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The Way Things Were -- 07/23/2014 By Anne Weaver

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - Updated: 5:07 PM

ABOUT THE WEEK OF JULY 23, 1965, the Adirondack Museum, open for its eighth season, featured what had been described as one of the world's most interesting collection of small boats. Most of the collection was housed in a new building which contained also an expanded gallery of Adirondack art, including recently acquired works by painters famous a century ago who found inspiration in the mountains, lakes and forests of this region.

The time required to complete the new buildings and to classify and label the many new acquisitions forced a month's postponement of the opening date. The 30,000 who visited the museum in 1964 attested to its varied appeal.

In addition to the charm of its natural setting on a wooded bluff overlooking Blue Mountain Lake, it has spacious landscaped grounds with walks leading to some 20 structures whose contents recapture the story of life and leisure in the Adirondack backwoods from 1870 to 1900. The material had been arranged, a spokesman from the museum said, to satisfy the expert as well as to entertain and inform the casual visitor.

New in 1965 was a genuine "mountain top," a two-ton slice of granite from the crest of Gore Mountain in Warren County for the benefit of those who never had the opportunity to reach the summit of an Adirondack peak. New also was an animated diorama, historically correct in every detail, which illustrated the transportation system that brought city visitors to spots on Raquette and Blue Mountain lakes 75 years previous.

A tiny boat train pulled two private cars from Clearwater to the Raquette Lake landing, where a pair of steamboats moved out. One transported its passengers to the Marion River Carry railroad, reputedly the shortest standard gauge railroad in the U.S. with the richest board of directors in the world, which took them to another steamboat for Blue Mountain Lake. A recorded voice took the listener on this fascinating journey.

In another building a recently installed "photo belt" especially designed for the museum displayed more than 500 early photographs of Adirondack scenes and personalities. The visitor sat comfortably in a chair as the pictures rode slowly by on a rotating belt.

Perhaps the most striking acquisition was the sailing sloop "Water Witch," which once graced the regattas on St. Regis Lake but which in 1964 rotated peacefully within a Plexiglas "bubble." The institution's new building was dedicated in memory of Maurice Callahan, a pioneer of transportation in the Central Adirondacks, whose history he helped both to make and to record.

The Adirondack Museum had an important role during its previous seven years in focusing on the Adirondack guideboat, this region's indigenous contribution to the craft and art of boat building, and the guideboat was a major feature of the exhibition.

The new art gallery had been enriched with a number of additional Currier and Ives prints of Adirondack scenes and a large original oil by A.F. Tait from which one of the most famous Currier and Ives prints was derived. Entitled "The First Snow," it depicts two hunters in the snow, one of them taking a bead on a deer.

The museum possesses a painting by Thomas Cole, founder of the Hudson River School, showing Schroon Lake in 1846, two years before his death. There were two Adirondack paintings by Sanford Robinson Gifford and one by David Johnson, who were influenced by Cole.

At BLUE MOUNTAIN LAKE, the Church of the Transfiguration (Episcopal) was observing its 84th year. The church was dedicated by Bishop William Doane of Albany in 1885 and the original logs are still standing the years of time. This is one of the few remaining log churches in the Adirondacks and the first built in Blue Mt. Lake.

The priests serving the church were the Rev. Edward Le Carpentier during July and the Rev. Stephen Walke in August. Both of these men married descendents of the two first and only rectors of the Church of the Good Shepherd, the reverends Brown and Sermons, father and son, who served this unique church on St. Hubert's Island for many years.

At INLET, a cool sunshiny day with fleecy white clouds greeted the two big-name golfers on the PGA circuit who gave the sparse crowd of less than 1,000 spectators a big treat at Thendara Golf Club. Bob Charles, a former British Open Champion, and friendly Chi Chi Rodriguez from Puerto Rico, staged a clinic and an 18-hole match.

Charles didn't miss many opportunities as he carded a four under par. Rodriguez found the going rough most of the way, particularly on the incoming nine, but made some spectacular shots out of the woods to total 74. He seldom stopped talking or joking as he made the rounds.

Mr. and Mrs. John Townsend, Inlet, welcomed a 6 lb., 15 oz. son born July 20, Donald Lyle. He had a 2-year-old brother and a 3-year-old sister. Mrs. Townsend was the former Elaine Payne.

The Gaiety Theatre announced the following movies: Rock Hudson, Gina Lollobrigida, and Gig Young in "Strange Bedfellows;" Peter Finch, Rita Tushingham, and Lynn Redgrave in "Girl With Green Eyes;" Hayley Mills, John Mills, and James MacArthur in "The Truth About Spring;" and "Becket" with Richard Burton and Peter Toole.

At LONG LAKE, about 800 persons were present at the dedication ceremonies of the Upper Mohawk Boy Scouts Council's new scout training camp in the Town of Long Lake. The invocation was given by the Rev. James Quinn, local scout chaplain.

A special Eagle color guard raised three flags, the American, World Scouting and Swedish banner. The latter flag was in honor of a staff member from Sweden. Visitors were taken on a tour of the new camp, which included 20 miles of roads and its own lake with an eight-mile shoreline.

     

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