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- January 12:“Parker Francis Dunn: A Boy, His Bravery and a Bridge.” More than 35,000 motorists drive over the Dunn Memorial Bridge each weekday, heading to their jobs in Albany or home to the suburbs beyond the City of Rensselaer. It’s a safe bet that few, if any, of these commuters who cross the bridge know anything about the person for whom it is named. Even long-time Albany Mayor Gerald D. Jennings was stumped when asked about Parker Dunn. Who was Parker Francis Dunn? Where was this young man from? Why is this span over the Hudson River named for him? The presentation included many photos of Parker Dunn from a toddler to a young man and images of the bridge before, during and after construction of each of the two bridges named for Dunn. Speaker Mark Bodnar enlightened us on local history that’s been lost to today’s world, and revealed the life and bravery of a young hero from Albany whose name is only known today in the bridge that bears his name.
- February 9: Local artist and performer Clifford Oliver Mealy recreated the persona of Solomon Northup, a free African-American New Yorker kidnapped into slavery before the Civil War, whose story was also a 2013 Academy Award-winning motion picture.
- January 13: Heidi Hill, Historic Site Manager for Ft. Crailo and Schuyler Mansion, entertained and educated us with Sustenance and Style: Dining and Food Ways of the 17th Century Dutch in the Hudson Valley.
- February 10: Keeping with the theme of Dutch history in New York, Geoff Benton from Fort Crailo gave an exceptional and informative talk entitled Life and Legacy of New Netherlands. The program focused on the discovery of the Hudson River in 1609, through the English takeover of the Dutch colony in 1664 and was followed by a great Q&A period.
- March 10: In honor of Women's History Month, our program featured beloved American author Louisa May Alcott. Historical reenactor Denise Wright, a local woman and teacher, presented the program in costume and in character. Denise did an outstanding job and she received a standing ovation. (Click on the picture at right to see a larger version.)
- Thursday, April 23: The Sand Lake Historical Society, with very generous support from the Averill Park Education Foundation, Sand Lake Kiwanis Club, the Old Daley on Crooked Lake and Spectra Environmental Group, Inc., presented Teddy Roosevelt Revisits Sand Lake at the historic Old Daley on Crooked Lake. Details (with more to come soon)!
- May 12: The annual meeting of the Sand Lake Historical Society was held Tuesday, May 12th. Ron and Barbara Neu Berti graciously shared their Sand Lake home for a pot luck dinner. Kathy Sheehan from the Rensselaer County Historical Society was the guest speaker. Her topic, Murder And Mayhem in Rensselaer County, was well received by all who attended.
New trustees were elected for the upcoming year: Joseph Ferrannini (second term, 2018); Kathryn (Katie) Kombat (second term, 2018); Sue Powers (first term, 2018); Brian Morini (first term, 2018): Andrew Mace (first term, 2018); and Rosemarie Sniezyk (first term, 2018). (Joan Fuess chaired the Nominating Committee, with Robert Loesch and Mary Weber.)
Following the Annual Meeting, the Trustees met to name new officers for 2015-16: Joe Ferrannini, President; Joan Fuess, Vice President; Rosemarie Sniezyk, Corresponding Secretary; Dee Erickson, Recording Secretary; and Barbara Neu, Treasurer.
- June 9: Dr. Janny Venema, Author and Researcher of the New Netherland Research Center, presented Kiliaen van Rensselaer, Beverwijck and the New Netherland Research Center. Her talk included information from her books, Kiliaen Van Rensselaer (1586-1643): Designing a New World and Beverwijck: A Dutch Village on the American Frontier, 1652-1664. She also covered charity in Beverwijck and the work they are doing at the New Netherland Institute in Albany.
- September 8: Member and Town Historian Bob Moore updated us on the "Sand Lake: Then and Now" Smartphone app. He also talked about the Averill Park Schools Video Discovery Program (1985-1991) and showed some of the videos produced by the students, including an interview with High School English teacher Tony Butler, a "tour" of the Adirondacks in a sea plane, highlights of a July 4 Big Thunder Day celebration in Hoag's Corners, and the 1989 interview of Al Coons, then the owner of the Crooked Lake Hotel.
- October 13: Actor, singer, songwriter and lawyer, Jack Casey, discussed The Trial of Bat Shea, a novel he authored based on a real murder in Troy, NY, in 1894. It involves politics, voter fraud, and class conflict. The novel recounts how a saloon thug set out to steal an election, and how a methodical, flag-waving mob then twisted the law to extract the last final measure of revenge -- a life for a life -- in the name of truth and justice.
- November 10 special event: Teddy Roosevelt “Revisits” Again, at Sand Lake Center for the Arts. You will remember that, in April, Teddy Roosevelt (a.k.a. Joe Wiegand) “revisited” Sand Lake to a sold-out crowd at The Old Daley on Crooked Lake. That April event was shown in its entirety. Also featured was a 1989 interview with Al Coons, then-owner of the Crooked Lake Hotel. Westfield Production Company generously provided the DVDs, which will be for sale for $15 to the general public and $10 for members of the Sand Lake Historical Society.
- December 8: The annual Christmas party of the Sand Lake Historical Society. Ron and Barbara Neu-Berti graciously shared their magnificent home on Schumann Rd. in Sand Lake.
- January 14: Kenneth James spoke about his life work to preserve the American Chestnut Tree, growing and experimenting with trees on his Stephentown property.
- February 11: “Show and Tell About Local Quilts” by local quilters or quilt owners presenting 19th and 20th century quilts owned and/or created in Sand Lake and vicinity.
- March 11: an overview and history of the “Berkshire Glass Works” was presented by Julie Sloan and William Patriquin. Their book -- The Berkshire Glass Works -- is available.
- April 8: Phyllis Chapman dba “Vintage Visitors”portrayed “Lucy Larcom: A New England Mill Worker in the 19th Century.” Lucy Larcom, later to become a noted poet and educator, began her working life in a New England textile factory in the 1830s. As a young mill worker, Lucy told of the working and living conditions many young farm girls experienced in the early days of America’s Industrial Revolution, going into the mills hoping to make a better life for themselves.
- May 13: Our Annual Dinner Meeting and Program was at, and about, the Burden Lake Country Club, with a history of the Burden Lake Country Club by Tom Choquette.
- June 10: Searching the History of Your House, with David Ernst, FramePro Construction, and Fred Erickson, West Sand Lake homeowner.
- September 9: Bob Moore, Town of Sand Lake Historian, gave a short preview of the new iPhone app Sand Lake: Then and Now. When you reach a location on the map with a red arrow, click and it will bring up a photo of that location’s past. Click again and text will appear explaining the history. The second part of the program was at video interview of past Sand Lake Town Historian Judy Rowe, conducted by Rensselaer County Historian Kathy Sheehan.
- October 14: Working at Faith Mills. Bob Loesch spoke on some of the history of the mill, and Rich Castle reminisced about growing up in and about the Mill and about working there. Ian Glasgow of
NextAdvance, manufacturer of "Innovative Lab Products for the Life Sciences," spoke about his company, which currently occupies some of the old mill space and also talked briefly about other businesses currently there, including Signature Stones and Worden Safety Products LLC. If you missed the program, you can download a copy of a reprint of articles on Faith Mills from issues of Historical Highlights by Rich Castle (file is approx. 1.7 megs).
- November 11: Carl Markussen talked about the history of the Methodist Church in West Sand Lake along with related topics including other early churches and early families in West Sand Lake.
- Unfortunately, our December meeting/holiday party was canceled due to inclement weather.
- January 8: Jim Bonesteel, president of the Rensselaer Plateau Alliance, talked about the “History of the Rensselaer Plateau.”
- February 12: Mike Esposito presented a review of his book Troy’s Little Italy (Arcadia Publishing, 2009), a story of Italian immigrants escaping abject poverty and coming to Troy.
- March 12: Mac McEvilly told the story of an Irish Civil War soldier and talked about the important role of the Irish on both sides of the Civil War. Mac, (a Son of Erin in his own right), is the Captain of the re-enactment unit Morgan’s Artillery; on the national scale Mac is a staff officer in the Army of Northern Virginia and a safety official with the National American Artillery Association.
- April 9: Kathy Arbogast and several friends active with The Mohawk Valley Button Club and the Half Moon Button Club spoke about “Buttons.”
- Tuesday, May 14, 6:00 p.m., was our Annual Dinner Meeting and Program at Uncle Marty’s Adirondack Grill.
Marty Balga spoke about the history of “Uncle Marty’s Adirondack Grill.”
- June 11: William L. Staats presented "Three Centuries on the Hudson River," about the 1696 Staats family homestead and the 11 generations who have lived there.
- September 10: “Meet our new Town of Sand Lake Historian.” Bob Moore discussed what he has been working on since his appointment in April 2013. He also took us through the process of creating a simple video documentary that can be a part of your family history. His office hours at the Historian’s Office, located in the back hall of the Sand Lake Town Library, are Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m., and Thursdays, 11:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m.
- October 8: Ken Gypson gave a talk on the old Burden Lake Race Track and other "lost" stock car tracks in the area such as Route 66 and Pine Bowl.
- November 12: "Troy in the Civil War," presented by Michael Barrett. The program provided an overview of the personalities, industries and events that led to the city's prominent role in the prosecution of the war effort. Barrett is the new Executive Director of the Hudson Mohawk Industrial Gateway and the Burden Iron Works Museum in Troy. This was the period of Troy's prominence. There is a tremendous amount of history here: the abolition movement and the Charles Nalle escaped slave incident; the birth of the ironclad ship Monitor; the devastation of The Great Fire of May 1862; the second most destructive draft riot in the nation; and many other events.
- December 10: Holiday Pot Luck Dinner, at the home of Barbara Neu and Ron Berti.
- January 10: Marvin Bubie presented his new book Celebrating the Revolutionary War Municipal Seals
- February 14:
Gary Mercer brought his extensive personal collection of bottles spanning several centuries and discussed their history, manufacture and value. He also answered questions about old bottles that audience members brought to the program.
- March 13: a combined program by the Knickerbocker Mansion and the Fort Crailo Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution provided excellent information about the Revolutionary and Colonial period, with a focus on the Sand Lake residents who served in the Revolutionary War. We enjoyed special desserts made from recipes of the period. The program was presented by Barbara Pagoda and Leslie Allen.
- April 10: Rensselaer County Historian Kathy Sheehan spoke on the 150th anniversary of the Troy Fire of 1862. A major portion of Troy was destroyed May 10, 1862, when a spark from a locomotive started the fire on the wooden covered Green Island bridge with ashes cast as far as Sand Lake.
- May 8: our Annual Meeting included a look back at the history of the Town in this Bicentennial year, with Mary French and Judy Rowe.
- May 12: the Society sponsored a Self-Guided House Tour for the Bicentennial Celebration.
- June 12: History of St. Henry’s Catholic Church, presented at St. Henry’s Church. Introduction by Gloria Waldron Hukle and program by Frank Lukovits, Permanent Deacon.
- Tuesday, September 11, 6:00 p.m.: Pot Luck Dinner and a final review of 2008-2012 Bicentennial Events, presented by the Town of Sand Lake Bicentennial Planning Committee co-chairpersons Fred Erickson and Nancy W. Davis. Musical selections were provided by Betsy & Steve Fry and Friends.
- Tuesday, October 9: Scoutmaster Chuck Hacker presented a PowerPoint program on the activities of Averill Park Boy Scout Troop 526, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Sand Lake.
- Tuesday, November 13: Rev. Dr. Robert Loesch presented “My Family and World War II,” about his father, an Army Air Corps Chaplain during WWII in Europe. The program was a tribute to all Veterans and their families.
- Tuesday, December 11: Holiday Pot Luck Dinner at Knowlson House. Peg Harbour-Holland presented an “Introduction to Genealogy and Resources of the Capital District Genealogical Society.”
January 11: “Local History of Funeral and Burial Customs,” presented by Tim Komdat of Perry-Komdat Funeral Chapel.
- February 8: (canceled)
- March 8: Dr. Ed Landing, New York State Paleontologist and Paleontology Curator at the State Museum, spoke on “From tiny to tall: colonizing the land-community evolution and the discovery of Earth’s oldest liverworts and trees from eastern New York.”
- April 12: Rev. Dr. Robert Loesch presented “The Life and Writing of Edith Wharton (1862-1937) and The Mount, her house and garden at Lenox, MA.”
May 10: Paul & Mary Liz Stewart gave a presentation on the Underground Railroad.
June 14: Glenn Hankle, president of Esquatak Historical Society, spoke on the history of banjo and hosted a sing-a-long.
September 17: the Bicentennial Planning Committee along with the Sand Lake Historical Society hosted the 4th Bicentennial Dinner; Walter Stock, a musician and historian for East Nassau, performed Civil War era music on an old square piano and added anecdotes
October 11: Joe Ferrannini of Gravestone Matters gave a program on care and restoration of gravestones.
November 8: The play “The Sky is Falling,” by Barbara Leavell Smith, was presented at Church of the Covenant United Methodist
December 13: Dr. George Raneri present a program on the history of Sand Lake School (now for sale); preservation certificate to Fred and Dee Erickson for historical restoration of their home, which was a toll house and tavern on the Albany – Sand Lake Turnpike in West Sand Lake village.
- January 12: Kay Bradley shared pictures and memories of the “Olde Bradley Amusement Park” on Route 43
- February 9: Melody Howarth of Mel’s Belles presented her work on doll restoration and professional porcelain repair
- March 9: John Warren presented his book The Poesten Kill: Waterfalls to Waterworks in the Capital District
- April 13: John (Mac) McEvilly gave a program on Morgan’s Artillery, a local Civil War reenactment group formed in June 2000
- May 11: Mike Kelley talked about his role in moving a Dutch farmhouse known as the “Winne House” from the Capital District to (inside) the Metropolitan Museum. Joining him was Bill McMillen, who built all the windows, doors and fireplace molding that needed replacing.
- June 8: Gloria Waldron Hukle talked about historical research and some of the characters from each of her books revealing the one that was drawn from old Albany life, who was the sole catalyst for all three works now known as the Waldron Series Books: Manhattan Seeds Of The Big Apple (l7th Century New Amsterdam), The Diary Of A Northern Moon (20th Century Adirondacks-North Creek and Lake George) and Threads: An American Tapestry, an early l8th century story of a Provincial Hudson Valley woman, the indomitable Margaret Vandenberg.
- September 18: a program on the 30 years of service of the Troy and New England Railway, which ran from Albia to Averill Park 1895 – 1925. Ross Sterantino created a model of the trolley built to scale and displayed it on the 4 feet of tracks he built.
- October 12: meeting at and tour of the West Sand Lake Fire Company “museum.” Dennis Sinnott shared the work done on the old fire house to display “Old Joe,” their first fire apparatus, the hose cart and other historical artifacts.
- November 9: Dr. John P. Hart, Director of the Research and Collections Division at the New York State Museum, gave a presention on “Maize-Bean-Squash: When and How the ‘Three Sisters’ Came to New York.”
- December 14: David Pitkin gave an update on his latest book on ghost stories, entitled New England Ghosts and on "Ghost Stories from eastern NY and New England"; Timothy W. Komdat received a Certificate of Appreciation for historical restoration of Perry-Komdat Funeral Chapel and Timothy and Mary Komdat for historical restoration of their residence next door.
- January 13: David Pitkin spoke about Ghosts of the Northeast, the subject of his book by the same name February 10: Mark Silo gave a presentation with slides about his new book The 115th New York in the Civil War: A Regimental History
- March 10: Stuart W. Lehman, re-enactor and Museum Educator, portrayed a Colonial Physician, with a hands-on exhibit of the herbs, medicines and implements used in the Revolutionary War period
- April 14: Warren Broderick presented “Stephen Van Rensselaer's Wilderness: A 200-Year-Old G.I.S” -- detailed and highly accurate 18th century maps and surveys of a private landholding of over 850,000 acres were digitized, and information on corresponding survey lots was data-entered and mapped and analyzed in a Geographic Information System (G.I.S.). As a result, information from 200 years ago on settlement, forest, soils, terrain and hydrology has been studied in conjunction with current G.I.S. data layers.
- May 12: Michael Barrett presented “The Anti-Rent War of 1839-1869"
- June 9: Peter Shaver, historic preservation program assistant, presented "Famous and Unusual Gravestones"
- September 19: picnic in conjunction with the Town Bicentennial Planning Committee’s annual celebration -- Judy Rowe gave a slide presentation of “Rensselaer (Glass House) Village and Glass Lake Glass”; the Town presented a resolution honoring Sand Lake Baptist Church as "oldest public building in the Town of Sand Lake
- October 13: Marvin Bubie shared the many municipal seals he has compiled into his book On the Trail of Henry Hudson and Our Dutch Heritage
- November 10: Walter (Wally) Wheeler, Senior Architectural Historian for Hartgen Archeological Associates, presented a program on 17th century New World Dutch buildings
- December 8: Kathy Sheehan, Rensselaer County Historian, explored the history of the towns and cities that border the Hudson River from Schodack to Schaghticoke using historic maps, photographs and letters; the Society presented an Award for Restoration and Beautification to the West Sand Lake Fire Company for the excellent job they have undertaken in restoring the old firehouse
- January 8: an update from Debra and Andy Dorr and Kristen Keough on Slow Jed’s Mud House; Miller Young of Young’s Pharmacy and General Store presented his vision for an "Old Fashioned Hometown Pharmacy" at the former Variety Store/Island Bob’s
- February 12: cancelled
- March 11: a program by Girl Scout Troop 181 on their Gold Award effort in restoring the Cotton House
- April 8: Armorer Jeff Mann
- May 13: a presentation by Ned Pratt about Tiffany windows in Troy
- June 10: Oral history with Edith Gundrum, a telephone operator for our first phone company, and Irene Chriss, who is compiling the memories of her life, especially in the Burden Lake area
- September 9: covered dish picnic -- Town historian Judy Rowe honored Alice Tifft and her late husband Harold Tifft, the town’s first historian; the oral history video of telephone operator Edith Gundrum and Burden Lake memories of Irene Chriss was shown
- October 14: Rensselaer County Historian Kathy Sheehan gave an illustrated talk centering on historical signs in Rensselaer County titled “On This Site Was…”
- November 11: Rev. Dr. Robert Loesch spoke on “Writing Your Life Story – Or Another Person’s Life Story”
- December 9: Robert and Renee Phaneuf and Miller and Stephanie Young were recognized for preserving the Averill Park Variety Store; Ronald Berti and Barbara Neu were recognized for their preservation work with the Knowlson House; David Graham gave a talk on what went into the recreation of Norman Rockwell's painting "The Street Was Never the Same." Mr. Rockwell used the house at 296 Fourth St. in Troy in his painting (the recreation took place in summer 2008)
- January 9: Allen Fuess discussed and displayed his collection of walking sticks
- February 13: Geoff Stein of the New York State Museum talked about two generations of the creative Weeber family and their 67-year relationship with the NYS Museum. Christian Weeber was a pioneer auto inventor and builder, and his daughter Marion was a designer
- April 10: Dr. Scott Christianson, award-winning author, reporter, teacher and human rights activist, presented “Sketches of the Underground Railroad in Sand Lake before the Civil War.” Since 1991 he has researched Charles Nalle’s life as a runaway slave who hid out in Sand Lake
- May 8: Christopher Kilkenny, project director for Hartgen Archeological Associates, Inc., spoke on excavations at the State University Construction Fund Archeological Site in downtown Albany during the summer of 1999, which revealed the 1750s stockade, two 300-foot bulkheads that represent the city’s earliest waterfront expansions in the late 18th century, and a variety of 19th-century structures
- June 19: Dan Holser gave a history of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and speaker to be announced?? a history of the American Legion Sgt. Walter Adams Post Unit 1021 in the Town of Sand Lake
- September 11: William H. Frueh, Jr. and friends were in costume, with stories and music of Revolutionary War
- September 20: a narrated presentation and reception for our new book Images of America SAND LAKE REVISITED
- October 9: Trina Mace Learned presented "Post-Katrina New Orleans: A Preservationist’s View of Loss and Recovery
- November 13: Annmarie Lanesey presented a preview of the documentary, Sittin’ on a Million, which she and Penny Lane have produced on the many faces of Mame Faye, who ran a brothel in Troy from 1905 to 1943
- December 11: Kathy Sheehan, registrar and historian of the Rensselaer County Historical Society, gave a slide presentation, “From Holly to Bubble Lights” highlighting the evolution of Christmas traditions and decorations
- January 10: Bob and Renée Phaneuf spoke on their restoration of the old Averill Park Variety Store and its reopening as Island Bob’s General Store; Debra & Andy Dorr and Kristen Fitzgerald spoke about the restoration of the former O’Donnell’s & later Marty Ormsby’s liquor store as it became Slow Jed’s Mud House, a vegetarian coffee house
- February 14: Dr. Donald Bowman took us on a tour of a Trolley Museum with a colored slide presentation
- March 11: Bill Massoth presented "Lesser Known Facts of the Revolutionary War"
- April 8: co-sponsored with the Town of Sand Lake, a presentation by historical artist Len Tantillo
- May 9: Bob Harris and Diane DeBlois presented “Reinvention of Sand Lake as Daughter of the 20th Century: Industry and Tourism.”
- June …
- September 12: Lorraine Dickinson shared the restoration efforts for the Towne Tavern in the hamlet of Sand Lake, which at one time was Bart Warren’s blacksmith shop
- October 10: director Joan Fuess, the cast and crew of And Then They Came for Me....Remembering the World of Anne Frank! shared their recent learnings of the seven years of the Nazis persecution of the Jews and the history they have learned from the script, film, books and interviews
- November 14: Donna and Paul Vincent shared their plans for the Crooked Lake House reopening
- December 12: Marieke Leeverink from Holland spoke about her work/research on Dutch barns.
- January 11: John Roy, a professor at Hudson Valley Community College, presented Legends of Rensselaer County
- February 8: Terry Weaver, “architect turned Glass Blower,” shared a video of the intricacies of blowing a glass piece, the tools of glass blowing and pieces that showed his work
- March 8: cancelled due to weather
- April 12: Mike Speeranza on Rope Making on the Farm.
- May 9: Stuart Murray of America’s Song presented The Story of Yankee Doodle
- September 13: a look at the use, misuse and reuse of Civil War artifacts by our resident Civil War buff and reenactor, Bob Shuey
- October 11: Bill Massoth presented a slide program on the history of the Erie Canal from its inception to the present
- November 8: an evening of reminiscing with Marion Smauder and Doris Shaver, long-time residents of Sand Lake
- December 13: Ron Berti told us about the history and their restoration efforts in their historical Knowlson House on Schumann Road
- January 13: Ross Serantino talked about his hobby, violin making
- February 19: "Shaker History and Life Styles," by Peter and Jean O’Hare
- March 9: Karen Kemp shared the art of Ukrainian egg decorating
- April …
- May 12: Kathy Sheehan, Rensselaer County Historical Society registrar, presented an illustrated talk with slides and anecdotes, “Did George Washington Sleep Here? Inns of Rensselaer County”-- highlights of adventures travelers often encountered, while traveling in the 19th and 20th centuries
- June …
- September 14: Richard Metzger gave a program on his business, Signature Stones, Inc.
- October …
- November ...
- December 14: Violinist Will Welling, with a program of music
- January 14: Eugene Burns gave a slide program on Meneely Bells (Watervliet foundry)
- February 11: Historical Video Night; we dusted off our collection and reviewed them to bring you our best selections
- March 11: Caryn Neidringhaus, a professional fiddler, and her students gave a program on the history of Hudson River fiddling, from its origin in Scotland
- April …
- May 13: Heidi Miksch, conservator at the Collections Care Center for New York State Bureau of Historic Sites at Peebles Island Resource Center,presented a before-and-after slide presentation of the challenges done in the glass, ceramics and metal work of the Decorative Arts Conservator
- June …
- September 9: Ron Babcock, on barns and the work he’s done on their restoration
- October 14: Beverly Mills, with a reenactment of Harriet Tubman, famous for her work in the Underground Railroad
- November …
- December 9: Christmas floral program by Barbara Neu
February 12, 2016
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