Expectations were high for Johnnie Prindle‘s newest production, “Reuben Glue, or Life Among the Bushrangers”, about the adventures of a Vermont Yankee farmer in the wilds of Australia, but if anything, he exceeded them.
As the reviews rolled in from packed opera houses and SRO theaters in Syracuse, Buffalo, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and elsewhere, it was clear that Reuben Glue as portrayed by Johnnie was a tour de force. » Continue Reading.
Since the Beedles & Prindle tour of 1883 wasn’t scheduled to begin until May, Johnnie Prindle performed Reuben Chandler and other favorites on the western circuit with the Oakes Brothers, who were more than happy to have one of the biggest traveling stars for the tidy sum of $500 per week ($12,000 in 2015).
The Beedles & Prindle Pleasure Party toured again that summer, reaching a wide audience, but also visiting their fans back home. A show was held for appreciative audiences in Plattsburgh at Palmer’s Hall, where Johnnie’s career began, and at Ticonderoga, where the Sentinel noted: “They are meeting with greater success than ever. Houses crowded every night, twelve star specialty artists, silver band and classic orchestra, and headed by the greatest of them all, Johnny Prindle.” » Continue Reading.
The recent loss of Robin Williams, whose death felt deeply personal to many who never actually knew him, reminded me of a North Country entertainer who shared a somewhat similar fate long ago. Although the man’s passing was not by his own hand, it was the suddenness of his “not being there” that was stunning and difficult for many thousands of fans. For like Williams, he had brought decades of laughter and great joy into their lives.
Johnnie Prindle was born in Plattsburgh, New York. The year? His gravestone says 1845; several census records say 1846; his marriage and death certificates say 1847. And age was only the first of many vagaries regarding his life in Plattsburgh. Little has been written about him, but two books purporting to provide the basic facts of his life are rife with errors. » Continue Reading.
The City of Plattsburgh is one of the busiest places in the North Country. There’s a mall, stores like Walmart and Target, and four Chinese food restaurants right in a row.
But just ten minutes away, it’s another world: barns, fields. And tucked behind it all: Beartown Ski Area. It is 99 acres in all, but the downhill skiing part is just a small fraction of that. There are two little slopes, a couple of side trails, and a trick park for snowboarders. » Continue Reading.
The public is invited to meet Northern New York farmers, food processors, wine and cider makers, and chefs with a diverse array of products at the 5th annual Food from the Farm event on Saturday, March 7 from 2 pm to 5 pm at the Plattsburgh Recreation Center gymnasium on the US Oval in Plattsburgh, NY.
Visitors will have the opportunity to sample and buy locally-grown or produced foods, wine and cider; pick up recipes and gardening tips; meet local food producers, and support the local economy and food movement. Products for sale may include overwintered storage crops such as carrots, beets and potatoes; winter greens, frozen meat, maple, honey, wine, and hard cider. » Continue Reading.
When the doldrums set in, winter farmers’ markets can brighten your day with fresh local food and other products. Many stores have “local” sections. As I visited a larger one in our neighboring Vermont recently, with a bustling melee of shoppers, vendors, veggies, maple, hard cider, and other foods and crafts, it occurred to me that I’m long overdue in encouraging readers to visit the winter markets throughout Northern New York. For example, I’ll bet you didn’t know that we not only have one, but now two indoor winter farmers’ markets in Plattsburgh and Upper Jay. » Continue Reading.
Big changes are planned for the Imperial Dam on the Saranac River in Plattsburgh.
On Friday, the state Department of Conservation announced that it is taking comments on a plan to modify the dam, which is located a few miles upstream of Lake Champlain. The proposal calls for decreasing the height of the spillway by 8.5 feet and constructing a concrete fish ladder on the left bank, or northern side, of the dam, which the DEC owns. The other side is privately owned. » Continue Reading.
There are a lot of decisions to make about how to spend New Year’s Eve. There is the traditional party with a countdown to that first kiss or the ever popular First Night celebrations. Some families tend to stay home while others attend fancy parties. The focus is on fun.
Plattsburgh’s Imaginarium Children’s Museum will be taking a different approach to the New Year celebration with a mid-day event that is focused on the family. The event allows parents with young children to celebrate Noon Year’s Eve celebration that allows parents to focus on family with plenty of time to get the kids home to a sitter for later, adults oriented year-end celebrations. » Continue Reading.
We have taken our family to the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train since my children were little tykes. Not only is the event a fun way to dance off that Thanksgiving meal, it is a community-wide opportunity to give back.
It is always important for my kids to remember while making that second turkey sandwich; some families may not have had enough food for firsts.
Since 1999 the Holiday Train has offered free concerts and a festively decorated train to help raise food and cash donations to local food banks. This year Tracey Brown, formerly of award winning country bank The Family Brown, has taken on the US section of the tour. Each stop is about 45-minutes where communities can put on their own unique twist. » Continue Reading.
According to The Strand Center for the Arts Executive Director Jessica Dulle, the festival producers were pleasantly surprised by the number of countries responding to the film festival as well as the quality of the films received. » Continue Reading.
Tickets are now on sale for the inaugural Lake Champlain International Film Festival, with VIP and multi-ticket discount packages as well as single tickets. Presented by the Plattsburgh Renewal Project and The Strand Center for the Arts, the festival will be held November 15th and 16th at the Strand Theatre in Plattsburgh.
The 2-day program showcases the best of local film, both shorts and feature-length films, as well as a diverse mix of work from around the world. » Continue Reading.
In the New York Times of February 11, 1877, appeared the obituary of a North Country native, Theodorus Bailey, who was born in Chateaugay in 1805 and moved to Plattsburgh with his family around 1811. The Battle of Plattsburgh took place three years later, on September 11, 1814. Although Theodorus was just nine years old, that historic event made quite an impression. His obituary, in fact, pointed out that Bailey “accepted as his pet hero Commodore Macdonough, the American commander in the battle,” and was thus inspired to seek a career in the navy.
It’s also interesting that among the War of 1812 battles that are considered pivotal, Plattsburgh has often been overlooked in favor of three others: Baltimore, Lake Erie, and New Orleans. And yet this same Theodorus Bailey was lauded as a hero of the Battle of New Orleans.
How can that be? Well, there were actually two Battles of New Orleans, but because the name was already taken during the War of 1812, the second one, which occurred during the Civil War, is often referred to as the Capture of New Orleans. » Continue Reading.
As Americans pause today to mark the terrible events of 2001, it would be fitting to also mark a bicentennial of which few Americans are aware, but of which the North Country should be justly proud: the 1814 Battle of Plattsburgh.
These two momentous days, from across a span of nearly two centuries, share an importance that will forever be marked by historians.
Both are absolutely critical to the shape of the America we live in today. Both are fulcra, balancing a more innocent and vulnerable America of the past with a changed nation that confronted a vastly different future world. » Continue Reading.
“The naval battle of Lake Champlain was probably the greatest feat of arms that our navy achieved in the War of 1812,” said Franklin D. Roosevelt.
From Secretary of Navy William Jones on Oct. 3, 1814: “To view it in abstract, it is not surpassed by any naval victory on record. To appreciate its result, it is perhaps one of the most important events in the history of our country.”
According to Penn University historian John B. McMaster, it was “the greatest naval battle of the war,” and Thomas Macdonough was “the ablest sea-captain our country has produced.”
Like McMaster, author and historian Teddy Roosevelt called it “the greatest naval battle of the war,” and praised Commodore Thomas Macdonough thusly: “Down to the time of the Civil War, he is the greatest figure in our naval history. … he was skillful and brave. One of the greatest of our sea captains, he has left a stainless name behind him.” And one more: looking back, Sir Winston Churchill said it “was a decisive battle of the war.” » Continue Reading.
Rouses Point businessman Mark L. Barie has written the first biography of North Country politician Smith Weed. In The President of Plattsburgh, The Story of Smith Weed (Crossborder Publishing, 2014), Barie paints a portrait of Weed – six feet tall, with piercing black eyes – a man who was said to smoke nine cigars a day.
Smith Weed was instrumental in the establishment of the Champlain Valley Hospital, the YMCA, the Plattsburgh Library, and the Hotel Champlain, but was perhaps best known nationally for his central role in “The Cipher Dispatches” voter fraud controversy during the fiercely disputed presidential election of 1876.
Weed was President (Mayor) of Plattsburgh in the mid-19th century and served six terms in the New York State Assembly. The Plattsburgh attorney was also a successful businessman and philanthropist. » Continue Reading.
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