“Water and Light,” a selection of images from Seneca Ray Stoddard’s Lake George portfolio exhibited at the Chapman Historical Museum last summer, has been reimagined as a new, ground-breaking book on Stoddard’s photography.
The 160-page volume, featuring 150 images selected and reproduced by Chapman director Tim Weidner, includes interpretive and biographical essays by Joseph Cutshall-King, the historian who led the Chapman when the Museum acquired its Stoddard collection from Maitland De Sormo in 1977. » Continue Reading.
The Chapman Historical Museum in Glens Falls has just published Water & Light: S.R. Stoddard’s Lake George, a new work on the photography of Seneca Ray Stoddard.
The 160-page book features 150 of Stoddard’s photos, as well as some samples of his painting, sketches and cartography.
As a 19th century American photographer, S. R. Stoddard is often ranked with William Henry Jackson and Carlton Watkins, and the quality of his photographic compositions is compared with many of the Hudson River School painters. It is estimated Stoddard took some ten thousand images in the Adirondack Mountains alone. » Continue Reading.
The Chapman Historical Museum has opened a new mini-exhibit of Seneca Ray Stoddard photographs. Featured are images of the stage coach trip that visitors in the 1870s experienced from the train station in Glens Falls to the Fort William Henry Hotel at the south end of Lake George. In addition to the Halfway House, highlights include the tollhouse in French Mountain, Bloody Pond, Col. Ephraim Williams’ monument, and the grounds of the hotel. » Continue Reading.
Tuesday, February 21, at 1 pm at the Chapman Museum in Glens Falls, Chapman Curator Jillian Mulder will present an illustrated talk about Seneca Ray Stoddard’s multi-year trip up the Atlantic coast in a canoe entitled Stoddard’s Adventure on “The Atlantis.”
Over the course of five years, from 1883-1887, Glens Falls photographer Seneca Ray Stoddard completed a five stage journey by canoe. Stoddard and a companion traveled down the Hudson River to New York City and northward up the Atlantic coast, finally ending at the Bay of Fundy, Canada. It was the first time a small craft of that size had ventured the nearly 2,000 miles following the New England coast to the Canadian Maritimes. » Continue Reading.
The Chapman Historical Museum in Glens Falls has opened a new mini-exibit through June 1st, on Railroads in the Adirondacks. The new exhibit “The Railroads: Gateways to the Adirondacks” features seventeen Seneca Ray Stoddard photos taken from 1870 to 1890.
Photos include the Glens Falls and North Creek train stations, the trestle over the Sacandaga River, the D&H cut near Willsboro and the Prospect Mountain cable RR. On his travels Stoddard also photographed trains, including The Battery in New York City and the Green Mountain railway on Mt. Desert Island in Maine. » Continue Reading.
An early 20th century Lake George photographer is about to receive the attention that many local collectors, historians and photographers believe he richly deserves.
The photographer is Jesse Sumner Wooley (1867-1943), and the J.S. Wooley Project, a collaborative effort of photographer Richard Timberlake, Bolton Landing collector and resident Matt Finley and the Brookside Museum in Ballston Spa, has already produced standing-room only slide shows and lectures at the Brookside Museum and Silver Bay, where Wooley was the official photographer from 1908 to 1923. Another presentation will be presented at the Crandall Library in Glens Falls on October 15. » Continue Reading.
The eccentric preacher and writer who became known as Adirondack Murray may have been the first to trumpet the region to tourists, but Seneca Ray Stoddard was not far behind.
In fact, Stoddard’s photographs, maps and guidebooks had a more lasting and more salutary influence than anything penned by Murray. Without his photographs and maps, for instance, it is unlikely that the Adirondack Park would have ever been created.
For Reuben Smith, the owner of Tumblehome Boatshop in Warrensburg (Warren County), Stoddard’s photographs are not merely of antiquarian or aesthetic interest. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Museum will celebrate the Adirondacks and Lake Champlain on Saturday, November 3 with “Adirondack Day,” an inaugural daylong event that will complement the Museum’s exhibition on iconic Adirondack photographer Seneca Ray Stoddard.
The free event, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., will include a concert, lectures, displays, tours and films presented by the New York State Museum and many of the North Country’s leading educational and cultural institutions. Participating are the New York State Museum, Adirondack Museum, Adirondack Life magazine, Fort Ticonderoga, Great Camp Sagamore, John Brown Lives, Lakes to Locks Passage, Mountain Lake PBS, Paul Smith’s College, The Wild Center, and the Trudeau Institute. » Continue Reading.
Long considered beautiful photographs of the Adirondack landscape, Seneca Ray Stoddard’s views also serve well as documents of the plants that inhabited the region in the 19th century. The Glens Falls Historical Society’s Chapman Historical Museum’s summer exhibit, S.R. Stoddard’s Natural Views, which will run from May 4 through September 2, will feature fifty enlarged photographs of different Adirondack settings – lake shores, marshes, meadows, riverbanks and mountainsides. Highlighted in modern color images will be examples of the plants discovered in Stoddard’s photographs — from small flowers to shrubs and trees. Since he was rediscovered in the late 1970s, Stoddard’s work has been featured in numerous exhibits that explored the history of 19th century life in the Adirondacks. A survey of the 3000 images in the Chapman archives, however, revealed hundreds of images that are purely natural landscapes. The subject matter is the Adirondack environment – not great hotels, steamers, camp scenes or other obvious evidence of human activity.
The summer 2012 exhibit will examine these photographs as documents of the history of ecological habitats, providing an opportunity to compare the present environment with the past. To address this issue the museum is consulting with Paul Smith’s College biologist, Daun Reuter, who will identify botanical species in Stoddard’s photographs, and exploring 19th century biological fieldwork records housed at the New York State Museum.
By bringing attention to a group of Stoddard photographs that have been overlooked but are significant examples of his work, the exhibit will give visitors the opportunity to discover and reflect on the changing environment – a topic of urgent concern in the region. Through their experience visitors will gain greater understanding not only to Stoddard’s photographic vision but also of the natural world of the Adirondacks.
Photos: Above, Silver Cascade, Elizabethtown by S.R. Stoddard, ca. 1890. Below: modern color photo of Wild Raisin by Dawn Reuter, Biology Dept., Paul Smith’s College.
A new exhibit featuring twenty original Seneca Ray Stoddard photographs of waterfalls in the Adirondacks is now on view at the Chapman Historical Museum in Glens Falls.
Included are popular falls located on the Hudson, Raquette and Ausable Rivers, as well as lesser known falls in remote locations in the central Adirondacks — places that today still are accessible only by foot. Examples are Roaring Brook Falls on Giant, Buttermilk Falls on the Raquette, Surprise Falls on Gill Brook near Lower Ausable, and Silver Cascade in Elizabethtown. The photos will be on display until July 3rd. » Continue Reading.
Many times in the late 19th century Adirondack photographer Seneca Ray Stoddard turned to the falls of the Hudson at Glens Falls for subject matter. He focused on the cascades, pools and rock formations that he found in the river bed as well as the bridges and factories above. Stoddard returned often to photograph the events that occurred there. Included in his work are images of floods, fires, and new mills along the river banks. Until May 8th the Chapman Historical Museum will exhibit a selection of fifteen original Stoddard’s photos of “The Falls under the Bridge.” The show will be followed this summer by a second series featuring Stoddard’s photos of other falls in the Adirondacks.
The Chapman Historical Museum, located at 348 Glen Street, Glens Falls, is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm, and Sunday, noon to 4 pm. For info call (518) 793-2826.
Photo: Glens Falls, View from the South Side of the Bridge, ca. 1875. Courtesy Chapman Museum.
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
Equally as engrossing as the 64 stories of those who made it into the Bracket this year are the names and stories of the many more who didn’t make the initial cut. Here are just a few of the unchosen many: leeches, municipal consolidation, Sandy Lewis, the Northway “Hello” sign, snodeo, NCPR fundraisers, TB, “farmers'” markets, Rocky’s Box, gloomy outlooks, and (our perennial favorite) the dump. Better luck next year, guys.
Back to our preview of match-ups in quads three and four of this year’s Adirondack 64er round (after the jump). » Continue Reading.
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