribe, Reason2Smile African Market Place, BBQ and ice cream. All the activities are free, though the food and ice cream are available for a $2 donation. » Continue Reading.
Frederick Douglass’ great-great-great grandson Kenneth B. Morris, Jr., will give the keynote address at the annual John Brown Day celebration to be held on Saturday, May 5, at the John Brown Farm State Historic Site in Lake Placid, NY. Morris will talk about the friendship and enduring legacy of Douglass and fellow abolitionist John Brown.
The two men first met in Massachusetts in 1848, a decade after Douglass successfully escaped from slavery on a Maryland plantation and eleven years before Brown’s history-changing raid on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. By the time they met, Douglass had become one of the most eloquent and sought-after champions of freedom and equal suffrage for women and men, regardless of race. Founder and President of the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation, Morris will also discuss the Foundation’s work today to create a modern Abolitionist Movement in schools all over the country through the vehicle of Service-Learning.
There are an estimated 27 million men, women and children held in some form of slavery in the world today, generating billions of dollars along the supply chain of labor and products that make much of our daily lives possible.
Joining Morris will be Renan Salgado, a Human Trafficking Specialist based in Rochester, who will shed light in his remarks about slavery and trafficking in New York State today. According to the U.S. State Department, there are approximately 17,500 people trafficked into the U.S. each year. Along with California, Texas, and Florida, New York ranks among the states with the greatest incidence of documented slavery in the country.
Young, award-winning orators from the Frederick Douglass Student Club in Rochester will recite from Douglass’ speeches and excerpts from Brown’s letters. The folk quartet The Wannabees and the hip-hop recording artist S.A.I. will also perform.
John Brown Day revives the tradition dating back to the 1930s of making a pilgrimage to remember and honor Brown by laying a wreath at his grave. Over the last 13 years, the grassroots freedom education project John Brown Lives! has worked to keep that tradition alive and relevant.
John Brown Day 2012 is free and open to the public and it is held outdoors. A brief reception will follow in the lower barn at the site. Donations will be appreciated.
For more information, contact Martha Swan, Executive Director of John Brown Lives! at 518-962-4758 or [email protected]
Visit the John Brown Lives! Friends of Freedom on Facebook.
Late on the night of October 16, 1859, Adirondack abolitionist John Brown led 18 well-armed men on a raid of the federal armory and arsenal at Harpers Ferry and sparked a nationwide uprising against slavery. The principal goal of the raid was to free slaves, not attack and hold a Southern state. The plan was simple: capture about 100,000 muskets and rifles, ammunition, and other supplies from the lightly guarded federal facilities at Harpers Ferry, retire to the countryside and carry out nighttime raids to free Southern slaves. The raider’s believed the southern harvest fields would be filled with disgruntled and overworked slaves bringing in the crops, a perfect opportunity to turn them to revolt. The raid might have succeeded, had Brown not made a serious error in allowing an eastbound Baltimore & Ohio train the raiders had captured to proceed. The conductor alerted the main B & O office that abolitionists were attempting to free the area’s slaves. The word was immediately taken to B & O president John W. Garrett, who notified US President James Buchanan, Virginia Governor Henry A. Wise, and Major General George H. Stewart of the Maryland Volunteers that a slave insurrection was underway in Harpers Ferry. The worst fear of the southern slaveholders seemed to be at hand.
By about noon Brown’s last chance to escape into the countryside came and went – he was in command of the bridges, and held about 35 prisoners. Armed locals arrived and organized a makeshift attack with their own hunting guns. Then two militia companies arrived from nearby Charles Town – together they stormed the bridges and drove the half dozen or so of Brown’s men guarding them back.
Five raiders were captured alive. Seven initially escaped and five of them made it to ultimate freedom in the north; four later served in the Civil War. Ten men were killed. All but two were buried in a common grave on the Shenandoah River, across from Harpers Ferry. The lest resting place of Jeremiah Anderson remains unknown. Watson Brown’s body was given to Winchester Medical College where it remained until Union troops recovered it during the Civil War and burned the school in reprisal.
Brown was charged with murder, conspiring with slaves to rebel, and treason against Virginia (West Virginia was not yet a state) and after a week-long trial was sentenced to death in early November. He was hanged on December 2nd (John Wilkes Booth sneaked in to watch) and his body was afterward carried to North Elba in Essex County to “moulder in his grave.”
Horwitz is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who has worked for The Wall Street Journal and The New Yorker. He also wrote Confederates in the Attic, the outstanding look at the Civil War’s continued legacy in the South. Midnight Rising follows John Brown’s plot from its very inception to the savage battle, and then to its aftermath as it galvanizes the North and pushes the South closer to secession.
The final curtain has dropped on the seven-year-long legal drama centered on a high-profile residence overlooking Lake Placid in the Town of North Elba. They are bringing down the house. In this case, literally.
The structure, owned by Arthur and Margaret Spiegel of Plattsburgh, was built on the Fawn Ridge development—at the head of the former Fawn Ridge ski slope—on Algonquin Drive starting in late 2004. As the house neared completion in 2005, it ran afoul of the Adirondack Park Agency. The Agency charged the builders with violating three provisions of the original permit for the development: building height, proximity to a slope, and vegetation clearing. The case proceeded to court while the incomplete structure remained standing, shuttered with plywood.
In August of last year, Essex County Supreme Court Judge Robert Muller rejected the Spiegel’s claim that the APA engaged in selective enforcement in the case, exhausting the family’s last legal recourse. A dispute over securing a local demolition permit delayed the building’s ultimate demise for the past year.
The first snow of the season in North Elba, which ordinarily highlights the roofs of the residences along the ridge line, instead highlighted the initial stages of demolition late this week. Chris Knight reports the complete history of the case at the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.
A federal court judge this week dismissed civil rights claims in a case arising from a planning board decision to modify plans for a proposed boathouse on Mirror Lake in the Village of Lake Placid.
This is the second legal challenge in the past year to the authority of Lake Placid/North Elba’s Joint Review Board to regulate boathouse construction. Both challenges have been shepherded by Lake Placid Attorney James Brooks. Chief United States District Court Judge Norman Mordue on Wednesday dismissed all charges that the community’s planning board violated the United States Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of equal protection when it required a private property owner, developer Keith Stoltz, to shorten the length of the dock he sought to build behind his Main Street storefront. The court also remanded an Article 78 challenge of the review boards’ procedures to state court.
On August 23rd, in a separate boathouse case litigated by attorney Brooks, acting New York State Supreme Court Judge Richard Meyer issued a summary judgment supporting Mr. Brooks’s argument that municipalities have no regulatory authority over boathouses built entirely above navigable waters. Mr. Brooks, who is Judge Meyer’s former law partner, contended that the state Department of Environmental Conservation has the sole responsibility to permit and regulate such shoreline-adjacent construction throughout the state.
Attorney and SUNY Albany School of Law Dean Michael Hutter and attorney for the Town of North Elba Ron Briggs have appealed Judge Meyer’s decision as well as a number of the jurist’s intermediate procedural orders. Arguments in the case will be heard by the Supreme Court’s Third Appellate Division in Albany by year’s end.
Also on August 23rd, in related criminal indictments handed up by the Essex County Grand Jury, general contractor Dan Nardiello of Lake Placid and builder Robert Scheefer of Saranac Lake were arraigned on misdemeanor charges of construction without a building permit. The property owner William Grimditch of Lake Placid was subsequently arraigned on the same charges. Judge Meyer will hear the cases against the three men—all represented by attorney Brooks—later this Fall.
Disclosure: Adirondack Almanack contributor Mark Wilson serves as President of the Lake Placid Shore Owners’ Association. The Association has filed a friend of the court brief supporting North Elba’s appeal of Judge Meyer’s decisions.
The Lake Placid Pub and Brewery, icon of North Country brewers and birthplace of UBU Ale, is an interesting combination of two bars. On the first level is PJ O’Neill’s. We arrived at around 1:30 p.m., O’Neill’s sign indicating it didn’t open until 4:30 p.m. Ascending the wide wooden staircase, illuminated by stained glass windows to the Lake Placid Pub, we read signs to get as much information as we could on our own. Kim commented on the windows, wondering if they were from a Lake Placid source. She later inquired and found that they were salvaged from a church demolition.
The entrance opens to a roomy span of bar and restaurant, light colored wood and gleaming bottles warmly lit by afternoon sun. Vintage posters, college pennants, and the brewery’s collection of awards and medals decorate the walls. We took a seat, taking note of the numbered beer steins dangling patiently around the perimeter of the bar, each with its owner’s name on the bottom. Kim surveyed the beer list, licking her chops as she faced the quandary of selecting only one. It was early and several more bars awaited. She opted for the ChocoWit, a Belgian-American wheat beer brewed with chocolate. Pam, always taking nutrition into consideration, had started Lake Placid Day Two with a Bloody Mary, so opted for the usual vodka and grapefruit knowing it was a good way to pace herself for the rest of the day. From her seat at the bar, Pam observed several full tables on the adjoining deck, overlooking Mirror Lake. The U-shaped bar could accommodate 16 to 18 patrons with several tables available for many, many more beer enthusiasts.
Steve, the general manager, took the time to talk with us about the restaurant and brewery and gave Kim a tour of the brewery. He even arranged a display of the brewery’s wares for Kim to photograph. According to Steve, a local distiller has plans to make gin flavored with white pine needles. Eagerly awaiting that release, Pam relaxed and enjoyed her beverage, recalling that a bottle of Lake Placid Spirits 46 Peaks Vodka had been purchased that morning for testing back at the Pammie’s Pub laboratory.
Winner of several awards, the Lake Placid Craft Brewing Company was selected as the best brewery in New York State in 2005 and 2007, and best brewery in the Hudson Valley in 2003, 2005, and 2007 by the TAP New York Beer Festival. Unable to keep up with growing demand, the brewery has expanded several times, finally entering into a partnership with the Matt Brewing Company where most of their beer is now brewed and packaged. Prices are reasonable and a tempting variety of freshly brewed beers changes throughout the year. The menu includes typical pub fare, with burgers and sandwiches in the $10 range, locally baked UBU bread and beer-inspired sauces, dressings and soups.
The Lake Placid Pub and Brewery is open all year, every day, hours changing with the seasons. Summer hours are from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and they offer a Happy Hour special from 3:30 to 6 p.m. and a Tuesday night buy one get one free special as well. Patrons are encouraged to continue their parties downstairs at PJ O’Neill’s after 10 until 2 a.m. The brewery has been in business since 1996, but PJ’s has a longer history. Whether you choose the Lake Placid Pub & Brewery upstairs, PJ O’Neill’s downstairs, or both, you’ll find one of the finest selections of tasty brews in the Adirondacks. This is a not-to-be-missed attraction in Lake Placid.
We returned later that night to PJ O’Neill’s, a self-proclaimed “true Irish pub”. Its dark, low-ceilinged interior in complementary contrast to the upstairs, but with similar flavor – lots of wood and brick and a stained glass backdrop behind the bar. PJ’s serves the same fine Lake Placid brews that are available upstairs. According to local lore, they pride themselves on being the “local pub” in Lake Placid. You can go there, but you have to be open-minded, out-going, or just wasted. We might suggest that you have a few upstairs to warm up first. Pam offered to trade her HHHP hat with a woman wearing a straw hat, but the offer was politely declined. Pam played pool (and won) against her husband while Kim bantered with the couple next to her at the bar, visiting from Hawaii. The bartender was leery of us, tolerant and closely observant.
We didn’t stay long. It was close to 9 p.m. and we realized we were eating complimentary popcorn by the bowlful, so we wove our weary way in what we hoped was the direction of Lisa G’s for dinner. We will be reviewing Lisa G’s and other stops on our Summit Tour throughout the summer. In an effort to catch up on reviews, not all will be posted at the Adirondack Almanack. The Cottage, Lisa G’s, Dancing Bears and Straight Shot will only be posted on our blog, so check regularly. Reviews from the Old Forge trip start next week.
Cheers & Bottoms Up!
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.
Author-historian Sandra Weber and musician David Hodges will present a dramatic performance of the life of Mary Day Brown, wife of radical abolitionist John Brown.
The Adirondack Museum‘s Cabin Fever Sunday series will return to Saranac Lake, New York on February 27, 2011. “Times of Trouble” with Weber and Hodges will be held at Saranac Village at Will Rogers. The time will be 2:00 p.m. The presentation will offered at no charge to museum members, residents of Saranac Village, and children of elementary school age or younger. The fee for non-members is $5.00. Dressed in period costume, Weber and Hodges will weave narrative and song to share the little known life of Mary Brown. The poignant piece illustrates the significant role this plain woman played as wife of the radical abolitionist John Brown.
The program will present Mary’s early life and marriage as well as later tragedies involving bankruptcy, accidents, and death. The presentation closes with Mrs. Brown’s most difficult “times of trouble” in the aftermath of the raid on Harper’s Ferry. Sandra Weber has spent ten years researching the life of Mary Day Brown.
Weber is an author, storyteller, and independent scholar with special interest in the Adirondacks, Mary and John Brown, as well as women’s history. Her publishing credits include eight books and numerous articles in periodicals such as Civil War Times, Adirondack Life, Pennsylvania Magazine, and Highlights for Children.
In 2004 and 2005, Sandra Weber toured with folksinger Peggy Lynn performing stories from their book, Breaking Trail: Remarkable Women of the Adirondacks.
David Hodges has played guitar and bass for more than twenty years. He has performed with bands throughout New York, Texas and Pennsylvania and recorded CDs with “Mad Factory” and “Evil Twin.” Hodges currently plays with “Mr. Freeze,” a blues-rock band, and accompanies Sandra Weber in folk music performances.
Hidden in a very limited number of Adirondack lakes is a jewel of a fish, the Frost Fish. The Frost Fish or Round Whitefish is an endangered species that is only known to exist naturally in approximately seven lakes within the Blue Line. This indicator of clean water is actually a relative of salmon, trout and char. Being of the family Salmonidae, they live in cold, deep lakes with adequate dissolved oxygen.
What makes the Round Whitefish so unique, is that they will spawn in late November, early December over gravel. They have even been known to spawn under the ice. The eggs will drift down into the cracks between the rocks to wait for the warmth of spring to hatch. Unfortunately it seems, that the deck is stacked against this important forage species. » Continue Reading.
151 years ago this week, John Brown was executed and his body was returned to the Adirondacks. Had Brown escaped from Harpers Ferry rather than been captured he might well today be just a footnote, one of the tens of thousands that struggled to undermine the institution of slavery in America before the Civil War.
It’s often said that just one thing secured Brown’s place in the hearts of millions of Americans that came after him – his execution and martyrdom. There is another equally important reason Americans will celebrate the life of John Brown this week however – he was right slavery would end at a heavy price. Last year, I wrote a series of posts following the last days of John Brown’s fight to end slavery. You can read the entire series here (start at the bottom).
Officials from the Village of Lake Placid, the Town of North Elba, the Town of Wilmington, the New York State Olympic Development Authority (ORDA) and the Lake Placid CVB, and the Whiteface Regional Visitors Bureau have announced that they will host the 2011 Empire State Winter Games, which were canceled this week due to state budget cuts.
According to a statement from the New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation on November 16, the summer, senior, physically challenged and winter Empire State Games were canceled after being cut from the 2011 budget. The 31st annual Empire State Winter Games were scheduled to be held in February 2011 in Lake Placid. The website for the games has already been removed. The cancellation led to discussions among community leaders about a solution that would allow the Games to resume as scheduled this winter according to an announcement issued today by the Lake Placid CVB. Representatives from the Towns of North Elba and Wilmington, the Village of Lake Placid, the Lake Placid CVB and the ORDA made a joint decision Wednesday evening to work cooperatively to ensure that the games would continue according to the announcement.
“We’ve made this decision on behalf of the greater Lake Placid region, just as Lake Placid decided in 1928 to pursue the 1932 Olympic Winter Games during the Great Depression, ” said Mayor Craig Randall. “This situation is actually an opportunity for Lake Placid, as it jump-started our existing plans to convene a leadership committee that will facilitate programs to support the communities’ sustainable future.”
“We’re pooling all of our collective talents, and are prepared to aggressively pursue funding to make this happen,” said James McKenna, President of the Lake Placid CVB. “We have already and will continue to communicate closely with the former Empire State Games staff to guarantee a rewarding experience for our New York State athletes.”
The event will be held on the weekend of February 25, 2011, and includes competitions in the disciplines of alpine and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ski jumping, ice skating and more.
The High Peaks communities are developing a regional strategy for community revitalization, sustainable economic development, enhanced public access and promotion of the High Peaks waterfronts as an important resource for recreation and tourism.
A workshop will be held on Tuesday, September 28th at 6:30 PM at the Town of Wilmington Town Hall at 7 Community Center Circle. The goal of this workshop will be to present the vision, goals and key projects and initiatives for community and regional revitalization identified by the High Peaks communities in the Revitalization Strategy. Participants will be asked for their input on the goals and priority projects. The revitalization strategy includes the following communities:
* The Town of Keene including the hamlets of Keene Valley and Keene; * The Town of Jay including the hamlets of Upper Jay, Jay and the Essex County portion of Ausable Forks; * The Town of Wilmington; and * The Town of North Elba and the Village of Lake Placid.
The strategy lays out a vision and set of goals to create a prosperous shared future for the High Peaks region including:
* Revitalization of hamlets and downtowns * Developing a plan for cycling facilities and safe biking routes * Creating more access to the Ausable River for locals and tourists * Protection of the Ausable River and other water bodies * Enhanced tourism amenities and marketing * Investigating sources of alternative energy including hydro-electricity * Developing a plan for trail head improvements and creating new local trails and pedestrian connections * Protecting cultural and historic resources
The project is funded by a grant from the NYS Department of State through the Environmental Protection Fund and financial support from the participating communities.
For more information contact Melissa McManus, Project Coordinator (518) 297-6753.
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