Friday, June 25, 2010

1934 Earthquake

The rumbling we felt Wednesday as a result of the 5.0 earthquake centered north of Ottawa made us take note of a line in this April 19, 1934 letter, written by Arthur Thayer to his mother from the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp in Tupper Lake:
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He says, "I went to work Monday in the woods for the first time.  I did not here [sic] the earth quake [sic] Saturday perhaps because I was in the snow."

This earthquake was at Dannemora, NY on April 15, 1934 and was measured as 3.9 magnitude. NYS has prepared an interesting chart listing recorded earthquakes in the state available here.  It was reported in the April 19, 1934 Tupper Lake Free Press as a non-event.

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Thanks to Rosemary Corcoran, who brought the letter to the Franklin County Historical & Museum Society's  CCC Reunion on Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Civilian Conservation Corps Reunion

On June 23, 2010, the Franklin County Historical and Museum Society will host a reunion of Civilian Conservation Corps alumni, family, & friends at 6:30pm at the Schryer Center for Historical & Genealogical Research (the renovated carriage house behind the House of History Museum) at 51 Milwaukee Street, Malone, NY. They will celebrate the 77th anniversary of the founding of the CCC by sharing their stories and pictures of the CCC camps.

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) began on March 31, 1933 under President Roosevelt’s “New Deal” to relieve the poverty and unemployment of the Depression. Camps were set up in many New York towns, state parks, & forests. Workers built trails, roads, campsites & dams, stocked fish, built & maintained fire tower observer’s cabins & telephone lines, fought fires, & planted millions of trees. The CCC disbanded in 1942 due to the need for men in WW II.

Author and historian Marty Podskoch will give a short Power Point presentation on the history, lore & legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps camps in New York. CCC alumni will have time to share their stories of their days in CCC camps both in New York and other states.

Presently, Marty Podskoch is conducting research on the Civilian Conservation Camps in the Adirondacks and Connecticut. He is keenly interested in meeting individuals who may have CCC stories to contribute to his next book. Marty Podskoch will have all of his books available after the presentation for sale and signing.

For those unable to attend this reunion, there are three other reunions planned. Contact Marty or visit his website for his schedule. If anyone has information or pictures of relatives or friends who worked at one of the CCC camps, please contact Marty Podskoch at: 36 Waterhole Rd., Colchester, CT 06415 or 860-267-2442, or

For more information on the reunion, contact Anne Werley Smallman, Director of the Franklin County Historical and Museum Society at: (518)483-2750. The event is free and open to the public.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Franklin County Wilderness Guides, 1872

The following list of wilderness guides is taken from "The Modern Babes in the Woods, or Summerings in the Wilderness" (1872) by Henry Perry Smith, Pp 442-444.  Digitized and available at Google Books here:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Malone to Meacham Lake in the 1870s

Excerpt from Pp 79-85 Camps and Tramps in the Adirondacks, and Grayling Fishing in Northern Michigan: A Record of Summer Vacations in the Wilderness, by A. Judd Northrup; 1880:




The complete book is digitized and available through Google Books and can be found here.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

History of WNBZ Radio

WNBZ, which broadcasts from Saranac Lake to the Tri-Lakes area, is in its 83rd year.  The radio station has compiled a history page on their website, complete with audio files from their archives. 

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Visit the WNBZ website for more newspaper clippings, audio files and photos. 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

House of History Molasses Cookies

Here's the recipe for those famous molasses cookies, made and eaten by thousands of 4th graders over the past 35 years as they visited the House of History museum:

4 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1 t. ginger
2 t. cinnamon
1 c. shortening
1 c. molasses
2 eggs

Sift together the first six ingredients. Cut in shortening. Add molasses and eggs. Mix well, using hands. Roll teaspoonful of dough into a ball and roll in extra sugar in dish or on wax paper. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees (F) for 8-10 minutes (12-15 for crunchy cookies).

- The recipe is halved when used at the museum
- This recipe also appears in "The Malone Cookbook", 1983 edition. (available in museum gift shop)

Do you remember visiting the House of History as a 4th grader? Can you still smell those cookies baking? Make a batch today and plan to visit the Franklin County Historical & Museum Society again - or for the first time.

The House of History summer hours are Tuesday & Thursday 1-4pm for tours. The Schryer Center for Historical & Genealogical Research summer hours are Tuesday through Friday, 1-4pm (plus four Saturdays in July: 10, 17, 24, 31).

Bellmont Center School District #2

From the record of minutes of the School District #2, Bellmont Center, NY 1919-1946:

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The minutes of the May 1, 1923 meeting read:
"At the annual school meeting held at the school house in district no. 2
James Seymour Sr. was elected chairman
Mrs. James Seymour clerk.
Tellers -- James Seymour Jr. and
"            Frederick Machabee.
Trustees report received and accepted
James Legacy was elected trustee
Mrs. C.D. Reid was elected collector
Motion was made and carried that $400.00 be raised to meet the years expense.  Motion was made that the trustee write to Albany to obtain the right to use the money, given the Dr. for examining the children, and use it for the children in the distgrict.
Mr. James Cromp is to deliver 15 cords of bldg wood at $2.97 per cord.  Part of which is to be delivered Jan. 1, 1924. The remainder March 1, 1924. 
James Cromp is to draw 2 cords of building wood for $2.97.
Motioned and carried that school opens for fall term not any later than September first.
Motion made and carried that school close for two weeks in the fall for potatoe [sic] digging.  
Motioned that we adjourn.  Carried.  
Mrs. James Seymour Clerk
James Seymour Chairman"
  The minutes generally deal with the election of officers, the budget, and general maintenance of the building through 1934 (which year the teacher was to receive "$22 a week if there is money enough to pay her without raising more taxes").  At the May 7, 1935 meeting, however, the following is recorded:
"A motion was made and carried that the school be closed for one year and the children carried to Malone schools if not satisfied the school can be open the next year."

No mention is made in the following two years regarding the success of this experiment.  In the May 3, 1938 minutes however, it is noted:
"Motion has been made and carried that the trustee contracts with Malone Schools for instruction of all grade pupils also provide transportation for High School pupils."

The final entry in the minutes book is from 1946: 
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 Note the entry: "... all children of school age in the District be transported to Malone Schools."

Friday, June 4, 2010

Poems by William Marshall Howard

This slim volume in the collection of the Franklin County Historical & Museum Society was published in 1900 by Marshall Everts Howard, father of the author, William, who died at age 19. 

The introduction reads:
"If any be inclined to smile that this little volume is given to the public, let them remember it is the work of a youth not yet passed out of his teens ere death's cold hand was laid upon him; or, if any incline to pass the poems along with the remark that they are "sweet and simple," yet is it not the sweet and simple that we love to remember?
William Marshall Howard was born June 4, 1880, in Malone, N.Y., where he spent his life in a loving home, except a short period at the Conservatory of Music in Boston, Mass.  He also received instruction in sketching and painting.  In each department many proofs of his ability remain in the adornment of his home.  
His poetical effusions seemed a natural gift, of which no one was aware till they begain to appear in the poets' corner of the local papers. 
Of frail constitution from childhood, his health was undermined by la grippe about Christmas time of 1898, and still farther drawn upon by the death of his mother the following March.  A little later a sea trip to the South was taken, resulting somewhat beneficially, so that the summer was passed very pleasantly. 
But when school commenced it soon became apparent that his health had not rallied sufficiently to bear the strain, and "God touched him and he slept," passing softly away October 6, 1899, as he sat in his armchair quietly reading." 

This poem was written to his mother, Louise Aurilla Howard, who died seven months before him: