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NEWS FROM WILMINGTON: Wilmington Historical Society discussion stirs memories

July 12, 2013

Hello everybody. What has been happening in your piece of heaven since we last got together?

Attention all seniors! The Wilmington/AuSable Forks Regional Picnic will be held on Tuesday, July 16 at the Wilmington Town Beach. The picnic will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Bingo will start at 10 a.m. and lunch will be served at noon.

The suggested donation for thoseover 60 years old is $3.50 and for those under 60, the charge is $6. On the menu will be barbequed chicken, baked beans, pasta salad and watermelon and brownies for dessert. A 50/50 raffle will held.

RSVP to Tiffany at 946-2922, or Betsy at 647-8173. And bring a smile with you, because I'll be there for pictures!

Free summer concerts are back at the wilmington Town Beach and begin this week. Thursday, July 11 brings us the country/rock band, Flipside. The show will be from 6 to 9 p.m.

On Thursday, July 18, the band, Bootleg Band will be playing a variety of music for our enjoyment and dancing. July 25 we will have the honor of hearing Movin' On, a country/rock band. Then on Thursday, Aug. 1 we will see and hear Spring Street, a variety band. Crosswinds, another variety band will play on Thursday, Aug. 8. Aug. 15 we will enjoy Split Rock, Aug. 22 we can get our groove on with Stoneground Express and for the last concert of the season, on Aug. 29, we will go out in style with Organized Chaos.

All shows begin at 6 p.m. We can thank our local sponsors for these free concerts and for next column I will get a listing of these benefactors.

Guess what time it is? Wilmington Holiness Campmeeting time, that's what! From Friday, July 12 through Sunday, July21, 704 Hardy Road will be alive with songs of praise. Service times are as follows: Monday through Saturday at 7 p.m., Sunday at 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Youth Camp will be held Monday, July 15 through Saturday, July 20. For more information, call Joyce at 637-7899.

Let's not forget the hours for using our town beach at the end of Bowman Lane. Every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with Thursdays lasting until 8 p.m.

Did you know that Steve and Wendy Hall run the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge on Springfield Road here in Wilmington? Did you know that Steve and Wendy have had wolves and wolf hybrids as pets for over twenty years? Did you know that Steve and Wendy have taken in sick and injured wildlife for over thirty-five years?

If you didn't know any of these facts, or if you have never heard of the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, then make it a point to attend the next Friday night program presented by the Wilmington Historical Society. These programs are free and open to the public.

Wolves, Dogs and Coy Wolves: An Evolutionary History, a talk with Steve Hall, will be happening on Friday, July 12 at the Wilmington Community Center. The program starts at 7 p.m. and the Country Bear Bakery will once again be providing the refreshments.

The Wells Memorial Library at 12230 Route 9N in Upper Jay, New York will be presenting an Art Exhibit by Terry and Sue Young that will run through August during library hours. Reception will be held on Friday, July 12 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the library. For more information, contact Library Director, Karen Rappaport at 946- 2644. Or check out its website

JEMS Summer Music on the Green concerts continue with Celia Evans & Friends on Saturday, July 13, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Weather permitting, the show will take place outside on the Jay Village Green on Route 9N. The Village Green spreads out in front of the Julia and Amos Ward Theater which will be the rain location, just in case.

When we come, we are invited to bring the children and our blankets and chairs!

I love to hear stories of Adirondack hospitality and assistance. This is the latest one: seems that a family was camping up at Fern Lake and their pet dog, Bear, got away. Not knowing anyone in the area, the call went out on the Jay e-newsletter for any and all to be on the lookout for this precious pup.

A suggestion was made to the family by quite a few people that they leave Bear's personal items near the exit of the woods where he disappeared so he would be lured out by the scent.

"Although it was difficult, we left his bed and toys outside and left," the family is quoted as saying. The next morning when they returned, there was Bear asleep in his bed! The family then said, "We are overwhelmed with joy as our pets and not just pets-they're family members." Don't you just love happy endings?

When on my way in to the Wilmington Historical Society's meeting on Wednesday, July 3, I looked up behind the town hall and guess what I saw? The Wilmington Community Garden, that's what! According to information that I saw, the prime instigator behind this effort was Susan Hockert. There were 12 plots with a variety of flowers and veggies, all in varying stages of development. A nice big fence will keep the deer and smaller varmints out and there is an attractive wooden door whereby the plotters can gain access to their gardens. A really nice community effort all around.

WHS stirs memories

Then I continued on into the Community Center to hear about Wilmington's summer residents and their impact on our town and economy. Besides eating delicious treats from the Country Bear Bakery, who supplies the Wilmington Historical Society with its monthly goodies, I watched the slide show of various summer camps that had been built and kept up over the years here in our town.

Folks like George "Adirondack" Smith who was on the forefront of the Hupmobile's inception and manufacture. Smith became the sole owner of the Wilmington Gun Club after buying out some other partners. He is with clear viewing of the AuSable from the camps' front porches. credited with naming Springfield Road after his hometown of Springfield, Ma.

St. Margaret's RC Church is said to be named for his mother, Margaret. Smith was also a great supporter of getting the highway built up Whiteface Mountain that we now know as the Whiteface Mountain Veterans' Memorial Highway. Other summer camps that were built along the Au Sable River in Wilmington around the early 1920s included the names Hunky Dory, Field Wood and Blue Bird.

Oscar Olney was said to have created the furniture for the Blue Bird as well as building the camp itself. Caretakers of the Blue Bird Camp included Frank Mason, Adrian Lawrence and Monte Estes. Olney was also proprietor of the Olney Hotel which played a prominent part in Wilmington's early days of tourism. Brown Meadows and the Owaissa Club were names of camps from that same period.

Slayton Underhill built where Steve and Wendy Hall today operate the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge on Springfield Road. Underhill was an artist who used a lot of local people as his models. My husband, Gary remembers that his dad, Warren, and Bob Winch, Sr. where asked to pose for drawings that Slayton turned into a couple of cowboys.

Slideshow pictures that Karen Peters showed at the meeting of the Blue Bird Camp and next-door-neighbor camp, Hunky Dory, showed very open fields with clear viewing of the Au Sable River from the camps' front porches.

Just for fun, drive along Springfield Road toward town and notice the street sign that says, Blue Bird Lane. That's where the open fields used to be!

The best part of this evening was when Doug Wolf saw a picture of the an early logging trough that would bring logs off Whiteface and then send up river. He remembered playing on the trough when he was a kid. And, apparently he was not the only kid that played there.

That's what makes these monthly open discussion meetings so interesting; the personal anecdotes and recollections. Thanks again to the Wilmington Historical Society for keeping the history of our area alive and in our forethoughts.

The next Research Night which opens up the files and knowledge of the WHS members will be on Tuesday, July 16 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Wilmington Community Center. The next monthly meeting of the WHS will also be held at the Community Center on Wednesday, Aug. 7, at 7 p.m.

Looks like Barbara Rothman caught me on my facts, or rather not facts. When I stated last column that the John Zachay Memorial Scholarship had bequeathed $1,000 since its inception, I really goofed! More like $250 for the early years is more like it. I still haven't heard when the first Wine and Cheese fundraiser for this Scholarship will be taking place, so let's all keep our ears open!

Thank you everyone for reading this column in the Lake Placid News. And let's take the words of Red Skelton to heart, "Good Night and May God Bless."



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