In addition to common species such as spruce and fir, I’ve noticed another evergreen in my neighborhood: a low, sprawling shrub growing on the slope of the ravine above a stream. [Read more…] about American Yew: A Native Evergreen
Nearly everyone has enjoyed the several products derived from the fruit of the cranberry, but few people are familiar with the ecology of this interesting plant or the role it has played in many local economies and histories.
Today the cranberry industry is an important. part of the agricultural economy only in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Wisconsin. But many other parts of the country were at one time involved in cranberry production. [Read more…] about Cranberry Bogs of Long Island: Some History & Natural History
In the 1800s, most of the commerce at Halfmoon in Saratoga County, NY, was located close to the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers. Joshua Anthony however, developed his spice factory in a remote part of northern Halfmoon on his grandfather’s farm on Farm to Market and Anthony Roads.
The three-story tower in the center of the factory once boasted a windmill that provided power for the machinery. Anthony heated the farmhouse and buildings in the winter with steam from the factory. [Read more…] about Joshua Anthony: The Baking Powder King
This week on the Historians Podcast, Mohawk Valley singer-songwriters Cosby Gibson and Tom Staudle join Bob Cudmore to talk about and perform historical holiday songs and stories from Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and other year-end holidays. [Read more…] about The Historians Podcast Features World Holiday Songs & Stories
Twenty years ago, Dana Carvey’s character, “Grumpy Old Man,” was a popular recurring feature of Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update. He’d offer an assessment of current times compared to the so-called “good old days,” highlighting some barbaric practices of the past (exaggerated to great comedic effect) with the closing line, “And we liked it!”
I was reminded of that concept while perusing some shocking guidelines suggested in the early 1900s regarding the enjoyment of a safe Christmas season. Regional newspapers carried a list of suggestions for an enhanced experience … and I liked it! [Read more…] about Unusual Christmas Safety Warnings from the Past
The end of 1873 ushered in change at the Saratoga County Poorhouse in the form of a brand-new building, along with a novelty the residents had never before enjoyed – a Christmas tree. [Read more…] about A Special Christmas At Saratoga County’s Poorhouse
Among the finest Christmas seasons in America’s long history took place in 1945. We’re constantly bombarded with how special the holidays are, so it’s tough for any one year to stand out as extra special, but 1945 makes the list.
Events across the Adirondacks that year epitomized the nation’s attitude. Surprisingly, it wasn’t all about celebrating, even though the most destructive war in history had just ended a few months earlier. We often mumble mindlessly that we’re proud to be Americans. But the first post-World War II Christmas was the real deal, worthy of the word “pride.” [Read more…] about Remembering The Christmas of 1945 in Northern NY
The Christmas Season is one of sharing and giving. During the Second World War the generosity of the Corinth community in Saratoga County, NY was much like that of small towns around the country. Children as well as adults were active participants in supporting activities on the home front. [Read more…] about Christmas On The Home Front: Corinth During The Second World War
“I went out after a Christmas tree and some laurel, through seas of mud,” Jervis McEntee of Kingston wrote on Christmas Eve 1881, “to the place where I always go on the cross road between the Flat-bush and Pine bush roads. It rained a part of the time and turned into a snow storm on our return.”
Another year, McEntee’s usual places for a tree were so wet that he settled for a small hemlock on the side of the hill where he lived. It was a hill that offered a panoramic view of the entire village as well as the Rondout Creek and the Hudson River. His father James, an engineer who had helped build the nearby Delaware and Hudson Canal, had built the first house on the hill and the family still lived there. [Read more…] about A Christmas in Kingston in the 1880s
The tale of St. Nicholas is an old fable from mid-Europe that was popular in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. St. Nicholas was the patron saint of children, merchants and sailors and the patron saint of Amsterdam and was brought by the Dutch to the new world, which for the Dutch was Nieuw Nederlandt (New Netherland).
Many of the American traditions on Santa Claus originated in the Dutch settlement of New Netherland along the Hudson River between New Amsterdam (New York City) and Oranje (Beverwyck-Albany). The other colonies were English. [Read more…] about A Short History of Christmas for New Yorkers