Adirondacks Walk of Fame: who’s who, who’s missing

The plaques of the Adirondacks Walk of Fame are set in the walkway outside the Adirondack Welcome Center in Queensbury. Photo by Phil Brown

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.

One of the plaques.

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.

Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau. Founder of tuberculosis sanatorium in Saranac Lake.

William A. Wheeler. Nineteenth vice president of United States, born in Malone.

Craig Wood. Professional golfer born in Lake Placid in 1901.


About Phil Brown

Phil Brown edited the Adirondack Explorer from 1999 until his retirement in 2018. He continues to explore the park and to write for the publication and website.

Reader Interactions


  1. Barbara R. Leamer says

    A few recommendations —
    Edward Livingston Trudeau, scientist
    William Coulter, architect
    Nathan Straus
    Willard Hanmer, Carl Hathaway, Fred Rice, guideboat builders
    Paul Smith, hotel keeper
    Winslow Homer, artist

  2. Gina Mintzer says

    Thanks for visiting the Adks Welcome Center. We get a lot of questions about who is on the walk of fame and why. Thanks for promoting the list! Next time, please check out the Taste NY market vending program. We, as operators, are doing our best to reach out to small businesses/farmers specifically that have retail-ready products to sell in the vending machines. This is not a “consignment” program, we buy products wholesale and resell. Our products are hyper local, again to help our local economy and local businesses throughout the Adirondacks. Thanks!

  3. Sandra Hildreth says

    Harold Weston and Rockwell Kent – artists who actually lived and worked in the Adirondacks – not just visited!
    Miriam Kashiwa – founded the arts organization in Old Forge that led to the creation of VIEW
    Betsy Lowe – the Wild Center, among other things
    Harold Hochschild – the Adirondack Museum/Experience
    Russell Banks, author

  4. jay says

    Where’s Paul Schaefer? Jeanne Robert Foster? Bill Smith?
    On another tack, Who would you put on an Adk. Walk of SHame? I know that will dig into political quagmire, but staying away from politics, there are quite a few infamous names of a criminal nature made in the Adirondacks.

  5. Diane Koslov says

    I would like to see the following people on the Walk of Fame:
    Marcella Sembrich
    David Smith
    Georgia O’Keefe
    Patrice Munsel
    Dr. Trudeau

  6. don butler says

    Diane Struble – first to swim Lake George
    Bradford Van Diver – geologist and author
    Charles Wood – created Story Town

  7. Roger Gray says

    Wow I certainly agree with Barbara and Lorraines suggestions. And, if. we’re going to embrace Georgia O’keefe we must include Teddy Roosevelt who wrote the pamphlet “Summer Birds of Franklin County” and who has the famed Roosevelt Trail in Newcomb in his memory. Also William West Durant, the architect of so many Great Camps. Also, a nod should go to Thomas Edison, who was responsible for the Prospect House in Blue Mountain Lake being the first hotel in the world with electric lighting in every room.

  8. Terry Dearmas says

    Definitely Paul Schaefer. How about Ralph Waldo Emerson (Philosopher’s Club), Winslow Homer (North Woods Club Minerva), Anne LaBastille, Verplank Colvin, Theodore Roosevelt, William H.H. Murray, James Fennimore Cooper, Iroquois’ Deganawida?

  9. Helen Nerska says

    Hannah Straight Lansing (author, newspaper editor and suffragist) from Plattsburgh, known locally as the mother of Clinton County Suffrage.
    Historian Marjorie Lansing Porter.
    Lucy Hobbs Taylor- first woman to graduate from a dental college.

  10. Terry says

    Good job, Phil, with this article and photo!!
    I love stopping by there, when I get a chance.
    After my first stop, I said to my wife, “I wonder why Kate Smith’s name isn’t there!”
    I believe that there is room for more names to join those already in place, don’t you?

  11. Ellen Apperson Brown says

    I think if you are going to include Bob Marshall, you should also include his father, Louis Marshall, who was the legal genius responsible for writing “forever wild” into the NY Constitution. Then if you include Paul Schaefer, you should also include John Apperson, who was Schaefer’s mentor, and who was responsible for building a wilderness lobby in New York that defended so much of the Adirondack Park from logging, development, and the improper use of Lake George, like a mill pond.

  12. Scott Larson says

    Dr. Edwin H. Ketchledge

    “highly respected throughout the scientific, educational, and outdoor communities for four decades of dedicated research on the ecology of the mosses of NYS and the alpine tundra zone of the Adirondack High Peaks”

    “served as Director of the SUNY ES&F Cranberry Lake Biological Station in the 1970s”

  13. Phil Conkling says

    Ira Gray
    Naturalist, Adirondack guide and author, spent his entire life in the Adirondacks mostly at his home in the Town of Day.
    Collection of his memorabilia on display in Northville, plus references to him at the Adirondack Museum.

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