In 1999, Fox 2000 Pictures released the film Lake Placid. Despite the title, the story takes place on fictional Black Lake in Maine. The folks at Fox apparently figured the name of an internationally renowned Olympic site in New York might attract more attention than Black Lake, which was, after all, placid, just like the title said. Except for those times when a giant killer crocodile was thrashing on the surface, gulping down humans for lunch. [Read more…] about The Real Lake Placid: Alligators in Mirror Lake?
The Historic Districts Council (HDC) of New York City will host a film series, “Across New York”, that highlights stories from across the City’s five boroughs on how the city came to be and the people who helped shape it. [Read more…] about NYC Documentary Film Screenings Set
Around 1900 two celebrated figures with close ties to New York rivaled each other in the love of their countrymen: Mark Twain and Theodore Roosevelt. Theodore Roosevelt dominated the politics of the era the way the author of Huckleberry Finn dominated its culture.
As national celebrities, Roosevelt and Mark Twain were well acquainted, and neither spoke ill of the other in public. Yet Philip McFarland, author of five works of non-fiction, reveals a behind-closed-doors rivalry in his book, Mark Twain and the Colonel: Samuel L. Clemens, Theodore Roosevelt, and the Arrival of a New Century (2012, Rowman & Littlefield). [Read more…] about Mark Twain and the Colonel: Samuel Clemens, Theodore Roosevelt
A new exhibition has opened at the New York State Museum showcasing the works of Adirondack photographer and conservationist Seneca Ray Stoddard.
Seneca Ray Stoddard: Capturing the Adirondacks is open through February 24, 2013 in Crossroads Gallery and includes over 100 of Stoddard’s photographs, an Adirondack guideboat, freight boat, camera, copies of Stoddard’s books and several of his paintings.
There also are several Stoddard photos of the Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island. These and other items come from the State Museum’s collection of more than 500 Stoddard prints and also from the collections of the New York State Library and the Chapman Historical Museum in Glens Falls.
Born in Wilton, Saratoga County in 1844, Stoddard was no doubt inspired by the Adirondacks at an early age. A self-taught painter, he was first employed as an ornamental painter at a railroad car manufacturer in Green Island, across the Hudson River from Troy in Albany County. He moved to Glens Falls (Warren County) in 1864, where he worked with sketches and paintings until his death there in 1917.
Early on he sought to preserve the beauty of the Adirondacks through his paintings but then became attracted to photography’s unique ability to capture the environment. He was one of the first to capture the Adirondacks through photographs. He used the then recently introduced wet-plate process of photography. Though extremely cumbersome by today’s standards, the technique was the first practical way to record distant scenes. It required Stoddard to bring his entire darkroom with him into the Adirondack wilderness.
His renown as a photographer quickly grew once he settled in Glens Falls, which also became his base camp for his explorations of the Adirondacks. He studied the Adirondacks intensely over a 50-year period.
Stoddard’s photos showed the challenges travelers faced in getting to the still undeveloped wilderness, along with their enjoyment of finally reaching their destination. His writings and photographs indicate that he was especially skilled at working with people from diverse economic backgrounds in a variety of settings. This was especially important as he used his photos to capture the changing Adirondack landscape as railroads were introduced and the area became an increasingly important destination for the burgeoning middle-class tourist, but also for the newly wealthy during the “Gilded Age.”
His work stimulated even further interest as he promoted the Adirondacks through his photographs and writings on the beauty, people and hotels of the region. Stoddard’s photographs showed the constancy of the natural beauty of the Adirondacks along with the changes that resulted from logging and mining, to hotels and railroads. As unregulated mining and logging devastated much of the pristine Adirondack scenery, Stoddard documented the loss and used those images to foster a new ethic of responsibility for the landscape. His work was instrumental in shaping public opinion about tourism, leading in part to the 1892 “Forever Wild” clause in the New York State Constitution.
The State Museum purchased over 500 historic Stoddard prints in 1972 in the process of acquiring historic resources for the Museum’s Adirondack Hall. They included albumen prints from Stoddard’s own working files, many with penciled notes. Nearly all are of the landscapes, buildings and people of the Adirondacks taken primarily in the 1870s and 1880s.
The State Museum will present several programs in conjunction with the Stoddard exhibition. There will be guided tours of the exhibition on September 8 and December 8 from 1-2 p.m. Stoddard will also be the focus of Family Fun Day on September 15 from1-4 p.m.
Established in 1836, the New York State Museum is a program of the State Education Department’s Office of Cultural Education. Located on Madison Avenue in Albany, the Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission is free. Further information can be obtained by calling (518) 474-5877 or visiting the Museum website at www.nysm.nysed.gov.
Photo: Stoddard’s “Indian Encampment, Lake George, 1872”.
The Thomas Cole National Historic Site has opened a new exhibition: Worlds Between: Landscapes of Louis Rémy Mignot. Curated by Katherine E. Manthorne, this is the first major solo show of Louis Rémy Mignot (1831-1870) in over two decades. The exhibition will offer an intimate look at the work of this young, Charleston-born artist who painted in the style of the Hudson River School – and whose tragic life story is as captivating as his landscape paintings.
In this exhibition the Thomas Cole National Historic Site offers a rare chance to see a full range of Mignot’s work. The catalogue produced for the exhibit includes full-color reproductions of the paintings and an essay by Dr. Manthorne. Guest Curator Katherine Manthorne brings her expertise on traveler artists to the exhibition and accompanying catalog, which offers a fresh look at Mignot as a painter whose global journeying fed his unique artistic creativity.
Specifically, at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site one may view Mignot’s early Dutch landscapes, subtly nuanced snow scenes, coloristic Tropical landscapes, and painterly European pictures. To celebrate the legacy he inherited from Thomas Cole, the exhibition highlights Mignot’s distinctive views of upstate New York and the Hudson River Valley. In many ways, the gallery at the Cole Site offers the perfect venue for this artist living between worlds.
Louis Rémy Mignot (1831-1870) lived between many worlds: he was a Southern artist living in New York City in the years leading up to the Civil War; a French-Catholic, he worked within a predominantly Anglo-Protestant community of artists; he traveled from the American South to South America, and painted both subtle snow scenes and fiery tropical pictures. He belonged to the inner circles of polar opposites – Frederic Church and James Whistler; and in his all too short career, his style moved from Hudson River School realism toward Aestheticism.
His art and life embodied the mobility that characterized the 19th c. Atlantic world, as he moved from one busy, cosmopolitan port to another. Mignot grew up in Charleston, S.C., where the slave-holding Low Country planter elite frequented his father’s coffee house and confectionary on King Street. At age 17 he traveled to The Hague in the Netherlands for artistic training, and then moved to New York City. From there he visited tourist sites from New York’s Hudson Valley to the White Mountains in New Hampshire. In 1857 he explored South America, painting the steamy lowlands and lagoons that rivaled the Andean panoramas of his traveling companion Frederic Church.
With the outbreak of Civil War, his southern identity and world experiences made it difficult for him either to remain in the North or to return home to Carolina, and he took up his travels again. Mignot never reached his intended destination of India, but got as far as London. Ever restless, he spent summers in the Swiss Alps and headed for Paris in 1870, where he was trapped during the Commune and contracted small pox. He died at age 39, leaving behind one of the most diverse and sophisticated bodies of work of any American landscapist.
This is the 9th annual presentation of 19th century landscape paintings at the Thomas Cole site. The exhibition program seeks to foster discussion and understanding of the influence of Thomas Cole on American culture through a generation of artists known as the Hudson River School. Worlds Between – Landscapes of Louis Rémy Mignot will be on view until October 28, 2012.
DIRECTIONS: The Thomas Cole Historic Site is located in the scenic Hudson River Valley, at 218 Spring Street in Catskill, New York. Located near the western entrance to the Rip Van Winkle Bridge, with easy access from the New York State Thruway exit 21 or Amtrak train service in Hudson, detailed directions and more information can be found at www.thomascole.org or call 518-943-7465.
HOURS: Starting May 3rd, the Main House and Old Studio are open for tours from 10 to 4pm, with the last tour at 3pm, Thursday through Sunday, through October 28th. Admission to the grounds is free and open dawn until dusk.
Long considered beautiful photographs of the Adirondack landscape, Seneca Ray Stoddard’s views also serve as documents of the plants that inhabited the region in the 19th century. Since he was rediscovered in the late 1970s, Stoddard’s work has been featured in numerous exhibits that explored the history of 19th century life in the Adirondacks. A survey of the 3,000 images in the Chapman Historical Museum archives, however, revealed hundreds of images that are purely natural landscapes. The subject matter is the Adirondack environment – not great hotels, steamers, camp scenes or other obvious evidence of human activity.
The Chapman’s summer exhibit, S.R. Stoddard’s Natural Views, features forty enlarged photographs of varied Adirondack settings – lake shores, marshes, meadows, riverbanks and mountainsides. Included are such locations as Surprise Falls on Gill Brook, Indian Pass, Lake Sanford, Ausable Chasm, Wolf Pond and Paradise Bay on Lake George. The exhibit examines these photographs as documents of the history of ecological habitats, providing an opportunity to consider the issue of environmental change – an issue as relevant in Stoddard’s time as it is today.
To address this issue the museum consulted with Paul Smith’s College biologist, Daun Reuter, and Don Leopold of SUNY-ESF, who identified botanical species in Stoddard’s photographs. Plants that they discovered in Stoddard’s photographs — from small flowers to shrubs and trees – are highlighted in modern color images supplied by Ms. Reuter and others and in digital reproductions of period specimens from the herbarium at the New York State Museum. These show details of the plants in their various stages – details rarely visible in Stoddard’s photographs many of which were taken late in the year after the plants had lost their flowers and started to wither.
By bringing attention to this group of Stoddard photographs, the exhibit will give visitors the opportunity to discover and reflect on the changing environment – a topic of urgent concern in the region. Through their experience visitors will gain greater appreciation for not only Stoddard’s photographic vision but also the natural world of the Adirondacks. The exhibit is funded by grants from the Leo Cox Beach Philanthropic Foundation and the Waldo T. Ross & Ruth S. Ross Charitable Trust Foundation and sponsored by Glen Street Associates and Cooper’s Cave Ale Co.
For those who wish to learn more, the Chapman Historical Museum has scheduled a series of programs (detailed below) to be held at both the museum at and other sites. The museum is located at 348 Glen Street, Glens Falls, NY. For more information call (518) 793-2826 or go to www.chapmanmuseum.org.
Wednesday, May 30, 7 pm
Talk: “UNWANTED: Invasive species of the Adirondacks”
Speaker: Hilary Smith, Director, Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program
At the Chapman. Free.
Saturday, June 9, 8:30 -11:30 am
Bird Walk in Pack Forest, Warrensburg
Guide: Brian McAllister, Adirondack Birding Center
Bird watch along the nature trail to the old growth forest. Bring binoculars, field guide, water, snack, bug repellant, hiking shoes, and appropriate dress. For birders of all levels. Call (518) 793-2826 for directions.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012, 7 pm
Talk: “Go Native! An Introduction to Gardening with Native Plants”
Speaker: Emily DeBolt, Fiddlehead Creek Farm & Native Plant Nursery
At the Chapman. Free.
Thursday July 12, 9:30-11:30 am.
A plant paddle at Dunham’s Bay.
Guide: Emily DeBolt, Lake George Association.
Part of the 7th annual Adk Park Invasive Species Awareness Week Bring your own canoe or kayak. Meet at Dunham’s Bay Marina For reservations call the LGA at (518) 668-3558
Saturday, August 4, 1 – 3 pm
Guided Bog Walk of Native Adirondack Plants
Guide: Daun Reuter, Dept Biology, Paul Smith’s College
At Paul Smith’s Visitor Interpretive Center. Reservations: $20. Call the VIC at (518)327-6241
Saturday, August 18, 8 am
Guided alpine plant hike up Wright Peak
Guide: Sean Robinson, Dept Biology, SUNY Oneonta
Meet at ADK LOJ parking lot. Parking $. Info & Reservations: Call the museum at (518) 793-2826
Photos: Above, Silver Cascade, Elizabethtown by S.R. Stoddard, ca. 1890.
Long considered beautiful photographs of the Adirondack landscape, Seneca Ray Stoddard’s views also serve well as documents of the plants that inhabited the region in the 19th century. The Chapman Historical Museum’s summer exhibit, S.R. Stoddard’s Natural Views, which will run from May 4 through September 2, will feature fifty enlarged photographs of different Adirondack settings – lake shores, marshes, meadows, riverbanks and mountainsides. Highlighted in modern color images will be examples of the plants discovered in Stoddard’s photographs — from small flowers to shrubs and trees.
Since he was rediscovered in the late 1970s, Stoddard’s work has been featured in numerous exhibits that explored the history of 19th century life in the Adirondacks. A survey of the 3000 images in the Chapman archives, however, revealed hundreds of images that are purely natural landscapes. The subject matter is the Adirondack environment – not great hotels, steamers, camp scenes or other obvious evidence of human activity.
The summer 2012 exhibit will examine these photographs as documents of the history of ecological habitats, providing an opportunity to compare the present environment with the past. To address this issue the museum is consulting with Paul Smith’s College biologist, Daun Reuter, who will identify botanical species in Stoddard’s photographs, and exploring 19th century biological fieldwork records housed at the New York State Museum.
By bringing attention to a group of Stoddard photographs that have been overlooked but are significant examples of his work, the exhibit will give visitors the opportunity to discover and reflect on the changing environment – a topic of urgent concern in the region. Through their experience visitors will gain greater understanding not only to Stoddard’s photographic vision but also of the natural world of the Adirondacks.
Photos: Above, Silver Cascade, Elizabethtown by S.R. Stoddard, ca. 1890. Below: modern color photo of Wild Raisin by Dawn Reuter, Biology Dept., Paul Smith’s College.
Washington Irving‘s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is one of the best-known works of American literature. But what other myths lie hidden behind the landscape of New York’s Hudson Valley?
Imps cause mischief on the Hudson River; a white lady haunts Raven Rock, Major Andre’s ghost seeks redemption and real headless Hessians search for their severed skulls.
Local storyteller Jonathan Kruk relates the other myths that lie hidden behind the landscape of the Lower Hudson Valley in Legends and Lore of Sleepy Hollow and the Hudson Valley (History Press, 2011). [Read more…] about Books: Sleepy Hollow Legends and Lore
The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) has released the third edition of The Adirondack Reader in paperback. The collection of writings about the Adirondacks, which is also available in hardcover, spans more than 400 years of the region’s history and literature and reflects our nation’s changing attitudes toward wilderness. Edited by the late Paul Jamieson with Neal Burdick, this edition includes the work of some 30 new writers as well as the classic entries of Adirondack explorers and philosophers for which the book is known. A glossy, 32-page, color insert features classic and contemporary Adirondack paintings, illustrations, etchings and photographs. The paperback edition retails for $24.95 and the hardcover lists for $39.95.
“Adirondack literature is an unparalleled mirror of the relations of Americans to the woods,” Jamieson writes. “This is a book about what Americans have sensed, felt, and thought about our unique heritage of wilderness.”
The release of the third edition in 2009 coincided with 400th anniversary of the voyages of Samuel de Champlain and Henry Hudson and the European discovery of the waterways that bear their names. The Adirondack Reader opens with Francis Parkman’s account of Champlain’s voyage. But much of the historical material is contemporary: Isaac Jogues on his capture by the Mohawks, Ethan Allen on the taking of Fort Ticonderoga, William James Stillman on the 1858 “Philosopher’s Camp” at Follensby Pond, and Bob Marshall on scaling 14 Adirondack peaks in a single day. The Adirondack Reader also features writings by James Fenimore Cooper, Robert Louis Stevenson, Theodore Dreiser, Joyce Carol Oates, Henry David Thoreau, Theodore Roosevelt, Richard Henry Dana Jr. and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Newcomers to the third edition include Bill McKibben, Russell Banks, Chris Jerome, Barbara McMartin, Elizabeth Folwell and Philip Terrie. Visual artists represented in its pages include Winslow Homer, Rockwell Kent, Seneca Ray Stoddard and Harold Weston, as well as more contemporary artists such as Anne Diggory, Lynn Benevento, John Gallucci, Laura von Rosk and Don Wynn.
First published in 1964, The Adirondack Reader was lauded for its scope and its success in capturing and conveying the region’s spirit. Jamieson organized the collection into 10 sections and wrote an introduction for each that also imparts a great deal about the Adirondacks’ culture and character. His preface describes a place he knew well and gives readers a context for understanding the Adirondack Park’s unique role in the nation’s development and literature.
In the years that followed, Jamieson and editor Neal Burdick watched with interest the emergence of new voices in Adirondack writing. It is these authors, many of whom live in the region they write about (a marked change from earlier Reader contributors), who Jamieson and Burdick took particular care to include in the current edition. “There has been a remarkable flowering of writing about the Adirondacks in the last two and a half decades,” notes Burdick in his preface to the third edition. “A regional literature of the Adirondacks has come into its own.”
Neal Burdick is associate director of university communications for St. Lawrence University and editor-in-chief of Adirondac magazine. An essayist, reviewer, poet and fiction writer, his writing has appeared in numerous publications. Burdick is also past editor of ADK’s eight-volume Forest Preserve Series trail guides. A native of Plattsburgh, he holds a B.A. in English from St. Lawrence University and a Ph.D. in American studies with a concentration in environmental history from Case Western Reserve University.
Born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa, Paul Jamieson was inspired by the discovery of “uneven ground” in the nearby Adirondacks when he joined the faculty of St. Lawrence University in 1929. It was there, in Canton, that he became a hiker, paddler, author and prominent figure in regional and national preservation efforts. He is widely credited with the opening of many tracts of land and paddling routes to the public. Jamieson lived in Canton until his death in 2006 at the age of 103.
The Adirondack Reader is 544 pages and is available at book and outdoor supply stores, at ADK stores in Lake George and Lake Placid and through mail order by calling (800) 395-8080.
The Adirondack Mountain Club, founded in 1922, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the New York Forest Preserve and other parks, wild lands and waters through conservation and advocacy, environmental education and responsible recreation. ADK publishes more than 30 titles, including outdoor recreation guidebooks and maps and armchair traveler books, and conducts extensive trails, education, conservation and natural history programs. Profits from the sale of ADK publications help underwrite the cost of these programs. For more information, visit www.adk.org.
Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers.