In This Place: Stories from the News Archives by Trish Adams

In this Place: April 23, 2014

The ad is from the March 7, 1913 edition — you'll find more fun advertisements after our stories...The ad is from the March 7, 1913 edition — you'll find more fun advertisements after our stories...


In This Place: April 9, 2014

Fishing for Tales
by Trish Adams
I got myself into another whole kettle of fish this week with “fish­­ing.” Those of you who have yet to plumb the archives don’t know what happens when you search for “fish­ing” – an ocean of material “jumps” at you, and if you don’t go after every one, well, the best tale might get away!
So I did my best, and got an education into fly fishing at the same time. There’s enough great fishing lore in the News to keep us going for many a season more.


In this Place: April 16, 2014

By Trish Adams

April: Whatever Weather Wends Our Way
Easter comes late this year, and so will my Easter column. Instead I thought we'd enjoy a good old-fashioned olio of thises and thats. When trying to attract the reader’s eye, it never hurts to start with true crime or have “murder” in the headline, even if one didn’t occur. In this “crime most dog-gone foul,” the only real tragedy seems to have been the loyal family pet (what kind of coward shoots a dog?) This murderous gang was so inept they didn’t even have their victim’s first name down pat. And three of them chickened out.


In This Place: April 2, 2014

“Tramping” with “Oom John”
In a year when we’re all longing for spring, I thought we could spend some time with the man who was born on April 3 and attributed his optimistic nature to this “hopeful” time of year — naturalist and Roxbury native, John Burroughs.
Making selections was hard — Burroughs was a frequent topic in this paper and his obituary, memorial services and centennial cele­brations alone could fill many columns.
So I focused instead on the day-to-day news of his doings and sayings, and the unassuming way he lived among his neighbors and friends.
Coincidentally, the News is now running a serial story, “Roose­velt, Bur­roughs and the Trip that Saved Nature,” sponsored by the New York News Publishers Association. Although we are now on Chapter 5, you can find the entire series here on our website in the “Features” section. The book is meant to introduce children to the conservation movement, which got an enormous “leg up” from the lasting friendship between Burroughs and Roose­velt. This is how it all started . . .

March 27, 1903 — John Burroughs Honored
President Roosevelt has invited John Burroughs, the naturalist who is a native of Roxbury, to accompany his party on a trip to Yellowstone Park. The invitation [was] inspired by Mr. Burroughs’ article in a March per­iodical which the President had been reading.

HAPPY CAMPERS: President Theodore (never "Teddy" to his friends) Roosevelt and John Burroughs during their historic trip to Yellowstone in 1903. Photographer unknown.HAPPY CAMPERS: President Theodore (never "Teddy" to his friends) Roosevelt and John Burroughs during their historic trip to Yellowstone in 1903. Photographer unknown.


In This Place: March 26, 2014

“No Passengers: This Train is Headed for the (Grave) Yard
by Trish Adams

Most times, significant histor­ical transitions come and go and people don’t notice until years or even decades later that an epochal shift has had a huge impact on their lives and their communities.

That is not the case with the demise of the railroad — and especially its passenger service — among our villages and towns. Indeed, old and young alike seemed acutely aware of the immense role the railroad played in Catskills industries and its quality of life. Nostalgia was rampant before the last passenger train had left the station.


In This Place: March 19, 2014

It’s that time of year again. Mud season? Not quite. No, it’s bragging — uh, tapping — time. The sugar harvest simultaneously evokes nostalgia for the old days, marvel at the wonders of modernization and a fierce fidelity to a tradition which will always require time, patience and, it is hoped, good company.

Shawn McComas, left, brings up another kettle of sap as Joe Duggan and Douglas Cowan stoke up the fire. Jerry Duggan stands by to lend a hand. These boys have tapped several neighborhood maples and conduct their syrup-making operation in the back yard of  the Donald Cowan home. The boys have produced more than a gallon and a half of the sweet product. “Sport” accompanied the boys and seemed to be having as much fun as his young masters. A dog adds much to a group of boys whether they are making maple syrup, roaming the fields or throwing a stick in the home door yard. (From the issue of March 5, 1954)Shawn McComas, left, brings up another kettle of sap as Joe Duggan and Douglas Cowan stoke up the fire. Jerry Duggan stands by to lend a hand. These boys have tapped several neighborhood maples and conduct their syrup-making operation in the back yard of the Donald Cowan home. The boys have produced more than a gallon and a half of the sweet product. “Sport” accompanied the boys and seemed to be having as much fun as his young masters. A dog adds much to a group of boys whether they are making maple syrup, roaming the fields or throwing a stick in the home door yard. (From the issue of March 5, 1954)


In This Place: March 12, 2014

Of Saints and Sinners: St. Patrick’s Day
It’s a wee bit disappointed I am. Not that me pilferings of St. Paddy’s incidentals was an abuse of me time. But I was hoping for some doings of, shall we say, a more “spirited” nature? If it’s research into the Wearing of the Green in these archives you’ll be doing, put on your Sunday go-to-meeting finery, because nary a stain can ya find ‘mongst these temperate proceedings.

Well . . . almost none!


In This Place: March 5, 2014

Changelings: The Lost and Found Column
The theme for this week’s column was serendipitous; my first archive search revealed a story of local troopers in 1932, called out to help find the Lindberg baby, and that got me thinking about children lost closer to home.
In folklore, a “changeling” is an inhuman creature substituted for a human child, stolen by fairies or evil spirits. In earlier western cultures, children with developmental anomalies, aut­ism or deformities could be deemed changelings, a designation that could be a death sentence. I did stumble on a few local cases where children met with changeling-like fates, or at best, bizarre childcare arrangements.


In This Place: February 26, 2014

By Trish Adams
When I promised sappiness this week, I was jumping the gun a little. Maple season is often still going strong in early April. Meanwhile, another great tradition, ice harvesting, had better be done by now or everybody’s butter will melt come May. Huge blocks of ice, “plowed,” sawed and harvested, at 80 pounds a piece, once kept men and horses busy for weeks in the coldest times of year. Snow was no help: it warmed the ice and made it thinner (thus the “scraping” in these excerpts). The enormous energy it took to harvest ice has since been diverted to other chores and is now a diversion at museums like Hanford Mills that preserve our living traditions.


In This Place: February 19, 2014

By Trish Adams

For my first “In This Place” column, combing the News archives from 1902 through the 1970s, I was hoping for old-fashioned Valentine parties and giant snowstorms, news of winter endurance and innocent love among farmers and their sweethearts. But, as usual, news of “this place” was a little more complicated. By February, winter has been going for quite a while, and it’s usually far from over. Year after year, through peace and war, even the most generous souls, like CMN’s long-time editor, Clarke Sanford, can grow cantankerous in February.


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