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Adirondack Explorer

Archive for the ‘history’ Category

June, 2013

Great Camp Santanoni Restoration Tour June 28


Great Camp Santanoni in Newcomb was built for Robert and Anna Pruyn of Albany beginning in 1892. The estate eventually included 12,900 acres and nearly four-dozen buildings. Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) director Steven Engelhart and 2012 intern Charlotte Barrett will lead a tour of the site on Friday, June 28, 2013 that will feature the launch of a new guide to Santanoni, authored by Barrett. The day will include stops at the Gate Lodge, the 200-acre farm, and the Main Camp on Newcomb Lake where well see ongoing restoration and learn about the conservation planning and restoration work. The Santanoni >>More


May, 2013

Where Exactly is the North Country?


When New Yorkers say with pride that they come from the North Country, strength, courage and rugged individualism can be seen written all over their faces. In addition, everyone knows they have the ability to withstand abnormally cold and miserable weather, and to survive natural disasters, such as the Great Ice Storm of 1998. But, exactly where is the North Country? Yes, it is in the northern part of New York State, but north of what? Yonkers? Albany? The Erie Canal? The Adirondacks? The term North Country was first widely popularized for use in New York State by the author, >>More


May, 2013

Adirondack Coast Cultural Alliance Free Museum Weekend


For the 6th year, the Adirondack Coast Cultural Alliance (ACCA) and the Press Republican have organized free admission to 14 participating museums, cultural centers and historical societies for the first weekend in June. The Champlain Valley Transportation Museum’s Director and Fundraising and Membership Lisa Fountain says, “This weekend our Kids Station will be open on Saturday only. We will have crafts for parents and children to do together. This year we have our Robotics coach Justin Collins here with a robot demonstration. Kids can test the robot and play with it. Justin runs our Robotics Camp in the summer. He >>More


May, 2013

Raquette River History: Setting Pole and Piercefield Dams


Over the past several years I have been involved with the Raquette River Blueway Corridor (RRBC), which organizes Raquette River Awareness Week,  a week of events along the river from its source at Blue Mountain Lake to the St. Lawrence River at Akewesasne. The staff at The Wild Center have also been involved, by helping to educate the public about the natural history of river with a week of river-related activities, and a river clean-up from “The Crusher” boat launch on Route 30 between Tupper Lake and Upper Saranac Lake, to Simon(d) Pond. This section of the Raquette includes the >>More


May, 2013

Joseph Lonsway:Adirondack Guide, Medal of Honor Recipient


Civil War veteran/hero Joseph Lonsway, long accustomed to hard work, continued serving as a river guide (and remained hooked on fishing) well into old age. On two occasions, he nearly lost his life in fire-related incidents. In 1911, when he was 67, Joseph, with fellow guide and friend Joseph Calhoun, rushed to help fight a blaze that ultimately destroyed the Hotel Frontenac. They were together on an upper floor when the electricity failed, forcing them to leave the building. Calhoun urged Lonsway to depart first because he was older, but something went terribly wrong. In the end, Lonsway escaped, but >>More


May, 2013

Clayton History: Joseph Lonsway and the Civil War


In “The Road Not Taken,” poet Robert Frost wrote of encountering two roads diverging in a wood: “I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” That’s life in a nutshell: it’s all about decisions. When confronted with options, we make a choice. Sometimes even the first few moments that follow can change our lives forever. Such was the case with a North Country soldier, Private Joseph Lonsway of Clayton, New York (in Jefferson County, on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River). Lonsway was a member of the Union Army’s 20th NY Cavalry >>More


May, 2013

Local History: Warren G. Harding And The Battle of Valcour Island?


It’s remarkable how two unrelated historical events sometimes converge to form a new piece of history. In one such North Country connection, the job choice of a future president became linked to a famous encounter on Lake Champlain. The future president was Warren G. Harding (1921–23), and the lake event was the Battle of Valcour Island (1776). The results weren’t earth shattering, but the connection did spawn coast-to-coast media stories covering part of our region’s (and our nation’s) history. In 1882, Harding (1865–1923) graduated from Ohio Central College. Among the positions he held to pay for schooling was editor of >>More


May, 2013

Lost Brook Dispatches: The Survey of Lost Brook Tract


Today I bring to a close my long series on surveying.  In doing so I have the pleasure of returning to Lost Brook Tract and its abiding magic. As I described four weeks ago, in 1812 Judge John Richards determined the northern boundary line of Lost Brook Tract as part of his survey of the Old Military Tract, when it and all its surroundings were unexplored wilderness.  Here’s the romantic part for me: history shows definitively that after Richards’ survey no one else mapped or explored any part of the tract for another hundred and thirty-six years.  That’s all the >>More


April, 2013

Dam History: The Oxbow Reservoir Project


The Raquette River, from Raquette Falls to the State Boat Launch on Tupper Lake, is one of the nicest stretches of flat-water anywhere in the Adirondacks.  Paddling this river corridor under a clear cerulean blue sky, on a sunny autumn day with the riverbanks ablaze in orange and red, is exquisite.  For me, though, the river’s history is as captivating as its natural beauty. Countless people have traveled this section of river over the centuries.  There were native peoples who hunted, fished, and trapped, the hinterlands of Long Lake and further into the Raquette Lake area, long before whites appeared >>More


April, 2013

Washington County Native: Commodore Robert Haggart


Much of the time spent honoring past members of the military is focused on heroes, or those who died in battle. It’s certainly appropriate, but often lost in the shuffle are individuals who survived unscathed after serving with great distinction. An excellent North Country example is Robert Haggart, who made a career out of military service, was known nationally, commanded tens of thousands of men, and was responsible for training vast numbers of naval recruits. Robert Stevenson Haggart was born in April 1891 to Benjamin and Annie (Russell) Haggart of Salem, New York, in Washington County. After finishing school at >>More




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