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On Friday evening, February 10, Bolton residents and mother/daughter duo Kate Van Dyck and Charlotte Caldwell hosted the first Bolton Landing “Next Up Huddle” at the town’s Conservation Club.

On Friday evening, February 10, Bolton residents and mother/daughter duo Kate Van Dyck and Charlotte Caldwell hosted the first Bolton Landing “Next Up Huddle” at the town’s Conservation Club.

Women’s March Inspires Formation of “PowerOnDacks Coalition” in Bolton

By Michele DeRossi

Monday, March 13, 2017

The unprecedented marches on January 22 that rallied people throughout the country and the world were, in retrospect, only the beginning of a larger movement. It was “Action Number One” in a set of Ten Actions to be performed in  the first 100 Days of the current administration.

The explicitly non-violent movement’s second action took the form of  “Next Up Huddles”, community-building meetings convened to identify future steps and to envision ways to continue the marches’ momentum.

On Friday evening, February 10, Bolton residents and mother/daughter duo Kate Van Dyck and Charlotte Caldwell hosted the first Bolton Landing “Next Up Huddle” at the town’s Conservation Club. About 40 men and women of all ages attended the meeting, which attracted people from Saratoga Springs, Brant Lake, Silver Bay, Hague, Bolton and Warrensburg, among other places.  When asked what inspired her to host the event, Caldwell said, “My mom and I were both disappointed that we were not able to attend a Women’s March, but we were extremely inspired by the marches that took place around the world. When I saw the “Next Up Huddle” as part 2 of the action campaign, I knew I had to host one.”

Led by Van Dyck and Caldwell, the group, which represented  all walks of life, discussed various  methods of action, including contacting local and national officials, increasing support for potentially at-risk organizations and maintaining a sense of action as time continues to pass since the Women’s March. Caldwell said, “I felt it was a way to get community members together to talk not about what we are against but what we stand for. I wanted to share our goals and exchange ideas for how we can achieve these goals whether they be local or global, short term or long term. Most importantly, I wanted to take part in helping this moment become a movement-making sure the Women’s March wasn’t just a single, day-long event but a movement that helps motivate people to become involved in their own communities and work towards positive change.” According to the Women’s March website, the Bolton “Huddle” was one of 5,100 Huddles held across 6 continents from Zambia to Bogota to Tokyo and in almost every American state.

Since the Bolton “Huddle”, members of the group have maintained contact through social media, sharing information about local events, similar groups and available resources. Named the PowerOnDacks Coalition, the group promotes a positive, inclusive space in which people can discuss their ideas, empower the community and “come together for social and political change”.

The Women’s March movement continues to grow throughout the country and the world, engaging people in extensive conversations about equality, justice and freedom and what those ideals mean to each of us. The third and current Action in the campaign is “Hear Our Voice”, a collective wave of direct engagement with local officials at Town Halls or congressional meetings. Currently, 255 “Hear Our Voice” events have occurred throughout the country with communities working to educate themselves to effectively bring issues such as refugee and immigration policies, affordable healthcare, gun violence and more to the table.

For more information or to get involved in the Coalition, attend the community meeting or contact Charlotte Caldwell at charlottecaldwell518@gmail.com.

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Bolton Central School, Bolton Landing

Bolton Central School, Bolton Landing

Performing Arts Building Proposed for Bolton Central School

By Anthony F. Hall

Thursday, March 2, 2017

An $8.8 million performance space that could serve an entire community will be constructed at the Bolton Central School if a referendum passes on March 8.

The new 17,000 sq ft CAMP (an acronym for Community, Arts, Music, Performance), a semi-detached, 250 seat auditorium that would be accessible even when school is not in session, was introduced to the public at a meeting on January 12.

According to the school’s business manager, $7 million would be raised from taxpayers. Annual taxes would rise by $18 per $100,000 of assessed value for the duration of the 22 year bond.

“We’re a better community with Bolton Central School; what improves the school will improve the community. If a performing arts center is open to the community and private sector groups, all the better,” said town Supervisor Ron Conover. “I hope the residents give the proposal the thought it deserves.”

The proposition was not arrived at lightly, Superintendent Michael Graney told the residents attending the public meeting in January.

“The School Board’s Facility’s Committee has spent a busy three years focusing on meeting the requirements of the New York State Department of Education, on the needs of our academic programs and on strenthening our collaboration with the community,” said Graney.

An auditorium will advance the school’s educational and civic goals, Graney said.

New and improved facilities will not only serve the numbers of students expected to matriculate at Bolton Central School through the forseeable future but attract additional students, said Graney.

Graney said the school’s population is expected to stabilize at slightly less than 200 students, a sustainable number.

Tenee Rehm Casaccio, the Glens Falls architect who is an alumna of Bolton Central School, was asked to assess the school’s facilities in light of its needs and strategic goals. The semi-detached auditorium was among her recommendations.

Adressing the January 12 public meeting, Casaccio said the lack of suitable facilities is among the obstacles preventing the school from pursuing its objectives, among them, an arts curriculum equal in strength to its science, technology, engineering and math program.

More than 80% of Bolton’s students participate in music programs without adequate facilities, Casaccio said.

By moving rooms now used for music instruction to the new auditorium, more space would also become available for technology programs, said Casaccio.

Moreover, the gymnasium does not lend itself to the performing arts, said Casaccio.

As a performing arts space, the gym lacks seating, air conditioning, decent acoustics, a full-sized stage and back-stage spaces for storage and rehearsals, Casaccio said.

“There’s too many activities for this one room; it’s burdened with too many, often conflicting uses,” said Casaccio.

Deb Gaddy, a retired Physical Education teacher, agreed, stating her classes were often forced to meet elsewhere or wait in corridors because the gymnasium was occupied by students in other programs.

According to school officials, a portion of the costs of the new auditorium would come from the legacy of Fred and Erika Uhl, summer residents who left more than $600,000 for art programs and arts-related scholarships to the school.

Casaccio said representatives of the Sagamore, the Lake George Theater Lab, The Sembrich, the Darrin Fresh Water Institute, the Lake George Association and other organizations have all expressed interest in making use of the new facility.

“It would be a huge asset to to our community,” said Casaccio.

“The school has made good arguments for the educational need for the facility; the fact that it has applications for the town and the private sector is just icing on the cake,” said Ron Conover.

The proposed auditorium is expected to be discussed at the next meeting of the Bolton Central School Board of Education, which will be held in the school library on February 13 at 6:30 pm.

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The Winnish, owned by LeGrand Cramer, one of Lake George’s first Auto-Boats

The Winnish, owned by LeGrand Cramer, one of Lake George’s first Auto-Boats

Lake George and the Invention of the Auto-Boat

By Anthony F. Hall

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The fusion of automobile and boat reached its apotheosis in 1959, when Chris Craft released its Silver Arrow in the same shade of metallic blue that Chevrolet applied to its Corvette and added a flared fin copied from a Buick.

That’s what boat builder Everett Smith told an audience last summer when discussing the evolution of the Auto-boat at the Tumblehome Boatshop in Warrensburg, which hosts evening talks about boats and boating throughout the year.

According to Emmet Smith, Everett Smith’s son and until recently the curator of the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton, the Auto-boat emerged in the first decade of the 20th century, “driven by new technology and growing enthusiasm for the automobile.”

As Smith wrote in “Auto-Boats: the advent of the modern runabout,” an article that appeared in the July/August 2016 issue of Woodenboat magazine, these long-decked, displacement-hull boats “clearly showed the automotive influence in design and lay out, with their engines forward, passenger compartments with built-in, forward-facing seats situated behind windshields, automotive steering wheels and controls and often convertible tops.”


Auto-Boat Example Number One: The Number Boat


An perfect example of the early Auto-boat is the Number Boat, described by Everett Smith as “an elegant gentleman’s launch.”

Designed in 1909 by Charles D. Mower and built by Leyare Boat Works, the boat was commissioned by members of the Thousand Islands Yacht Club for one-design racing.

Twenty boats were completed (each one identified by its number – thus the name, Number Boat), allowing the club to sponsor races that hinged on the skills of the drivers rather than on the relative merits of the competitors’ boats.

Races were held in 1910, 1911 and 1912. Of the original 20 boats, only a few survive.

Everett Smith, however, has begun building replicas of the Number Boat, and one of those, Number 22, has been purchased by a Lake George resident, John Kelly of Assembly Point.


Auto-Boat Example Number Two: The Silver Arrow


Lake George boaters can also view the Silver Arrow, “the sports car of the waterways,” as Chris Craft termed it.
Although only 92 of those boats were manufactured, one of them happens to be owned by Bolton Landing’s Buzz Lamb.

“During the winter of 1998, I found out that an airline pilot in Phoenix, Arizona owned nine Silver Arrows, so I gave him a call.  I bought the boat sight unseen. In November of 1999 I began a complete restoration and launched the boat at Norowal Marina in the spring of 2000 and took it for its first ride on Lake George,” said Lamb.


Origins of the Auto-Boat on Lake George

In fact, Lake George residents have had the opportunity to see almost every iteration of the auto-boat, as well as its precursors and its successors.

That’s because Lake George was “the cradle of motor boating,” as Herman Broessel, an owner of the boat and car manufacturer Simplex put it.

Buzz Lamb’s 1959 Silver Arrow

In 1906, the Lake George Regatta, which in previous years had featured row boat races, sponsored a contest between motor boats owned by Broessel, his neighbor on Bolton Bay W.K. Bixby and LeGrand C. Cramer. Two years later, the Lake George Mirror boasted that practically every boat house on the lake had a motorboat.

Broessel and the other Lake George boat owners would have been familiar with one of the inspirations of the auto-boat, the Ellide.
The Ellide: Forerunner of the Auto-Boat

The Ellide, built in 1897 for Sagamore investor E. Burgess Warren, was a steamboat built for speed, capable of reaching 40 miles per hour. Her 80 ft hull demonstrated clearly that speed was a function of length. As late as 1904, the Ellide still held world speed records, and Warren was still exhibiting her at local regattas.

That same year, Broessel’s company built an engine for the Vignt-Et-Un, a gasoline-powered speedboat whose hull resembled the Ellide’s, and according to Everett Smith, one of the first speed boats to be called an auto-boat.
Lake George Launches

Broessell, Bixby and the others were no less familiar with what Emmett Smith calls “the small power launchs that preceded auto-boats – with displacement hulls powered by steam, electricity or naphtha, well-suited for seeing sights and socializing.”

“One way to sum up the differences between auto-boats and the launches that preceded them is this: the early power launch was about being somewhere; the auto-boat was about going somewhere – and fast.”

Those launches, like Bixby’s electric-powered St. Louis, featured open cockpits that possessed, according to an Elco catalogue, “all the comforts of a summer cottage piazza.”

Lake George was also home to naptha launches. Unlike the steamboat which it replaced, was light and easy to handle. No special license was required to operate it. Thus, the naphtha launch became popular very quickly.

By the turn of the century, naphtha launches were common on Lake George. Some were excursion boats, such as those owned and operated by the father os onetime Lake George Supervisor Alden Shaw. The majority, however, belonged to summer residents. Dr. Abraham Jacobi of Bolton Landing owned one. Harry Watrous, the perpetrator of the Hague Monster Hoax, owned two, as did Colonel Mann, the New York magazine editor who was the butt of the hoax. (Mann’s own magazine, by the way, poked fun at the rich for taking the accoutrements of soft living into the Adirondack wilderness, naphtha launches included.)


From Auto-Boat to Modern Runabout


The early auto-boat was characterized not only by distinctive automotive features, but also by their displacement hulls.
Once those hulls became obsolete, the auto-boat was transformed into the modern runabout, a historical moment that can also be said to have occurred on Lake George.

In August 1914, following the victory of “Baby Speed Demon” over “Ankle Deep” in the first Gold Cup races to be held on Lake George, the racing world was introduced to boats that plane above the water, rather than moving through it. The inventor of the planing hull was none other than Chris Smith, the founder of Chris Craft and the designer of “Baby Speed Demon,” who, in response to a remark to the effect that his boat were not long enough to displace enough water to travel at top speed, said, “Displacement? I don’t care about displacement. All I need is enough water to cool the engines, that’s all.”

Little more than a decade later, George Reis added a shingled bottom to one of those new boats to create El Lagarto and bring three Gold Cup races to Lake George.

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John Apperson skate sailing near Dollar Island, the Narrows

John Apperson skate sailing near Dollar Island, the Narrows

Smooth Sailing

By Anthony F. Hall

Saturday, February 18, 2017


Skating out into Bolton Bay, Ted Caldwell stops to lift a custom-made, kite-shaped canvas sail rigged to ash spars jointed where the mast and boom cross. He hoists it above his head, then brings it down so that the boom rests on his shoulder. Tilting the sail into the wind, he moves off with a steady glide. Within minutes, Caldwell himself is barely visible, a swiftly moving swatch of white canvas against Dome Island.

This is what we observed a few years ago, when a long, hard freeze and little snow produced 2 ½ weeks of black ice, the ideal conditions for skating, ice boating and skate sailing.

Caldwell is one of several skate sailors on Lake George, all of whom can trace their interest in the sport to one Eskill Berg, a General Electric engineer who brought the sport to upstate New York from his native Sweden in 1895.

From Berg, other GE men acquired an interest in the sport, including John Apperson and Nobel laureate Irving Langmuir, who together purchased Dome Island to protect it from development.

Apperson made his first sail from cotton muslin and bamboo poles in 1904. Within a few years, the GE men were purchasing spars and sail cloth in bulk and making as many as fifty sails a year in Apperson’s apartment.

The railways granted them permission to carry their sails on lines throughout New York, and soon they were coming to Lake George.

For Apperson and Langmuir, skate sailing was not just sport. They also used the sails to power sleds across the ice; the sleds bearing the rocks they needed to rip rap the islands.

Apperson introduced the sport to a younger GE engineer, Bill White, and White and Arthur Newkirk devised plans for skate sails adapted from those developed in Apperson’s apartment and modified by General Electric Test Men for maximum speed and efficiency.

Peter White, Bill White’s son, inherited his father’s love for skate sailing.

He told Caperton Tissot for her book Adirondack Ice, “I pray each year for the opportunity to glide with the wind, to be a part of the ice and the winter breeze.”

Skate sailors on Lake George

Ted Caldwell sent a set of the plans drafted by Newkirk and White to a sail maker, who produced his skate sail. He also passed them on the Bolton Central School teachers John and Deb Gaddy, who also commissioned a sail.

The Gabriels family relies upon its own traditions for their skate sails. They own two skate sails purchased from Abercrombie and Fitch in the 1930s. David Gabriels remembers an early attempt by him and his brother Chris to use them; they were unsuccessful until a skater from nearby Crown Island offered to give them some instruction. The skater was Harry Summerhayes, Irving Langmuir’s son-in-law. Today, David’s nephews are the family’s avid skate sailors.

On one recent winter’s black ice, John Gaddy sailed from Bolton Landing to Sabbath Day Point and back in less than an hour and a half, traveling at a speed of 30 mph.

“On a good windy day, you can take 10 kids,” says Ted Caldwell, who has sailed the length of the lake himself several times. “You can go vast distances with little effort.”

“In mild winds, skate sailing is relaxing,” he says. “In stiff winds, it’s very fast, requiring strong legs and attention to cracks and pressure ridges that come upon you so quickly that you have little time to react. But when conditions are right, the 32 miles of Lake George are your quiet domain. You don’t hear or feel the wind; the only sound is the skates’ blades cutting the ice.”

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RPI’s new boat is rigged with two booms which act as anodes, extending from the bow with “droppers” that are lowered into the water

RPI’s new boat is rigged with two booms which act as anodes, extending from the bow with “droppers” that are lowered into the water

Electro-Shocking Boat is New Tool For Surveying Fish Population

By Anthony F. Hall

Thursday, February 16, 2017

“The food web is a key to water quality,” says RPI professor Rick Relyea, the director of the Jefferson Project.

And at the top of that web is the fish population, which shapes the size and the distribution of the organisms that sustain it.

On Lake George, the fish population has been the subject of Dr. Bill Hintz’s scrutiny since 2015.

While portions of Lake George’s fishery have been studied in the past, “this is the first robust study,” said Hintz, who was recruited by RPI and the Jefferson Project to study the Lake George fish population while working on endangered fish species on the Mississippi.

“The goal is to assess the health of the fishery, the end point being a better understanding of how pollution, invasive species and the changing climate influence freshwater ecosystems,” Hintz said last week at the Darrin Fresh Water Institute in Bolton Landing, where he was testing new equipment.

To assess the status of Lake George’s fish species, first they must be caught, and Hintz and his students have used a variety of tools – nets, mostly – to gather samples over the past two years.

“It’s a catch, measure and release system,” said Hintz. “After the fish are captured, they’re weighed and measured and then returned to the lake. We keep about 5% of the sample to analyze the contents of their diets.”

RPI now has a new tool for sample-gathering in its kit – a $70,000 boat for electro-shocking fish.

“Don’t say electrocuting; we’re not electrocuting fish,” said Rick Relyea, reprimanding a reporter for speaking imprecisely.

Electro-shocking, Relyea and Hintz emphasized, merely stuns the fish and for a brief period of time only, long enough enough for the samples to be scooped up and placed in a well before being weighed.

“It’s a much more efficient way of catching fish, one that also enables us to get into places where we couldn’t with nets, where we’re obstructed by logs and rocks,” said Relyea.

According to Hintz, electro-shocking is a common method of conducting fish surveys, used by New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation and by natural resource agencies in most other states.

Hintz worked with the manufacturer to build a boat to his specifications so that it would be suited to the Jefferson Project and its requirements, said Relyea.

The boat will be deployed next spring, at the start of the fourth year of the Jefferson Project.

Launched in 2013 by RPI, IBM and The Fund for Lake George, the project is “making significant progress” in acquiring actionable intelligence about such things as the spread of invasives through the lake, the sources of salt and the quantity of nutrients, among other things, said Relyea.

It was recently awarded a $917,000 grant from the National Science Foundation that will allow it complete a network of smart sensor platforms.

“The smart sensor network will operate collectively as a single integrated instrument, the most powerful and comprehensive of its kind, to monitor indicators of physical, chemical, and biological activity on Lake George,” said Relyea.

Last week, researchers working with the Jefferson Project, attempting to understand the impacts of road salt on the health of aquatic ecosystems, announced they have discovered something alarming: chemicals found in de-icing road salts can alter the sex ratios in nearby frog populations, a phenomenon that could reduce the size and viability of species populations.

Relyea said it was not clear yet if other creatures were experiencing similar “sub-lethal” effects of those chemicals.

As of now, however, Lake George’s fish population is relatively healthy, said Bill Hintz.

“So far, so good,” he said.

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Felseck, circa 1900. Fred Thatcher Photo.

Felseck, circa 1900. Fred Thatcher Photo.

Felseck: The House at the Center of a Circle of Friends

By Anthony F. Hall

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

When the renowned philosopher Susanne Langer was a child, she spent so much time in the woods around her family’s house in Bolton Landing that she was nicknamed “waldhexe” (witch of the woods) by her German speaking relatives.

That house, situated on a hill sloping toward Lake George, was built in an Alpine style in 1898 by Langer’s father, New York lawyer Antonio Knauth. It stands to this day, relatively unchanged in appearance, and is now for sale. Select Sotheby’s International Realty has it listed for $2.9 million.

“With a house like this, you’re a caretaker, a steward; we pass through, the house remains,” said Peter Cossman, who owns the house with his wife Barbara. “It’s gratifying to feel that we’ve made a contribution to its preservation.”

Since the 1950s, the house has been known as High Point. The Knauths named it Felseck, or “corner in the rock,” a nod to the ingenious stone masons who created a building site within a granite cliff.

Knauth’s brother, Percival, had built his own house, Waldeck, two years earlier closer to the outlet of Finkle, or Artists, Brook.

According to several memoirs, both families were vital parts of a circle of friends that included the founders of the experimental Alma Farm, the Meyers, Drs. Abraham and Mary Putnam Jacobi, George and Marjorie McAneny, Carl Schurz and his family and many other summer residents of Bolton Landing: the Congers, the Loineses and the Simpsons.

Abraham Jacobi is known as the father of American pediatrics. His wife, Mary Putnam Jacobi, won equal renown as the nation’s most eminent femal physician and as a political activist.

Carl Schurz, Jacobi’s closest friend, was accomplished even by the standards of this group; a refugee from Germany, he served as President Abraham Lincoln’s minister to Spain and as the Secretary of the Interior.

A frequent visitor to the Knauths’ homes was the anthropologist Franz Boas, who owned a home on the hill above the Knauths’ wooded acres which they called Hinterlands. One of Boas’ daughters, the choreographer Franziska Boas, conducted summer sessions of her New York City-based School of Creative Dance in Bolton Landing.

Susanne’s closest friend was a girl of her own age who lived nearby named Helen Sewell, who grew up to become one of the nation’s foremost book illustrators. She’s most closely identified with her illustrations for the first editions of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s ‘Little House’ books. In fact, Langer’s own first book was not a work of philosohy but rather, a volume of fairy tales illustrated by Sewell.

Another, much younger friend was Hugh Allen Wilson, who achieved fame as a musician, teacher and conductor without ever leaving Bolton Landing except to attend college and graduate school at Yale.

Late in life, Wilson would speak affectionately of “Susie” and of her nephews and nieces, with whom he created plays using costumes found in steamer trunks in the attics.

As a budding musician, Wilson must have found the Knauths’ home an intriguing one.

Antonio Knauth played both the cello and the piano; he taught his five children to play instruments so they could form themselves into chamber groups to entertain themselves and their guests.

Although Knauth himself died in 1915 at the age of 60, his family remained in the house, continuing to play music until his widow, Else, sold the house in the late 1940s or early 50s (at which point she turned the family’s grand piano over to Hugh Wilson.)

“Filled with music, the scene of so many joyful occasions, it couldn’t help but be a house of happy memories,” said Barbara Cossman.

“It’s a house that lends itself to friendships and extended families,” said Peter Cossman. “With twelve bedrooms, guests are never an inconvenience. There’s always room for one more person.”

Peter Cossman first came to Lake George with his younger brother more than fifty years ago. Intending to camp somewhere in Canada, they were diverted to Lake George, where they spent ten days on Turtle Island. Since then, he’s never missed a summer. Barbara first saw Lake George on their honeymoon.

“I thought it was gorgeous. I’d never seen such a beautiful place or a lake where the bottom was visible at 80 ft,” she recalled.“After all these years, I still say a prayer of thanks for giving my family so many perfect days.”

The Cossmans purchased High Point after renting it for roughly three decades.

“We have such a deep love for this love for this house and its history,” said Peter Cossman. “When Antonio Knauth came here, Lake George was on the edge of the wilderness. It’s still so bucolic. The Mohican that passes along our shore is the same boat the Knauths saw every day. The view from this porch hasn’t changed in hundreds of years. And it never will.”

For information, contact Select Sotheby International’s Bolton Landing office at 518-644-9500.

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Irving Langmuir conducting cloud seeding experiments at the GE Research Lab with Bernard Vonnegut and Vincent Schaefer

Irving Langmuir conducting cloud seeding experiments at the GE Research Lab with Bernard Vonnegut and Vincent Schaefer

Dr. Irving Langmuir and the Brothers Vonnegut

By Anthony F. Hall

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Is there a dark, malignant side to science? To even raise that question in the 1950s, as the novelist Kurt Vonnegut, Jr did, was to cast doubt upon the entire, mid-century American project. It’s no wonder that in the 1960s, Vonnegut found himself a hero of the counter-culture.

According to Ginger Strand’s The Brothers Vonnegut: Science and Fiction in the House of Science, a dual biography of the novelist and his MIT- educated brother Bernard, Kurt Vonnegut’s qualms about the benevolence of science began to percolate years earlier, when he worked for General Electric’s publicity department in Schenectady.

Bernard arrived in Schenectady in 1945, a few years before Kurt, to work in GE’s Research Lab, the first of its kind in the nation and the so-called “House of Magic.” He, too, would be forced to come to terms with technology’s potential for harm as well as good, with its capacity to make the deserts bloom and to make a desert out of cities.

For both Vonneguts, the internal contradictions of science were embodied in the person of Irving Langmuir, prominent Lake George conservationist, summer resident and the first industrial scientist to win a a Nobel prize.

Langmuir was famous for having his head in the clouds, literally – his cloud seeding experiments, which created at least two thunderstorms over Lake George, earned him a place on the cover of Time magazine – and figuratively. Kurt Vonnegut based his character Felix Hoenikker, the physicist in the novel Cat’s Cradle, on Langmuir’s apparent cluelessness about humans and their concerns.

“He could walk right by a colleague without so much as nodding. When a woman fell down on the stairs in front of him, he famously stepped over her and continued on. Once he stepped in a can of paint, pulled his foot out without pausing and kept on walking, leaving a trail of safety-yellow footprints in his wake,’ writes Strand.

Kurt Vonnegut in uniform, 1943.

With the denotation of atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, scientists no longer had the luxury of being oblivious to their fellow creatures or to the ramifications of their studies, if they ever did.

Shortly after the bombs were dropped, Langmuir was among the scientists invited to attend a conference at the University of Chicago to discuss the threats posed by the invention of the bomb to all and any life on the planet. Here, he publicly acknowledged the civic responsibilities of the scientist and joined his colleagues in advocating international controls over the new technology.

As a defense contractor as well as the home of a Research Lab, General Electric exemplified the conflict between scientific theory and practice.
Nothing illustrated that tension better than the cloud seeding experiments of Langmuir and his assistants – Vonnegut, Vincent Shaefer, Katherine Blodgett, Duncan Blanchard and Ray Falconer

As Strand notes, “the eccentric but brilliant researchers followed their curiosity wherever it took them…”

Ultimately, their curiosity led them to see if they could harness nature itself.

While Kurt was busy writing snappy press releases about turbines and refrigerators, Bernard and his colleagues were experimenting with making better clouds – clouds that could release rain or snow at will.

Not surprisingly, those experiments attracted the attention of the US government; weather had been a constant factor in World War II, determining when and if, for example, armadas could sail and cities be destroyed. If the military could control the clouds, fog and snow, the possibilities were endless.

Only in 1966 was it learned that Langmuir and his team’s discoveries about the control of weather had been used covertly by the US Army in Vietnam.

“Bernard was horrified to see his invention used in actual combat. But news of the missions led to an international outcry and, eventually… a UN treaty banning the use of weather modification as a weapon of war,” writes Strand.

Langmuir, of course, had been dead for at least a decade, but he no doubt would have been gratified by the UN’s vote, since it produced something akin to the policies he had once hoped would abolish nuclear war.

“It would be desirable… to destroy all atomic bombs, all large plants for making them and all reserves of plutonium,” Langmuir wrote in 1946.

By then, Langmuir may have already concluded what Kurt Vonnegut would state a quarter century later: the ethical scientist “is the one who declines to work on weapons.”

The Brothers Vonnegut: Science and Fiction in the House of Science is available at Trees, the book and gift shop located on Bolton Landing’s Main Street.

Doug Deneen, Trees’ co-owner, notes, “In this fascinating cultural history, Ginger Strand chronicles the intersection of these brothers’ lives at a time when the possibilities of science seemed infinite. As the Cold War looms, Bernard’s struggle for integrity plays out in Kurt’s evolving writing style. The Brothers Vonnegut reveals how science’s ability to influence the natural world also influenced one of our most inventive novelists.”

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Karl Friedrich Schinkel’s 1816 Berlin production influenced all others, including the design for the Met’s 1900 production and the costume worn by Madame Sembrich.

Karl Friedrich Schinkel’s 1816 Berlin production influenced all others, including the design for the Met’s 1900 production and the costume worn by Madame Sembrich.

New York’s Magic Flute Exhibition Includes Costume Worn by Marcella Sembrich

By Mirror Staff

Thursday, July 14, 2016

A costume worn by opera star Marcella Sembrich in 1900, described by the artistic director of the Bolton Landing museum dedicated to her memory as “our most priceless,” is now on display at Lincoln Center in New York City.

The costume was worn by Sembrich in the Metropolitan Opera’s first production of Mozart’s ‘The Magic Flute,” in which she played the Queen of the Night.

For the next several months the costume will be part of an exhibition titled “Magical Designs for Mozart’s Magic Flute” in the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Curated by renowned theatrical designer Judy Levin, the exhibition includes set and costume designs for productions from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.

Sembrich’s Queen of the Night costume.

In August, “Magical Designs for Mozart’s Magic Flute” will travel to the Kent State University Museum in Ohio, which organized the exhibition with the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
According to Bill Hubert, the president of The Sembrich’s Board of Directors, Judy Levin became aware that the costume was in the museum’s collections when it was displayed in Bolton Landing last year for the first time in more than ten years.

“Because of the fragile condition of the fabric, we’re unable to display the costume except on rare occasions,” said Lisa Hall, the organization’s vice-president and the chair of its Collections Committee. “The exhibition at Lincoln Center and Kent State may be the last opportunity for people to see it.”

Hall, who creates exhibitions at The Sembrich every summer, installed the costume at Lincoln Center before the exhibition opened.

The costume was designed by Bertha Pechstein of Berlin and is made of silk velvet and silk georgette and sequins and includes a silk chiffon veil with metallic embroidery and a jeweled necklace and tiara, said Hall.

In Sembrich’s era, singers were required to supply their own costumes, so it was not unusual for an artist of Sembrich’s stature to have several copies of a particular costume made, said Richard Wargo, the Sembrich’s artistic director.

Chagall’s designs for a Met production, now prized for their own sake, were controversial when debuted in 1976.

“But given the soprano’s relatively few performances of the role and the elaborate construction of the design, this “Queen of the Night” costume truly is one of a kind,” said Wargo.

At the exhibition’s opening reception on March 30, Judy Levin noted that the costume’s embroidered metallic stars and sequins allude to a production that was staged in Berlin in 1816, the designs for which were inspired by images from Napoleon’s campaign through Egypt fifteen years earlier.

“Magical Designs for Mozart’s Magic Flute” includes some of those 1816 designs, made by Karl Friedrich Scinkel, as well as costumes and designs by artists such as Marc Chagall, David Hockney and Maurice Sendak.
“‘Magical Designs’ provides an unparalleled opportunity to examine the varying visual interpretations of this singular opera by exceptional theatre artists,” said Jacqueline Davis, the executive director of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

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Bolton Councilwoman Sue Wilson, the LA Group’s Ted Larsen and Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky review plans for Bolton Landing’s new, greener parking lot - the first municipal project to be LID certified.

Bolton Councilwoman Sue Wilson, the LA Group’s Ted Larsen and Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky review plans for Bolton Landing’s new, greener parking lot - the first municipal project to be LID certified.

Bolton Parking Lot to be Showcase for Low Impact Development

By Anthony F. Hall

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Bolton’s new Cross Street parking lot, built on a residential parcel purchased by the town for $257,000 in 2014, is poised to become the first municipal project to be awarded LID certification by the Lake George Waterkeeper.

LID, as Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky explains, is an acronym for Low Impact Development. Projects that disturb landscapes the least and leave the lake’s water quality undiminished are eligible for LID certification – much as green buildings are LEED certified.

“We score projects according to the extent to which they maintain natural features, like streams and slopes and buffered shorelines,” said Navitsky. “Using sound environmentally-sound engineering practices, looking at all the ways that development impacts ecosystems, we can reduce the flow of nutrients into the lake and protect water quality.”
The LID Certification System, Navitsky adds, “also takes into account the benefits of Low Impact Development to the community, above and beyond water quality. Using local materials, ensuring that any lighting is dark sky-compliant, anything that makes the community more sustainable in the future, will carry weight in the score card.”
Bolton’s new parking lot qualifies for LID certification because it meets a number of criteria, said Navitsky.

“For one thing, the project redevelops an area in the hamlet of Bolton Landing, and we strongly believe that development should be concentrated in the hamlets rather than sprawling outwards and disturbing natural resources,” said Navitsky.

But, he added, “the main thing is, the Town is protecting resources such as the stream that runs through the property with buffers; it’s protecting soils; it’s preserving trees and green space and treating storm water on site,” said Navitsky.

Other LID criteria met by the project include “dark sky compliant lighting, meaning that the lights will be shielded and downward facing,” said Bolton Supervisor Ron Conover.

The green space at the edge of the lot has potential for use as pocket park, Conover noted.
“One of the things that I like about this project is that it has multiple uses; it’s a versatile space that can accommodate a number of things, such as events or a farmers’ market,” he said.
Navitsky added that at some point, grass pavers similar to those used at the Charles R. Wood Park in Lake George might be installed in the green space, making it available for extra parking.
Sixty parking spaces were originally envisioned for the lot, but that number has been reduced by half, the LA Group’s Tim Larsen told the Town Board in April.

Larsen, a landscape designer who was retained by the Town to assist with the project, also told the Board that the lot would be paved with an i\\nnovative, porous asphalt that will absorb and filter storm water, keeping pollutants from flowing into Lake George. A similar product was used on Beach Road.

Finally, Larsen said, the lot will be outfitted with a charging station for electric vehicles.

That’s worth an extra point toward LID certification, said Navitsky.

“We developed a broad, generously defined innovation credit, because there will always be things that we didn’t think of in advance that will benefit the community,” Navitsky explained.

A $68,000 “Smart Growth’ grant from New York State, limited to revitalizing Adirondack communities, helped pay for Larsen’s planning and design services, said Conover.
Larsen was assisted by a committee composed of Navitsky, Town councilwoman Sue Wilson, department heads Bill Sherman and George Mumblow, Zoning board member Jeff Anthony and a number of citizens, said Conover.

Officials from the Hudson Headwaters Health Network, whose clinic is adjacent to the lot and which will share in its use, also worked with the Town, said Conover.

“Everyone participated, working well together as a cohesive unit,” said Sue Wilson.

Both Conover and Wilson said the Town of Bolton was pleased to be the first municipality to qualify for LID certification.
Once certified, the project will be eligible for grants from The Fund for Lake George, said Navitsky.
“While the grants will be welcome, what’s truly important is the partnership we’ve created,” said Conover. “As we’ve demonstrated when tackling invasive species or the problems associated with salting the roads, the greater the partnership, the greater the chance of success.”

“I’m excited that Bolton recognizes the importance of the LID certification system,” said Navitsky. “By stepping up and becoming a leader in bringing the system to Lake George, we believe the town will help us demonstrate that LID can benefit every community.”

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Insun Kin and Elizabeth Hochler of Beacon Fine Art Foundry cleaning a 1921 statue at Bolton Landing’s Veteran’s memorial.

Insun Kin and Elizabeth Hochler of Beacon Fine Art Foundry cleaning a 1921 statue at Bolton Landing’s Veteran’s memorial.

Future Brighter for Bolton Veterans Memorial

By Anthony F. Hall

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Within a few months, Insun Kim and her staff at the Beacon Fine Art Foundry will begin casting Sabin Howard’s sculptures for the new World War I memorial that is to be unveiled in Washington, DC in 2017.

That memorial will be the largest and most prominent civic monument to be constructed in the nation’s capital in decades.

Last week, however, Kim and Elizabeth Hockler were at work cleaning and conserving the statues in Bolton Landing’s Veteran’ Memorial Park.

To be sure, the park is smaller and, so far as the rest of the country is concerned, somewhat less prominent than the memorials in Washington.

“There are bigger memorials, more grandiose memorials,” acknowleges Buck Bryan,
the Bolton Landing resident who spearheaded the renovation of the site in 2001. But, he adds, “there are none better.”

Insum Kim and Elizabeth Hochner might be inclined to agree, if the attention they devoted to the park’s bronzes last week is any indication.

The 1921 Doughboy and the 2001 Scout, for instance, were both restored to the condition in which they were left in 2001, the year the park was re-dedicated.

“I love the work of  Rob Eccleston, the sculptor who created ‘the Scout,” said Insun Kim, a noted sculptor in her own right. “it’s so detailed. The patina he chose for the bronze and which we restored this week picks up that detail. The piece communicates action, and we’ve brought that back, too.”

The restoration of the monuments was not all that was accomplished this week, said Bryan, who chairs the advisory committee overseeing the Veterans’ Memorial.

“We’re putting the final touches on a standard operating procedures manual that will provide everyone with everything they need to know in order to manage the site, from the conservation of the thirteen bronze pieces to maintaining the shrubbery at the proper height,” said Bryan.

With the Town’s assent, the memorial will be overseen by the advisory committee that is chaired by Bryan and which also includes fellow veterans and representatives of the Bolton Historical Society and the office of the Town Historian: Fred Brown, Milo Barlow, Ed Scheiber, Bill Gates and Ted Caldwell. Town Board member Sue Wilson has been appointed to serve as the board’s liaison with the committee.

“It’s a nice arrangement; we’re working well together,” said Bryan.

According to Bryan, Bolton Supervisor Ron Conover asked him to organize a committee to supervise the site, in part because the American Legion was no longer equipped to do it.

“The American Legion post is small and struggling,” acknowledged Fred Brown, a member of the American Legion.

Moreover he said, “Someday, the Legion may no longer be here. We wanted responsibility for the memorial to rest with a town committee, which will be permanent.”

The town’s routine maintenance of the site had also become sporadic, Bryan said.

“We now have an agreement in place that commits the town to maintaining the park, including the conservation of the bronzes. That should be done every two years,” said Bryan.

Anything above and beyond routine maintenance will be financed from a special fund established by Bryan, which he launched last year with a check for $25,000, the first installment of a $100,000 contribution.

Among the projects to be financed by the new fund is the addition of any names to the granite wall honoring Bolton residents who have served in the armed forces.

The new committee will submit the names to be added to the wall to the Town Board, which is responsible for approving the addition of any names.

To be eligible, an individual must have served in the military “in time of war, conflict or something similar, has been honorably discharged from service, and has demonstrated a strong attachment to Bolton,” said Bryan.

When the wall was built in 2001, 869 names were inscribed in the granite. Within a few years, another 57 names were approved and added at a cost of $5,000, said Bryan.

“Since then, there’s been no well-defined process for collecting and approving names before they’re submitted to the Town Board,” said Bryan. “Now we have a standard procedure.”

Throughout the summer, the advisory committee will collect the names of others who are eligible to be honored on the wall. Applications are also available from the Bolton Town Clerk.

“We want to make certain that this memorial continues to honor Bolton’s Veterans,” said Bryan.

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