Each month, the North Elba Historical Society writes a piece digging into a facet of the history of the Town of North Elba. You can generally find these commentaries posted below and in the Lake Placid News.
Black Flies and Murray’s Fools By Danna Libbey, Museum Assistant For any Lake Placid residents or visitors who spend time in the outdoors, the black fly is a well-known companion. These small, biting bugs are a nuisance that is generally considered a tolerable part of recreating in the Northeast wilderness during early summer (1). However, it is worth noting that the black fly population fluctuates from year to year. This explains the indignant denial of some seasonal visitors, insisting that the flies are ‘not that bad’, whereas seasoned visitors and locals may beg to differ. 2019 has been a [...]
A History of Skiing in Whiteface and Lake Placid By Andrew Smith 26 March 2019 Throughout the history of the North Country, skiing has been one of the most popular sports in a region known for its winter sports. The North Country provides an ideal winter climate for skating, bobsled, skeleton, luge, and other winter sports. Yet skiing-both cross-country and downhill, has defined the region like no other. Before the 19th century, skiing, which dates back for millennia, was mostly a utilitarian activity. From humble beginnings in the 19th century, recreational skiing has evolved into what is probably the [...]
The Gray Wolf written by Andrew Smith, volunteer The gray wolf (Canis lupus) is a medium sized, carnivorous mammal almost universally accepted as the ancestor of the domestic dog. It generally weighs between 60 and 145 pounds and lives from 8 to 13 years in the wild. Its prey consists primarily of mammals, ranging in size from the mighty moose to rodents and hares. Wolves hunt in packs, averaging from 5 to 8 individuals. While wolves were abundant in North America before the arrival of European settlers, their populations were reduced-and in many places eliminated-by sport and pelt hunting, [...]
Lake Placid-North Elba Historical Society February 11, 2019 Lake Placid Love Letters c. 1918-1920: The Correspondence of Ray Bryant and Rena Hayes. February is the ‘month of love’ and what better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than by reading love letters from the early 1900s? In the Historical Society’s collection are over fifty letters between Lake Placid native, Ray Bryant, and his future wife Rena Hayes. Ray was a speed skater competing alongside Charlie Jewtraw and the other stars of the early 20th century. He and Rena were parents to Lorraine Bryant, a figure skater, who entertained guests at [...]
December 5, 2018 by: Courtney Bastian and Parmelee Tolkan Victor Herbert’s Victrola is donated to the Historical Society This autumn the Lake Placid-North Elba Historical Society received the unique donation of Victor Herbert’s personal Victrola from a long time seasonal resident. Victor Herbert (1859-1924) was one of the leading composers of his era. He wrote more than 40 operettas, including “The Red Mill,” “Naughty Marietta” and “Babes in Toyland”. This Christmas-themed musical features the vocal piece, “Toyland” and the instrumental piece “March of the Toys”. Beginning in the 1890’s, Victor Herbert and his family were long time summer residents [...]
October 29, 2018 by: Parmelee Tolkan, President of the Board of Trustees Found in the Archives by the Lake Placid/North Elba Historical Society The arrival of autumn for the History Museum means turning off its lights, boarding up windows, and bunkering down for the long and cold winter season. But just because the museum is not open does not mean work and research halts. This past week our curiosity overtook and we began browsing through old archives and artifacts. We stumbled upon a photo negative with eighteen young men wearing suit and ties sitting atop steps. In pencil is [...]