Posts Tagged ‘St Lawrence County’

Saturday, May 18, 2019

William C. Geer Invented Plane-Wing Deicing Device

Based on his remarkable career as an inventor and the immeasurable but tremendous value of three creations of his to businesses and millions of individuals — a better golf ball, gas masks, and the industrial adhesive Vulcalock — it seems there should be a historical marker at William Geer’s birthplace and perhaps a museum wing up north, or at least an exhibit featuring his story. And that’s without even considering his greatest invention of all: the airplane-wing deicer.

That’s right, a North Country man, born and raised, did that. Unlike many inventions that are completely replaced by better alternatives in the future, Geer’s device originating nearly 90 years ago remains a standard, as noted in modern B. F. Goodrich Technical Bulletin 101: “Then, as today, the ice removal process is much the same…. the basic operating principle of the pneumatic de-icing boot hasn’t changed.” » Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 11, 2019

Vulcalock: Inventor William Geer’s Industrial Game-Changer

In the northeast corner of New York, just a few miles from where I grew up, is the village of Rouses Point. Lying directly south of Montreal, it has long provided access for rail shipments to U.S. markets. Where the main highway heading west exits the village is an underpass beneath the rails, so road traffic is not impeded by trains, but it’s a different story within the village, where the tracks cross three streets. I loved it as a young boy when my dad got stuck at one of those crossings, which forced us to sit and watch as sometimes more than a hundred rail cars crawled by — boring for adults, but for a young boy, it was a rare chance to see all sorts of rail cars up close.

Among them were many tanker cars, which — I didn’t know it at the time — resulted from an invention by a little-known North Country man whose work had repercussions around the world. His name was William C. Geer, who, as recently was shared here on Adirondack Almanack, created a golf ball that endured for decades as a professional standard, and a gas mask that helped protect millions of Americans who fought during World War I. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 4, 2019

A Local Inventor Helped Supply WW1 Gas Masks

Recently on Adirondack Almanack, two inventions of Ogdensburg native William Chauncey Geer (who lived in Potsdam for ten years of his youth) were addressed, one of them a writing implement to replace pens, pencils, and crayons (an idea that was ultimately relegated to oblivion). The other was a highly successful project resulting in a standard golf ball used by professionals for more than two decades.

Three of Geer’s other works deeply impacted America and the world. The subject here is the third most prominent among them — the gas mask. Its importance rose unexpectedly to critical levels during the First World War when the Germans began engaging in large-scale chemical warfare. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, April 6, 2019

Rhoda Fox Graves, NYS Political Trailblazer (Part 4)

During Rhoda Fox’s efforts on behalf of the Republican Party from 1918 through 1923, there was plenty of praise for her in the media and no criticism, but she was a non-office holder. When she decided in 1924 to run for an Assembly seat, anti-woman resistance was evident, gently discouraging the idea by praising her activism but insisting the job was best done by a man. When she surprised most people and won, the anti-woman factions maintained their stance but were forced to grudgingly accepted her.

Now, with the announcement of a run for the Senate, the kid gloves were off. The party split, evidenced by the strong support she received from the Watertown Daily Times and the virulent attacks emanating from Ogdensburg, especially in the Republican-Journal, when Rhoda’s opening salvo went right to the heart of the matter. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, March 30, 2019

Gouverneur’s Rhoda Fox Graves, NYS Political Trailblazer (Part 3)

After a year in office, Rhoda Graves won reelection to the New York State Assembly, while five other female GOP candidates elsewhere in the state lost. In January 1926, she sought the chairmanship of the social welfare committee, a position already held by a senior member (from Niagara) who was unwilling to surrender it. She was instead given charge of public institutions — not her preference, for sure — but chairing any committee was another historic first for New York women.

Rhoda’s second year in office was an active one. She pushed a bill restricting the slaughter of tubercular cows to their home county rather than performing the job at a central location; was in a serious train derailment that killed the engineer, but she and Perle emerged relatively unscathed; argued for higher tariffs on incoming farm goods to protect locals; was reelected vice-chairman of the County Republican Committee; and won reelection to the Assembly. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 21, 2019

1921: Rhoda Fox Graves Runs For Assembly

Rhoda Graves was active in Republican politics in 1917 when New York passed women’s suffrage. When it became the law of the land in 1920, it made the possibility of holding elective office an attractive option for some women.

In 1921, Rhoda’s close friend, ten-year assemblyman Frank Seaker, retired from public office, and William Laidlaw, nominated to replace him, served for the next three years. It’s not clear what the machinations were behind Laidlaw’s decision not to run for another term, but there’s no doubt the big announcement that followed was the work of Rhoda, Perle (her husband), Frank Seaker, and supporters among party leaders. Seeking the GOP nomination for an Assembly position was none other than Rhoda Graves of Gouverneur — a woman! » Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 14, 2019

Gouverneur’s Rhoda Fox Graves, NYS Political Trailblazer

Bucking the odds is a common theme of Walter-Mitty-type fantasies — overcoming daunting obstacles to become a winner, or a hero at some level. Few of us actually live the dream, but sometimes it happens, and during Women’s History Month, an incredible North Country example comes to mind: Rhoda F. Graves of Gouverneur in St. Lawrence County.

The extreme unlikelihood of her becoming a historic figure in state politics makes her story all the more compelling. And the details are amazing. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 7, 2018

On The Watch For Porcelain Berry

porcelain berries A total lunar eclipse is likely more common than the swift removal of a novel invasive plant infestation, but fingers are crossed that such a thing happened in St. Lawrence County this summer. The plant eradication, I mean — we all know about the celestial event this past July, the first central lunar eclipse since June 2011. Thanks to the sharp eyes of Dr. Tony Beane, a Professor of Veterinary Science at SUNY Canton who is also an avid naturalist, an exotic vine capable of smothering fields and forests has been eliminated within weeks of its confirmation in the Ogdensburg area. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, July 26, 2018

Open Studio Tours and Adirondack Art Trails

My family likes to take part in art walks and gallery openings in and out of the Adirondack Park. We enjoy the arts and with a beautiful backdrop like the Adirondacks, what better place is there to explore art and nature?

This weekend area artists open their doors for the monthly Saranac Lake Artworks Studio Tours. With live demonstrations, artists create and showcase their original work while visitors take part in self-guided tours.  Each month the list of artists alters slightly. The upcoming studio tour days will be July 27-29, August 31-September 2, September 28-30, October 27-29, and November 30-December 2. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 8, 2018

St Lawrence Co Klan History Talk March 15th

A KKK cross-burningAuthor and historian Bryan Thompson will speak on a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan that was active in St. Lawrence County in the 1920s at the next Brown Bag Lunch Series at the St. Lawrence County Historical Association in Canton, NY, on Thursday, March 15th at noon.

Local KKK members held rallies and cross burnings in many towns and hamlets in St. Lawrence County, where they targeted communities of African-Americans, Jews, and Catholics. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, February 4, 2018

Comments Sought On St. Lawrence Rock Ridge Plans

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced they are seeking public input on the draft St. Lawrence Rock Ridge Unit Management Plan (UMP).

Located just outside the Adirondack Park, the 21,542-acre St. Lawrence Rock Ridge planning unit consists of fifteen (15) state forests, and nine (9) detached forest preserve parcels and is in a broad area of southwestern St. Lawrence County and northeastern Lewis County. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, August 6, 2017

NYS Plans Rebuild of 78 Miles of North Country Power Line

Moses Adirondack Power Line MapThe State of New York has announced plans to rebuild 78 miles of power transmission infrastructure in the North Country. The rebuilt transmission line, called the Moses-Adirondack Smart Path Reliability Project, is expected to help the state meet its clean energy standard mandating 50 percent of New York’s consumed electricity come from renewable energy sources by 2030 by providing better transmission through St. Lawrence and Lewis counties.

“Transmission projects like these can play a critical role in channeling power produced upstate – where increasing amounts of renewable energy is coming on line – to areas where it is needed downstate,” according to a press release issued by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office.  Construction is estimated to take four years and is slated to begin in 2019. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Adirondack Name Game: Grass or Grasse River?

My recent story on the Adirondack pearl fishery in the Russell area of St. Lawrence County elicited a comment stating that two names, Plumb Brook and Grass River, had been misspelled, and that the correct terms were Plum Brook and Grasse River.

Local names for topographical features often become distorted over time, especially when usage is passed on by word of mouth, but it’s important to know place-name origins. In many cases, there are records giving the officially recognized names of streams, populated places, mountains, and the like. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Historic Pickens Hall Abbott Sisters History Event

slcha-annual-meetingThe St. Lawrence County Historical Association’s 69th Annual Meeting will be held on Saturday, November 5th, from 11 am to 2 pm at Pickens Hall, 83 N. State Street in  Heuvelton.

A painted barn quilt, a tour of Pickens Hall, and a talk on the Abbott sisters will highlight the night. The public is invited and you do not have to be a member of the SLCHA to attend. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

DEC Issues Final Plan To Develop St. Lawrence Flatlands

stlflatump12-page-021Greater public access and more recreational opportunities will be available in the St. Lawrence Flatlands area under its final Unit Management Plan (UMP), according to an announcement by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

“The UMP provides greater land access for hunters, anglers and other outdoor recreationalists in northern St. Lawrence and Franklin counties,” Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a statement sent to the press. “The plan develops recreational access to forest lands, increases public awareness of outdoor opportunities on these state forests and ensures sustainable forest management.”

The St. Lawrence Flatlands comprises 30,810 acres in 10 state forests located in the Franklin County towns of Bombay and Moira, and the St. Lawrence County towns of Brasher, Madrid, Norfolk and Stockholm. The specific land units are Brasher State Forest, Bombay State Forest, Buckton State Forest, Fort Jackson State Forest, Grantville State Forest, Knapp Station State Forest, Lost Nation State Forest, Raymondville State Forest, Sodom State Forest and Southville State Forest. The UMP also covers six widely scattered parcels of detached forest preserve lands, ranging in size from three to 350 acres, located in the towns of Lisbon, Louisville, Massena, and Waddington in St. Lawrence County. » Continue Reading.