President Taft speaks at Fort Ticonderoga during his visit on July 6, 1909.
Fort Ticonderoga’s “Fort Fever Series” begins on Sunday, January 8th, at 2 p.m. with “President Taft Comes to Ticonderoga,” presented by Director of Education, Rich Strum. Tickets are $10 per person and can be purchased at the door; Fort Ticonderoga Members are admitted free of cost. The program will take place at the Mars Education Center.
“William Howard Taft is the only sitting President of the United States to visit Fort Ticonderoga. Taft’s visit came early in his term, July 6, 1909, as part of the week-long Champlain Tercentenary Celebrations throughout the Champlain Valley,” said Rich Strum Fort Ticonderoga Director of Education. “The early restoration work at Fort Ticonderoga, undertaken by museum founders Stephen and Sarah Pell, was underway, and the President was given a tour of the work by Sarah Pell. Thousands attended the day-long event on the Ticonderoga peninsula. Learn about the advance planning, the scope of the celebration, and the details of Taft’s visit.”Rich Strum is the Director of Education at Fort Ticonderoga, serving as the Project Director for the Fort Ticonderoga Teacher Institute. He is managing Editor of The Bulletin of the Fort Ticonderoga Museum and the North Country Coordinator for New York State History Day.
The “Fort Fever Series” is just one of several programs taking place at Fort Ticonderoga this winter and early spring. Clothing and Accoutrement Workshops are offered March 11 & 12 and April 8 & 9. Fort Ticonderoga presents living history events January 21st (1757 Battle on Snowshoes), February 18th (1775 British Garrison at Ticonderoga), and March 25th (Four Divisions formed at Fort Carillon; Rigaud’s Attack of Fort William Henry). The Sixth Annual Garden & Landscape Symposium will be held on April 8th. You can learn more about these programs by visiting www.fortticonderoga.org. Some programs require advanced registration.
Washington County highway department workers placing the new deck on the 6B bridge in Huletts Landing during June 2016. (Click image to see full-scale.)
Since I’ve been writing here on the Huletts Current, I’ve gotten in the habit of recapping at the end of the year what I consider to be the top news story of Huletts Landing from the past year. This is sometimes obvious, sometimes it is not. A lot happened this past year but the story that stood out to me, and was obvious to all in the Landing, was the county replacing the entire 6B bridge.
This work started in the Spring, continued into the Summer and was not finally completed until the Fall. The old bridge was entirely removed, the abutments were re-poured and a new deck and railings were added. The construction even impacted the water line to the golf course for a few weeks.
So for 2016, I’ve selected the rebuilding of the Washington County 6B bridge, as the: Top News Story of Huletts for 2016.
(Click images to see larger view.)
So for me, 2016 will ultimately be remembered as the year that the infrastructure in the center of the Landing was vastly improved even if it meant some minor inconveniences getting around. It took some time but hopefully it will last!
To celebrate Christmas, I offer you a poem by J.R.R. Tolkien, most famous for his work The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. This and another of Tolkien’s poems were uncovered in 2013 by researchers in England. Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas.
NOEL by J. R. R. Tolkien
Grim was the world and grey last night:
The moon and stars were fled,
The hall was dark without song or light,
The fires were fallen dead.
The wind in the trees was like to the sea,
And over the mountains’ teeth
It whistled bitter-cold and free,
As a sword leapt from its sheath.
The lord of snows upreared his head;
His mantle long and pale
Upon the bitter blast was spread
And hung o’er hill and dale.
The world was blind, the boughs were bent,
All ways and paths were wild:
Then the veil of cloud apart was rent,
And here was born a Child.
The ancient dome of heaven sheer
Was pricked with distant light;
A star came shining white and clear
Alone above the night.
In the dale of dark in that hour of birth
One voice on a sudden sang:
Then all the bells in Heaven and Earth
Together at midnight rang.
Mary sang in this world below:
They heard her song arise
O’er mist and over mountain snow
To the walls of Paradise,
And the tongue of many bells was stirred
in Heaven’s towers to ring
When the voice of mortal maid was heard,
That was mother of Heaven’s King.
Glad is the world and fair this night
With stars about its head,
And the hall is filled with laughter and light,
And fires are burning red.
The bells of Paradise now ring
With bells of Christendom,
And Gloria, Gloria we will sing
That God on earth is come.
Mrs. and Mr. Santa Claus (played by Town Councilman John Barber, Jr.) with the Honorable Jack Eggleston.
Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus came early this year to the 2016 Dresden holiday party on Saturday because so many children have been good in Dresden this year. A large crowd attended and enjoyed the festivities.
Linda Barber (left – above picture) who every year works diligently to make this party happen, including going out and purchasing the presents, drinks, and whatever else is needed, making sure the Town Hall is set up, and lastly, bringing Santa to the Party.
The Honorable Town Justice Jack Eggleston, (center – above picture) (who every year somehow manages to get a room full of parents and kids to enjoy the festivities including cookies and juices, reads the “Twas’ the Night Before Christmas”, leads the singing of Christmas Carols and introduces Santa Claus. This Christmas, Mrs. Claus came to the party as well.
Julie Barber, (right – above picture) wife of Councilman, John Barber, Jr. and part-owner of Apple Hill Orchards, who managed to help Mrs. Claus give Santa the presents for the kids (Mrs. Claus is getting so old, she had a hard time remembering which child got which toy) plus, Julie also jumped back and took pictures of each child with Santa.
Some of the decorations.
Mrs. Santa Claus, (portrayed by Helen Goodwin) when the original Mrs. Claus could not get to the annual Dresden Christmas party due to the inclement weather, stands with the presents given to the children at the party.
Reading of “The Night Before Christmas.”
Town Councilman Allen Wilbur with wife (and Town Clerk) Marcie Wilbur and their grandchildren.
Children who won door prizes received a 2016 Teddy Bear with $$ in a card and adults received a gift certificate to Historic Grounds restaurant in Whitehall in a Christmas coffee mug.
Many thanks to those who made this party such a huge success!!
The Lake George Park Commission has released the 2016 Lake George Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention / Boat Inspection Program Report. 2016 was the busiest year to date under the program, with a fairly significant increase in the number of boater contacts over the previous two years due to the fantastic weather this past summer. (Click image to read.)
One of the most famous United States Supreme Court cases, Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962) (sometimes known as the school prayer case) has a significant local connection. William J. Vitale, Jr. was the School Board President of the school district that was involved in the case. Mr. Vitale was a summer resident of Huletts Landing for many years.
The case is still considered one of the top Supreme Court cases of all time. In an effort to learn more the case, I asked Mr. Vitale’s daughter, Lora Vitale Johnson, a few questions to learn more about her memories of this famous case.
To begin, can you share a little bit about your father’s involvement in this famous case?
In the not too distant past, when I was a twelve year old student in a Long Island school district named Herricks, the New York State Board of Regents proposed a prayer to be said at the opening of school in the mornings (along with the Pledge of Allegiance). It was non-denominational, and there was no mandate to add it to the morning opening, but was left to each individual school district to decide whether to include it or not.
At the time, William J. Vitale, Jr. was president of the board of education in the Herricks public school district. He presented the Regent’s Prayer to the board for a vote, and the board voted in favor of the recitation of the prayer daily in the schools (the president abstained).
While the prayer was non-denominational, and no student was compelled to recite it, it did refer to “God”:
God, we acknowledge our dependence upon thee,
Our parents, our teachers and our country
Did he attend the Supreme Court oral arguments?
The mention of “God” did not align with the atheistic viewpoint, and so, as Mr. Engel held that viewpoint, he felt, and rightly so, that the use of this prayer in the public schools was a violation of the separation of church and state, which was not the popular viewpoint.
Separation of Church and State, a constitutional amendment, became an issue for the times, and though other cases came up throughout the country, Engel vs. Vitale was an early bell weather case and was, of course, of national importance.
One might assume that my father (Vitale) was being sued; this was not the case. Because he was president of the Board of Education at the time, his name actually represented the school board as a whole. He did not try the case, although he was an attorney. He did attend some of the Supreme Court hearings.
What was the fallout locally after the decision was rendered?
The case became so important nationally, that CBS News produced a nationally aired television program titled STORM OVER THE SUPREME COURT. My father was interviewed, along with the board’s lawyer, Bertram Daiker, and Mr. Engel. A number of supporters of the prayer, of differing Christian and Judaic* denominations were also featured.
Although my personal feelings on the prayer aligned with the Supreme Court (both then and now), I’d thought that it could have been replaced with a moment of silence, during which an individual could recite a prayer, mantra, or other form which would allow time to reflect daily on a personally spiritual concept or concepts aimed at providing a thought process which would provide each student with a strong moral foundation on which to base his or her daily and life decisions.
It is my belief that many today are led to overdevelop egocentrism, which might well turn out to be a negative influence.
*Wikipedia is in error; this was not a dispute between the Judaic and Christian members of the Herricks School District
Editor’s Notes: The case reached the Supreme Court in 1962 and in an opinion delivered by Justice Hugo Black, the Court ruled that government-written prayers were not to be recited in public schools and were a violation of the U.S. Constitution and the Establishment Clause of the first amendment.
“New Hyde Park” Memorial is a different school district in Queens. Herricks comprises a number of towns, including the Nassau County section of New Hyde Park, an area of Roslyn, Williston Park, and others. It is situated geographically between Garden City to the south, and Manhasset to the north.
Many thanks to Ms. Vitale Johnson for sharing her memories about this important part of American history.
The Huletts firehouse as it looked on the evening of December 3, 2016.
The holiday spirit was very much alive and well at the Huletts Firehouse on Saturday, December 3rd as the Huletts Landing Volunteer Fire Company hosted their 2016 Christmas party.
The setting was once again a wash with fully decorated trees, garlands of colorful twinkling lighting, traditional Christmas wreaths and a background of holiday music that even ” Santa” would be beaming with pride.
The event was well attended by many of the volunteer firefighters, their families and friends as well as residents of the community who were also invited. All of that, plus a wholesome buffet of food, beverages and desserts made for an outstanding evening of camaraderie and fun, confirming that a good time was had by all.
Major thanks to Fire Chief, Jay Vander Plaat, Fire Company President, John DeLucia and the tireless efforts of their planning and decorating support team that made it all possible. Here are some photos taken that evening. (Many thanks to Dave Richards for the pictures.)
The Lake George Park Commission has received approval from the state legislature to raise dock, mooring and boat fees in 2017. From the bill authorizing the increase:
Dock, wharf and mooring fees. The owner of a dock, wharf or mooring within the park used for non-commercial residential purposes shall pay an annual fee of fifty dollars. The owner of a dock or wharf within the park used for commercial purposes shall pay an annual fee of five dollars per linear foot for each such dock. The owner of a mooring used for commercial purposes shall pay an annual fee of one hundred dollars for each mooring. New docks constructed for commercial use after the effective date of this section shall pay a first time fee of ten dollars per linear foot and five dollars per linear foot annually thereafter.
Boat fees. In addition to the registration required by the state, any mechanically propelled boat or vessel with ten horsepower or more used on Lake George shall have an annual permit issued by the commission. The fee therefor for boats twenty feet or less in length overall shall be forty dollars; for boats twenty-one to twenty-five feet in length overall, fifty dollars; and for boats over twenty-five feet in length overall, fifty dollars plus seven dollars and fifty cents for each foot by which the length overall exceeds twenty-five feet; for boats over twenty-five feet in length overall outfitted for overnight use, fifty dollars plus thirty dollars for each foot by which the overall length exceeds twenty-five feet. The commission may establish a one week use permit for twenty dollars. The commission may establish a one day use permit for twelve dollars for any mechanically propelled boat or vessel with ten horsepower or more.