Chris Pryslopski: Working On The Weekends, For History

DSC_6283One of my favorite things about working at The Hudson River Valley Institute is the wide variety of random (though usually regional) questions that we receive by phone and email. (The answer to the most frequently asked question is still “Bannerman’s Island.”

Recently, the random question came from within Marist College: “Can you get us a boat for graduation?” This had first occurred serendipitously in 2009 when The Half Moon was sailing past during the ceremony as part of the Quadricentennial events. Last year, the college worked with the Beacon Sloop Club to bring the Woody Guthrie for the day.

This year, I reached out to Engineer Jessica DuLong and our friends aboard the historic fireboat John J. Harvey- the stars aligned, even though the rain clouds never cleared, and the Class of 2013 was treated to a full salute of the ship’s water cannons as they were dismissed. Continue reading

JFK Terminal Among 11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Boeing 707 at Worldport (JFK) in 1961Today, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named the Worldport Terminal at JFK Airport to its 2013 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

This annual list spotlights important examples of the nation’s architectural, cultural and natural heritage that are at risk of destruction or irreparable damage.

More than 240 sites have been on the list over its 26-year history, and in that time, only a handful of listed sites have been lost. Continue reading

Olympia Brown: Crusader for Women’s Rights

07350rOlympia Brown made U.S. history in the North Country 150 years ago, early this summer. She became the first woman to become a fully ordained minister with a degree from a regularly established theological school. Olympia was ordained in the Universalist Church of Malone by the St. Lawrence Association of Universalists on June 25, 1863 and graduated from the St. Lawrence University Theological School in Canton two weeks later, on July 9, 1863.

Throughout the remainder of her 91-year-old life, she was an outspoken Universalist preacher and a fearless campaigner for suffrage and equal rights for women. Olympia marched, lectured, testified, published, protested and picketed a myriad of times from coast to coast. Continue reading

Remarkable North Country Multiple Births

Cover Twins MagazineIn days of yore (pre-Internet times), I once subscribed to more than a dozen different magazines. Further back, in the 1960s and 1970s, there seemed to be a magazine for just about any subject that anyone was ever interested in. I was reminded of this last year when a saw a cover titled TWINS. The subject matter was everything related to twins: having them, being one, doctoring them, parenting them, and so on.

What really surprised me was the subtitle: The Magazine for Multiples Since 1984. I’d never heard of it, but it has been around for nearly three decades. It also reminded me of some twin-related North Country stories I’ve collected over the years. Here’s a sampling. Continue reading

This Weeks New York History Web Highlights

Continue reading

This Weeks Top New York History News

Latest New York History News

Continue reading

Exhibits: Lincoln Autopsy Reports, Dred Scott Painting

Dred ScottThe New York State Museum has added two important artifacts to its current exhibition commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, An Irrepressible Conflict: The Empire State in the Civil War.

The artifacts include the notes taken by two physicians who attended President Lincoln on his death bed and the only existing oil painting of Dred Scott, the African American slave whose 1858 Supreme Court trial pushed the nation to the brink of Civil War.
Continue reading

Adirondack Rail-Trail: Railway Preservation Society Responds

49511What follows is a press release issued by the Adirondack Railway Preservation Society in response to a decision by the state to reopen the plans for the Adirondack Scenic Railroad route, formerly part of the New York Central Railroad, through the Adirondacks. The state acted following activism by the group Adirodnack Recreational Trail Advocates who seek to have the rails torn up for a rail-trail.

The New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced on June 6th that the State will initiate a public process to review the Unit Management Plan for the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor, part of the 141 miles of track on which the Adirondack Scenic Railroad operates.  Although the Railroad does not feel that revisiting the UMP is necessary in determining the future of the rail corridor, the Railroad remains confident that the State will once again determine the best use of this public asset is to maintain its designation as a multi-use corridor with a completed rail line and blended recreational and trail opportunities along the completed line. Continue reading

The Social Fabric: To Knit or Not to Knit?

1885 Delaware River WatershedsThe Delaware Company’s president John Conway (Sullivan County Historian), invited me to speak at the newly formed nonprofit’s inaugural fundraising gala this week at the historic Ardmore Mansion/Mountain View Manor, in Glen Spey, the day after the NYSHA annual conference in Cooperstown ended.

The mission of The Delaware Company is to promote and support the history and historic landmarks of the Upper Delaware River Valley through education, outreach, and fundraising. Also speaking were U.S. Representative Chris Gibson and NYS Legislator Aileen Gunther. The audience consisted of various county and local officials, municipal historians, historic organizations, and at least one teacher, a true sampling of the history community in the region. Continue reading

New Online Resources For New York History

Apple ComputerHere’s a quick look at some of the latest New York History resources to hit the web:

  • The Syracuse University Archives has completed the processing of the George Fisk Comfort Family Collection, dating from 1822 to 1956, which contains a significant amount of material from George Fisk Comfort (1833-1910), the first dean of the (now defunct) College of Fine Arts at Syracuse University, and was involved in the establishment the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as what is now the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse. The collection also includes material associated with Silas Comfort, a Methodist minister and Anna Manning Comfort. Various items, such as letters and family photographs, were digitized and are available in the online finding aid. Continue reading