The new Adirondack Welcome Center off the Northway in Queensbury honors 21 people in an Adirondacks Walk of Fame. They include artists, inventors, athletes, an escaped slave, and a vice president of the United States.
You will find their names on plaques set in the walkway outside the center’s main entrance. All of the honorees were born or lived, at least part time, in the Adirondacks or the greater North Country.
Having lived in the Adirondacks myself for about 20 years, I had come across nearly all the names at one time or another, but I suspect that most people will be unfamiliar with many of the honorees. The alphabetical list below gives a brief description of each individual. If you seek more information, click on the boldface name.
A list like this always makes for spirited debate. Who belongs, who doesn’t? Does Georgia O’Keeffe? Yes, she painted in Lake George, but she is more identified with the Southwest than the Adirondacks. I really don’t mind that she’s on the list, but is she more worthy than others who are not?
In my view, the list does omit some significant individuals. I’ll name just two: Paul Schaefer, perhaps the most important Adirondack conservationist of the 20th century, and Billy Demong, the first American to win an Olympic gold medal in Nordic skiing.
What’s your opinion? Who else deserves to be honored in the Walk of Fame? Take a look at the list and let us know.
Jean Arthur. Hollywood actress born in Plattsburgh in 1900.
Kevin Bacon. Movie actor and member of Adirondack League Club.
Carrie Donovan. Fashion editor born in Lake Placid in 1928.
Louie Ehrensbeck. Skier from Old Forge who competed in 1968 Winter Olympics.
Grace Hudowalski. Longtime historian of the Adirondack Forty-Sixers. Grace Peak is named for her.
Walter Hunt. Inventor born in Martinsburg, near Lowville, in 1796.
Hank Kashiwa. Old Forge alpine skier who competed in 1972 Winter Olympics.
Robert Marshall. One of the first Adirondack 46ers and primary founder of the Wilderness Society.
William H. Miner. Wealthy industrialist and philanthropist born in Chazy in 1862.
Solomon Northrup. Native of Minerva and author of memoir Twelve Years a Slave.
Georgia O’Keeffe. Artist who summered and painted in Lake George region.
Issac G. Perry. Architect who grew up in Keeseville.
Dr. Orra A. Phelps. Early Adirondack 46er, guidebook editor, and naturalist.
Johnny Podres. Major-league pitcher born in Witherbee in 1932.
Marcella Sembrich. Opera singer who summered in the Adirondacks.
Jack Shea. Speedskater from Lake Placid who won two gold medals in 1932 Winter Olympics.
David Smith. Sculptor, painter and photographer who lived much of his adult life in Bolton Landing.
Seneca Ray Stoddard. Nineteenth-century Adirondack photographer and guidebook author.
William A. Wheeler. Nineteenth vice president of United States, born in Malone.
Craig Wood. Professional golfer born in Lake Placid in 1901.