On May 12, 1903, Franklin County attorney Robert M. Moore was at wit’s end. After two years of haggling, all possibilities had been exhausted, and he knew his client was in serious trouble. There was nothing left but a claim of insanity. If that failed, a man was sure to die.
The client was Allen Mooney, and his crime in Saranac Lake became one of the most talked-about murders in North Country lore. It’s not a particularly complex tale, but its salacious and violent aspects guaranteed plenty of media coverage. Legally, it was pretty much a cut-and-dried case. Mooney admitted the shootings, and there was plenty of evidence against him. Continue reading →
While George Washington Carver would become known as “the peanut man,” because of his extensive research into the practical uses and agricultural advantages of peanuts, Carver’s life work and legacy went far beyond the peanut in his search for ways to “help the man farthest down,” as he put it.
His early years were fraught with struggle and rejection, beginning with his birth to a slave mother near the end of the Civil War. He witnessed mob lynchings, was denied admission at a white college, and yet became a well-educated scientist and teacher of national and worldwide influence and renown. Signature Communications of Huntingtown, MD, has been engaged by the National Park Service to produce a centerpiece video for visitors to the George Washington Carver National Memorial, located at Carver’s birthplace in Diamond, MO. Titled “Struggle and Triumph: The Legacy of George Washington Carver,” this 25 minute film will be accompanied by an educational video and supplemental educational package tied to national Common Core curriculum standards.
As part of the filming process, and to augment the archival images and film available, Signature is bringing Carver’s experience and legacy to life through re-enactments of seminal experiences in his life, filmed in authentic period settings. Childhood scenes have already been filmed with actors at historic villages and farms in Missouri, as well as at Carver’s birthplace in Diamond, MO. Because the lion’s share of Carver’s lifetime of achievement occurred at Tuskegee University, the filmmakers want to reinforce the significance of his laboratory research and teaching there. Unfortunately, none of the interior settings where Carver worked at Tuskegee have been retained in their historical condition. After a wide search, Signature decided on the Saranac Laboratory Museum at Historic Saranac Lake, and will be undertaking location filming there on November 14.
Dating from 1894 – near the time when George Washington Carver was preparing to move from the Midwest to Tuskegee – the Saranac Laboratory’s white glazed brick walls, wooden cabinetry and period-accurate hood cabinet are very much of the same historical style as those of Carver’s later labs at Tuskegee. Period photographs reinforce that similarity. To round out the illusion, the filmmakers will be outfitting a professional actor with period attire to represent Carver, and are also seeking several young college age men and women to appear as supporting actors representing Carver’s African American students at Tuskegee. Acting experience is not required for these non-speaking roles, and Signature Communications will supply appropriate wardrobe as well as $100 stipend and a credit in the film. Contact: John Allen, 410-535-3477, FlickKid@Signacom.tv.
Photo Caption: George Washington Carver teaching in his Tuskegee University Laboratory, c.1905. Library of Congress photo archive.
The Fourth Annual Hobofest, an all-day music festival “at-the-tracks” in Saranac Lake NY celebrating railroad culture and the “hobo spirit,” is happening on Sunday, September 2nd. This year’s Hobofest will take place under the “big top,” to assure against the variables of weather, from noon until 11pm. Eat and Meet Grill & Larder will serve local fare, also a children’s activities booth and festival & artist merchandise tables.
This year’s special guest is Washington State legend, Baby Gramps. A former street musician and train buff, Gramps plays antique resonator National Steel guitars, and sings his own unique arrangements of rags, jazz, & blues songs from the 20′-s & 30′-s, and many originals with wordplay, humor, and throat singing. His appeal is to a wide range of audiences from “jam-band” – having toured with Phish and the Flecktones- to punk to old timey traditional and to kids of all ages. He has performed across the States, Canada, Europe, and Australia. Several unsigned, fully-realized ensembles, all “invested” in Hobofest, offer distinct takes on roots music: The intricate groove-grass pulse of Big Slyde, this year with the smoky vocals of Hanna Doan. The Adirondack-Brooklyn hybrid, Frankenpine, craft a modern take on bluegrass, with a colorful palette and original voicing. Crackin’ Foxy distinguish themselves with a post-vaudeville vintage of styled song, elegant female three-part harmony, and swinging arrangements. This year’s appearance of the young and grizzled Blind Owl Band, follows their recent romp through the Northeast, diving headlong into the mosh-pit of old-time as dance music.
The day traditionally kicks off with bluesman Steve Langdon hollerin’ and pickin’ ala John Henry against the din of the first arriving train. New to this stage this year are Eddy and Kim Lawrence, with their wry sense of humor, and deft fretwork from the Canadian border, Keene resident Stan Oliva, and Quinn Sands from Cleveland, OH.
On Sunday July 1, 2012 will mark the 50th annual Willard Hanmer Guideboat Race commemorating Willard Hanmer the preeminent Guide Boat builder of his era. The race has been celebrated every year since 1962 on the Sunday closest to the 4th of July.
This year, to celebrate the craftsmanship of this uniquely Adirondack craft, the organizers are planning a display of over 50 guideboats in a guideboat parade on Lake Flower prior to the race. Following the parade will be guideboat, canoe and kayak races.
This year the one-person guideboat race will follow the traditional route on Lake Flower, carry around the dam and down the Saranac River to the Fish and Game Club where there will be food, refreshments ands festivities for the whole family. Canoes and kayaks will be following the one person guideboat course, also going down the river. For those wishing to race in either the guideboat, recreational canoe or kayak classes contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to the Historic Saranac Lake Wiki (a great local online history source) Willard J. Hanmer, the son of Thoedore J. Hanmer “began working in his father’s boat shop as a child in about 1910, sticking tacks, caning seats and sanding hulls. He built his own shop in the 1920s.” The guideboat parade will be open to anyone wishing to display their guideboat. Natalie Bombard Corl Leduc, a participant in the inaugural race invites all past participants of the race to row in the parade. For those wishing to display their guideboats or participate in the guideboat parade contact: email@example.com.
Historic Saranac Lake announced a new seminar series, titled “History Matters,” to be held in May in the John Black Room of the Saranac Laboratory. The three Thursday discussions will focus on various topics of interest in Saranac Lake’s past.
The talks are presented by Historic Saranac Lake in collaboration with Paul Smith’s College. The series begins on May 17, with “The Development of the APA”, a panel discussion with Sandy Hayes and Steve Erman, moderated by Jim Hotaling. On May 24, the topic will be “History of Homesteading in the Adirondacks,” with Brett McLeod of Paul Smith’s College. On May 31, the theme is “Remembering the Olympics,” a panel discussion with Howard Riley, Jack LaDuke and Jim Rogers.
Three Thursday Discussions beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the John Black Room of the Saranac Laboratory, 89 Church Street, Saranac Lake. Entrance is $5 / person, members of Historic Saranac Lake free. Light refreshments will be provided.
Historic Saranac Lake will hold its Annual Meeting on November 1 at 7:00 PM, in the John Black Room of the Saranac Laboratory Museum in Saranac Lake. The meeting will feature a presentation of historic films by Jim Griebsch, featuring newly digitized footage of the Trudeau Sanitorium in 1929. The Kollecker film footage is shown courtesy of the Adirondack Room of the Saranac Lake Free Library.
An independent film and video director, Jim has spent time digitizing, restoring and editing 16mm spools of film from the 1920’s through the early 60‘s which have been archived in the Saranac Lake Free Library’s Adirondack Room. Born in Saranac Lake, Jim is an award winning producer, director and director of photography with numerous film, television and interactive credits to his name during his 40+ year career. He co-founded and owned Heliotrope Studios Ltd., in Cambridge, Mass. He worked on the feature film Cold River in Saranac Lake. His work has taken him around the world. Jim and his wife Carol have returned to Saranac Lake to live and as he continues to travel to Boston to work with MediaElectric Inc., on a variety of projects.
Jim Griebsch recently joined the Board of Directors of Historic Saranac Lake. In its 31st year, Historic Saranac Lake is an architectural preservation organization that captures and presents local history from its center at the Saranac Laboratory Museum.
The meeting is open to all members of Historic Saranac Lake and the public at large. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, please contact Historic Saranac Lake at (518) 891-4606.
Enhancing Main Street: Making Upper Floors Work Again is a free workshop that will be presented by the Preservation League of New York State on Tuesday, September 20, 2011 from 9:00 am – 3:30 pm at the Saranac Laboratory, 89 Church Street, Saranac Lake, NY.
This program will provide immediately useful information for property owners, developers, and preservation professionals including historic site managers, architects, consultants and accountants dealing with preservation project financing.
This workshop is in very high demand across New York State and this is the only time it is being offered in the North Country in 2011. While the workshop is free, seating is limited, and participants must register by Friday, September 16, 2011 for the 9/20 program.
The workshop’s featured presenters will include:
* Historic Preservation Program Analyst William Krattinger from the NYS Historic Preservation Office, who will discuss the advantages of Historic District designation-
* Joe Fama, architect and Executive Director of the Troy Architectural Program in Troy, who will explain how New York’s building codes and preservation can work together-
* Karl Gustafson of NYS Homes and Community Renewal, who will provide information on the New York State Main Street Program- and
* Gary Beasley, Executive Director of Neighbors of Watertown, who will discuss making the best use of upper floors.
Enhancing Main Street: Making Upper Floors Work Again is presented by the Preservation League of New York State and sponsored by Historic Saranac Lake- Adirondack Architectural Heritage- Empire State Development Corp., NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation- and NYS Homes and Community Renewal.
On June 22, 2011, Historic Saranac Lake will unveil a new John Black Room Exhibit, “The Little City in the Adirondacks: Historic Photographs of Saranac Lake.” Created in collaboration with the Adirondack Room of the Saranac Lake Free Library, the exhibit features almost fifty framed historic photographs of Saranac Lake residents and buildings during the early part of the twentieth century. The exhibit portrays a vibrant little city with a prospering and diverse economy. Saranac Lake grew quickly in the early 1900s to accommodate thousands of health seekers that came to the village seeking the fresh air cure for tuberculosis, made famous by Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau. The exhibit features the unique architecture of the village as well as photos of local residents at play and at work.
The photographs represent only small portion of the rich photo collection of the Adirondack Room of the Saranac Lake Free Library. Library curator, Michele Tucker graciously loaned the photos to Historic Saranac Lake, and a team of dedicated volunteers has worked to install the exhibit. Many of the photos were originally printed and framed by the late Barbara Parnass, who was one of the founding Board Members of Historic Saranac Lake in 1980.
The photograph exhibit replaces an earlier exhibit on World War I in Saranac Lake. The exhibit will be on display for twelve months. Plans are underway for a new, comprehensive exhibit on Saranac Lake history to be installed in the John Black Room in 2012.
The Saranac Laboratory Museum opens June 22. The public is invited to visit the new photo exhibit and the laboratory museum space during regular hours through October 7, Wednesday through Friday from 10:00 to 2:00, or any time by appointment. Admission is $5 per person, members and children free of charge.
Photo courtesy of the Adirondack Room, Saranac Lake Free Library.
Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) and Historic Saranac Lake (HSL) are offering a “Pioneer Health Resort Tour” in Saranac Lake, NY on Wednesday, June 15, 2011. The tour will be led by Mary Hotaling, former executive director of HSL, and current director, Amy Catania. It will include many of the buildings and sites that made Saranac Lake America’s “Pioneer Health Resort.” The village’s late 19th- and early 20th-century history is closely tied to the treatment for tuberculosis developed by Dr. Edward L. Trudeau. The tour will include the Trudeau Institute, where we will see the first cure cottage, Little Red, and the bronze sculpture of Trudeau by Gutzon Borglum. We’ll visit the former Trudeau Sanatorium, Saranac Laboratory, the Cure Cottage Museum, and the Bela Bartok Cottage.
The tour begins at 10 a.m. and ends around 3 p.m. Be prepared for uphill walking. The fee is $35 for AARCH and HSL members and $45 for nonmembers. Tour attendees will also receive a copy of Cure Cottages, by Phillip L. Gallos. Reservations are required for all tours by calling AARCH at 834-9328. Photo: Little Red cure cottage, Saranac Lake.
Do the words “Buffalo Wings” make your mouth water or do you prefer Shredded Wheat? Either way, you can thank New York State for bringing you both of these foods and many others as well. A new exhibition at The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown tells the story of the foods that got their start in New York State. New York’s Good Eats! Our Fabulous Foods opens this Saturday, May 28th. Several foods commonly eaten everyday across the nation were invented or first produced in New York State. Buffalo wings and potato chips are probably the most famous, but Thousand Island dressing was also created in the Empire State, and celery was first commercially farmed here. The exhibition will profile over a dozen foods – everything from Jell-O to Lifesavers to ice cream sundaes.
“New York has a rich agricultural and culinary history,” says Museum Curator Erin Richardson. “The whole family will enjoy learning about their favorite foods, discovering how they got their start, how they’ve changed, and the impact they have had.” In addition to fun food facts, New York’s Good Eats! will showcase important objects and artifacts, such as the oldest known tomato ketchup recipe, classic Jell-O molds, and an original packing crate for Shredded Wheat.
This new exhibition promises to be popular—not only because of the topic, but also because of how it is designed. “The Farmers’ Museum has developed an innovative, hands-on approach to engage visitors of all ages with this exhibition,” says Richardson. “From recipe sharing to an interactive family guide to trivia quizzes and coloring stations, there is something fun for everyone.”
New York’s Good Eats! Our Fabulous Foods opens Memorial Day Weekend on Saturday, May 28th in the Main Barn of The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y. The exhibition will run through October 2012. It is sponsored in part by Price Chopper, The Tianederrah Foundation, WMHT, Savor New York, and The New York State Council on the Arts. Visit FarmersMuseum.org for more information.
Illustration: The Saratoga Specialties Company makes potato chips according to the original recipe used by George Crum. The chips are made by hand and packaged in replica Moon’s Lake House take-out boxes. Ccourtesy of Saratoga Specialties Company.