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Adirondack Explorer

Archive for the ‘history’ Category

October, 2018

The Legend of Jack-O-Lantern


Perhaps the single-most-recognizable symbol of the Halloween season is the traditional hollowed out pumpkin carved into a smiling or ominous, illuminated-in-the-dark face. But, “Why,” I’ve often been asked, “is it called a jack-o-lantern?” While much of what’s known is ambiguous at best, the first widely-accepted mention I can find dates back to the five classes of fairies in Cornish lore: the Small People, the Brownies, the Spriggans, the Buccas, Bockles, or Knockers, and the Piskies. The Piskies went about confusing wary travelers; getting them hopelessly lost and eventually leading them into bogs and moors with a » Continue Reading. View >>More


October, 2018

Hudson River History: The 1903 Spier Falls Disaster (Conclusion)


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. After that, crossing the river was achieved about a half-mile downstream from >>More


October, 2018

High Peaks Happy Hour: Valcour Brewing Company, Plattsburgh


Ulysses S. Grant drank here. Maybe. Originally built in 1838 as an army barracks for enlisted men, known as Old Stone Barracks, the grand building on Ohio Avenue in Plattsburgh is now home to Valcour Brewing Company. Though Grant is reported to have stayed in the officers’ barracks that once stood adjacent in the mid 1800s, it’s possible he may have sat on the porch of the Old Stone Barracks swilling beer and swapping stories with the enlisted men. Even if Grant didn’t drink here, Valcour Brewing Company can openly boast that Kim and Pam Ladd drank here – twice >>More


October, 2018

RR Board President Responds To Rail-Trail Issues


It is certainly unfortunate that the debate concerning the Adirondack Railroad has continued for as long as it has. One would surely think that adults, objective in their analyses and wishing for the greatest good as an outcome, could have solved this long ago but, no. There is even a renewed attack from the trail advocates. We had hoped that after the resounding success in the courts and the unambiguous decision of State Supreme Court Justice Robert G. Main, that we could begin talks to successfully implement the 1996 Unit Management Plan and not continue the bickering. So let’s take >>More


October, 2018

The Spier Falls Disaster: An Adirondack Tragedy


Adirondack history is naturally rife with river-related stories—wildly successful fishing trips, damaging floods, wilderness exploration, and dam construction. Rivers were the lifeblood of development:  settlements sprang up along waterways, where partial diversion of streams provided the wheel-turning power necessary to many industries. But freshets were so common and destructive that dams were introduced as flood-control measures, and then for hydropower as the electrification of society unfolded. Recognizing the great financial potential of providing electricity to industries and the masses, power companies sought to develop dozens of potential reservoir sites. Among the arguments they used to justify building dam after dam >>More


October, 2018

The Most Negative Sales Pitch Ever


A little more than a century ago, a horrendous description of an Adirondack village appeared in newspapers, including the Mail and Express published in New York City. At issue was the placement of a yet-to-be-built tubercular sanitarium. Feelings ran so high at the time, you’d swear they were selecting the next Supreme Court justice. But taking sides is nothing new, as proved by use of the written word back then to describe one of the candidate locations. As you’ll see, it’s hard to believe they were talking about the same place. One of the favorites was Lake Clear, strongly preferred >>More


October, 2018

Adirondack Experience Readies for Change of Season


The season is coming to a close for the Adirondack Experience, the museum on Blue Mountain Lake, but isn’t not the end of the activities. Each fall the museum gets ready for winter and provides opportunities for people to bring home a special Adirondack gift from their unique shop. According to ADKX Director of Marketing Ausra Angermann, the museum has two planned weekends set for people to do their holiday shopping and visit beautiful Blue Mountain Lake. On November 23-24 and December 14-16 from 10 am to 4 pm, the museum provides a special shopping experience to all visitors. “October >>More


October, 2018

Father Fitz: Missionary to the Adirondacks


The Rev. John G. Fitzgerald, or “Father Fitz,” as he was known to contemporaries, was the first resident Roman Catholic priest in Old Forge. He is fondly remembered as a missionary to the widely scattered working people of the region and as a prolific builder of churches. His obituary in 1925 and local histories rightly focus on his time in Old Forge, but Father Fitzgerald had a significant career prior to that. His early assignments reveal a resourceful and energetic clergyman who made an impact across the Adirondacks and North Country. He served the people of northern New York State >>More


October, 2018

Restored “Adirondack Holiday” Film Screening in Lake Placid


First released in 1960, Adirondack Holiday showed Essex County as a four-season vacation paradise. Now, almost sixty years later, the half-hour short has been restored to all its original color splendor. Its premiere screening will take place during this year’s Lake Placid Film Festival, October 26th to 28th. When the Essex County Chamber of Commerce decided to advertise the County’s qualities to a wider audience in 1960, members turned to local talents Ken and Shirley Richter. The Richters were famous for their travelogues and lectures, filmed across the world. Within the industry, Richter was known for his obsessive efforts to >>More


October, 2018

The 1918 Flu Epidemic in St. Lawr Co, Oct 18


The next St. Lawrence County Historical Association’s Brown Bag Lunch Series has been set for Thursday, October 18th. This program begin at noon, will be led by Bryan Thompson and will focus on the 1918 Flu Epidemic. Attendees are encouraged to bring a lunch and enjoy a beverage and dessert provided by SLCHA. Bryan Thompson, a seventh generation St. Lawrence County native, is the municipal historian for the town of DeKalb. While deputy and town historian, he received the Hackman Research Fellowship and the Dearstyne Award for Excellence from the state archives. The Brown Bag Lunch Series is a lunch >>More