Tag Archives: Saranac Lake

Wife of Abolitionist John Brown Subject of Performance

Author-historian Sandra Weber and musician David Hodges will present a dramatic performance of the life of Mary Day Brown, wife of radical abolitionist John Brown.

The Adirondack Museum&#8216-s Cabin Fever Sunday series will return to Saranac Lake, New York on February 27, 2011. &#8220Times of Trouble&#8221 with Weber and Hodges will be held at Saranac Village at Will Rogers. The time will be 2:00 p.m. The presentation will offered at no charge to museum members, residents of Saranac Village, and children of elementary school age or younger. The fee for non-members is $5.00.

Dressed in period costume, Weber and Hodges will weave narrative and song to share the little known life of Mary Brown. The poignant piece illustrates the significant role this plain woman played as wife of the radical abolitionist John Brown.

The program will present Mary’s early life and marriage as well as later tragedies involving bankruptcy, accidents, and death. The presentation closes with Mrs. Brown’s most difficult &#8220times of trouble&#8221 in the aftermath of the raid on Harper’s Ferry. Sandra Weber has spent ten years researching the life of Mary Day Brown.

Weber is an author, storyteller, and independent scholar with special interest in the Adirondacks, Mary and John Brown, as well as women’s history. Her publishing credits include eight books and numerous articles in periodicals such as Civil War Times, Adirondack Life, Pennsylvania Magazine, and Highlights for Children.

In 2004 and 2005, Sandra Weber toured with folksinger Peggy Lynn performing stories from their book, Breaking Trail: Remarkable Women of the Adirondacks.

David Hodges has played guitar and bass for more than twenty years. He has performed with bands throughout New York, Texas and Pennsylvania and recorded CDs with &#8220Mad Factory&#8221 and &#8220Evil Twin.&#8221 Hodges currently plays with &#8220Mr. Freeze,&#8221 a blues-rock band, and accompanies Sandra Weber in folk music performances.

Adk Museum Acquires Architecure Collection

The library of the Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake, New York has acquired the archives of a major Adirondack architectural firm that include what museum officials are calling &#8220the most important collection of historic architectural records in the Adirondack Park.&#8221

The Saranac Lake firm began as William L. Coulter, Architect and ended more than a century of notable work as Wareham, DeLair Architects (WDA). Principals in the firm over time included Coulter- his partner, Max H. Westhoff who practiced solo after Coulter’s death- William G. Distin, Coulter’s protege and Westhoff’s partner- Arthur Wareham, Distin’s partner- and Ronald H. Delair, partner since 1970.

The Adirondack Museum received the materials as a donation from Ronald DeLair, the firm’s final principal. According to museum librarian Jerry Pepper, the process to receive the collection began in the late 1970s. Official transfer of custody was completed in the late summer, 2010.

Pepper notes that DeLair took extraordinary care of the collection over time, and that the extensive material is very well organized. The collection is diverse as well as wide-ranging. The index alone is comprised of forty single-spaced pages.

Including thousands of architectural drawings and renderings for camps, residences, businesses, sanitarium, Olympic facilities, municipal buildings and churches, a certificate signed by President Theodore Roosevelt, as well as forty boxes of records and three-dimensional models, the collection documents some of the region’s most important architects.

Coulter was the first resident architect to establish a practice in the Adirondacks. Distin was a pioneer of the Adirondack style of architecture. A sample of his classic designs include “Camp Mossrock” on Upper Saranac Lake, “Camp Wonundra” built for William Rockefeller in 1934, and Eagle Nest, designed for Walter Hochschild in 1938.

Westhoff was a member of the original class at Pratt Institute and introduced a Swiss motif into the firm’s repertoire. Wareham completed design work for the Trudeau Institute and worked on numbers of libraries and municipal buildings. DeLair designed fewer camps than his predecessors, concentrating on public projects.

Wareham DeLair Architects, which celebrated it centennial in 1997, is the fifth oldest firm in continuous practice in New York State.

In addition to capturing the wide spectrum of regional architecture, the collection also illustrates changing tastes and building technology over time, and provides a unique and invaluable insight into the history of the Adirondacks.

Jerry Pepper says that the DeLair material builds on the Adirondack Museum’s already significant collections of architectural records that include drawings by William West Durant, Grosvenor Atterbury, Augustus Shepard, and John Burnham.

Photo: Trudeau Foundation Research Laboratory, Saranac Lake, NY. Distin and Wareham Architects, 1964. Collection of the Adirondack Museum.

Historic Saranac Lake Gets Preservation Grant

Historic Saranac Lake (HSL) was recently awarded National Endowment for the Humanities Preservation Assistance Grant. The grant will support the services of a professional consultant and the purchase of storage materials for the HSL collection.

Eileen Corcoran, of Vergennes Vermont, will conduct a general preservation assessment and to help draft a long-range plan for the care of the HSL collection. She will also provide on site training to staff in methods and materials for the storage of collections, best practices for cataloging collections, and proper methods for the arrangement and description of archival collections.

Historic Saranac Lake houses a collection of letters and manuscripts, photographs and objects pertaining to the early scientific research of tuberculosis and care of TB patients in Saranac Lake, as well as a variety of items relating to the architecture and general history of the community. A number of these items are rare survivors of the many, many examples that once existed, such as an inspection certificate, or a record of patient treatments. They tell the story of a community of healing.

The Historic Saranac Lake collection is used for exhibitions, educational programs and by researchers. Historic Saranac Lake currently maintains two exhibitions at the Saranac Laboratory Museum. The main laboratory space is a model of a very early science lab. Visitors explore and gain an appreciation for the history of science by observing artifacts and letters on display such as early microscopes and laboratory equipment, early scientific journals and photographs of important men in the history of science.

An alcove in the laboratory has been arranged as an exhibit on patient care, another important facet of Saranac Lake’s TB history. Items from the collection are displayed such as a cure chair, photos of cure cottages, letters from patients, sputum cups, a pneumothorax machine for collapsing the lung, and items made by patients in occupational therapy. Visitors gain an understanding of the patient experience taking the fresh air cure in Saranac Lake.

The main floor meeting space contains another exhibition, “The Great War, WWI in Saranac Lake.” This exhibit includes letters from local soldiers, medals, photos, and a complete WWI uniform and supplies such as a gas mask and mess kit. The exhibit interprets this important time period in history and how it impacted Saranac Lake.

Historic Saranac Lake is a not-for-profit architectural preservation organization that captures and presents local history from their center at the Saranac Laboratory Museum. Founded in 1980, Historic Saranac Lake offers professional knowledge and experience to the public in support of Historic Preservation, architectural and historical research and education. HSL operates the Saranac Laboratory Museum and an online museum of local history at hsl.wikispot.org.

NEH is an independent grant-making agency of the United States government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities. Preservation Assistance Grants help small and mid-sized institutions—such as libraries, museums, historical societies, archival repositories, cultural organizations, town and county records offices, and colleges and universities—improve their ability to preserve and care for their humanities collections.

Historic Saranac Lake to Hold Annual Meeting

Historic Saranac Lake will hold its Annual Meeting on November 9 at 7:00 PM, in the John Black Room of the Saranac Laboratory Museum. The meeting marks the organization’s 30th year, and will feature a talk by Caperton Tissot on her new book, Adirondack Ice: a Cultural and Natural History.

Ice has determined the course of Adirondack history in many surprising ways. This book traces the evolution of that influence, touching on everything from ice industries and transportation to recreation and accidents. In 360 pages of personal stories, observations and over 200 historic and contemporary photos, the author pays tribute to a fast disappearing era.

Ms. Tissot will be available to sign books afterward, and will donate a portion of the profits sold at the meeting to Historic Saranac Lake.

Historic Saranac Lake is a not-for-profit 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.

Historic Saranac Lake Offers Cemetery Tour

On Saturday, October 16 at 1:00 pm, local storyteller Bob Seidenstein will lead a tour through St. Bernard’s Cemetery in Saranac Lake to benefit Historic Saranac Lake.

The cemetery of St. Bernard’s Church in Saranac Lake is located on Ampersand Avenue at the intersection with Forest Home Road. Stones date to 1918. Roman Catholics were also buried in the Catholic section of Pine Ridge Cemetery. Among those buried here are long-time Saranac Lake mayor Charles Keough- village historian John Duquette- skating champion Edmund Lamy- baseball great Larry Doyle, New York Giants second baseman, the last patient to leave Trudeau Sanatorium- and Herbert Clark, the first 46er.

Bob Seidenstein grew up in Saranac Lake and has worked as a professor of English at Paul Smith’s College since 1973. A local storyteller, he writes a weekly column for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, “The InSeide Dope.”

Bob has loosely titled this tour, &#8220Helping the Dead Come Alive.&#8221 He offers as an explanation, “I look at my role as not letting the people and their lives fade into obscurity. While, objectively, all of us are &#8220average&#8221 people, none of us live average lives. And I like to discover, share, and celebrate the uniqueness of the people of My Home Town.”

This is the first tour of the Catholic Cemetery sponsored by Historic Saranac Lake. Mr. Seidenstein has provided memorable tours in the past of Pine Ridge Cemetery. Admission for the tour is $5 per person to benefit Historic Saranac Lake. Please call HSL at 891-4606 to reserve a spot, or email mail@historicsaranaclake.org. The tour will meet at 1:00 at the cemetery gates.

Do You Recognize These Adirondack Faces?

All bundled up and ready for fun and perhaps just a little mischief! Saranac Lake, New York photographer William F. Kollecker snapped a shot of these adorable children in 1935. The image is now in the collection of the Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake, N.Y. Sadly, the names of the kids were not recorded on the photo.

The museum will use the photograph in advertising for the 2010 Cabin Fever Sunday Series. The happy little faces will smile out from posters and newspaper ads throughout the North Country. Do you know who they are?

The Adirondack Museum would like to complete the historical record connected with this photo, and learn the names of the children if possible.

If you recognize your mother, grandfather, or even yourself in the photograph, please contact Susan Dineen, Director of Marketing at (518) 352-7311, ext. 121 or email info@adkmuseum.org.

William F. Kollecker produced a rich collection of photographs of the Saranac Lake area. The photos are largely preserved in the Adirondack Collection of the Saranac Lake Free Library. He is recognized today as the most successful and prolific photographer in the village’s history.

According to Historic Saranac Lake, &#8220No other photographer captured the face and feeling of Saranac Lake or portrayed the lives and lifestyles of its citizens with greater accuracy or artistry for a comparable time period.&#8221 Among the many faces he captured were those of these children.

Photo: Photograph by William F. Kollecker, ca. 1935 from the collections of the Adirondack Museum.