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Adirondack Explorer

Archive for the ‘history’ Category

March, 2015

The Last Campaign of Inez Milholland


Historians warn us against falling into a trap called the retrospective fallacy, that is, assuming that whatever happened – the Confederacy was defeated, we survived the Great Depression without a revolution – was bound to happen. When we succumb to that kind of thinking, we overlook the achievements and sacrifices of those who brought us safely to harbor. Among those is Adirondack legend and women’s rights advocate Inez Milholland. “The only people who have heard about her are those who majored in women’s history in college,” Joan Wages, president and chief executive of the National Women’s History Museum, told the >>More


March, 2015

Rita LaBombard’s History of Giving (Conclusion)


In 1983, Rita Labombard began to address the needs of a New York City shelter for street youth that sometimes served 200 children on a single night. Routine items were needed—soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, socks, etc. These were collected by a Plattsburgh group and brought to Champlain, where Rita arranged for their delivery to New York City. To fund the costs of trucking and overseas shipping, the center constantly sought help from donors and area carriers. In 1985, to help cover those expenses, the Mission Center added a thrift shop, offering second-hand toys, books, clothes, and household items. Those in need, >>More


March, 2015

A Rendezvous With History At Camp Kirby


The sun filters through the hemlocks and dapples the ferns on the forest floor as you walk the shoreline from SUNY Cortland’s Camp Huntington to the cabin in the woods called Camp Kirby. Walking the mile path along the shoreline of Raquette is the only way to get back and forth between these camps unless you take a boat ride. Camp Kirby is available to rent for alumni of SUNY Cortland. We have been renting it with fellow alum friends for the past few summers. While walking the trail one day last summer I imagined what it must have been >>More


March, 2015

Maple Syrup Production and Slavery


The sight of maple sap bubbling away in an evaporator pan, the sweet smell in the air and the camaraderie of sugarin’ season is a welcomed sign of spring here in the Adirondacks. It also has an interesting history; there is a connection between maple sugar production, slavery in the United States, and socially responsible investing. Early settlers watched Native Americans slash the bark of mature maple trees during the “sugar month” (even today the full moon in March is called the “Sugaring Moon”). As the trees released their sap from these gashes the clear sweet liquid would be funneled >>More


March, 2015

Rita LaBombard: A History of Giving (Part 2)


St. Mary’s Mission Center in Champlain was named as the clearing center for Catholic charities in the entire Ogdensburg diocese. But it’s important to note that although manager Rita LaBombard was Catholic and worked closely with many Catholic charities, St. Mary’s was an independent, non-denominational entity from the start. Volunteers from several faiths had long been lending a hand. Civic organizations also chipped in with materials and labor. Private citizens purchased materials, made clothing, and donated it all to the center. Children folded clothes, sewed buttons, and moved boxes. And always among the volunteers was Rita’s mother, Delia, nearly 80 >>More


March, 2015

Up On Tick Ridge: Bolton’s Fox Farm


The property would become famous for the fields of sculptures installed by David Smith. It was called the Terminal Iron Works, in honor of the Brooklyn shop where Smith had made his first welded sculptures.  But when it was purchased by Smith and his first wife, Dorothy Dehner, in 1929, “it was called the Old Fox Farm because a previous owner had raised foxes there for the fur trade,” Dehner recalled in 1973. That previous owner was Abner Smith, one of the sons of Frederick Reynolds Smith, the boat builder who founded F.R. Smith and Sons. Abner Smith was born >>More


March, 2015

Ebenezer Emmons And Raquette Lake


“After much toil and labor in rowing, in consequence of a strong head wind, we reached the lake at its eastern extremity. This accomplished, our next business was to find the establishment of Beach and Wood situated on some point on the opposite shore. By fortunate conjecture, our guide struck upon the right course and soon landed on Indian Point at the residence of the above named gentlemen. Here we determined to remain till we had thoroughly explored the region.”  Thus Prof. Ebenezer Emmons described his arrival on my family’s land on Raquette Lake in 1840, captured in this sketch >>More


March, 2015

Early Long Lake: Senator Orville Platt


What is believed to be the first summer camp on Long Lake was built on Birch Point in 1870 for Senator Orville Hitchcock Platt. Platt was born in Washington, CT in 1827. His father was a farmer who also served the community as deputy sheriff, judge of probate, and a school teacher. Platt’s parents were both active abolitionists and their home was a station on the Underground Railroad. As a youth, Platt helped his father on the farm and also enjoyed roaming the countryside hunting and fishing in the woods and streams of northwest Connecticut. He attended school in Washington, >>More


March, 2015

Rita LaBombard: A History of Giving


Women’s History Month this year finds me pondering the death of an old friend back in early February. When I first saw her obituary, it struck me as a second major loss for my hometown in a very short time. You see, fire in mid-January destroyed much of the school I attended through ten grades. I was raised in Champlain, north of Plattsburgh and just a mile from the Canadian border. During those growing-up years it was a typical village, where most of us knew most of us in one way or another. For a century, St. Mary’s Academy was >>More


March, 2015

Celebrating An Upset Victory Fought On Snowshoes


Recently a large crowd came to the Olympic Arena in Lake Placid to commemorate and celebrate the 35th anniversary of the “Miracle on Ice,” the upset win of the US hockey team over the world champion Soviet team, while earlier in the day in the wintery forest outside Fort Carillon (now Ticonderoga) re-enactors captured the thrilling come-from-near-defeat victory by the French garrison over the famed Rogers Rangers. The 1757 Battle on Snowshoes was hard fought. The French had the numbers, but many of their ranks had recently arrived from southern France. Wearing moccasins, wool leggings, and breach cloths was a >>More