In spring 1903, more than a thousand men were at work on the final stages of the Spier Falls hydropower project. A large number of skilled Italian masons and stoneworkers were housed in a shantytown on the Warren County (north) side of the river.
Most of the remaining work was on the Saratoga County (south) side, which they accessed by a temporary bridge. But the company feared that the high waters of springtime had made the bridge unsafe. To avert a potential catastrophe, they destroyed it with dynamite. » Continue Reading.
Celebrating its 8th year, the Lake George Music Festival (LGMF) continues to stretch the boundaries of classical music. The goal of the LGMF is continue to respect and preserve the music that has stood the test of time while showcasing the art of current musicians. For two weeks the festival brings world class chamber musicians, orchestras, and choir music throughout the village of Lake George and beyond. » Continue Reading.
The Warren County Youth Fair has been set for Saturday, August 11 from 9 am until 1 pm at the Warren County Fairgrounds on Schroon River Road. Admission and parking are free.
The day will include an opening Ceremony at 9 am, a Hula Hoop contest at 9:15 on the stage, a Bubble Gum blowing contest at 9:45 am, the annual youth pie eating contest at 10:30, and the Warren County Talent Show at 11 am. » Continue Reading.
The Warren County Historical Society is opening a new exhibit, Logging at the Bend of the River, curated by Faith Bouchard. A debut reception will be held on Thursday, August 2 from 4 to 7 pm at the Society’s headquarters, 50 Gurney Lane, in Queensbury.
The exhibit showcases the important history of logging and papermaking in Warren County and the southern Adirondacks and features the role of some the region’s oldest companies, Finch in Glens Falls and International Paper in Ticonderoga (and formerly South Glens Falls).
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced they are seeking public input to improve recreational opportunities and natural resource protection in the Boreal South Management Unit and to inform DEC’s development of a management plan for the unit.
Located in the southeastern foothills of the Adirondacks, just outside the Blue Line of the Adirondack Park, the Boreal South Management Unit consists of six State Forest units totaling 4,096 acres in Warren and Saratoga counties. » Continue Reading.
The Lake George Land Conservancy continues to challenge people to explore Lake George and see what makes it different from other parts of the Adirondack Park.
The Round the Lake Challenge tasks individuals with various missions to discover first-hand the area’s natural, historical, and cultural resources. According to the Conservancy’s Sarah Hoffman, the Round the Lake Challenge was launched in 2012 to combine education with motivation for a bit of a reward. » Continue Reading.
It may be chilly outside, but Lake Luzerne’s Adirondack Folk School is providing over 250 classes this winter to get people out of the cold. With a focus to continue to introduce and maintain traditional folk arts, the Adirondack Folk School provides a variety of classes that appeal to all skill levels.
“I started with the organization in November 2011,” says Adirondack Folk School’s Program Manager Mary Stevens. “We had only opened in June of 2010 so I’ve certainly seen change and growth throughout the years. Recently we’ve seen an uptick on registration for these traditional folk skill classes.”
According to Stevens the organization has seen an uptick on registration for these traditional folk skill classes. More blacksmithing classes had to be added to the schedule as it was drawing people from a variety of locations. » Continue Reading.
If you followed the story of Samuel Coplon, Santa Claus of the Adirondacks, which appeared here during the past several weeks, you know he was a remarkably caring and giving man dedicated to making Christmas a special time for many needy children and adults in the Adirondacks.
For more than a quarter century, he bought numerous gifts and collected thousands more from friends and clients (Sam was a salesman representing several toy distributors), packed and shipped them to North Creek at his own expense, and traveled north to distribute them just before Christmas Day.
The story ended when Samuel, struggling with health issues in his late fifties, was forced to retire from the Santa Claus business, but left a wonderful legacy of charity and Christmas joy. Sam lived for another twelve years after the Christmas trips to the Adirondacks came to a halt in the 1930s. It’s sad but true that his life ended under unfortunate and undeserved circumstances. To a degree, his good name and reputation were tainted amid lurid national and international headlines related to the activities of one of his children. » Continue Reading.
The time may have come for Warren County to retire from the railroad business, says Ron Conover, the chairman of the Board of Supervisors.
In his annual message to the board, Conover broached the possibility of replacing the rail line between Stony Creek and North River, which the County owns and currently leases to Iowa-Pacific’s tourist train, with a multi-use recreational trail.
“I think the prudent thing at this stage is to begin to investigate whether a recreational trail should be created, by whom, at what cost, for which users; we should also ask how to pay for its creation and maintenance,” Conover said in his message, delivered at the municipal center on January 4. » Continue Reading.
In June 1932, Sam Coplon recognized a second opportunity to cheer Adirondack children. Adding something new to his repertoire, he visited the offices of the North Creek Enterprise, which had advertised his upcoming appearance to distribute cap guns to any and all boys ages 8 to 12, and gifts for girls as well. The noisy guns, which allowed children to join Fourth of July celebrations, were made by the firm he had long represented as a salesman, Riemann, Seabrey Company (the name by then changed from a hyphen to a comma). » Continue Reading.
In 1930, Sam Coplon, the Santa Claus of the Adirondacks, was doing well financially but was by no means wealthy. The house he owned in Brooklyn was worth the equivalent of $230k in 2017, and served as home to his wife Rebecca, son Bertram (13), and daughter Judith (8), along with Rebecca’s mother and sister.
As he did each year, Samuel gathered a huge collection of Christmas gifts that winter and personally bore the cost of shipping them to North Creek. In previous seasons, this constituted upwards of 30 large crates or containers, a number that would soon increase. His employer and several of their clients donated toys and games at Sam’s behest, adding to the joy of children in the Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.
Things appeared to be going well for Sam Coplon, the Santa Claus of the Adirondacks, but major change was in the works. Samuel had begun working as an Albany city clerk, limiting his ability to oversee the two business locations in Warren County. After spending several weeks at Johnsburgh in early 1910, he announced a going-out-of-business sale, offering all the hardware and furniture in his stores along with his horse, rig, and everything else related to operations there. By year’s end, most of the stock was gone. At Christmas time, he loaded a sleigh with toys and other gift items for delivery to homes across the area in what would become an annual tradition.
Years later, he recalled fondly the warm feelings generated by giving openly to beloved friends and neighbors, recognizing that many families, some of them quite large, struggled financially, and that even small luxuries were rarities in their lives. His remedy was to provide toys and games as Christmas gifts to show that someone cared.
In January 1911, he offered special closeout deals to folks in the Johnsburgh area before shuttering both business locations. For the remainder of the year, he made visits of several days each to the homes of friends in Johnsburgh, Bakers Mills, and Garnet, tended to his summer home, and made the gift-giving rounds again at Christmas. » Continue Reading.
The collection of letters to Santa that appeared in this space last week epitomized life in the rural regions of northern New York a century ago. At Christmastime, children from families living a common, low-income existence asked Santa for the simplest of items: a pencil and notepad, candy and nuts, or clothing to keep them warm in the winter. Toys and playthings were often secondary requests if they appeared at all.
But the simple desires from long ago reflected something other than just poverty. A good number of rural folks were self-sufficient, and all family members, even young children, took part in the daily chores of life: working the fields and garden, milking cows, collecting eggs, adding logs to the fire, and so on. An early understanding of the effort behind daily sustenance was evident in children’s annual humble Christmas yearnings for pencils, books, and treats for the tummy, suggesting an appreciation for things in general, and gifts in particular.
Among those who came to the Adirondacks and developed a deep admiration for this rustic lifestyle was Samuel Coplon, who embraced the people, reciprocated their generosity, and in time became a nationally known hero of North Country Christmases, earning him the title Santa Claus of the Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.
For the past twenty years, the Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC) has contributed data to the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count, a national bird census tracking the status of bird populations across North America now in its 118th year.
From December 14 through January 5, volunteers across the country brave the elements to count local birds for one day within a designated 15-mile circle. All data is then reported back to the Audubon Society. » Continue Reading.
Christmas in Warrensburgh originally started as a one-day event for local children, but has expanded over the years to include a weekend of events and activities showcasing the old fashioned town’s historical and artistic connections.
The Adirondack Almanack's contributors include veteran local writers, historians, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Adirondack region. The Almanack is the online news journal of Adirondack Explorer. Both are nonprofits supported by contributors, readers, and advertisers, and devoted to exploring, protecting, and unifying the Adirondack Park.
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