On December 7, 1941, the Japanese forces launched a devastating surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, and a New York man played a big role in defending against that attack. Furthermore, his actions have been credited with shortening the war in the Pacific. [Read more…] about NY Man Who Affected The Outcome at Pearl Harbor
Today, Schuylerville in eastern Saratoga County is not particularly known for its Irish community, but on St. Patrick’s Day in 1898 the historic village had “a metropolitan appearance” with bands, drum corps and 600 marchers.
The Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) organized a parade under the auspices of the local Schuylerville area division. [Read more…] about St. Patrick’s Day in Schuylerville, 1898
Who is Isaac Jogues? Before we address this question, we should acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land when I write this article – the Iroquois Confederacy and the Algonquians – and pay our respect to their elders’ past, present and emerging. [Read more…] about Isaac Jogues: Man On A Mission
When most people think about the Battles of Saratoga, they think of those at Freeman’s Farm (Sept. 19) and Bemus Heights (Oct. 7). Also well known is the siege period in the modern Schuylerville area from October 10th to the 17th.
There were many combat actions however, both great and small, that get less notice. One small skirmish, occurred at Jones Mill, near Grangerville in the town of Saratoga on October 2, 1777. [Read more…] about The Burning of Jones Mill During Battles of Saratoga
On August 13th, 1689, New York Governor Leisler wrote “Scharachtoge [Saratoga]…there are six or seven families all or most rank French papists that have their relations at Canada and I suppose settled there for some bad designe and are lesser to be trusted there in conjunctione of tyme than ever before the bad creatures amongst us gives me great occupatione.” [Read more…] about When Saratoga Was An American Frontier
In the very interesting situation of our country, it was expected that 4th of July, the 36th anniversary of our Independence, would be celebrated in a masterly manner. We are highly gratified to say, that the public expectation was not disappointed. We have never witnessed greater order, harmony, sobriety, patriotism, and becoming zeal. [Read more…] about Fourth of July: Celebrating Independence in 1812
Douglas R. Cubbison is a military historian, who authored Burgoyne and the Saratoga Campaign: His Papers (2012, Arthur H. Clark Company), which presents the documents and letters of British General John Burgoyne.
In 1777, Burgoyne began an attempt to divide the rebellious United States in the American Revolutionary War by moving south from the British Canada to gain control of the Hudson River Valley, separating the New England states from those to the south.
After Burgoyne’s early capture of Fort Ticonderoga, his campaign had become bogged down in difficulties and ended with surrender on October 17 of his entire army after the Battles of Saratoga.
[Read more…] about Q&A: Douglas Cubbison on British General Burgoyne
“The Comet is truly a special roller coaster that was able to get a ‘second lease on life’ (or in this case, a third as it was part of a previous roller coaster at Crystal Beach). The coaster is fast paced from beginning to end, featuring tremendous ‘air-time’ (that ‘out of your seat feeling’) that coaster lovers craze the most,” explains Dave Hahner, the Historian with American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) organization. “We are indeed fortunate to be able to still ride the Comet years after its original park had closed forever.”
“The Comet continues to be our most popular attraction at the Park,” explains Rebecca Close, Communications Manager for the Six Flags Great Escape. “Each year there are over 400,000 rides on the Comet, above all other rides. Another measure of the Comet popularity is that it has been the setting for many weddings for park goers and coaster enthusiasts.”
The Comet was first constructed in 1927 by legendary coaster builder Harry Traver. It was first named the Cyclone, and was thought by many to be the most intense coaster ever. “A nurses station was built near the exit of the ride to assist riders who may have been overcome by some of that ride’s intensity!” said Hahner. It had a laminated wood track and a steel superstructure, but was considered to be a wooden coaster by definition. The Cyclone’s first home was Crystal Beach Amusement Park, a short distance from Buffalo, NY in Ridgeway, Ontario, Canada. The Cyclone enjoyed a robust life until 1946 when decreased park patronage and increased ride maintenance led the Park to dismantle it.
Crystal Beach then contracted with the Philadelphia Toboggan Company (PTC) and Herbert Schmeck, considered one of the best coaster designers of all time, for the design and construction of a new, larger coaster. To save money, the new coaster was built with steel salvaged from the Cyclone. It featured a low-profile layout, which saved on materials, and produced the unbridled speed that riders crave. Unveiled in 1948 as The Crystal Beach Comet, the new coaster was thought by many to be the best of its kind because of its classic profile and thrilling interplay of G-forces.
When Crystal Beach Amusement Park closed in 1989 after its 101st season, enthusiasts mourned the loss of The Comet. A month later, the coaster was rescued from destruction when legendary Charles R. Wood, owner of The Great Escape Fun Park in Lake George, NY, purchased The Comet for a record $210,000.
After a lengthy approval process and several years of storage, reconstruction of this world-class wooden coaster began in earnest in October, 1993. More than 49 tractor-trailer loads of steel crossed New York state, while more than 1,000 concrete footers were poured at The Great Escape. The complex process of sandblasting, restoring, priming, and reassembling thousands of steel subassemblies was handled entirely in-house by park personnel. Hahner explains, “the ride reopened to the public in June of 1994 and is considered a great act of historic coaster preservation, which is also one of the reasons that ACE chose to classify it as a landmark roller coaster.
“This is our signature attraction and each year we invest significant dollars to keep it running smoothly,” said Close. “In the last two years we have replaced a significant portion of the wooden track to maintain its fantastic ride.”
The Comet stands 95 feet tall and reaches speeds up to 60 mph never ceasing to surprise riders with its gut-wrenching hills and drops along its 4,197 foot long track. The Comet is an icon, a classic, a universal favorite that perennially is chosen as one of the top ten roller coasters in the world.
“There are currently 28 roller coasters designated as an ACE Roller Coaster Landmark, with a 29th, Whizzer, an Anton Schwarzkopf steel coaster at Six Flags Great America, to be dedicated in August at our national ACE Preservation Conference,” said Hahner. “The purpose of the landmark award is to make the public aware of the historical significance of those rides that we feel are important to the evolution of roller coaster design or of special historical significance to the amusement industry.”
“We are honored to have such a high profile and historical attraction on our Park. The Great Escape loves to hear the feedback from park guests each year,” said Close. “Guests from all over the world come to ride the Comet and tell us about their first trip, when it was here or while it was at Crystal Beach. The Comet means a lot to The Great Escape and we look forward to providing many more years of thrills at The Great Escape.”
Sean Kelleher is the Historian for the Town of Saratoga in the Upper Hudson Valley.
The invasion of British TV Chef Gordon Ramsey into Washington County during the winter of 2012 did not leave the horrors of the invasion of British General John Burgoyne during the summer of 1777. However, Ramsey’s new program for Fox TV, Hotel Hell, could not remake the historic Cambridge Hotel hotel and has left the home of Pie a la Mode on the auction block.
As first reported here at New York History in January, the Cambridge Hotel is best known for where apple pie with vanilla ice cream, was invented . Since the filming of the Fox TV show, the hotel, which owed nearly $470,000, has been foreclosed on by the Glens Falls National Bank and Trust Co. The Cambridge Hotel has had financial troubles for years under different owners. The Fox TV show is scheduled to air late this summer.
The American Victory at Saratoga over General Burgoyne in 1777 is known as the Turning Point of the American Revolution. This commentator is hopeful that Chef Ramsey’s TV show will mark a turning point for the Cambridge Hotel.
Sean Kelleher is the Historian for the Town of Saratoga. He served as the Director of the Washington County Fair Farm Museum, and worked with a number of Champlain, Hudson and Mohawk Valleys historic sites on grant writing, interpretive planning, and marketing.
Any visitor to Albany has to consider the unique architecture styles that define the city. New York History had the recent opportunity to talk with Andrew Alberti, the program manager for Lakes to Locks Passage, about Albany’s architecture. Alberti studied the history of Albany’s architecture when he was a Masters student at the University at Albany’s public history program. [Read more…] about Albany’s Unique Architecture: H.H. Richardson