The Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) announced that it will provide organizational support for the two markets under the newly dubbed “High Peaks Farmers’ Market.” ANCA will also hire a part-time manager to oversee the markets. [Read more…] about New Name, Host for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake Farmers’ Markets
The St. Lawrence & Adirondack Railroad, also known as the Mohawk & Malone – eventually owned by the New York Central and called the Adirondack Line or the Adirondack Railroad ran directly through the Adirondacks from Herkimer (near Utica) to Malone connecting the rail lines along the Mohawk River to the Main Trunk Line running into Montreal. The line is often attributed to William Seward Webb, but it was the men who actually built the line that are the subject of this essay.
On March 29, 1892 a Boston Globe article titled “Labor’s Slaves in the Adirondacks” reported that Utica “resembled Washington during war times, hundreds of penniless and destitute Negroes are camped out tonight in the temporary places of shelter given them, and the citizens of Utica are consulting as to the best means of returning them to their homes.”
The Globe told readers that all night, “runaway slaves” had been coming into town. One hundred and fifty of them, mostly black laborers from the Deep South, but some recently arrived European immigrants as well. [Read more…] about “Labor’s Slaves in the Adirondacks”: Building the Adirondack Railroad
The Daniel Parrish Witter Agricultural Museum at what is now known as the Great New York State Fair opened officially on April 30th, 1928. Daniel Parrish Witter, a long-time New York State Assemblyman representing Tioga County was born in 1852 at Richford. Witter assumed the greater responsibility for working the family farm after his father became disabled, one of his older brothers was killed in the Civil War, and two others were seriously wounded in the same conflict. [Read more…] about The Daniel Parrish Witter Agricultural Museum: A History
The New York State Departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Transportation (DOT), in cooperation with the Office of General Services (OGS), have announced the completion of the transfer of jurisdiction for a 34-mile segment of the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor. [Read more…] about Adirondack Rail Trail Design & Construction Starting
The Adirondacks in Northern New York covers approximately 5,000 square miles. Widely known for its natural beauty, recreation opportunities and tourism, it may surprise many of those travelers to learn that the Adirondacks’ trails and amenities are intrinsically connected to New York’s carceral history.
In A Prison In the Woods: Environment and Incarceration in New York’s North Country (Univ. of Mass. Press, 2020), Clarence Jefferson Hall Jr. traces the planning, construction, and operation of penitentiaries in five Adirondack communities – Dannemora, Ray Brook, Gabriels, Lyon Mountain, and Tupper Lake – between 1840 and the early 2010s to show the intersections between the environment and mass incarceration.
Hall’s own personal history adds an interesting aspect to his narrative. His father worked for the New York prison system from 1973 to 1998, mostly at the maximum security Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora. He states that “the rhythms of the prison system became natural to our family, just as they did for so many other families in towns and villages across the Adirondacks.” [Read more…] about Prison In the Woods: Environment & Incarceration in Northern NY
In the motor toboggan era – the time before the advent of the modern snowmobiles we know today – motor sleds had been too slow for racing excitement. As a result they remained strictly utilitarian vehicles racing only occasionally for promotional purposes. Motor toboggan and later snowmobile maker Polaris traveled each year at the end of the 1950s to trapper festivals at The Pas, Manitoba where they helped organize ad hoc races.
“We tried to rig them a little bit so we had a zig-zag effect,” David Johnson said, remembering one of the first informal races, “one guy ahead, and then the other, and so on, at a terrific speed of about 20 miles per hour.” In February 1959, Johnson won the first organized men’s race on an oval at The Pas and in 1960, the first cross-country race was held there. [Read more…] about A History of Snowmobile Racing in New York State
The Plattsburgh Daily Press in late 1894 fact-checked the boasts of M.W. Howard, age 32, of Alabama, and George M. Southwick, age 31, of Albany, who each claimed to be the youngest member of the incoming U.S. House of Representatives.
Actually, it was local Representative-elect Wallace T. Foote Jr., who would still be 30 when he took office, that would have the distinction. Foote represented New York’s 23rd District, which included Essex, Clinton, Franklin, Warren and Washington counties. [Read more…] about Wally Foote: ‘The Most Handsome Man in Congress’
Recently in this column appeared the story of Selden Clobridge, a teenage Civil War soldier from Turin, New York, whose battlefield career ended at the grand old age of 18 after multiple wounds that included limb loss. About 85 miles northeast of Turin, an even younger soldier took it to the extreme, receiving his discharge from the army before he became a teenager.
William R. Bastin was born in December in the town of Lawrence, near the St. Lawrence County line, east of Potsdam. A headstone gives his birth year as 1852, which corresponds with his age in three of six census records and his obituary. Other census records disagree by a year, suggesting he was born in 1851—but by any measure, he was far too young to become a soldier.
When William enlisted at Malone on September 14, 1864, he gave his age as 16. But by most indications, including interviews as an adult, he was actually three months shy of twelve years old when he joined the army, purportedly as a drummer boy. Things didn’t work out as expected, though, and he instead became a child soldier. [Read more…] about William Bastin: Pre-Teen North Country Civil War Soldier
Largely forgotten due to the passage of time, Fort Covington native William “Big Bill” Palmer is one of the most successful athletes ever born in the North Country. And yet the period during which he reached remarkable heights at two levels of the same sport lasted just over two years. Even more surprising is that he played on a team still recognized today as legendary in the world of college athletics.
Born in 1875 to William and Catherine Palmer on a Fort Covington farm in northern Franklin County, New York, Bill displayed unusual athletic ability at a young age. At fairs, Fourth of July celebrations, and Field Days, his name was always prominent among those participating in sporting events. [Read more…] about Legendary North Country Athlete Big Bill Palmer
The New York State Museum in Albany recently acquired a series of 1917 Franklin County women’s suffrage petitions from Jean Kubaryk, a teacher at North Warren Central School District. Ms. Kubaryk had been displaying the petitions in her classroom for years, but decided to donate the petitions to the Museum so they can be preserved for future generations.
After the petitions were officially acquired by the Museum, staff sent copies of the petitions to Ms. Kubaryk so her students can assist in researching the women who signed the petitions. [Read more…] about NYS Museum Acquires Franklin Co Suffrage Petitions