Jumping The Alleys: The Age of Pinsetters


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The Historians LogoThis week on The Historians Podcast, Dave Greene and Bob Cudmore discuss bowling and pinsetting during the twentieth century. Pinsetters were boys and girls who manually set up bowling pins in commercial alleys before the advent of pinsetting machines. Fifty years ago a typical wage was ten cents a game, about the cost of a soda from the soda machines of the day. Pinsetters often “jumped alleys,” handling two bowling lanes at a time. Listen to the podcast here. Continue reading

New York History Around The Web This Week


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North Country’s Hal Smith, Mayberry’s Affable Town Drunk


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For millions of people, holidays are all about going home, returning to one’s roots of family and friends. That concept was epitomized by a North Country man who attained great fame in Hollywood, but to his great credit never forgot the home folks — and to their credit, the home folks never forgot him. Whenever he returned to the North Country, or old friends visited him in California, there was always an exchange of love, admiration, and deep appreciation.

He was born in northern Michigan in 1916 as Harold John Smith, about as anonymous a name as one can imagine, and likely one that stirs no sense of recognition. But if Otis Campbell were mentioned, many would instantly recall Mayberry’s affable town drunk from The Andy Griffith Show. Continue reading

Comments On Prison Ship Martyrs’ Monument Sought


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prison-ship-martyrs-memorialThe National Park Service will hold a public meeting to discuss a special resource study for the Prison Ship Martyrs’ Monument in Brooklyn.

The study, requested by Representative Hakeem Jeffries and authorized by the United States Congress as part of Public Law 113-291, will help determine whether the resources related to the Monument would meet criteria for congressional designation as a unit of the national park system.

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New Exhibition: The Maritime Roots of Modern Tattoo


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tattoo-exhibitIn celebration of the restoration currently underway in the South Street Seaport Museum’s flagship, the museum has announced its second post-Hurricane Sandy exhibition, The Original Gus Wagner: The Maritime Roots of Modern Tattoo beginning on January 29, 2017, open Wednesday to Sunday 11 am to 5 pm, at the Museum’s mezzanine gallery level, accessible from the main entrance of the Museum on 12 Fulton Street.

An Opening Reception with Live Tattoo Demonstration and a Silent Auction will be held Saturday, January 28, 2017 from 6 to 8 pm, RSVP required. Click here for reservation info. Continue reading

The Life and Ideas of Thomas Jefferson


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ben_franklins_worldThomas Jefferson wrote about liberty and freedom and yet owned over six hundred slaves during his lifetime.

He’s a founder who many of us have a hard time understanding. This is why we need an expert to lead us through his life, so we can better understand who Jefferson was and how he came to his seemingly paradoxical ideas about slavery and freedom.

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Annette Gordon-Reed, a professor of history and legal history at Harvard University and the winner of the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize for her work on Thomas Jefferson and the Hemings Family, leads us on an exploration through the life and ideas of Thomas Jefferson. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/117

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Skiing Comes to the Sullivan County Catskills


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walnut mountainLong before the opening of Davos in Woodridge ushered in a new era in skiing in Sullivan County, before the Concord and Grossinger’s pioneered snowmaking techniques to service their rudimentary ski hills, and even before the Miller brothers operated Christmas Hills in Livingston Manor, skiing made its local debut at Walnut Mountain in Liberty.

In October of 1936, a corporation known as Liberty Winter Sports, Inc. purchased most of Walnut Mountain from Frank H. Mauer with plans to create a skiing facility at the site of the old Walnut Mountain House. Dr. S.W. Wells was president of the group, which also included B.K.J. Eenberg, Thomas P. McNamara, Albert T. Decker, Joseph E. Fersch, Paul H. Allen, and Gunnar Bjorgstrom. Joseph G. Dowling handled the publicity. Continue reading