Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Carter's Pond

I apologize for being so far behind on the blog.  Today's post, in honor of our freak mid-April snowstorm, I am writing about a quick hike my daughter & I took this past weekend at Carter's Pond. We were out & about checking out cemeteries & trying to fulfill some grave stone image requests from Find-A-Grave in Salem, when I decided to take a detour off Route 29 & head up to Crater's Pond. I had the blog in mind because I haven't featured much on the eastern part of the town.

Sign says 435 acres, but DEC website says 446.5 acres

If you have never stopped at Carter's Pond, I highly recommend it. The hiking trail is an even, well-maintained path, about one mile in length, at the southern portion of the 447 acres managed by the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation. It was completed in 1980. This portion is handicap accessible, & you can get a good view of the pond to the north from the "observation tower." You can get a detailed map HERE.

Looking north at Carter Pond from observation tower

Looking east from observation tower

As of 2002, Carter's Pond is also a Bird Conservation Area boasting over 100 species of birds, including geese, ducks, sparrows, pheasant, turkeys, warblers, heron, & water thrushes, just to name a few.

Waterfowl Habitat Restoration sign at Carter's Pond

One of the many birdhouses in the wetlands

We only saw a few Canada Geese at Carter's Pond

The sun was bright & warm through the leafless threes

Trail marker at Carter's Pond
It was nice that the trail markers were present & in good condition, though with the well-maintained trail, they seemed a bit redundant.

A beautiful patch of moss

Remember to leave only footprints

In my office I have a copy of the Fresh Water Wetlands Preservation map outlining & approving the management area around Carter's Pond. The maps are signed by Paul J. Elston, First Deputy Commissioner of the DEC, under Ogden Reid, Commissioner. The documents are dated January 29, 1976.

Northern portion of Crater's Pond 1976

Southern portion of Carter's Pond 1976

Close-up of scale for Carter's Pond map 1976

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Kayaking in Greenwich

I am not one to generally complain about winter. It is my 3rd favorite season, after Spring & Fall, but even I am beginning to feel a bit of the cabin fever. That said, I thought I would share a post with lots of green.

Last summer, my parents, daughter & I decided we wanted to get out the kayaks &paddle around a bit. (OK, we dragged my daughter along.) Luckily we didn't have far to go. We strapped on the 2-person kayak, hopped in the truck & headed a couple of miles down the road to the Battenkill. We put in on Pulp Mill Lane in Clark's Mills (see map below). It was a lovely day.

View Larger Map

Kayaking downstream from the put-in spot along Pulp Mill Lane

Kayaking past the old railroad trestle

Railroad trestle along the riverbank on the Pulp Mill Lane side

The Easton side of the Battenkill

Turn-around spot- Just beyond is a waterfall that powers Easton H&V plant

Passing the put-in spot on Pulp Mill Lane

Another waterfall & an old H&V mill building

Warning sign- especially important this coming spring as the snow melts

There is a small island just below the warning sign.

It is a lovely, calm little spot to kayak. Just be careful. & always respect the water.

Oh, & we saw some swallowtail butterflies drinking water.

Stay tuned: Next time I have some interesting H & V artifacts to share.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Commemorating 150 Years: Kate Mullany in Troy

Did you know that there is a National Historic Site in Troy, NY? Yep, as in the National Park Service. I was not aware of it until this past Saturday.

You may recall I posted an event on the Town of Greenwich Facebook page last Friday regarding labor organizer Kate Mullany who lead the 1864 strike of collar laundry workers (women) in Troy, NY (aka the Collar City). 2014 marks the 150th anniversary of this event, lead by a teenager, which succeeded (after only 5 1/2 days) in granting the women better working conditions, higher wages, & shorter hours (the big 3).  Kate Mullany went on to become the 1st woman appointed to a National Labor Union post in 1868. The Kate Mullany House is located at 350 Eighth Street in Troy.

The event was sponsored by the Rensselaer County Historical Society. It consisted of a slide show while guests made there own strike signs. Then we marched down 2nd Street shouting like strikers. My daughter, was a bit embarrassed when I started shouting, though she didn't seem to mind the others shouting "Don't iron, while the strike is hot!" Here's a look at what you missed.

Making our strike sign for the Kate Mullany event 2014

I tweeted about our sign above.

Some guests dressed the part

Slide show of the collar industry & Kate Mullany

RCHS Director, Ilene Frank, addresses the guests

Rensselaer County Historical Society (RCHS) in Troy, NY

Marching on 3rd St in Troy

Participating in the march on 3rd St in Troy

One of the photos I took I posted on my personal Instagram account (above).

We congregated in front of the NYS Dept. of Labor near the Farmer's Market

Educating the public about Kate Mullany

Strikers inside the winter Farmer's Market

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Albany Rural Cemetery - History In Photos: The Presidential Grave

I apologize for the re-blog... I am reading People of Albany: During Albany's Second 200 Years (1800s & 1900s), Albany Rural Cemetery by Peter J. Hess & got to thinking about all of the people buried there. I really need to go visit this cemetery in Menands. Click on the 1st link to see the images that go along with this re-blog from Albany Rural Cemetery - History In Photos blog by Paula Lemire. The 2nd link takes you to the All Over Albany blog with a post by James Greene, Jr. Both posts are from Oct. 17, 2012. 

Albany Rural Cemetery - History In Photos: The Presidential Grave: One of my favorite local sites, All Over Albany, has an article today on what is easily the most famous grave at the Albany Rural Cemetery...

Gravespotting Chester A. Arthur.
The monument marking the resting place of President Arthur was the work of Baltimore sculptor Ephraim Keyser.  Reportedly, the elegant bronze angel and black stone sarcophagus cost $10,000.  The funds were raised by a group of the late President's friends.  It was erected in the Arthur family lot on the South Ridge in 1889, some three years after Arthur's death.

The white marble markers seen behind the monument in the antique photo below belong to members of the Arthur family, including Chester Arther's parents.  His wife's delicate Gothic sarcophagus is hidden by the larger Presidential monument in this photo, but is located just to the rear of it and it will be the subject of an upcoming post here.

In his 1893 history of the Albany Rural Cemetery, Henry P. Phelps wrote about the Arthur gravesite:

We turn now towards one of the most interesting and artistic monuments in the Cemetery, erected to the memory of Chester Alan Arthur, twenty-first president of the United States, born October 5, 1830, died November 18, 1886.  The lot is not a large one, nor is it conspicuous.  It was purchased by the president's father, Rev. William Arthur, and there he and the president's mother, wife, and son are buried.  It was right and best, of course, that Mr. Arthur should sleep among his kindred and his grave was made there before any testimonial was projected.  This is the free, cheerful, almost unasked for contribution of his friends, resident largely in the state of New York.  With few words, with little publicity, and no solicitation, a handsome sum of money was promptly raised, sufficient to pay for the monument and also for a statue in New York City.  The whole proceeding was conducted in the generous, gentlemanly way so much in accordance with the life and manner of the man whom it was sought thus to honor.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Photo Essay: Part 3- On Our Way to the Lake

As time slides along its inexorable path, we humans do not realize the history we may witness, and which we fail to record. The events of today are the history of tomorrow but we do not recognize it until much later.
Thus begins the preface to a very good book called The Champlain Canal: Mules to Tugboats by Captain Fred G. Godfrey. I bought this book at the history fair last fall. The statement is very true from my point of view. I hope this blog, keeping my diary, & introducing you & my daughter to local history are ways of documenting that history that night be lost

 The finale of our Champlain Barge Canal excursion happened in late October. Luckily the weather cooperated on all those Mondays.

Sediment dredged from the Hudson River is placed in these vessels^

The image above is slightly north of Lock 7 in Fort Edward, NY. This is where the Champlain Barge Canal leaves the Hudson River entirely behind on its path to Lake Champlain.

Historic marker at the aqueduct in Fort Edward, NY

The aqueduct in Fort Edward, just north of the Old Fort House, on the opposite side of US Route 4 is really beautiful, even if dilapidated. Further north there is an apartment building that used to house mules for changing out.

Part of the old aqueduct & junction locks in Fort Edward, NY

Panoramic view of lock 8 on the Champlain Barge Canal in Fort Edward*

Fiona took these shots with a panoramic feature on her iPod. She wanted to use them in her photo essay, but we couldn't get a decent print copy.

Panoramic view of Lock 9 on the Champlain Barge Canal in Smith's Basin*

Canal park- Old locks in Fort Ann, NY

The doors of the lock at Lock 10 in Comstock*

Lock 10 is located in Comstock, NY. In the photograph below you can see the red barn and other buildings of the Washington Correctional Facility compound. My father, Iliff W. Dolton, Jr. worked at this NY State medium-security prison for over 20 years.

Washington Correctional Facility as seen from Lock 10*

Lock 12 of the Champlain Barge Canal is in Whitehall, NY & is at the base of Lake Champlain. During the summer months it can be quite busy, but it was pretty quiet with the spent fall foliage. (Did you notice? There is no Lock 11. It was deemed unnecessary & never built.)

NY State & NY Canal Corporation flags fly over Lock 12

Sign for safety at Champlain Barge Canal Lock 12 in Whitehall, NY

By the time we hit the last lock in Whitehall, NY we were a bit silly. Well, I guess we tend to be a bit silly most of the time, especially when we are traveling, & singing in the car.

Fiona caught me acting goofy at Lock 12*

Fiona took a selfie at Lock 12*

Thank you for coming on Fiona & I on our adventure. I hope you plan one soon!

* These photographs were taken by Fiona A. Dolton-Coons on her iPod 5 in October 2013. None of these were used in her final photo essay for JAC.

^This photograph was taken Fiona A. Dolton-Coons on her iPod 5 in October 2013. It was used in her final photo essay for JAC.

*** UPDATE: On March 1, 2014, Fiona was awarded First Place in the Junior American Citizens Photo Essay "Honoring Our Heritage" by the NY State DAR. ***

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Photo Essay: Part Two- Reminiscing Lock 6

Fiona & I continued our little Monday adventures around the Champlain Canal, up & down US Route 4. We watched the dredging near our house, just below Lock 6. The sound of the machines groaning through the valley, especially at night. I told her a bit about my life growing up along the Hudson.

Looking south toward Lock 6 from one of the bridges
 I'm not sure if it was this one or the one further north, but during the summer local kids, mostly boys, would jump off the bridge into the canal below. This part of the Hudson is not safe to swim in, especially with the dredging. Also, this part of the canal is lined with large pieces of cut stone. No swimming, or diving is allowed in the canal.

Lock 6 filling up
When my younger sister, Heather, & I were little, our mom & aunt used to bicycle us over to the canal from our house about 1/2 a mile away. One day a barge was going through the lock & we got to see the whole thing. The barge pull in, the water drain out with the barge slowly going down, the doors open, & the barge spill out into the Hudson headed south. One of the crew members threw up apples to us.

Looking north from Lock 6 in Fort Miller, NY

Full lock waiting for the down river arrival of a boat

Safety warnings so people don't fall in the canal

Cleengineering boat going through Champlain Canal Lock 6

Lock 6 has emptied and doors are opening to let out the southbound boat

Looking south from Lock 6- The Point is on the right
 In the image above, just around the corner from where the concrete ends in the upper right, there is a shale ledge called The Point. People used to go out there at night & party. But in the summers of 1985 & 1986, when we were really into INXS, Breathe, & Bryan Adams (sometimes we brought our cassette players), my little sister & I, & sometimes our friends, would go out there & wade into the Hudson. We soon realized that barefoot was a bad idea, so we wore our jelly shoes. Again, not a great idea because of the water pollution, but there is also a nasty current nearby.

Southbound boat is leaving Lock 6

The above is video my daughter, Fiona, shot while working on her photo essay. It shows Lock 6 closing its doors.

Dredging is underway south of Lock 6

Crocker's Reef Guard gate north of Lock 6
 When I was finally able to ride my bike well enough, I was allowed to ride along US Route 4 as far as what we called the "drop gate." It is actually called a guard gate, that helps protect the canal from flooding & snow melt in the spring.

Looking north from the Guard Gate toward Fort Edward