Mirror Girl. What an intriguing term. In the past it has been applied to the prettiest coeds in sororities, cute girls in general, and particularly vain women. But in this case, it addresses one of my favorite historical stories linked to the Northern New York’s years as a tuberculosis treatment center. The patient was a young woman, Jessica “Jessie” Ferguson, born in 1895 in Mount Pleasant, New York, north of Tarrytown on the Hudson River. Her parents, James and Anna, were both natives of Scotland, a fact that becomes key to the story.
The young girl’s difficulties began in her early twenties when her father died, and Jessica was diagnosed with tuberculosis of the bone, affecting her spine. In 1918, she lost the ability to walk. Doctors placed her in a cast that forced Jessica into a permanent reclining position. Continue reading
The Adirondack History Museum in Elizabethtown, Essex County, NY (formerly known as the Adirondack History Center Museum), is open for its 2015 season which runs until October 12th.
This Saturday, June 13th, the museum’s new exhibits will open. “Essex County’s Immigrants: Names, Places, and Stories” is this year’s seasonal exhibit. Drawing on the ancestry of present day Essex County residents, the exhibit uses individual stories to explore the broad immigration patterns that changed Essex County in the mid-1800s. Continue reading
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has released an updated draft unit management plan (UMP) for the Camp Santanoni Historic Area, located on the NYS Forest Preserve in Newcomb, NY, in the heart of the Adirondack Park. Continue reading
The Adirondack Museum opens for its 58th season on Friday, May 22, with new exhibitions, programs, family activities, and events.
The museum invites year-round residents of the Adirondack Park to visit free of charge every Sunday during the open season, and every day the museum is open in May and October. (Proof of year-round residency – such as a driver’s license, passport, or voter registration card – is required). Continue reading
Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) is seeking nominations for their 2015 Historic Preservation awards. The organization looks to recognize historic buildings that have been well-cared for over time, or brought back to life.
Projects, large and small, completed in the Adirondack region during the past two years are eligible for consideration. Continue reading
A biographer who has written extensively about John Brown, a civil rights activist who marched in Selma and a memorial honoring a youth leader who introduced countless city youth to the Adirondacks will highlight John Brown Day 2015.
The annual event will be held Saturday, May 9, from 2 to 4 pm at the John Brown Farm State Historic Site in Lake Placid. It is free and open to the public. Continue reading
While researching in old newspapers, I often find entertainment in skimming the advertisements, some of which are clearly the forerunners of promotions in today’s media. Medicines and cure-alls distributed nationally were once regularly advertised in local newspapers, urging readers to try products that were available in nearby drugstores. One of the most common of these treatments was Cascarets, claiming to be different from Castor Oil and other meds that “irritate and lash the bowels into action, but do not thoroughly cleanse, freshen, and purify these drainage organs.” Continue reading
Starting on May 1st and ending on May 10th, the Essex County Historical Society will auction a variety of local items to raise $8,000 to support the Adirondack History Center Museum’s collections, exhibits, education, and outreach programs.
The catalog of items ranges from golf at the Ausable Club, original art and prints from local artists, camp tuition at Camp Pok-O-MacCready, lodging packages, gift certificates to local stores, concert venues, and restaurants, and more. Continue reading
After a “Black List” of animals was promulgated by New York State officials and an all-out war against these “vermin” was launched in the early 20th century, a competition grew among fish and game clubs across the state. Some clubs were founded for the specific purpose of complying with the state’s plea for help in eradicating unwanted animals.
Many clubs held contests, applying point systems to each animal on the list and awarding prizes to the winners. “Contest” was in some cases a misnomer: in many cases, it was a year-round process punctuated by periodic awards. Continue reading
No account of the history of the Adirondacks is complete without a consideration of its Abenaki residents, and the Adirondack Museum houses an impressive collection of artifacts that help illustrate the story of Abenaki culture and its significance in the Adirondack region.
In the final installment of the Adirondack Museum’s Cabin Fever Sundays series, anthropologist Christopher Roy and an Abenaki panel including Andree Newton, Diane Cubit, and James Watsaw, will discuss the experiences of Abenaki families in the Adirondack region and throughout the Northeast for the past several centuries. Continue reading
Beware! Pictured here are your adversaries – the official enemies of the state. Don’t be distracted by the pretty colors, lovely feathers, or furry critters. These are vermin, and citizens are urged to kill them at every opportunity. The poster, by the way, represents only the top nine targets from a group of notorious killers, presented here alphabetically: bobcat, Cooper’s hawk, crow, English sparrow, goshawk, gray fox, great gray owl, great horned owl, house rat, “hunting” house cat, lynx, porcupine, red fox, red squirrel, sharp-shinned hawk, snowy owl, starling, weasel, and woodchuck. Kingfishers and a number of snakes were later added, and osprey were fair game as well.
While some of the phrases used above – “official enemies … kill them at every opportunity … new job requirement” – might sound like exaggerations, they were, in fact, official conservation policies of New York State a century ago. Continue reading
A Most Glorious Ride: The Diaries of Theodore Roosevelt 1877-1886 (SUNY Press, 2015) covers the formative years of TR’s life, and show the transformation of a sickly and solitary Harvard freshman into a confident and increasingly robust young adult. He writes about his grief over the premature death of his father, his courtship and marriage to his first wife, Alice Hathaway Lee, and later the death of Alice and his mother on the same day.
The diaries also chronicle his burgeoning political career in New York City and his election to the New York State Assembly. With his descriptions of balls, dinner parties, and nights at the opera, they offer a glimpse into life among the Gilded Age elite in Boston and New York. Continue reading
This week “The Historians” podcast features Lawrence Gooley, author of Terror in the Adirondacks: The True Story of Serial Killer Robert F. Garrow (Bloated Toe Publishing).
Larry also discusses con man and thief James Brady, subject of a series of stories recently on New York History Blog. Listen at “The Historians” online archive at http://www.bobcudmore.com/thehistorians/
The Herkimer County Legislature has named Friday “French Louie Day” in honor of the noted French-Canadian Adirondacker Louis Seymour. A celebration is planned for Saturday in the Town of Inlet.
Friday marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Seymour, who made the wilderness between Inlet and Lake Pleasant his home from the 1860s until his death in Newton’s Corners (now Speculator) on February 27, 1915. Seymour’s name became legend after the 1952 biography Adirondack French Louie: Life in the North Woods by Utica author Harvey Dunham, which portrayed him as a man of hard work, determination and humor. Continue reading
In the fourth installment of the Adirondack Museum’s Cabin Fever Sundays series, New York Council for the Humanities speaker Robert Arnold III will explore the legacy of Robert Fulton, the creator of the first commercially successful steamboat.
Arnold will address the ways Fulton’s steamboat helped to catalyze the expansion of steam power into the energy source that propelled America’s Industrial Revolution. Fulton was a talented artist and inventor who also devised canal locks used in Britain, and the first workable submarine (for Napoleon Bonaparte). Continue reading
It was Saturday, January 26, 1895, and throngs of mourners were gathered at the Church of the Incarnation in Manhattan for the funeral of one of America’s most prominent doctors.
Dr. Alfred Lebbeus Loomis, who had revolutionized the way tuberculosis was treated in this country, had died on January 23rd, just two days after his own personal physician had ordered him confined to bed because of a spiking fever. Dr. Loomis, diagnosed with tuberculosis some thirty years earlier, had contracted pneumonia, and would never recover. Continue reading
The Clinton County Historical Association (CCHA) will open a new exhibit from 12 to 3 pm on Saturday, January 24th: Saranac: Life and Times of an Adirondack Town. Since 2010, the CCHA has invited Clinton County Historians to take part in the Museum’s I Love Clinton County Exhibition Series. The Town of Saranac is being highlighted in this year’s series focusing on town history.
Jan Couture, Town of Saranac Historian and the Seney family of the Saranac Family History and Research Group curated the exhibit which highlights Saranac’s history as a mining, manufacturing, logging and farming town. The exhibit which will be on display at the Museum until October 2015. Continue reading
Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) will welcome renowned architect Nils Luderowski to AARCH’s Clayton Family Gallery in Keeseville, NY.
Luderowski specializes in architecture and design in an Adirondack vernacular and this exhibition features a uniquely expressive series of drawings from a variety of the architect’s regional projects. Continue reading
The Lake Placid-North Elba Historical Society has announced the first program of its 2015 “Odds and Ends” Winter Lecture Series on Wednesday, January 28 at Howard Johnson’s Restaurant in Lake Placid, NY. The program is “Dating Photos by Fashion” presented by Margaret Bartley, Trustee of the Essex County Historical Society.
“Dating Photos by Fashion” is a slide/lecture program designed to teach anyone who is interested in learning how to date old photos by the style of dress and fashion. It will cover the period 1840 to 1920 and uses old photos to show how styles changed over a period of 80 years. Dating old photos is a great help to anyone interested in history, genealogy or simply has old family photos that are unidentified or undated. Continue reading
Fort Ticonderoga has announced that it has purchased the Carillon cruise boat, formerly located on the shores of Lake Champlain in Shoreham, Vermont. Waterway tours are expected to be offered by Fort Ticonderoga beginning this spring.
The acquisition of the boat is part of a larger Fort Ticonderoga waterway recreation and transportation initiative. Continue reading