Sunday Rock: A Historic Adirondack Landmark (Conclusion)


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p2a1941inripleysIn January 1936, Dr. Charles Leete, a chief proponent of local history and a strong voice for protecting South Colton’s Sunday Rock from destruction, died. It was more than appropriate that he had been deeply involved in preserving the rock. Leete’s ancestors built much of the machinery used in area sawmills that processed the timber provided by the lumberjacks who were famously linked to Sunday Rock’s legend.

As famous as the big rock was regionally, it attained immortality of a sort in 1941 when Robert Ripley included it in his world-famous newspaper feature, “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” A drawing of the landmark was accompanied by a full paragraph relating the legend of Sunday Rock. Continue reading

Sunday Rock: A Historic Adirondack Landmark


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p1a1926headlineAmong the unusual landmarks in the Adirondacks is a massive roadside boulder in central St. Lawrence County, just three tenths of a mile west of the South Colton post office. Widely known as Sunday Rock, it is part of the legend and lore of the northwestern Adirondacks. My first visit to South Colton came several decades ago during a long road trip aimed at scouting out new places to hike and canoe. I was led there by a passage in a book titled, “Rocks and Routes of the North Country, New York,” by Dr. Bradford B. VanDiver, Professor of Geology at SUNY Potsdam when the book was released in 1976. (His story was featured in this space a few weeks ago.) Continue reading

Historians Podcast: Stories from Amsterdam, NY


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The Historians LogoThis week on The Historians Podcast, Michael Cinquanti has stories from his book A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam N.Y. Birthdays: Second edition (Genium, 2016)  Cinquanti has tales about Amsterdam’s connections to the sinking of the Titanic, a priest who wrote best sellers and a federal official in the Civil War who pioneered in hiring women to work in government.  Listen to the podcast here.     Continue reading

New York History Around The Web This Week


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Greenwich Village: Past and Present


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453-461-sixth-avenue-in-the-historic-districtOn a bitterly cold January morning in 1917, the painters John Sloan and Marcel Duchamps, along with friends, climbed to the top of Washington Square Arch to proclaim the secession of Greenwich Village from the United States. Thenceforth the neighborhood that stood as America’s repository of avant-garde art, literature and social enlightenment would be known as the Free and Independent Republic of Washington Square. The stunt defined the character of the Village, as it is popularly known to New Yorkers, for the ensuing half century. Continue reading

Celebrations of NY State’s 240th Birthday Planned


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1777 New York State ConstitutionOn April 22nd, 2017 at noon, New York State will be 240 years old. It was on that date back in 1777 that New York’s Constitution was signed in Kingston, New York.

What better way to celebrate that important document that gave life to our State than to organize and conduct brief, unified, community-wide bell ringing event in as many of the cities, towns and villages in the State of New York as possible at their houses of worship and other institutions. Continue reading

The History of Genealogy


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ben_franklins_worldHistory has a history and genealogy has a history. And the histories of both affect how and why we study the past and how we understand and view it.

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we explore why it’s important for us to understand that the practices and processes of history and genealogy have histories by exploring what the history of genealogy reveals about the early American past.

Our guide for this exploration is Karin Wulf, a Professor of History at the College of William & Mary and the Director of the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture. You can listen to the podcast here: benfranklinsworld.com/114

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The Devil’s Kitchen: Warren County’s Nightmare for Drivers


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devilskitchenThe colorful name Devil’s Kitchen has been used in numerous book titles, restaurant names, and for hiking destinations in at least seven states. Close to home in upstate New York, we have a Catskill version, described here as “quite possibly the most hellacious [bicycle] climb in New York State.” The same area, with cliffs, numerous waterfalls, and slippery slopes, has seen many hiker deaths as well.

But there’s another Devil’s Kitchen farther north, located about midway on Route 9 between Chestertown and Warrensburg. Despite lacking the cliffs and stunning landscapes featured at other identically named places, deaths have occurred at the Adirondack site—which today exists in name only. Continue reading

Seward/Mapes Homestead Raises $9k For Preservation


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seward-mapes-homestead-restoration-committee-president-roger-dowd-presents-florida-mayor-james-pawliczek-with-a-check-towards-preserving-the-homesteadOn Thursday, December 14th, the Seward/Mapes Homestead Restoration Committee of Florida presented the Village of Florida’s governing Board with a $5,000 check toward the restoration of the Seward/Mapes Homestead. Added to a $4,000 contribution made earlier in 2016, the organization raised a total of $9,000 toward a New York State matching fund grant for historic preservation. Continue reading