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Adirondack Explorer

Archive for the ‘history’ Category

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


October, 2013

Waterway Navigation: The Moose River Lumber Company Cases


The books of Henry Harter and Harold Hochschild discuss the building of the short-lived Raquette Lake Railway, its millionaire owners and probable origins.  These include Mrs. Huntington threatening not to visit Collis Huntington’s Pine Knot Camp if she had to continue using the Fulton Chain steamers, riding on buckboard and boat carries beyond Fourth Lake.  Maybe Mr. Huntington, not finding an empty seat, got the idea after sitting on a keg of nails on one steamer ride. No doubt tycoons as Durant, Morgan, Vanderbilt and Whitney envied Dr. Webb’s ability to ride a private train to his Nehasane Preserve from >>More


September, 2013

High Peaks Happy Hour: Rum Runners Weekend


Nearly a century ago, the bootleg trail from Canada to New York City ran smack through the Adirondacks. Bootleggers risked life and limb transporting locally distilled hooch and smugglers ran whiskey from Canada, eluding dry agents and spawning crime and corruption. Chestertown and its surrounding communities recently commemorated this period in history with related activities. It was a damp and drizzly Thursday night at Warrensburg’s Luck E Star Cafe where the Greater Warrensburg Business Alliance hosted a 1950s-era Car Hop. Among the vendors, we hawked books and passports as the drama unfolded. Those gathered were whisked from the 1950s to >>More


September, 2013

Drug War History Events: The Great American Pot Story


Cannabis and its defining role in the culture wars and the ‘war on drugs’ declared by former New York State Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller forty years ago will be fully explored by award-winning investigative journalist Martin A. Lee in two separate events in the North Country on September 26-27.  Lee will also be speaking in Albany on September 28. All three events are sponsored by the freedom education and human rights project, John Brown Lives!, as part of “The Correction,” the organization’s latest initiative that uses history as a tool to engage communities in examining the past and addressing critical issues >>More


September, 2013

John Brown’s Tract: The Alexander Hamilton – Aaron Burr Connection


Adirondack historians routinely state that Rhode Island merchant John Brown obtained clear title to a 210,000 acre tract of land when he paid $33,000 at a Court of Chancery mortgage foreclosure sale in December 1798.  However, this transaction was not recorded in the Lewis County Clerk’s Office until February 22, 1804, more than five years later and five months after Brown’s death. Two days later on February 24, the Assembly enacted Chapter 6, Laws of 1804 which affirmed that the Brown estate’s title to the tract could not be extinguished in any way “by reason or pretext of the alienism >>More


September, 2013

Diane Chase: Visiting Long Lake’s Steamboat Buttercup


I have found that being a parent is akin to being a magician. I am always trying to keep one step ahead of my audience and want to keep the show as interesting as possible. Since history surrounds us in the Adirondacks, it isn’t always the traditional locations like museums where I am able to best demonstrate an issue. The stories behind the Great Camps, the people that built neighboring towns and the industries that help shape the Adirondacks are all various ways that I’ve tried to relate my children to a sense of place. On a recent trip to >>More


September, 2013

Lake George Church Recommended for NYS, National Registers


The New York State Board for Historic Preservation has recommended the addition of 20 properties, resources, and districts to the State and National Registers of Historic Places. Just one of the recommendations is located in the Adirondack Park, St. James Episcopal Church in Lake George. Just five are located North of the Mohawk River. “Survival of these noteworthy places is crucial in preserving the great diversity of New York’s communities,” said Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “Placing these landmarks on the State and National Registers of Historic Places will offer well-deserved recognition along >>More


September, 2013

Lewis County’s Ottilia Beha and Mahattan’s P.S. 60


Just a few months after applying, Lewis County’s Ottilia Beha was accepted, and in 1903 she began teaching in the big city. By 1909, she had taught at several public schools in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens, and served as assistant principal at two facilities, gaining valuable experience. In fall of that year, she was among 258 teachers to take the licensing exam for elementary school principal. Ottilia finished at the top of the group, leading to a promotion as principal of a Brooklyn school with 800 students and a staff of 19 employees. Although she was far from home, there >>More


September, 2013

Lost Brook Dispatches: Two Fiery September Anniversaries


Anniversaries are on my mind, seeing as my seventeenth wedding anniversary is today.  But for more than a year, thanks to a promise made to a regular reader to write about them, I’ve had two other September anniversaries on my mind.  Their time has come. A year ago last April I wrote about the Spring 1903 fire season during which nearly half a million acres burned in multiple fires throughout the Adirondacks.  The largest fires were in Keene and North Elba; these had a personal relevance to me as they ringed Lost Brook Tract.  The one sweeping into the heart >>More