The Iroquois Indian Museum will present “More than Games: Iroquois Indians and Other Native American Athletes at Carlisle Indian School”, a lecture by Dr. Laurence M. Hauptman on Sunday, October 5th at 1PM. The Iroquois Indian Museum is located 35 miles west of Albany, New York, near the intersection of highways 7 and 145. Take exit 22 from Interstate 88 and follow signs. For information and detailed directions call the Museum at (518) 296-8949 or visit our website at www.iroquoismuseum.org. [Read more…] about Laurence M. Hauptman to Speak at Iroquois Museum
This Saturday, September 27, 2008, nearly 100 museums in New York State will participate in Smithsonian magazine’s fourth annual Museum Day. Museum Day is an opportunity for museums and cultural institutions nationwide to open their doors free of charge. A celebration of culture, learning and the dissemination of knowledge, Smithsonian’s Museum Day reflects the spirit of the magazine, and emulates
the free-admission policy of the Smithsonian Institution’s Washington, D.C.
– based museums.
Last year, nearly 100,000 people attended Museum Day. All fifty states plus Puerto Rico were represented by 651 participating museums. Established New York institutions like the New York State Museum, the Adirondack Museum, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Museum of the City of New York, National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, and more, will all take part this year. A complete list of New York museums that are participating is located here.
Museum visitors must present Smithsonian magazine’s Museum Day Admission Card to
gain free entry to participating institutions. The Museum Day Admission
Card is available for free download at Smithsonian.com.
The Watertown Daily Times is reporting that 87 World War Two era barracks at Fort Drum are going to be torn down in the next month:
Those buildings, built in 1941, are being torn down to make way for more construction to accommodate units of the 10th Mountain Division. South post will become the new home for the 91st Military Police Battalion, 7th Engineer Battalion and 63rd Explosive Ordnance Device Battalion — which is currently deployed to Baghdad, Iraq.
We want to tear them all down eventually,” said James W. Corriveau, the public works director for Fort Drum. “We are building new facilities on that space and falling in on the old infrastructure.”
The demolition of old motor pools along Gasoline Alley has been ongoing this summer.
Here’s a gem from someone with a [ahem] sense of history:
“The nostalgic value of this World War II world isn’t too much,” Mr. Corriveau said. “The Army has lots of stuff from that time period — these buildings weren’t supposed to last forever.”
Here is a little history from the Fort Drum website:
With the outbreak of World War Two, the area now known as Pine Camp was selected for a major expansion and an additional 75,000 acres of land was purchased. With that purchase, 525 local families were displaced. Five entire villages were eliminated, while others were reduced from one-third to one-half their size.
By Labor Day 1941, 100 tracts of land were taken over. Three thousand buildings, including 24 schools, 6 churches and a post office were abandoned. Contractors then went to work, and in a period of 10 months at a cost of $20 million, an entire city was built to house the divisions scheduled to train here.
Eight hundred buildings were constructed; 240 barracks, 84 mess halls, 86 storehouses, 58 warehouses, 27 officers’ quarters, 22 headquarters buildings, and 99 recreational buildings as well as guardhouses and a hospital. Construction workers paid the price, as the winter of 1941-42 was one of the coldest in North Country history.
The three divisions to train at Pine Camp were General George S. Patton’s 4th Armored Division (Gen. Creighton Abrams was a battalion commander here at the time), the 45th Infantry Division and the 5th Armored Division.
The post also served as a prisoner of war camp. Of those prisoners who died here, one Italian and six Germans are still buried in the Sheepfold Cemetery near Remington Pond
North Country Public Radio is reporting this afternoon that Fort Ticonderoga’s longtime executive director Nick Westbrook will step down (Post Star says next year). According to the report board president Peter Paine says Westbrook will remain “affiliated with the historic site in a scholarly and advisory capacity” and described the move as “part of a planned transition.”
This summer, the national historic landmark — called Fort Ti for short — began its 100th season as an attraction open to the public with two causes for celebration: the unveiling of a splashy new education center, and an increase in visitors, reversing a long decline.
But instead of celebrating, its caretakers issued an S.O.S., warning that the fort, one of the state’s most important historic sites, was struggling for survival, largely because of a breach between the fort’s greatest benefactor — an heir of the Mars candy fortune — and its executive director.
The problem is money: The fort had a shortfall of $2.5 million for the education center. The president of the board that governs the fort, which is owned by a nonprofit organization, said in an internal memo this summer that the site would be “essentially broke” by the end of the year. The memo proposed a half-dozen solutions, including the sale of artwork from the group’s collection.
In the heart of the Adirondacks is the Town of Newcomb, population about 500. The town was developed as a lumbering and mining community – today tourism and forest and wood products are the dominate way locals make a living. As a result the Essex County town is one of the Adirondacks’ poorer communities ($32,639 median income in 2000). [Read more…] about Teddy Roosevelt and The Adirondack Forest Preserve
As part of the quadricentennial of Samuel de Champlain’s exploration of Lake Champlain, Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont is hosting an international academic symposium on July 2-5, 2009. Scholars from the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences are invited to participate.
The theme, “When the French Were Here,” invites the broadest possible consideration of Samuel de Champlain’s achievements, his life, and of his world as a cultural, social and ideological context. [Read more…] about Call For Papers: When The French Were Here
2009 will mark the celebration of the 400th Anniversary of Samuel de Champlain’s arrival on the big lake, Henry Hudson’s on the big river, and the 200th Anniversary of Fulton’s steamship. Both New York and Vermont will be celebrating Champlain. [Read more…] about The Big 400: Champlain Descendants Still Local
There is an interesting piece in the Canadian Press about using Thruway tolls to support the Erie Canal. It’s correctly notes that it’s been a periodic debate over the canal’s nearly 200-year history:
Advocates say the Erie – and New York’s three smaller canals – are historical treasures that are essential to the state’s economy and worthy of public investment.
Opponents counter that the canal system is no longer a critical part of the state’s transportation network and the money would be better spent elsewhere, especially as the state faces crushing deficits in coming years…
New York City soon became one of the country’s busiest ports and the canal spurred development of major upstate cities including Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany, whose proximity attracted industry. Dozens of smaller industrial hubs also sprouted along its banks.
There were two major upgrades – one completed in 1862 and the other in 1918 – to accommodate heavier traffic and larger vessels. But the rise of the railways in the late 1800s and the advent of the interstate highway system in the 1950s plucked the vast majority of freight off the canal.
In 1949, 3.5 million tonnes of freight plied the waters of New York’s canals. Last year, it was just over 11,790 tonnes, according to Canal Corp. figures.
For more than 10 years, state officials have been trying to reinvent the canal, marketing it as a tourist attraction and keeping its locks – most of which still use equipment installed in the early 1900s – operating.
The aim is to lure pleasure boaters to spend their money in the communities along the canal, many of which have suffered a decades-long economic slump following the decline of the region’s once thriving manufacturing industry.
[Carmella] Mantello [director of the New York State Canal Corp] says the canal agency has spent $250 million to help those communities fix up waterfront amenities…
Mantello points out that there were roughly 200 festivals and other events planned on canal shores this year, compared with about 30 just three years ago.
She and other canal boosters point to a study that found canal tourism contributed about $380 million a year to the state’s economy in 2002 – a little more than one per cent of the total $34.4 billion the Travel Industry Association of America estimates travellers spent in New York that year. An update of that study is scheduled to be done this year.
The canals cost about $80 million a year to operate but take in only about $3 million from users. The rest comes from tolls collected from drivers on the New York State Thruway.
The Oneida Indian Nationhas announced that they will participate in an memorial ceremony to remember the 1777 Battle of Oriskany this evening:
231 years ago, the Oneida Indian Nation became the first ally of the American colonists in their fight for freedom, at the Battle of Oriskany. On Wednesday, August 6, at 7 pm, a solemn remembrance ceremony will be held at the battlefield to remember those who fought and those who died at what history has called the ”bloodiest battle of the American Revolution.” The Oneidas will be represented at this community-wide event by Brian Patterson, Bear Clan Representative for the Nation’s Council, and members of the Nation’s reenactment group, First Allies.
The Battle took place in what is now Oneida County on the south side of the Mohawk River. According to the great wiki:
During his march down the Mohawk Valley from Oswego to Albany, Lieutenant Colonel Barry St. Leger besieged Fort Stanwix, then under the command of Colonel Peter Gansevoort. St. Leger’s force of British regulars of the Royal Artillery, 8th and 34th Regiments, loyalist King’s Royal Yorkers and natives of the Six Nations and Seven Nations of Canada laid siege to the fort.
Upon hearing reports of St. Leger’s advance, Brigadier General Nicholas Herkimer assembled the Tryon County militia at Fort Dayton to proceed to Gansevoort’s aid. On August 4, 1777, Herkimer, with 800 militiamen—mostly poorly trained German-American farmers—and 40 Oneida Indians, began the forty-mile (65 km) trek west from Fort Dayton to Fort Stanwix.
When St. Leger learned through Molly Brant that Herkimer and his relief expedition were on their way, he sent Joseph Brant, a Mohawk chief, with more than 400 natives, and Sir John Johnson, with the light infantry company of his King’s Royal Yorkers to intercept them. Their clash at Oriskany Creek was one of the key episodes of the Campaign of 1777.
On August 6, 1777, [the] American relief force from the Mohawk Valley under General Nicholas Herkimer, numbering around 800 men of the Tryon County militia, was approaching to raise the siege. British commander Barry St. Leger authorized an intercept force consisting of a Hanau Jager detachment, Sir John Johnson’s King’s Royal Regiment of New York, Native allies from the Six Nations, and Indian Department Rangers totaling at least 450 men.
The Loyalist and Native force ambushed Herkimer’s force in a small valley about six miles east of Fort Stanwix. During the battle, Herkimer was mortally wounded. The battle cost the Patriots approximately 450 casualties, while the Loyalists and Natives lost approximately 150 dead and wounded. It was a clear victory for the loyalists over the rebels.
But the Loyalist victory was tarnished when a sortie from Fort Stanwix sacked the Crown camp, spoiling morale among the Native Americans.
The Oriskany Battlefield is located on Route 69, two miles west of the Village of Oriskany.
This past week marks the anniversaries of quite a series of transportation disasters in New York History. Three of them have reached the media: the 1893 sinking of the Rachel in Lake George; the 1945 crash of a B-25 Mitchell bomber into the Empire State Building; and the crash of American Airlines Flight 1 into New York City’s Jamaica Bay in 1962.
The Schenectady Gazette has the story of the Rachel, which sank on Lake George killing ten (coincidently, the week also marks the anniversary of another Lake George sinking, that of the John Jay on July 30, 1856). On the night of August 3, 1893 the steamer Rachel was chartered by twenty nine guests of the Fourteen Mile Island Hotel to take them to a dance at the Hundred Island House.
The usual captain fell ill and went home early leaving the boat in the hands of a less experienced pilot. Under little or no moon light as the pilot steered unknowingly out of the channel and struck an old dock south of the hotel tearing a large hole in the side of the boat below the water line. Some of the passengers were caught on the shade deck and died quickly as the boat listed and almost immediately sank in 18 feet of water. “The shrieking, struggling passengers battled for life in the darkness,” one newspaper reported. With only her smokestack left above water, a number of men from shore had rowed boats from the two nearby hotels to the scene to rescue the survivors. A young man named Benedict, an excellent swimmer, dove for his sister Bertha but couldn’t find her. Nineteen-year-old Frank C. Mitchell, of Burlington, drowned while trying to save his mother who also drowned. Eight other women also drowned.
The 1962 American Airlines Flight 1 into Jamaica Bay was featured on last night episode of “Mad Men.” The series follows the lives of early 1960s Madison Avenue ad executives. If you haven’t seen it, you should, it’s an interesting portrayal of 1950s / 1960s consumerism – a time when people still smoked on TV. The storyline involves the ad guys dropping the small New York based regional airline Mohawk Airlines in an attempt to lure American Airlines in the aftermath of the crash. Mohawk had it’s own aviation disaster in 1969 when its Flight 411, a twin prop-jet commuter plane (a Fairchild-Hiller 227, a.k.a. Fokker F-27) flying from La Guardia Airport to Glens Falls in Warren County crashes at Lake George killing all 14 onboard.
The New York Times “City Room” has blogged the Flight 1 story extensively:
The real-life crash, which took place only five years after Pan Am became the first carrier to fly the 707, claimed the largest number of lives of any commercial aviation accident in the United States at that time . (In the worst-ever plane crash on American soil, an American Airlines DC-10 crashed shortly after takeoff at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago on May 25, 1979, killing 273.)
The third New York disaster in the media this week comes from National Public Radio (NPR) which reported last week on the crash of a B-25 Mitchell bomber into the 79th floor of the Empire State Building (it swerved to just miss the Chrysler Building). The plane had been trying to make LaGuardia Airport in a very heavy fog. According to the blog History’s Mysteries:
Upon impact, the plane’s jet fuel exploded, filling the interior of the building with flames all the way down to the 75th floor and sending flames out of the hole the plane had ripped open in the building’s side. One engine from the plane went straight through the building and landed in a penthouse apartment across the street. Other plane parts ended up embedded in and on top of nearby buildings. The other engine snapped an elevator cable while at least one woman was riding in the elevator car. The emergency auto brake saved the woman from crashing to the bottom, but the engine fell down the shaft and landed on top of it. Quick-thinking rescuers pulled the woman from the elevator, saving her life.
What a week – I’ve blogged before about disasters in the Adirondacks here.