And so began a story that would enliven the trailside or campsite for those who had the privilege to spend time with Willard Howland. Little has been written about the life of this woodsman beyond bits and pieces of the stories he told. It could even be said that his tales, everything from experiences in the woods, to amazing fantasy creatures that inhabited his wilderness, tell more of who Willard was than anything a written history could reveal. [Read more…] about Woodsman Willard Howland and his Amazing Critters
For example, studying the pattern of coffee grounds in the bottom of one’s cup, a practice known as tasseomancy, will nearly always reveal that someone forgot to put a filter in the coffeemaker basket. And haruspicy, the study of the fresh entrails of a gutted animal, is consistently right in concluding the animal is dead. [Read more…] about Reading Bug Tracks on Tea Leaves
In the nineteenth century Lewis County settlements east of the Black River were just getting established; most of these included at least one saw mill. By 1820 these settlements were beginning to push their way up the rivers into the Adirondacks, and new mills were being built along their courses. A Copenhagen, NY farmer on Tug Hill, viewing the Adirondack panorama spread out to his east, wrote the following in a Journal & Republican article titled “North Woods Wonder:”
“All the wilderness is strewn with lakes as if some great mirror had been shattered by an Almighty hand, and scattered through the forests for Nature to make her toilet by … And how the rivers meander the woods as the veins of a human hand. There are Beaver, Moose, and Indian, Bog, Grass and Racket… And how rough and shaggy the wilderness is with mountains … Let them pass unnamed.”
One of these “shattered” gems was Twitchell Lake. [Read more…] about Logging The Adirondacks From The West (1800-1820)
Water chestnut is an invasive aquatic plant that forms large mats that shade out native aquatic vegetation and has the ability to completely dominate surface waters. It reduces oxygen levels for fish and encourages sedimentation by restricting silt movement. The hard, pointy seeds of water chestnut can puncture vehicle tires or injure feet if stepped on.
If not managed, the infestation of water chestnuts on the Oswegatchie River can grow and easily spread to connecting waterbodies, like Black Lake. It grows dense floating mats that impede outdoor recreation and reduce shoreline property values [Read more…] about Volunteers Sought For Oswegatchie River Invasive Removal Project
A new organization, Canadian Friends of Fort de La Présentation, is partnering with the Fort La Presentation Association in Ogdensburg, New York to advance the education of Canadians in general and students in particular in shared Canadian and American colonial history.
Through seven decades – 1749 to 1813 – encompassing the Seven Years War, the American Revolution and the War of 1812, Canadian and American history intertwined at the mouth of the Oswegatchie River in what is now Ogdensburg, New York.
“The Canadian Friends will develop educational programs and resources, undertake research to advance historical knowledge and widely share these assets through media, local projects and other services,” said Michael Whittaker, president of the Canadian Friends of Fort de La Présentation. “The forts which once stood on Ogdensburg’s Lighthouse Point, La Présentation from 1740 to 1759, Oswegatchie from 1760 to 1796 and Presentation until 1813, are rooted in Canadian history from the last years of New France through the first 50 years of British colonial rule.”
With recognition as a non-profit corporation by the Canada Revenue Agency, the Canadian Friends of Fort de La Présentation is undertaking a campaign to attract members and donations for which charitable tax receipts will be issued. All communications from the Canadian Friends will be in English and French.
They are already working actively with the Fort La Presentation Association to plan the fourth annual War of 1812 Symposium in Ogdensburg April 27 and 28, 2012. The symposium, featuring four speakers from each country, will attract an audience drawn equally from Canada and the USA .
“We hope to fund the Canadian speakers at the War of 1812 symposium,” said Mr. Whittaker. “I live in Bishop’s Mills and know those of us on the Ontario side of the St. Lawrence River look forward to expanding our co-operation with our friends in New York .”
Two of the historians featured in the recent PBS production, “The War of 1812,” are giving seminars at the 2012 symposium. Four other historians who appeared in the production have presented at previous symposia.
The Fort La Présentation Association’s historic Fort de la Présentation property on Lighthouse Point, already listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places, will soon join the seven Ogdensburg sites recognized by the National Register of Historic Places.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s office has helped move the Fort Association’s application forward, and her office reports the Fort historic site on Lighthouse Point should be on the Federal Register soon.
“Fort de la Présentation, one of the historic jewels in New York State, once played a vital role in the formation of our nation. Once fully restored, the Fort has the potential to attract thousands of tourists, which will help stimulate the region’s economy through new development and job creation,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “As New York’s first Senator from Upstate in nearly 40 years, I am proud to support the restoration of this beautiful, historic site. Thanks to the work of the Fort La Présentation Association, New Yorkers will soon be able to enjoy this landmark restored to its former glory.”
“The Fort Association is grateful to Senator Gillibrand for her staunch backing of the Fort Project and the assistance of her office to have the Fort’s location listed on the National Register of Historic Places, along with Ogdensburg’s registered heritage sites,” said Barbara O’Keefe, President of the Fort La Présentation Association. “Becoming an acknowledged member of this distinguished group will positively impact our work toward building our Interpretive Center. The recognized historical importance of our property gives us credibility among potential donors as we continue planning to build Fort de la Présentation.”
From the mid-18th century to the early 19th century the fort at the mouth of Oswegatchie River, under French, British and American flags, influenced the development of Ogdensburg and its role in the history of the United States.
“In addition to honoring the City’s place in American, Canadian, and Native histories, placement of these lands on the National Register of Historic Places positions the Fort La Présentation Association to use the site to continue to play an important role contributing to the development of historic tourism and local hospitality businesses, as well as the overall growth of our local economy,” said Ogdensburg City Manager Arthur J. Sciorra.
The Acker and Evans Law Office, New York State Armory, Ogdensburg Armory, Oswegatchie Pumping Station, U.S. Customs House, U.S. Post Office, and Library Park Historic District have met the criteria to be worthy of federal recognition and preservation because of their links to American history.
Until the building of the Interpretive Center and Fort de la Présentation, the interpreted site on Lighthouse Point will attract tourists who would not usually venture this way and indicate to residents the significance of their community’s history.