It’s difficult to review an establishment this familiar. With no first impression with which to develop a theme, a last impression will have to do.
George Henry’s in Warrensburg has come a long way from its heyday as the Warren Inn, where we were occasionally allowed to sit at the bar and have a soda with our mom when we were kids. It’s as much a restaurant as a bar now and seems to invite tourists as well as locals. Originally called the Warren Inn after an actual inn that once occupied the corner of Schroon River Road and Main Street, it changed hands some time in the 1980s and was renamed the Brew & Stew (the Brew & Stew sign now hangs inside), and finally George Henry’s, named after the current owners’ father and grandfather, George Henry McFarland. The interior of George Henry’s dining room is spacious, with tables comfortably distanced from one another. Wide plank floors and pine walls in the dining area create a somewhat rustic, no-frills appearance. The restaurant area is sufficiently separate to drown out the noise and to protect your children from the barside banter.
The bar seats about 20 people, with ample room for standing too, with a few bar height tables for overflow. Blackboards advertising food and drink specials hang in both the dining and bar areas, and several TV’s featured a variety of programming including Jeopardy, news, and a Yankees game. The tavern area was partially filled, maybe 15 people, when we visited on a Wednesday evening. We had expected more bikers because of Warrensburg Bike Week and Americade in Lake George, but a sudden storm, preceded by high winds and an ominous yellow glow in the sky sent them scattering.
Fortunately, we missed the “All-You-Can-Eat” Wings special and believe we were too late for Happy Hour (4:30 to 6:30). We donated some money to NY State by playing Quick Draw and shared the normal portion of their crispy “All-We-Can-Eat” wings. Open seven days a week, starting at 11 a.m., except on Sunday when they open at noon, George Henry’s serves food until 9 p.m. in the summer months. The kitchen closes earlier in other seasons, and are known to close the establishment for private parties on rare occasions, but are generally open year round. George Henry’s offers live music on Friday and Saturday nights and there is a small, designated area for the band or soloist, but don’t expect to do any dancing there.
The beer selection is pretty decent with domestics from the Coors, Budweiser, and Miller brands, and good old Genny as well. Import and premium bottled beers include Corona, Heineken, Labatt, Long Trail, Guinness and Twisted Tea. Six draft beers are available, including choices from Lake Placid Brewery, Adirondack Brewery and Davidson Brothers. Specialty drinks aren’t promoted, but George Henry’s is equipped to provide the basics and sometimes more elaborate drinks when staffing permits.
George Henry’s has been under current ownership for 25 years and seems to want to expand beyond the local pub. Improvements have been made, though nothing lavish or radical, more aptly living within their means while keeping costs down to appeal to the masses. A deck on the side, for example, has yet to be seen by us in all of its intended splendor.
George Henry’s is on Main Street which is sometimes heavily traveled, so the added seclusion of low fencing on the Main Street side of the deck offers privacy and noise reduction, but still allows a nice view of the Schroon River. The deck is accented with flower boxes and beds of hostas, pansies, and petunias, which Pam deadheaded for them that evening while reviewing the surroundings. Several tables, some with umbrellas, looked inviting, were it not for the rain.
Stop at George Henry’s for dinner on your way to points further north and expect a welcoming staff and patrons and good food. When looking for a good burger in the ‘Burg, George Henry’s is the place to go. Or go on a Friday or Saturday night for live music and an even livelier crowd.
Kim and Pam Ladd’s book, Happy Hour in the High Peaks, is currently in the research stage. Together they visit pubs, bars and taverns with the goal of selecting the top 46 bars in the Adirondack Park. They regularly report their findings here at the Almanack and at their own blog.
The Adirondack Center for Writing’s will host a monthly open mic series starting in June, in collaboration with several venues around the Adirondack Park. The series pairs readings from a featured author or poet, as well as an open forum to share your own writing.
The Willows Bistro in Warrensburg, NY hosts Open Mic Night on the second Thursday of every month. ACW will co-sponsor those events at the Willows every June, September, December, and March. For our first collaboration, June 9th, the featured author will be Paul Pines, (author of “Last Call at the Tin Palace” and “My Brother’s Madness”), Bibi Wein (“The Way Home”) in September, and in December, Mary Sanders Shartle (“Winterberry Pine: Three Poets on Adirondack Winter”). More information is available online. The Northwoods Inn at Lake Placid will hold readings on the second Thursday in July with reader Maggie Bartley, October with Charles Watt, and next January and April with readers TBA. The Old Forge Library will host on the second Wednesday in August with reader Paula Roy, and in November, February and May.
All events are free and open to the public. If you’re interested in sharing your work email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “OPEN MIC” followed by the venue and date you’re interested in sharing.
Like most gardeners my little plot of earth was mud until recently and now has just become the holding place for the dismal looking storm windows the insulators found hidden in the crawl space. (I am curious if whether the windows were placed there as a substitute for the lack of any insulation or for some other nefarious reason.) Thankfully struggles with the weather does not stop professional farmers and craftspeople from showcasing locally produced items at Farmers’ Markets around the Adirondacks.» Continue Reading.
Willows Bistro and Fiction Among Friends will collaborate to present actress/director/teacher Filomena Riviello at a June 27th daylong workshop on the subject “Effective Public Reading: How to read your work so people think you are the best writer since Dickens.” Riviello, who worked in New York City as a professional actress and director for over 20 years, has directed shows at ACC and for Our Town Theatre Group, and popular workshop leader for the Warrensburgh Historical Society’s Graveyard Walks, selected the subtitle.
“A lot of people don’t know that it was through public readings that Charles Dickens managed to sell his novels in America, where there was not a large market for them. He made a book tour here, and people were so moved by his readings, they bought his books,” Riviello said. Persis Granger of Fiction Among Friends, with the help of Bistro owner Debbie Swan, created the Second Thursday Readings at Willows Bistro in Warrensburg to provide aspiring writers a time and place to read short selections from their works for the public. “All of the writers have enjoyed the opportunity,” she said, “but many realized that there is a lot to know about reading effectively. Enter Filomena!”
The workshop will begin at 10 a.m. and run until about 4 p.m., and the $40 fee will include a pre-selected luncheon. Those wishing to attend should reserve a spot by contacting Granger at PersisGranger@aol.com or 623-9305 as soon as possible, as enrollment is limited to ensure lots of individualized instruction. Writers are invited to bring as many short (about three minute) writing selections as they hope to work on. To learn more, visit “Fiction Among Friends at Willows Bistro”.
Warren County has a long tradition of a county fair and a meeting will be held this evening (Tuesday, April 12, 2011) to help renew that fair tradition. 7,000 people attended the fair on a single day when it was held in Pottersville in 1913, but the current Warren County Fair (since moved to the County Fairgrounds on Schroon River Road in Warrensburg), has suffered a series of setbacks that have made it one of the poorest attended county fairs in the state.
Those who attended the Warren County Fair in past still remember the carnival rides, midway, live entertainment, horse and pony pulls, and other activities and events that attracted visitors from all over the county and beyond. The Fair has changed dramatically over time due to liability insurance restrictions and funding which has hindered the current operator of the fair, Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE), from being able to provide carnival rides, a midway, or even a simple attraction such as a bouncy house, according to John Bowe, who manages the current one-day Youth Fair for CCE.
CCE’s Board of Directors has approved the formation of a Fair Association to take over development, promotion, insurance, and funding of the Warren County Fair, and a number of meetings have been held, but the future of the fair needs the input and support of local residents, businesses, and organizations.
It’s expected that Cornell Cooperative Extension of Warren County will continue to manage and operate the 4-H youth component of the fair and be able to concentrate on the support and achievements of local youth.
Those who have attended the meetings have expressed an interest in creating a “Great Adirondack Fair” that draws on the traditions of the Adirondacks, and which can be a signature event for Warren County and wider region.
Those who would like to see the Fair return to the grandeur of yesteryear, are needed at the next meeting of the Fair Committee on Tuesday, April 12th at 7 p.m. at the Cornell Cooperative Extension Education Center on 377 Schroon River Road in Warrensburg.
If you would like more information about the development of a Fair Association OR would like to register your support for a renewed fair, but can’t make the meeting, please call John Bowe at 668-4881 or email at email@example.com.
Photo: Performances at The Pottersville Fair in the early 1900s. In 1897, The Pottersville Fair advertised “a fine program of races consisting of trotting and pacing, running, bicycle, and foot races in which liberal purses and prizes are offered.” The fair lasted into the first half of the 20th century, and help convert Pottersville into a prime location for a variety of amusements, including the first incarnation of Gaslight Village.
Please join me in welcoming our newest contributors here at Adirondack Almanack, Kim and Pam Ladd. Warrensburg natives, Kim and Pam are working on a book project, Happy Hour in the High Peaks.
Currently in the research stage, the pair plan to visit pubs, bars and taverns inside the Blue Line, and report their findings weekly here at the Almanack and at their blog. With a goal of selecting the top 46 bars in the Adirondack Park, Happy Hour in the High Peaks will feature reviews, history, lore, photographs and cocktail recipes with an Adirondack flavor.
Kim and Pam have spent most of their lives in Warren County. Pam has a degree in Computer Science, but her passion is mixology. Kim, is a freelance photographer whose sports images regularly appear in the Adirondack Journal. She has a degree in Advertising Design and lives in Thurman.
Kim and Pam will begin their run here at the Almanack this afternoon with a look at barVino in North Creek, but they told me they welcome suggestions for places to visit, so let them know about your favorite haunts!
Obituaries vary widely in their historical value. Sometimes they’re elaborate; at times they are understated; some leave out important facts; and some, well … some are just hard to explain. Like this one from March, 1952: “Richard A. Whitby, a native of Warrensburg, died on Wednesday of last week at his home in Albany. Survivors are his wife, Mrs. Kathryn M. Waring Whitby; two sisters, Mrs. Frank Chapman and Miss Kate Whitby of Yonkers.”
That notice appeared in his hometown newspaper. Accurate, no doubt, and surely succinct, but brevity isn’t always a good thing. In this case, the inattention to detail is stunning, and it’s quite a stretch from what’s true to what’s important. I’d like to take a crack at bridging that gap. Richard Augustus Whitby (not Richard E. or other variations that appear in many records) was born to Louisa and Richard James Whitby on January 22, 1879. The family’s background played an important role in Richard’s legacy. Once established, the Whitby surname remained prominent in the Warrensburg-Glens Falls area for decades.
In 1872, the Whitbys (they had two young sons) emigrated from Yeovil, England where Richard J. had operated a cloth manufacturing business employing 61 laborers. He pursued the same work in America, first at Leeds in Greene County and then at Salem in Washington County, finally settling in Warrensburg, where he was superintendent of the woolen mill.
Financially sound, Mr. Whitby was able to pursue his interests, which were family and music. He managed to combine the two in remarkable fashion, and mix work in as well. Each family member learned to play a musical instrument, and as they entered adulthood, each was employed in the family business. By 1899, son Percy was managing the mill with his father, while Eloise, Eustace (salesman), Kate (stitcher), and Richard (buttonhole maker) toiled for Whitby & Co.
As good as they were at making clothing, it was in the world of music that the family excelled. The Whitby dance band played countless gigs and was in great demand, but the family performed solos and joined other musical groups as well. In 1895, the GAR Band and the Citizens’ Band ended an ongoing competition by merging into the Warrensburg Military Band. Among the dozens of members were several Whitbys—Percy, clarinet and Musical Director; his father, Richard J., cornet; Eustace, saxophone; and young Richard A., baritone horn.
After a performance on baritone by Richard in 1893, one prescient local reviewer said Whitby’s effort “… would have done credit to a professional player.” Besides the baritone horn, Richard also played two related instruments, the euphonium and the trombone. By the mid-1890s, his euphonium solos were known far and wide, and highly praised.
During the next several years, he performed at dozens of graduations, church events, and the like, routinely accompanied by his mother, Louisa, on the piano. In the summer of 1895, Mr. and Mrs. Whitby and son Richard were the star attraction at the Leland House in Schroon Lake.
In 1896, the 17-year-old was hired by Scribner & Smith’s Circus to play slide trombone during the summer. In 1899 he signed with a traveling comedy and music act, followed by several years as trombonist for the Broad Street Theater in Richmond, Virginia.
Word of his ability spread, and in 1910, “Dick” Whitby was the trombone soloist for Carl Edouarde’s 60-piece band, a top act in Philadelphia and New York City. (Edouarde, who later composed film scores, conducted the music for Steamboat Willie, the first sound cartoon.)
In October, 1911, Whitby married Bertha B. Lancaster (yes, Bert Lancaster) of Peekskill, and the couple moved to New York City. All the while, Richard’s fame continued to grow.
Though he had made steady progress over the years, his rise now seemed meteoric. Outstanding performances in Edouarde’s band were soon followed by a stunning announcement in 1913: Richard had been offered the second chair in John Philip Sousa’s band, which for decades had featured some of the world’s finest musicians. Second chair meant the number two position, but Whitby was also promised first chair upon the lead trombone player’s imminent retirement.
It was a tremendous honor and highly regarded confirmation of his great talent, but there was a problem: Richard was still under contract to Carl Edouarde, who had no intentions of releasing him from a prominent run at New York’s Palace Theater.
He continued as lead trombonist for Edouarde’s concert band, and it seemed like the opportunity of a lifetime had passed. But such was the talent of Richard Whitby that Sousa was willing to wait. When he became a free agent in 1915, Sousa signed Richard to an 8-month contract, beginning on April 1, 1915.
The timing was fortuitous. After three years of playing one main venue and going on only a short tour each season, Sousa’s band was suddenly once again a hot property. When Richard joined the orchestra, it was for an extraordinary tour reaching all the way to the West Coast.
San Francisco was hosting a major event, the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition (the World’s Fair), celebrating the opening of the Panama Canal and the city’s own recovery from the horrific 1906 earthquake. Sousa’s band played on opening-day and performed for an extended run through May and June, allowing untold thousands to enjoy Whitby’s great solos.
The band might have played longer but for a telegram from New York, requesting their services for an upcoming extravaganza at the world’s largest theater, the Hippodrome.
Leaving San Francisco, the band toured the Northwest to great acclaim. Notable was a July concert before 17,000 attendees at a high school stadium in Tacoma, Washington. From there, the band toured through the Midwest and then played before large crowds in Pennsylvania, including a month at famous Willow Grove Park and two weeks at the Pittsburgh Exhibition, before finally arriving in New York.
Those were heady days for one of the world’s most famous bands, now performing at the 5,200 seat Hippodrome for an 8-month run. Critics raved, as did Theatre Magazine: “The astonished and delighted spectator feels like cheering all the way through the really wonderful program.” It was a smash success, but Whitby remained for only half the run (about 215 performances).
When his contract with Sousa expired at the end of the year, Richard returned to more familiar haunts. In 1916, he opened with a slide trombone solo for a Warrensburg concert by students of the famed Oscar Seagle. Whitby’s rendition of Patriot Polka was a tribute to his friend and former instructor, Arthur Pryor, author of the tune and acknowledged for decades as one of the world’s premiere trombonists.
Richard’s preference was to remain in the North Country, but no matter where he was, his talent and fame kept him in high demand. A renowned soloist who tested the limits of his instrument, Whitby starred for several years on Atlantic City’s Boardwalk. The main venue he played there was the famed Steel Pier, which extends 1000 feet over the ocean and today sits directly across the Boardwalk from Trump’s Taj Mahal Resort and Casino.
He also did stints at New York’s Palace Theater, and in the 1920s was soloist with the Paramount Symphony Orchestra at the Paramount Theater.
When he was upstate, he played with Noller’s Band of Troy and the Schenectady Symphony Orchestra. Whitby lived in Albany for many years, and through the 1930s and 1940s was one of the city’s and the region’s most sought-after musicians. He was widely acknowledged as one of the greatest trombone players in the country.
Obituaries normally mention one’s accomplishments, and when Richard Whitby died in 1952, his hometown obit noted only two events: “… native of Warrensburg … died … at his home in Albany.” It suggests an innocuous existence marked largely by his entrance into and exit from life. Being born and dying are surely significant, but as you can see, there was some other stuff in between.
Photo Top: The John Philip Sousa Band performing at the Panama-Pacific Exhibition (World’s Fair) in 1915.
Photo Middle: A euphonium, one of the instruments mastered by Richard A. Whitby.
Photo Bottom: The famed Steel Pier on Atlantic City’s Boardwalk.
Lawrence Gooley has authored nine books and many articles on the North Country’s past. He and his partner, Jill McKee, founded Bloated Toe Enterprises in 2004. He took over in 2010 and began expanding the company’s publishing services. For information on book publishing, visit Bloated Toe Publishing.
Purchased in 2008 by the Lake George Land Conservancy, the Berry Pond Tract protects 1,436 acres within the towns of Lake George, Warrensburg, and Lake Luzerne. This tract of land contains ecologically important wetlands, ponds, vernal pools and the headwaters of West Brook. The purchase was made possible in part through a loan from the Open Space Conservancy (OSC) and funding provided by the Helen V. Froehlich Foundation.
The Berry Pond Tract is home to many forms of wildlife. There are several active beaver populations and a small Great Blue Heron rookery. This purchase provides expanded outdoor recreational resources including some amazing views of the lake. It also connects nearly 10,000 acres of protected land and protects the headwaters of West Brook, the single largest source of contaminants to the South Basin of Lake George. West Brook is one of the largest, most polluted streams in the Lake George Watershed. A substantial section of the downstream portion has impervious surface streamside, which contributes large amounts of stormwater runoff. Studies have indicated high readings of specific conductance (indicator of instream pollution), excessive amounts of Nitrogen and Phosphorus as well as substrate covering algal blooms. West Brook is important habitat for wildlife and spawning fish, however most of the downstream substrate is silt and sand. The streams course has been altered and channalized, thus speeding up the current. There is very limited riparian cover along the downstream portions, most being of non-native species. The lack of cover results in higher water temperatures and lower dissolved oxygen levels.
Protecting the headwaters of a stream is important to the overall health of the stream, however what takes place in the downstream sections can adversely impair the lake. That is why the West Brook Conservation Initiative was formed. This project to restore and protect Lake George is a collaborative campaign between the FUND for Lake George, the Lake George Land Conservancy and the Lake George Association. The main goal is to eliminate the largest source of contaminants to the South Basin. For more information on the West Brook Conservation Initiative and the science behind West Brook, visit the FUND for Lake George website.
Access to the Berry Pond Tract hiking trails is via the Lake George Recreation Center Trail System. For more information on the Berry Pond Tract, check out the Lake George Land Conservancy website at: http://lglc.org or join me in a snowshoe during the Winter Warm Up, at the Lake George Recreation Center on Saturday March 12, 2011 from 10am till 2pm. Bring your family and friends to this free event hosted by the Lake George Land Conservancy. Warm up by the bonfire; enjoy tasty treats donated by local businesses and take part in a guided snowshoe or other activities for all ages.
Come out and join me during the snowshoe and learn more about the Berry Pond Tract and West Brook. I hope to see you there.
Photo: “All” West Brook, Lake George NY. Compliments Blueline Photography, Jeremy Parnapy.
Corrina Parnapy is a Lake George native and a naturalist who writes regularly about the environment and Adirondack natural history for the Adirondack Almanack.
Just North of Warrensburg in the Adirondacks, South of the Glen, along the Hudson River is a unique habitat. This microhabitat is 16 miles and a sparse 115 acres, part of which is protected by the Hudson River Shoreline Preserve. This unique preserve goes by another name: The Ice Meadows.
Some of the only natural grasslands in New York State can be found here. What makes the Ice Meadows so special are the rare species of plants and insects that can be found in this cooler microclimate habitat. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Thursday, January 13 at APA Headquarters in Ray Brook, NY. The January meeting is one day only. Topics will include a variance for a sign at a new car dealership in Warrensburg, a shoreline structure setback and cutting variances for a proposed marina in Moriah, an enforcement action against an alleged wetland subdivision and substandard-sized lot subdivision in Wells, a presentation on Keene broadband project, military airspace and military aircraft use over the Adirondack Park, and the Department of Environmental Conservation’s draft policy for issuing Temporary Revocable Permits for State Lands and Conservation Easements.
The meeting will be webcast live online (choose Webcasting from the contents list). Meeting materials are available for download from the Agency’s website. The full agenda follows: The Full Agency will convene on Thursday morning at 9:00 for Executive Director Terry Martino’s report where she will discuss current activities.
At 9:15 a.m., the Regulatory Programs Committee will consider two variance projects; a request for a variance from the Q-3 sign standards for placement of new car dealership sign in the Town of Warrensburg, Warren County and shoreline structure setback and shoreline cutting variance variances for a proposed marina in the Town of Moriah, Essex County.
At 10:30, the Enforcement Committee will convene for an enforcement case involving alleged wetland subdivision and substandard-sized lot subdivision violations on private property in the Town of Wells, Hamilton County.
At 11:00, the Economic Affairs Committee will hear a presentation on the Town of Keene’s town-wide broadband project. Dave Mason and Jim Herman, project co-directors, will explain the project history, how it unfolded and detail project accomplishments.
At 1:00, the Park Policy and Planning Committee will be briefed on Military Airspace and Military Aircraft use over the Adirondack Park. Lt. Col. Fred Tomasselli, NY Air National Guard’s Airspace Manager at Fort Drum, will overview military airspace use. Commander Charles Dorsey, NY Air National Guard 174th Fighter Wing Vice-Commander at Fort Hancock, will detail the expected deployment of the MQ-9 Reaper aircraft for military training exercises over the Adirondack Park.
At 2:15, the State Land Committee will be updated by, Forest Preserve Management Bureau Chief Peter Frank, on the Department of Environmental Conservation’s draft policy for issuing Temporary Revocable Permits for State Lands and Conservation Easements. The draft policy proposes four types of revocable permits: Expedited, Routine, Non-Routine and Research.
At 3:00, the Park Ecology Committee will convene for a presentation from the Agency’s, Natural Resource Analysis Supervisor Daniel Spada, on his recent trip to China. The focus of the trip was the ongoing China Protected Areas Leadership Alliance Project. Mr. Spada will overview this project and describe his experiences with the various National Nature Reserve managers he visited with in Yunnan Province, China.
At 3:45, the Full Agency will convene will assemble to take action as necessary and conclude with committee reports, public and member comment.
The February Agency is scheduled for February 10-11, 2011
March Agency Meeting: March 17-18 at the Adirondack Park Agency Headquarters.
Lake George Town officials want the Hudson Headwaters Health Network to establish a clinic in their community, and have initiated discussions with the Network to determine its feasibility, Supervisor Frank McCoy has announced.
A clinic could be housed in a new building constructed for Lake George’s Emergency Medical Services squad, McCoy said at the Town’s monthly board meeting on Monday. “Land is so expensive in Lake George that it makes sense to buy property for two entities,” said McCoy.
According to town councilwoman Fran Heinrich, Hudson Headwaters’ Tripp Shannon informed the town that a sufficient number of patients from Lake George visit the Network’s other clinics to justify a thorough investigation of the proposal.
Dr. John Rugge, the president and CEO of Hudson Headwaters Health Network, said the Network staff’s meetings with McCoy and Heinrich had been productive. “We’re committed to working with the Town to meet the long term health care needs of Lake George,” said Rugge. The expense of establishing a new clinic is among the issues that need to be addressed, said Rugge. Typically, municipalities provide a building, equipment and maintenance of a clinic, which Hudson Headwaters then staffs with medical personnel.
The not-for-profit network currently operates health centers in Bolton Landing, Chestertown, Glens Falls, Indian Lake, Moreau, Moriah, North Creek, Queensbury, Schroon Lake, Ticonderoga and Warrensburg.
Other issues to be discussed include the functions of a Lake George clinic within the network as a whole and the development of a program that could be adapted to Lake George’s fluctuating population, Rugge said. “The population is like an accordion,” said Rugge. “It expands ten-fold in the summer. We would have to address that.”
As a federally-certified community health care centers, a Lake George clinic could be eligible for funding under the 2010 federal Health Care Reform act, though it may be at least four years before that money becomes available, Rugge said.
Despite those obstacles, Rugge said, “it’s a pleasure working with such a far-sighted administration. Whenever a community wants to work with Hudson Headwaters Health Network, magic can happen; obstacles can be overcome.”
A new facility for Lake George’s rescue squad, while urgently needed, will also take time to fund and construct, said Bruce Kilburn, the president of the Lake George Emergency Squad. Founded in 1960, the rescue squad celebrated its 50th anniversary in February with a gala at the Georgian, intended to kick-off a fund raising campaign for the new building.
“We’ve outgrown our building on Gage Road,” said Kilburn. “Training, meetings, every day activities are getting more difficult to co-ordinate.”
With the loss of volunteers and increasing reliance on professional Emergency responders, who are frequently assigned over-night shifts, separate facilities for men and women are needed, Kilburn said.
“Without separate facilities, we could face sexual harassment suits,” said Kilburn. “That’s a big concern to us.”
Town officials anticipate assistance from Lake George Village taxpayers in the fund drive for new EMS headquarters, said McCoy. “We expect Lake George Village to step up to the plate,” said McCoy. “The Town funded fifty percent of the new firehouse.”
A number of locations for the new facility are under consideration, but none have been made public.
Among the rock-star personas of the Roaring Twenties were a number of aviators who captured the public’s imagination. Some were as popular and beloved as movie stars and famous athletes, and America followed their every move. It was a time of “firsts” in the world of aviation, led by names like Lindbergh, Byrd, and Post. Among their number was an unusually humble man, Floyd Bennett. He may have been the best of the lot.
A North Country native and legendary pilot, Bennett has been claimed at times by three different villages as their own. He was born in October 1890 at the southern tip of Lake George in Caldwell (which today is Lake George village). Most of his youth was spent living on the farm of his aunt and uncle in Warrensburg. He also worked for three years in Ticonderoga, where he made many friends. Throughout his life, Floyd maintained ties to all three villages. In the early 1900s, cars and gasoline-powered engines represented the latest technology. Floyd’s strong interest led him to automobile school, after which he toiled as a mechanic in Ticonderoga for three years. When the United States entered World War I, Bennett, 27, enlisted in the Navy.
While becoming an aviation mechanic, Floyd discovered his aptitude for the pilot’s seat. He attended flight school in Pensacola, Florida, where one of his classmates was Richard E. Byrd, future legendary explorer. For several years, Bennett refined his flying skills, and in 1925, he was selected for duty in Greenland under Lieutenant Byrd.
Fraught with danger and the unknown, the mission sought to learn more about the vast unexplored area of the Arctic Circle. Bennett’s knowledge and hard work were critical to the success of the mission, and, as Byrd would later confirm, the pair almost certainly would have died but for Bennett’s bravery in a moment of crisis.
While flying over extremely rough territory, the plane’s oil gauge suddenly climbed. Had the pressure risen unchecked, an explosion was almost certain. Byrd looked at Bennett, seeking a course of action, and both then turned their attention to the terrain below.
Within seconds, reality set in—there was no possibility of landing. With that, Bennett climbed out onto the plane’s wing in frigid conditions and loosened the oil cap, relieving the pressure. He suffered frostbite in the process, but left no doubt in Byrd’s mind that, in selecting Bennett, he had made the right choice.
The two men became fast friends, and when the intrepid Byrd planned a historic flight to the North Pole, Bennett was asked to serve as both pilot and mechanic on the Josephine Ford. (Edsel Ford provided financial backing for the effort, and the plane was named after his daughter.) In 1926, Byrd and Bennett attained legendary status by completing the mission despite bad luck and perilous conditions. The flight rocketed them to superstardom.
Lauded as national heroes, they were suddenly in great demand, beginning with a tickertape parade in New York City. Byrd enjoyed the limelight, but also heaped praise on the unassuming Bennett, assuring all that the attempt would never have been made without his trusted partner. When Bennett visited Lake George, more than two thousand supporters gathered in the tiny village to welcome him. As part of the ceremony, letters of praise from Governor Smith and President Coolidge were read to the crowd.
Both men were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest award for any member of the armed services, and rarely bestowed for non-military accomplishments. They were also honored with gold medals from the National Geographic Society. Despite all the attention and lavish praise, Bennett remained unchanged, to the surprise of no one.
The next challenge for the team of Bennett and Byrd was the first transatlantic flight from New York to Paris, a trip they prepared for eagerly. But in a training crash, both men were hurt. Bennett’s injuries were serious, and before the pair could recover and continue the pursuit of their goal, Charles Lindbergh accomplished the historic feat. Once healed, the duo completed the flight to Europe six weeks later.
Seeking new horizons to conquer, aviation’s most famous team planned an expedition to the South Pole. Tremendous preparation was required, including testing of innovative equipment. On March 13, 1928, a curious crowd gathered on the shores of Lake Champlain near Ticonderoga. Airplanes were still a novelty then, and two craft were seen circling overhead. Finally, one of them put down on the slushy, ice-covered lake surface, skiing to a halt.
Out came local hero Floyd Bennett, quickly engulfed by a crowd of friends and well-wishers. While in Staten Island preparing for the South Pole flight, he needed to test new skis for landing capabilities in the snow. What better place to do it than among friends? After performing several test landings on Lake Champlain, Bennett stayed overnight in Ticonderoga. Whether at the Elks Club, a restaurant, or a local hotel, he and his companions were invariably treated like royalty. Bennett repeatedly expressed his thanks and appreciation for such a warm welcome.
A month later, while making further preparations for the next adventure, Floyd became ill with what was believed to be a cold. When word arrived that help was urgently needed on a rescue mission, the response was predictable. Ignoring his own health, Bennett immediately went to the assistance of a German and Irish team that had crossed the Atlantic but crashed their craft, the Bremen, on Greenly Island north of Newfoundland, Canada.
During the mission, Floyd developed a high fever but still tried to continue the rescue effort. His condition worsened, requiring hospitalization in Quebec City, where doctors found he was gravely ill with pneumonia. Richard Byrd and Floyd’s wife, Cora, who was also ill, flew north to be with him. Despite the best efforts of physicians, Bennett, just 38 years old, succumbed on April 25, 1928, barely a month after his uplifting visit to Ticonderoga.
Though Bennett died, the rescue mission he had begun proved successful. Across Canada, Germany, Ireland, and the United States, headlines mourned the loss of a hero who had given his life while trying to save others. Explorers, adventurers, and aviators praised Bennett as a man of grace, intelligence, bravery, and unfailing integrity.
Floyd Bennett was already considered a hero long before the rescue attempt. The selflessness he displayed further enhanced his image, and as the nation mourned, his greatness was honored with a heavily attended military funeral in Washington, followed by burial in Arlington National Cemetery. Among the pile of wreaths on his grave was one from President and Mrs. Coolidge.
After the loss of his partner and best friend, Richard Byrd’s craft for the ultimately successful flight to the South Pole was a tri-motor Ford renamed the Floyd Bennett. Both the man and the plane of the same name are an important part of American aviation history.
It was eventually calculated that the earlier flight to the North Pole may not have reached its destination, but the news did nothing to diminish Byrd and Bennett’s achievements. They received many honors for their spectacular adventures. On June 26, 1930, a dedication ceremony was held in Brooklyn for New York City’s first-ever municipal airport, Floyd Bennett Field. It was regarded at the time as America’s finest airfield.
Many historic flights originated or ended at Floyd Bennett Field, including trips by such notables as Howard Hughes, Jimmy Doolittle, Wiley Post, Douglas “Wrongway” Corrigan, and Amelia Earhart. It was also the busiest airfield in the United States during World War II, vital to the Allied victory. Floyd Bennett Field is now protected by the National Park Service as part of the Gateway National Recreation Area.
The beloved Bennett was also honored in several other venues. In the 1940s, a Navy Destroyer, the USS Bennett, was named in honor of his legacy as a flight pioneer. In the village of Warrensburg, New York, a memorial bandstand was erected in Bennett’s honor. Sixteen miles southeast of Warrensburg, and a few miles from Glens Falls, is Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport.
In a speech made after the North Pole flight, Richard Byrd said, “I would rather have had Floyd Bennett with me than any man I know of.” High praise indeed between heroes and friends. And not bad for a regular guy from Lake George, Warrensburg, and Ticonderoga.
Top Photo: The Josephine Ford.
Middle Photo: Floyd Bennett, right, receives medal from President Coolidge. Richard Byrd is to the left of Coolidge.
Bottom Photo: Floyd Bennett Field, New York City’s first municipal airport.
Lawrence Gooley has authored eight books and several articles on the North Country’s past. He and his partner, Jill McKee, founded Bloated Toe Enterprises in 2004 and have recently begun to expand their services and publishing work. For information on book publishing, visit Bloated Toe Publishing.
Saying the agency was “acting to protect natural resources and to curtail illegal and unsafe activities,” the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced it has relocated six campsites closer to main roads and will not reopen the gates at the Hudson River Special Management Area (HRSMA) of the Lake George Wild Forest. The gates, only recently installed to limit the area’s roads during spring mud season, will remain closed until further notice. “Unfortunately, due to funding reductions resulting from the state’s historic budget shortfall, DEC is, as previously announced, unable to maintain many of the roads in HRSMA and must keep the gates closed until the budget situation changes,” a DEC statement said. Also known as the “Hudson River Rec Area” or the “Buttermilk Area,” the HRSMA is a 5,500-acre section of forest preserve located on the eastern shore of the Hudson River, straddling the boundary of the towns of Lake Luzerne and Warrensburg in Warren County. Designated “Wild Forest” under the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan, HRSMA is a popular location for camping, swimming, picnicking, boating, tubing, horseback riding, hiking, hunting and fishing. The Hudson River Rec Area has been a popular spot for late-night parties, littering, and other abuses.
Six campsites (# 6-11) have been relocated due to vandalism and overuse. Campsites #6, 7, 8, and 10 and 11 are relocated in the vicinity of the old sites and just a short walk from the parking areas. Parking for each of these sites is provided off Buttermilk Road. Site 9 has been relocated to the Bear Slide Access Road providing an additional accessible campsite in the HRSMA for visitors with mobility disabilities. Site 11 is located off Gay Pond Road, which is currently closed to motor vehicle traffic.
Signs have been posted identifying parking locations for the sites and markers have been hung to direct campers to the new campsite locations. Camping is permitted at designated sites only – which are marked with “Camp Here” disks.
Gay Pond Road (3.8 mi.) and Buttermilk Road Extension (2.1 mi.) are temporarily closed to all public motor vehicle access. Pikes Beach Access Road (0.3 mi.) and Scofield Flats Access Road (0.1 mi.) may still be accessed by motor vehicle by people with disabilities holding CP3 permits. As in the past, the Bear Slides Access Road and Darlings Ford are closed to motor vehicle use by the general public but will remain open for non-motorized access by the general public and motorized access by people with disabilities holding a CP-3 permit.
Currently eight campsites designed and managed for accessibility remain available to people with mobility disabilities. All of the designated sites are available to visitors who park in the designated parking areas and arrive by foot or arrive by canoe.
DEC Forest Rangers will continue to educate users, enforce violations of the law, ensure the proper and safe use of the area, and remind visitors that:
* Camping and fires are permitted at designated sites only;
* Cutting of standing trees, dead or alive, is prohibited;
* Motor vehicles are only permitted on open roads and at designated parking areas;
* “Pack it in, pack it out” – take all garbage and possessions with you when you leave; and
* A permit is required from the DEC Forest Ranger if you are camping more than 3 nights or have 10 or more people in your group.
Additional information, and a map of the Hudson River Special Management Area, may be found on the DEC website.
Not long after my father purchased the Warrensburg News and its old printing plant in 1958, he found in a box of papers a small booklet entitled “Guide to Schroon Lake and Vicinity,” with Marcus E. Granger listed as the author.
The booklet had been printed in the shop eighty years earlier. Although numerous guidebooks to the Adirondacks had been published before Granger’s, his was unique in two respects. His was probably the first guidebook devoted to Schroon Lake. Dr. Durant’s Adirondack Railroad had been completed in 1872, and the station at Riverside, or Riparius, brought Schroon Lake within reach of tourists for the first time. Second, and even more remarkable, was the fact that it was written entirely in heroic couplets. » Continue Reading.
Cornell Cooperative Extension in Warren County is offering affordable vegetable and herb seed starter kits for the 2010 garden season beginning Tuesday, February 16, 2010. Each kit includes five different seed packs, growing directions, and garden row markers. The vegetable kits also include the Cooperative Extension’s “2010 Booklet on Vegetable Varieties.” The herb kits include information on starting a container herb garden. Each seed kit is only $5 (only $9 if you buy both). Each VEGETABLE seed kit includes: Five different vegetable seed packs, full growing directions for each seed type, garden row markers and the newest The vegetable seed kit includes ‘tendergreen’ beans, cucumber, lettuce, squash and tomato seed packs.
The HERB seed kits include five different herb seed packs, growing directions, garden row markers and other information about starting a container HERB garden. The herb seed kit includes sweet basil, dill, green scallion onion, parsley and nastursium (nastursium produces beautiful edible salad flowers!).
Proceeds from the sale of the Seed Starter Kits will be used by the Cornell Cooperative Extension 4-H (Youth Development Program) and the Master Gardener Volunteer (Consumer Horticulture Education Program) to help support the many 4-H youth programs in Warren County and the Master Gardener Volunteer programs that provide science-based gardening information to people in our community.
The seed kits are available begining February 16 at the Cornell Cooperative Extension office in Warrensburg, at 377 Schroon River Road, Warrensburg, NY 12885. The office is open Monday through Thursday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Tel.: 518-623-3291.
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