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- The Sexist: The 1865 New York Times Loves A Cat Fight
- City Blog: A Speakeasy That’s Not So Secret
- City Room: At the Museum, Bring Your Pajamas
- Great Lives In History: Clement Moore’s “Trifle” That Became A Masterpiece
- Patell and Waterman’s: The Adams Family in New York
- Inside the Apple: Civil War Draft Riots [A Series]
- Ephemeral New York: Seedy Hotels That Keep Hanging On
- Brooklynology: Some Brooklyn Hats
- Great Lives In History: Jack “Legs” Diamond
- Adirondack Almanack: Baseball and Botany in Saranac Lake
- Author Frank McCourt Near Death
- Rodin Work Returns to Crown Point
- Historic 1777 Blade To Go On Display
- Schenectady Diner Restoration Stalls
- Library of Congress Now On iTunes
- Slavery Historian Kenneth M. Stampp Dies
- County Considers Uses For Old Canton Jail
- New Books Explore Hudson’s Legacy
- Locals Clear Portion of Historic Fort Izard
- After 5 Yrs, Warrensburg Museum Reopens
Coopering is the ancient art of making casks, barrels, vats, buckets, and other circular or elliptical wooden vessels bound together by hoops. Historically, wooden barrels were used for the storage and transportation of all sorts of goods. Coopering was a valuable skill. David Salvetti will demonstrate the art of coopering at the Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake on July 18, 19 and 20, 2009. The demonstration will be held in the Mark W. Potter Education Center from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and is included in the price of general admission.
David Salvetti’s love of woodworking began at age seven – with simple
projects such as birdhouses. In 2005, at the age of fourteen, woodworking became something more. The Salvetti family visited the Adirondack Museum in July of that year. The rustic furniture on exhibit fascinated David. Inspired by what he saw, Salvetti cut a sapling on the family’s property and built a twig chair. Another chair
followed in 2006 – winning “Best in Show” (4-H Youth Division) at the Oswego County Fair. David entered the white birch chair in the 2007 New York State Fair, Adult Arts and Crafts competition – winning another blue ribbon. David’s prize-winning rustic chair is on display at the Adirondack Museum and will become part of the permanent collection.
David Salvetti’s exploration of traditional woodworking techniques has led him to build his own shed, making shingles to cover the structure by hand. He has learned to make watertight wooden buckets without nails, adhesives, or modern sealants. He demonstrates his skills at Fort Ontario State Historic Site in Oswego, N.Y.
Coopering is part of a summer-long series of craft and trade demonstrations at the Adirondack Museum. To see a complete listing, visit the museum’s web site www.adirondackmuseum.org and click on “Special Events.”
Photo: Wooden sap bucket, ca. 1800s. Collection of the Adirondack Museum.
Stepping into the past at Founder’s Day Weekend in Ogdensburg, NY July 18-19 is an opportunity for visitors to witness the crafts and trades of our ancestors beyond the activities of the French and Indian War re-enactment. To kick off the weekend, there will be a free concert of colonial music Friday evening in Library Park. Linda Russell, an 18th-century balladeer, will perform courtesy of the St. Lawrence County Arts Council. Ms. Russell will also perform Saturday and Sunday on Lighthouse Point.
After an absence of many years, lace making is returning. In the 1700s, lace was an essential fashion statement on the clothes of well-to-do men and women. Girls learned at an early age to make lace that brought extra income to a family.
New this year is a demonstration bakery. The homey smell of fresh-baked bread usually brings a flood of good memories. A unique part of New France will come to life in the scent and sight of crusty loaves and buns.
The blacksmith and tinsmith are basic to Founder’s Day Weekend. As the blacksmith describes his trade, he will no doubt be hammering, riveting or welding some traditional piece of equipment ordered by a re-enactor. The tinsmith displays lanterns, candlesticks, and tinderboxes once indispensable in a colonial household, and now found in the camps of re-enactors or the homes of collectors.
Collectors, too, may take a fancy to the pottery to be made and sold on site. Jugs, mugs, bowls and other essentials will be turned on the potter’s wheel with an eye to tradition and practicality.
Re-enactors add to their kits and replace lost items by purchasing items at Founder’s Day Weekend. They patronize the sutlers, the canvas-covered vendors that spring up at re-enactments selling just about everything a person from the 18th century or the 21st century may need or fancy.
Vital to the weekend are the re-enactors portraying the French, British and Native troops of the mid 1700s. Their uniforms, arms, camps, drills and battle tactics give substance and color to our history. Re-enactors also spend money in the community, so expect to see them in their colonial garb in the stores and restaurants of Ogdensburg.
The display of antique naval arms and equipment that debuted last year is coming back to round out the riverside aspect of Founder’s Day Weekend. Traditional boats in the navy camp are expected from Quebec, Ontario and New York. The historically accurate bateaux will race Saturday morning and engage in battles on the river Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
The armed boats are likely to join in a cannonade at 8:30 P.M. Saturday evening. The guns of Fort Wellington in Prescott, Ontario will duel with the re-enactors’ artillery on Lighthouse Point. The larger Canadian guns will fire slowly, but there will be rapid fire from the smaller guns on the point. The public will be able to watch from Riverside Park and the marina.
Following the artillery pyrotechnics, a free-admission ball featuring English country dance will be held at the Freight House Restaurant in walking distance of Lighthouse Point. “No dancing experience is required,” said the organizer George Cherepon. “Easy-going dance instructors will teach the steps before playing the music, and they then call the steps as the music plays.”
Founder’s Day Weekend is larger this year as the Fort La Présentation Association prepares to host the final New York State 250th anniversary commemoration of the end of the French and Indian War in 2010. Information about Founder’s Day Weekend can be found at www.fortlapresentation.net.
Photo: French boats armed with swivel guns drive away a British boat while skirmishing off Lighthouse Point during a battle re-enacted on the St. Lawrence River at Founder’s Day Weekend in Ogdensburg.
Cobblestone Quest – Road Tours of New York’s Historic Buildings is a great new resource of self-guided tours to visit and learn about cobblestone buildings that were built in Western New York State before the Civil War. Part of our pioneer history, cobblestone buildings are buildings built with stones that can be held in one hand (as opposed to pebbles, or boulders). According to the guide, which was written by Rich and Sue Freeman (Sue also runs one of favorite blogs – New York Outdoors), the word cobblestone comes from the Middle English cob meaning a rounded lump and ston, for small rock. [Read more…] about Cobblestone Quest – Road Tours of NY’s Historic Buildings
Boscobel House and Gardens in Garrison, New York (www.boscobel.org) has opened a new exhibition, Home on the Hudson: Women and Men Painting Landscapes, 1825-1875. This is the second major exhibition in the new state-of-the-art exhibition gallery on the lower floor of the historic Boscobel House. The exhibit, open to all visitors to Boscobel, will be on display through September 7. [Read more…] about Women and Men Painting Landscapes 1825-1875
Thursday, July 16, 2009, at 6 pm, War of 1812 sailor Ned Myers will be telling his lively tale of the sinking of the Hamilton & the Scourge at the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Discovery Center in Sackets Harbor, N.Y. To be completely accurate, an authentically costumed James H. Fischer will relate the story of the famous shipwrecks’ survivor in this presentation for the 2009 Great Lakes Seaway Trail Experience Series. Fischer’s presentation will also include a series of Jacques Cousteau slides of lake bottom vessels.
Seaman Myers lived to tell his story to noted American author James Fenimore Cooper. Fischer, a marine consultant who has studied the underwater history of Lake Ontario for 22 years, draws on Myers’ narrative as told to Cooper for A Life Before the Mast. Fischer shares fascinating details of the moments before a squall surprised captain and crew.
The wrecks of the two merchant ships – Hamilton, built as Diana in Oswego, NY, and the Scourge, originally Lord Nelson, were discovered in 1973 and are considered to have national historic significance to both the U.S. and Canada.
The $5 program fee benefits educational programming at the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Discovery Center, Ray and West Main Streets, Sackets Harbor, NY. For more information, visit www.seawaytrail.com or call 315-646-1000.
Photo: James H. Fischer in 19th century sailor’s dress is seen below the bust of U.S. merchant ship Diana purchased in Oswego and converted in Sacketts Harbour in 1812 as the US naval warship Hamilton.
Restoration work on the Crown Point Pier and Champlain Memorial Lighthouse has been completed and both facilities are once again open to the public. Restoration work on the pier included reenforcement of the bulkhead and piers, removal of zebra mussels, refurbishing of the metal trusses and decking, repair of the roof — including replacement of broken slate shingles, thorough cleaning of exterior and interior surfaces and placement of new signs.
Work on the lighthouse included restoration of the Rodin sculpture, thorough cleaning and repair of outer stonework and thorough cleaning, resealing and painting of the interior. The Rodin sculpture has not been placed back on the lighthouse, but will be prior to the Quadricentennial Celebration in September.
The facilities are located on the shore of Lake Champlain in Essex County on the grounds of DEC Crown Point Public Campground. Other nearby by historic features are the Crown Point Reservation, which includes Fort Crown Point and Fort St. Frederic, the Crown Point Bridge and the Toll Keeper’s House.
The Lake Champlain Quadricentennial celebrates the 400th anniversary of the French explorer Samuel de Champlain’s 1609 sighting of the lake that now bears his name. Champlain is noted as the first European to have recorded his exploration of the lake and the surrounding region.
While celebrations and events will occur throughout the summer, New York’s premier Quadricentennial Celebration will be hosted at the DEC Crown Point Campground and the OPHRP Crown Point Reservation on September 18-20. New York will celebrate the role that Lake Champlain and the Champlain Valley played in the history of our country and the state, and the natural wonders and recreational opportunities of the lake.
The Crown Point steamboat pier was constructed in 1929, serving as a point of embarkation and disembarkation passengers accessing Crown Point from one of the many large steamboats that plied up and down Lake Champlain during that era.
The Champlain Memorial Lighthouse was originally constructed in 1858 and the surrounding land was acquired in 1910 by the New York State Conservation Department – predecessor to the DEC. In 1912, the States of New York and Vermont and the Province of Quebec worked together to reconstruct the lighthouse as a monument to Samuel de Champlain, in recognition of the 300th anniversary of his explorations.
The Champlain Memorial Lighthouse, the Crown Point Pier and the Toll Keepers House are eligible for listing in the State and National Registers of Historic Places. The entire Crown Point Reservation is also a National Historic Landmark.
The Albany Times Union is reporting today that the beleaguered Rensselaer County Historical Society (RCHS) is losing the interim executive director, Rachel Tooker, less then six months after she took the post. Members of the organization, including Renssealer County Historian Kathy Sheehan, (who also serves as the society’s Registrar) touted her as the leadership necessary to steer the non-profit back to solvency. She will be moving to California where her partner has taken a museum job.
In March, RCHS sent an e-mail warning of dire consequences for the society: “What may have seemed – even ten years ago – a reasonable endowment with sustainable cash reserves has now dwindled to the point where we are no longer able to pay our bills. Without an immediate and substantial infusion of funds (upwards of $150,000), it appears that we will be required to close our doors while we work to implement a prudent fiscal strategy.” No communication with members, supporters, or the press suggested Tooker would be leaving before the Times Union’s report today.
According to the Times Union, “Tooker said the historical society has charted a new course that will help it correct its financial difficulties. The New York Council of Nonprofits will provide managerial leadership for the historical society.”
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In 1609 the sailors aboard Henry Hudson’s ship the Half Moon laid their eyes upon the entrance to what would come to be known as the Hudson River, and within 15 years the Dutch began to settle the newly discovered land, creating the colony of Explorers, Fortunes and Love Letters: A Window on New Netherland (Mount Ida Press, 2009) is a compilation of new essays that together explore the fascinating story of this diverse and enterprising colony and its enduring cultural impact.
Join contributors to the book at the Museum of the City of New York on Tuesday, July 14, at 6:30 PM for a discussion moderated by Charles Th. Gehring, Ph.D., Director of the New Netherland Project and the translator of the 17th-century Dutch documents that have opened the world of New Netherland to the 21st century. Participants will include Noah L. Gelfand, Peter G. Rose, and David Voorhees, Managing Editor of de Halve Maen and Director of the Papers of Jacob Leisler Project at NYU
RESERVATIONS REQUIRED: $12 Non-Members, $8 Seniors and Students, $6 Museum Members (including NNI members). A two dollar surcharge applies for unreserved, walk-in participants. For reservations and information please call 212.534.1672, ext. 3395.
This event is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Amsterdam/New Amsterdam: The Worlds of Henry Hudson (through September 27). To mark the anniversary of Henry Hudson’s 1609 voyage to the area now called New York , Amsterdam/New Amsterdam investigates the epic journey and the transatlantic links it set in motion. The exhibition explores the colony of New Amsterdam as it evolved under the wing of the dynamic city of Amsterdam during the Dutch Golden Age. It reveals the character of the young settlement’s economy, culture, politics, and built environment through rare 17th-century paintings, maps, navigational instruments, documents, Native American artifacts, household objects,and archaeological remnants of daily life in New Amsterdam .
Presented in partnership with the Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam and the New Netherland Project.