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Adirondack Explorer

Archive for the ‘history’ Category

December, 2013

William Almon Wheeler: North Country Political Star


A new biography is shedding light on an overshadowed North Country political figure, the Nineteenth Vice President of the United States. In William Almon Wheeler: Political Star of the North Country (2013, SUNY Press), author Herbert C. Hallas leaves no doubt that Wheeler was a more significant political figure than the existing literature may lead one to believe. The book is the first and only complete biography of Wheeler, a man referred to as “the New York Lincoln,” who helped to found the Republican Party and build it into a formidable political force during the Gilded Age. Wheeler’s life is >>More


December, 2013

Henry Knox’s “Noble Train” of Artillery Event Saturday


Visitors to Fort Ticonderoga can discover the story of Henry Knox’s “Noble Train” of artillery at an upcoming living history event, Saturday, December 7, from 10 am – 4 pm. The event will feature a program highlighting Henry Knox’s arrival to Fort Ticonderoga and recreate the beginning of the epic feat that ultimately forced the British evacuation from Boston on March 17, 1776. The siege of Boston, April 19, 1775 – March 17, 1776 was the opening phase of the American Revolutionary War in which New England militiamen, who later became part of the Continental Army, surrounded the town of >>More


December, 2013

The Saga of Albany Jim (Part One)


This is not a story about Diamond Jim Brady (1856‒1917), who, during America’s Gilded Age, was a flamboyant, legendary businessman and philanthropist with an appetite for diamonds and other jewels. It is instead about Big Jim Brady, who, during America’s Gilded Age, was known for his own type of philanthropy, had an affinity for jewels, and was a legendary figure—as the handsomest and coolest of crooks. Big Jim is a tough subject to tackle. From a young age, he was cool, slick, and secretive about his activities, leaving an intermittent and very difficult path to trace. Adding to the challenge—4 >>More


November, 2013

Anthony Hall: When The Media Fails, The Public Loses


Since November 5, when voters approved an amendment to the state constitution to permit a mining company to mine 200 acres of Forest Preserve lands, we have learned much more about the proposition than we knew before the vote.  We always knew that the company proposed to mine the Forest Preserve, and everyone, proponents and opponents alike, thought it at least noteworthy that two environmental protection groups dedicated to maintaining the integrity of the constitutional clause that states that Forest Preserve lands will remain “Forever Wild,” supported the proposition. But we did not know that the state officials who were >>More


November, 2013

Lawrence Gooley: My Dad Lives On


Six days ago, I stood staring at an open casket, eyes locked on the face of my father. The funeral home had suddenly become familiar territory: Mom, at age 92, died just 15 days before Dad, who was 89. For more than a decade prior, my wife Jill and I saw them morph from my parents into what can only be described as our best friends. During that time, about 500 of our weekly Game Days cemented an unexpected bond and left us weak with laughter. Each session was like four teenagers gathering for hours of teasing and repartee. As >>More


November, 2013

State Nears Decision In Railroad Debate


State officials are nearing a decision on whether to open the management plan for a railroad corridor that runs through Adirondack wilderness. The future of the corridor has been the subject of public debate for a few years. At issue is whether the rails should be removed to create a multi-use recreational trail. The state Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Transportation held meetings in September to gather input from the public. On Wednesday, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said staff at both agencies have been reviewing and evaluating hundreds of comments. Martens said a decision is not too far >>More


November, 2013

Become Part of the Local Underground Railroad


This Saturday my family and six of my son’s friends will be celebrating his birthday by becoming part of the Underground Railroad. It won’t be the typical birthday party, but it is the one that my son wants to share with his friends. Presented by the Pok-O-MacCready Outdoor Education Center and the Underground Railroad Historical Association, the North County Underground Railroad Experience will be held rain, snow or shine at the Willsboro 1812 Homestead Museum on November 23 from 6-9 pm. This trip through local history is a mere $5 per person. Participants will play the roles of escaped slaves >>More


November, 2013

Benjamin Haynes, North Country Architect


No matter how long a life lasts, the residue left behind is often fleeting, and within a generation or so, most of us are largely forgotten. But it’s also true that every life has a story, and many of them are worth retelling. I often glean such subject matter from obituaries, or from gravestones as I walk through cemeteries. A tiny snippet of information stirs the need to dig for more, perhaps revealing unusual or remarkable achievements and contributions. A recent example involves Benjamin Wood Haynes, a native of Westford, Vermont, who lived and worked in northern New York in >>More


November, 2013

Fred LeBrun: An Era of Private Sportmen’s Clubs Ends


As I write this, the debate is continuing to rage over how much motorized access should be allowed on former Finch, Pruyn lands sold to the state, but regardless of the decision, the age of private hunting and fishing clubs on those lands is quietly drawing to a close. We’re in the middle of a ten-year slide to oblivion for the iconic Gooley Club, the Polaris Mountain Club, and others, but this is a significant year in that slide. As of a year ago, there were thirty-three clubs leasing land from the Nature Conservancy, which bought the Finch, Pruyn properties >>More


November, 2013

New Book: When Men and Mountains Meet


Glenn Pearsall’s first book, Echoes in These Mountains: Historic Sites and Stories Disappearing in Johnsburg, an Adirondack Community (Pyramid Publishing, 2008), was well received for including the first documentary evidence that famed Civil War photographer Mathew Brady was indeed born in Johnsburg. Now Pearsall has brought forth When Men and Mountains Meet (Pyramid Publishing, 2008), subtitled “Stories of Hope and Despair in the Adirondack Wilderness after the American Revolution.” “The story of the Adirondacks is more than the history of great camps, guide boats and environmental protectionism. It is, ultimately, the story of a people and their relationship to the >>More