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Adirondack Explorer

Archive for the ‘history’ Category

March, 2014

Getting to Blue Mountain Lake in the 19th Century


My trip to the Adirondacks from our home in Western Massachusetts ends when I see the water of Raquette Lake’s South Bay – a three-and-a-half hour drive.  OK, my wife insists the trip is not over until we unload the car, pack the boat, traverse the lake, unload the boat and schlep everything into the cabin.  A five-hour ordeal in her mind, but serenity fills me the minute I see the water. Be it three-and-a-half hours or five, our trip is nothing compared to the arduous travels my great-great-grandfather took to reach these shores. He had been among the very >>More


March, 2014

Charlie Herr: Building the Raquette Lake Railway


Driving to Old Forge, I pass the old Eagle Bay station, recalling that I had a tasty barbecue sub sandwich there in the early 1980s.  I continue, watching the hikers and bikers on the level path to my right, also watching for deer.  Passing North Woods Inn, I see a sign referring to a train wreck and, just around Daikers, the path to my right disappears into the woods. I once biked into the woods there and found a historical marker that told of the Raquette Lake Railway.  I decided to learn more about this railroad that, along with Dr. >>More


February, 2014

The Fulton Chain Fish Hatchery: A Short History


According to Frank Graham, Jr., the first conservation agency established by New York was the Fisheries Commission.  It was established in 1868 to examine Adirondack water sources used by downstate cities and to study the impact of forest destruction by timber cutting neighboring these waters and on the fish they contained. By the 1880s, the agency established hatcheries in various areas of the state to bolster fish populations in those water bodies and their tributaries suffering from nearby industrial operations such as mills on the Black River.  Since fishing pools in the Adirondacks were being rapidly depleted by the growing >>More


February, 2014

Indian Lake: New York’s Troubled Acquisition of Township 15


Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: New York State makes a landmark Forest Preserve acquisition near Indian Lake. The seller is Finch, Pruyn & Co. The deal leads to controversy. This is not another viewpoint on the Essex Chain, but a story from the past. In 1897 the state announced its intent to acquire two Totten and Crossfield townships located near Indian Lake; and like the modern Finch Pruyn acquisition that was recently consummated, this one was hailed as a landmark purchase full of benefits to the state. Then its flaws became exposed. More than simply sparking a >>More


February, 2014

A New History of Warrensburg Published


Following five years of planning, research, writing and design, the Warrensburgh Historical Society has released Warrensburg, New York: 200 Years of People, Places and Events (2014) in honor of the town’s Bicentennial Celebration. Spearheaded by Town Historian Sandi Parisi, the effort involved more than 20 volunteers. The 184-page soft-cover book, laid out as an encyclopedia of Warrensburg history, contains more than 300 photographs and a 19-page index with over 2,300 listings. Topics range from the town’s earliest settlers in the late 18th century to more recent notables of the 20th century, plus industries, businesses, and events that contributed to a >>More


February, 2014

Horace and Nellie: An Adirondack Murder


Over a hundred years ago, Lowville and Watertown papers held readers’ attention with headlines such as “A Woman Murdered”, “Struck in the Head”, “Murderer Caught”, and “Fulton Chain Murder”. The murderer escaped from the scene, was caught by authorities and later jailed at Auburn State Prison.  No, this murder did not occur at Big Moose Lake and the evidence did not point to Chester Gillette. And while this murder caused much excitement and newsprint, a movie never resulted. On September 21, 1899, at about 10 in the evening, Horace Norton struck Nellie Widrick, supposedly his wife, with an axe on >>More


February, 2014

Great Camp Sagamore to Hosting Guided Snowshoe Tours


Great Camp Sagamore will host two guided snowshoe hikes of the grounds February 15 and 16 as part of Raquette Lake’s Annual Winter Carnival. This is a rare opportunity for visitors to see the National Historic Landmark in the winter, a season when the former Vanderbilt family owners traditionally visited. The free, guided hikes depart from the camp’s barn parking lot at 10 a.m. both days and conclude two hours later with hot cider in the Reading Room of the Conference Building. Guides will lead groups through the camp grounds to see building exteriors, then trek to different portions of >>More


February, 2014

Whallonsburg Grange Lyceum Lectures Feature History


An Adirondack history series continues at the Winter Lyceum lecture series at the Whallonsburg Grange Hall, 1610 NYS Route 22 in the Champlain Valley. Presentations on the early settlement, the philosophy and invention of the wilderness ideal, the history of the forest preserve and boats and boating are included in the schedule. The series “Our Wild Home” will take place on Tuesday nights at 7:30. A donation of $5 is requested, students always free. More information is at www.thegrangehall.info. The schedule of talks is: February 18, Settling the Wilderness: When Men and Mountains Meet Immediately after the American Revolution, the >>More


February, 2014

Benjamin Harrison’s 1895 Fulton Chain Vacation


The widower ex-President Benjamin Harrison and part of his extended family came to the Fulton Chain in the summer of 1895.  By the following summer, his summer home Berkeley Lodge would be built on a peninsula between First and Second Lakes for him and for a new wife.  Our story starts with the election of 1888. At the age of 55, Benjamin Harrison became the 23rd President in the first election where the electoral college vote went contrary to the popular vote.  Besides his wife, Caroline Scott Harrison, the White House family included son Russell Lord, his wife Mary and >>More


February, 2014

Charles Shaw, Ace Attorney From Jay (Part 2)


Despite all his accomplishments, Charles Shaw’s career is largely defined by a decade-long battle he fought on behalf of the cable interests for rail control of New York City’s streets. Cable’s two main rivals: horse-powered rail and underground lines. Both had many powerful backers. Initially, Charles was hired to perform one task: lobby the state legislature for specific modifications of a bill under consideration in Albany. After earning the modern equivalent of more than a quarter million dollars for his efforts, Shaw was retained by the cable men, who wanted San Francisco-type cars operating on 70 miles of New York City >>More




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