The Wilmington Historical Society will be hosting a program with historian and author Amy Godine entitled “Have You Seen That Vigilante Man?” to be held on Friday, July 30th at 7 pm at the Wilmington Community Center on Springfield Road in Wilmington.
Night riders, white cappers and vigilante strikes; the darker side of American mob justice was not confined to the Deep South or the Far West. Adirondack history is ablaze with flashes of “frontier justice,” from farmers giving chase to horse thieves to “townie” raids on striking immigrant miners to the anti-Catholic rallies of the KKK. Amy Godine’s anecdotal history of Adirondack vigilantism plumbs a regional legacy with deep, enduring roots, and considers what about the North Country made it fertile and forgiving ground for outlaw activity. » Continue Reading.
Jay (Essex County) author and editor Lee Manchester has published a number of volumes on the history of Essex County and its communities. The free, downloadable PDFs include five volumes compiled from the files of the late Lake Placid historian Mary MacKenzie, a two-volume definitive anthology of 19th and 20th century materials on the McIntyre iron works and the Tahawus Club colony in Newcomb, better known as “the Deserted Village,” and two collections of Lee’s stories about history and historic hikes in and around Essex County. For complete information, including download instructions, visit the Wagner College website. Print versions of all the volumes can also be ordered, at a cost that includes no markup, with the exception of Mary MacKenzie’s “The Plains of Abraham: A History of Lake Placid and North Elba”; royalties for print copies of “Plains” go to the Lake Placid Public Library, which maintains the Mary MacKenzie Historic Archives.
Lake Placid’s 1932 and 1980 Olympic bobsled track will officially become a part of the National Register of Historic Places during a plaque unveiling ceremony on Monday, July 12. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. on the deck of the Lamy Lodge.
The original one-and-a-half mile long track (photo taken during construction at left) at Mt. Van Hoevenberg was completed in Dec. 1930, in time for the 1932 Olympic Winter Games, and since that time has played a significant role in the sport of bobsled’s history. It was during those games that Olympic two-man racing was introduced as well as the push start. In 1934, the International Bobsled Federation (FIBT) established a one-mile standard for all tracks. To accommodate the change, the top one-half mile was shut down above the Whiteface curve and the number of curves was reduced from 26 to 16, making the upper portion of the run unusable.
The 1,537-meter long course has also hosted five world championship races (1949, 1969, 1973, 1978, 1983) and one more Olympic event, in 1980. The 1949 Worlds also marked the first time a track outside of Europe had hosted that event.
Today, the track no longer hosts international competitions, but it remains in use. Summer bobsled rides are held on the course, where visitors can enjoy half-mile rides, reaching speeds in excess of 50-miles-per-hour, with professional drivers steering their sleds.
Guest speakers during the National Registry ceremony include New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) president/CEO Ted Blazer; representatives from Town of North Elba, the Village of Lake Placid, New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and 1932 and 1980 Lake Placid Olympic Museum member Phil Wolff, who was also instrumental in the track’s efforts to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Admission to the ceremony is free after 2 p.m. A guided tour with Guy Stephenson, licensed NYS guide, Wilmington Historical Society member, and retired Olympic Sports Complex staff member responsible for the restoration work on the 1932 portion of the track, will also begin at 2 p.m. Tour participants will be bussed to the 1980 start to begin the one-hour walk up the 1932 piece of the track. Light hiking attire is suggested.
Also from 2-4 p.m., in celebration of the national historic registry, half-mile long wheeled bobsled rides on the 1932 and 1980 Olympic track will be available for $55 per person. Bobsled rides have been a continuous part of the track’s operations since it first opened, Christmas 1930.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of abolitionist John Brown’s anti-slavery raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia, his subsequent execution and the return of his body to North Elba. I’ve been writing a series of posts – The Last Days of John Brown – to commemorate Brown’s struggle to end slavery in America, and here at the Almanack we’ll be reporting on local events as the anniversary approaches. So far activities include a lecture, a symposium, and a reenactment of the return of Brown’s body to North Elba. It all kicks off with a lecture this Saturday, October 10th, with a lecture by historian Zoe Trodd at 2:00 PM, at John Brown’s Farm. Here is the event announcement:
A Living Legacy: John Brown in the Anti-Lynching Protest Tradition, a lecture by Zoe Trodd. Protest writers have long pointed to the abolitionist past as central to present and future social change. At the heart was of this living legacy was one figure: John Brown. This lecture will trace the presence of Brown in anti-lynching literature from the Niagara Movement to Langston Hughes. Trodd is the author of Meteor of War: The John Brown Story; American Protest Literature; and The Tribunal: Responses to John Brown and the Harper’s Ferry Raid. This event is presented by John Brown Lives!
Vermontville resident Bruce McCulley, who has worked at the mountain since 1981, has been named the new General Manager for Whiteface Ski Center by the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA). McCulley will replace Jay Rand, who has taken a position as the Executive Director of the New York Ski Educational Foundation (NYSEF) as of September 3. McCulley began his career as a lift operator and snowmaker, and then moved into supervisory and foreman positions before being promoted to Assistant general Manager of the ski center in 1996. McCulley also serves on the Board of Trustees and Leadership Team at the High Peaks Church in Saranac Lake and has served 17 years as a religious services volunteer in the Federal Bureau of Prisons system at Ray Brook.
The United States Olympic Committee’s Lake Placid Olympic Training Center, and the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA), are cosponsoring Olympic Day on June 20 from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. at the Olympic Jumping Complex.
Olympic Day is an international event celebrating and promoting the participation in sport by men, women and children from around the world. It is a worldwide commemoration of Baron Pierre de Coubertin’s June 23, 1894, convening of the first International Olympic Committee (IOC) meeting at the Sorbonne in Paris, and the founding of the Modern Olympic Games. National Olympic Committees (NOCs) throughout the world will also participate in the international celebration, with each Olympic Committee sending Olympic Day greetings to participating nations and to further the Olympic spirit and movement. Local sports club and organizations will be on hand to promote their sports with informational displays, exhibits and interactive activities. The U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, the U.S. Luge Association, NYSEF Ski Jumping, Lake Placid Figure Skating, Lake Placid Speed Skating, U.S. Biathlon, and the Lake Placid Horse Show Association are among the groups that are participating in Olympic Day.
This free event features fun for the whole family. The first 1,000 people to enter the venue will receive a commemorative 2016 Chicago Olympic Bid bracelet that also provides free entry to the 1932 and 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympic Museum from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. as well as free admission to the Citizens Bank Saturday Night Ice Show at 7:30 p.m. at the Olympic Center.
The activities begin at 1 p.m. with wheeled luge, hockey shot, biathlon, volleyball, and more. Freestyle athletes will be launching off the kickers in hopes of perfecting their twists, turns and flips before splashing down in the 750,000-gallon pool. Nordic athletes take to the ski jumps to see who can fly off the 90-meter jump and land the longest jump of the day. Visitors may take a chairlift and elevator ride to the Sky Deck high atop the 120-meter ski jump tower, listen to live music by 2006 Olympic biathlete Lowell Bailey, and get autographs from U.S. athletes. Athletes expected to be on hand include 2009 FIL World Luge Champion Erin Hamlin, three-time Olympians and 2009 FIL World Championship doubles bronze medalists Mark Grimmette and Brian Martin, 2009 FIS Freestyle Aerial World Champion and Olympian Ryan St. Onge, Olympic biathlete Tim Burke, and others, such as Olympic hopefuls John Napier (bobsled) and Haley Johnson (biathlon).
Guests will also get a chance to win great raffle prizes, including tickets for the Lake Placid Bobsled Experience, VIP dinner at the I Love BBQ Festival, Olympic clothing and much more from famed Whiteface Prize Cube.
The official ceremony is at 1:30 p.m. Village of Lake Placid mayor Craig Randall will read a proclamation supporting Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games, followed by a presentation of a ceremonial Chicago flag to Lake Placid. Olympic athletes from the area, as well as those currently in town training at the OTC, will also be recognized.
A week ago today, state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis effectively reopened Old Mountain Road between North Elba (Route 73) and Keene (Shackett Road / Route 40) in Essex County. According to surveys made in 1893-1894 (here, and here), the road had been abandoned since the 19th century; it was believed to have been officially closed when the Sentinel Wilderness Area UMP was ratified in 1974. Beginning in 1986 part of the road has been maintained as the popular 35-mile long Jackrabbit Trail by the Adirondack Ski Touring Council. The Grannis decision was forced by Lake Placid Snowmobile Club President James McCulley who drove his truck down the trail in May of 2005 and was ticketed (he previously beat a 2003 ticket for doing the same thing with his snowmobile). An agency administrative judge later found that the road had never been closed properly (it required public hearings). » Continue Reading.
From the better late then never category, comes news that Lake Placid artist Arti Torrance, in partnership with the New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) and the 1932 and 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympic Museum, created the national Great Moments in Sports Award earlier this year. The award is the brainchild of Torrance, and its purpose is to honor the achievement of 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team and The Miracle on Ice. The Great Moment in Sports Award, also know as the “Arti,” will be given each February 22, the day the U.S. hockey team beat the Soviets. The plaque is signed by the Mayor of the Village of Lake Placid, the Supervisor of the Town of North Elba and the President and CEO of the Olympic Regional Development Authority on behalf of all members of the Lake Placid Community and the Olympic Region. The first-ever Great Moment in Sports Award was presented February 22, 2008, to the Football World Champions New York Giants. This year, at the request of Torrance, two awards were given for the 2008-09 sports’ season. One was presented to the Central Washington College women’s softball team, while the other went to the International Luge Federation World Champion Erin Hamlin, of Remsen.
According to a press release: “During an extraordinary act of sportsmanship on senior day, the Central Washington teammates carried the opposing team’s batter around the bases in order for her to get credited with her one and only home run of her career. The batter from Western Oregon State hit the home run, but on her way past first base she fell and injured her knee so badly that she could not even get back to first base, let alone continue to run the rest of the bases. Central Washington lost the game 4-2, but won a moral victory with its heroic act of sportsmanship.”
Hamlin, a New Yorker sliding for the U.S. luge team, became the first U.S. woman to win the world championship title. Hamlin not only won the title on her home track in Lake Placid, but also snapped the German women’s 99-race winning streak. The streak included world cup, world championship and Olympic competitions.
For more information on the Great Moment in Sports Award, please contact the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Museum at (518) 523-1655 ext. 226.
Friday’s Watertown Times reports that the plans to create a department store in Lake Placid have been put on hold.
Seaway Valley Capital Corp. of Gouverneur, owner of Hacketts Department Stores, has temporarily suspended its plans to establish a new outlet at the Cold Brook Plaza in the space formerly occupied by Tops Supermarket. The loss of a $5 million line of credit from Wells Fargo Bank was cited by Seaway Valley Capital officials as the cause of the suspension. Since September of last year, Hacketts arrival has been the subject of much anticipation in a region that lost its last large department store in 2002, when Ames closed in neighboring Saranac Lake. Efforts by WalMart Corporation to establish a store in the Town of North Elba (which contains the Village of Lake Placid and a portion of Saranac Lake) were thwarted in 1996 and 2006. A group hoping to establish an independent community department store in the Village of Saranac Lake is approaching its third year of a capital campaign to raise $500,000 for the project.
Calls to Seaway Valley Capital to ascertain a new timeline for the Lake Placid site were not returned Friday. Hacketts also has a store in Tupper Lake.
The Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA), Essex County, and New York State Department of Transportation (NYS DOT), in conjunction with the towns of Jay, North Elba and Wilmington, have announced the Mountain Valley Shuttle system will begin service tomorrow (December 18th) with extended public transportation between Lake Placid and Ausable Forks. This free expanded shuttle system will tie into the year around Village of Lake Placid Xpress service. The operator of the Mountain Valley Shuttle is Ground Force 1, a Plattsburgh and Lake Placid-based transportation company. The Mountain Valley Shuttle will include four shuttles daily from the town of Ausable Forks and the village of Jay to Whiteface. The shuttle stops are at the Ausable Forks Grand Union and the Village of Jay Park. The Town of Wilmington will have four shuttle stops a day Monday through Friday bringing passengers from the Wilmington Visitors Bureau to Whiteface, with weekend and holiday service increasing to 12 stops a day, plus additional stops at the Whiteface Chalet.
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