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Adirondack Explorer

Archive for the ‘history’ Category

October, 2013

Political History: Northern NY’s Native Son Bill Bray


Bill Bray’s rise to power in New York State politics was an impressive feat. From a poor farm life within a few miles of the Canadian border, he worked hard at becoming a successful attorney. By the age of 39, he was chairman of the state’s Democratic Party and a close confidant of Governor Franklin Roosevelt. Bray was running the show and FDR was a happy man, reaping the benefits of Bray’s solid connections in upstate New York. Ironically, his following across central and northern New York is what eventually drove a wedge between Bray and the governor, souring their >>More


October, 2013

Lost Brook Dispatches: To My Father


This month is my father’s birthday.  We lost him to cancer sixteen years ago; he would have been 96. I’ve been thinking about my father lately as my interest in Adirondack history has grown in its personal impact.  The palpable feel of the history in the park, the physical sense of it, is the result of a sensibility I owe my parents, especially my father.   His life and values tied me directly to a different time, to a different world that is always echoed in the wilderness, in places that connect all of us to a sense of the primitive >>More


October, 2013

The Fulton Chain Steamer ‘Fawn’


In 2008, an exhibit at the Goodsell Museum in Old Forge honored the train stations used by the railroads of the West Central Adirondacks.  The first railroad in the region, nicknamed the “Peg Leg Railroad” or “Wooden Railroad”, did not quite extend to the Forge Tract as planned.  But a more “green” option, in both literal and modern metaphorical terms, provided the additional distance not permitted to this railroad.  The vehicle of the landowner’s choice was a steamer that, in the event of a boiler fire, would have sufficient water available to quench the fire. Julia deCamp’s father Lyman R. >>More


October, 2013

Bill Bray: Churubusco’s Democratic State Chairman


As we near Election Day, I’m reminded of a man from a remote corner of the North Country, an individual who was once the right-hand man of a future president—and not just any president. Not everyone loved him, of course, but Franklin D. Roosevelt is one of the few to consistently appear near the top of any list of our greatest leaders. The man I’m referring to was known professionally as M. William Bray (Bill to his friends). He’s a native of the town of Clinton, which borders Canada in northwestern Clinton County. If you don’t like population explosions, avoid >>More


October, 2013

Drifting: Two Weeks on the Hudson


Drifting: Two Weeks on the Hudson (SUNY Press, 2011) is a candid account of the author Mike Freeman’s two-week canoe trip down the Hudson River which offers an introspective and humorous look at both the river and recession-era America. New to fatherhood and fresh from ten years in an Alaskan village, Freeman sets out to relearn his country, and realizes it’s in a far greater midlife crisis than he could ever be. With an eye on the Hudson’s past, he addresses America’s present anxieties—from race, gender, and marriage to energy, labor, and warfare—with empathy and honesty, acknowledging the difficulties surrounding >>More


October, 2013

Warrensburg Graveyard Walks, Dinner Planned


Two Graveyard Walks are planned for Warrensburg Cemetery. Characters expected to put in appearances this year represent people from Warrensburg’s earliest  history, including the woman who hosted the first Town Board meeting and others. The Graveyard Walks and Dinner have been sponsored by the Warrensburgh Historical Society since 2001, with sold-out audiences every year.  The public is encouraged to make their reservations early, as space is limited. The first will be held On Friday, October 18th  followed by a Gourmet Dessert Buffet at the Cornerstone Victorian B & B, 3921 Main Street, and in keeping with the 1813 Town Bicentennial >>More


October, 2013

Logging and Railroads: John Dix’s Right of Way to Rondaxe


Sources can be scarce when tracking down information for a region where precious few histories have been written.  We are fortunate that the few we have are wonderful works, even though too many need reprinting.  Such a work is David Beetle’s Up Old Forge Way.  Originally published in 1948, this book provided readers with a humorous, introductory history of Fulton Chain lakes, hamlets and people.  His sources were books, newspaper accounts and people’s recall of events in some cases fifty years after they occurred. From his book, we read that John Dix, a former governor, needed to float his company’s >>More


October, 2013

Lake George Historic Preservation Projects Recognized


A downtown commercial building, a YMCA conference center and a private home, all on or near Lake George, all received awards from Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) when the organization held its annual luncheon in Lake Clear on September 30. Jim Major’s restored Heustis block in Ticonderoga, the Silver Bay YMCA and the Bixby family’s house in Bolton Landing were among the six properties to receive awards this year, said Susan Arena, AARCH’s program director. “The AARCH Awards Program recognizes exemplary historic preservation work throughout the Adirondack Park. We seek examples of sensitive restoration, rehabilitation, and demonstrated long-term stewardship.  This year’s >>More


October, 2013

High Peaks History: The 1913 Fire at Chapel Pond


One hundred years ago this September the Keene Valley faced the second massive fire to threaten it from the south since the dawn of the young century.  The irrepressible artist Harold Weston, then a young man of nineteen, was on the front lines along with his family; his father, secretary of Adirondack Trail Improvement Society (ATIS) at the time, was chief adviser to the Army platoon that President Woodrow Wilson had sent to help fight the fires. In his collection Freedom in the Wilds Weston recounts the progress of the fire up the ridge of Noonmark and over the southern >>More


October, 2013

Forgotten Lake George Photographers: The J.S. Wooley Project


An early 20th century Lake George photographer is about to receive the attention that many local collectors, historians and photographers believe he richly deserves. The photographer is Jesse Sumner Wooley (1867-1943), and the J.S. Wooley Project,  a collaborative effort of photographer Richard Timberlake, Bolton Landing collector and resident Matt Finley and the Brookside Museum in Ballston Spa, has already produced standing-room only slide shows and lectures at the Brookside Museum and Silver Bay, where Wooley was the official photographer from 1908 to 1923.  Another presentation will be presented at the Crandall Library in Glens Falls on October 15. The project >>More