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NORTH COUNTRY AT WORK: North Country at Work launches story, photo archive

April 20, 2018
By AMY FEIEREISEL - NCPR Correspondent , Lake Placid News

CANTON - Have you ever seen a picture of a 600-pound sturgeon? How about an 1890s butter plant, or a mail boat making the rounds on Cranberry Lake? Those are the sorts of things you'll find in our freshly launched North Country at Work website, a place built to explore the photos and stories we've been collecting from around the region for the last few years.

What's in the archive?

You've probably heard or seen our North Country at Work stories over the last few years - from peddlers using eggs as money in the 1870s to the work of a Lake Placid butcher in 2018.

Article Photos

Ellen Rocco (NC@Work Project Director), Bryan Thompson (Project Historian), and Amy Feiereisel (Project Coordinator) interviewing Ron Keough in Saranac Lake in 2016. Photo taken by Amy Catania, Executive Director of Historic Saranac Lake.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg. Since the summer of 2016, the North Country at Work crew has been visiting communities all over - from Old Forge to Watertown to Glens Falls to Saranac Lake - collecting and digitizing photos of work (and recording oral histories that go along with them!) You've shared your own polaroids and family glassplates, and museums and historical associations have generously let us into their collections.

Now you can see all those photos in one place:


Now, don't think this means the project is over - we've got a lot of work ahead of us, and a lot of communities to visit! We'll be constantly adding to the archive in the coming months and years, so there will always be new places and things to explore.


About the archive

We built this archive from scratch with our NC@Work digital developer, Graeme Hoffman. We wanted a place where it would be easy and fun to explore the incredible photos we've been collecting. There's a couple ways you can do that:

Our Browse Page: This is where all the individual photos we've collected live. You can search through them in a lot of ways - by county or town, by type of work, by time period, even by special subject (choose "horse" if you'd like to see every photo with a horse in it - of which there are a LOT!). Or just type what you're looking for in the search bar. A fun place to start is by selecting your county and a time period you're interested in.

Our Collections Page: This is where we've curated groups of photos that are related and that we think are worth a look - from a series of photos taken at Republic Steel in Mineville to the process of ice harvesting, step by step.

Our Stories Page: This is where you can find every North Country at Work story we've ever aired/published. Each one has an audio clip and photos to help bring the story alive.

Right now there are a little shy of 2,000 photos in our archive, made up of those given by individual donors, but mostly from the following collaborating institutions - if not for them, the archive wouldn't exist!

Below is a list of the collaborators.


Historical associations and town historians

Hammond Historical Society, Philadelphia Historical Society, Heuvelton Historical Society, Historic Saranac Lake, Dexter Historical Association, Colton Historical Society, Jefferson County Historical Association, St. Lawrence County Historical Association, Four Rivers Historical Society (town of Champion), Goodsell Museum, Hamilton County historian, De Kalb town historian.


Regional public libraries and spaces

Whallonsburg Grange Hall, Bodman Memorial Library, Pickens Hall in Heuvelton, Saranac Lake Free Library, Dexter Free Library, St. Lawrence University Library Archives, Carthage Free Library, Ogdensburg Public Library and Historian's Office.


Regional museums

Hammond Museum, Potsdam Museum, Town of Clifton Museum, Adirondack Experience: Museum on Blue Mountain Lake, Adirondack History Center Museum, Chapman Museum, Town of Diana Historical Museum, Gateway Museum of Morristown.

You should know that the photos each institution has contributed are just a fraction of what they've got. We were just scanning the work-related ones, which often led to internal disputes (ex: Ellen: 'But this photo is so amazing!' Amy: 'We can't scan every photo of a train wreck!'). You'll have to head over in person to see the rest of their archives.


The donors

And a HUGE thank you our donors of the North Country at Work project, whose support have made every piece of the project - from the on-air and online stories to the archive to our public programming - possible.

North Country at Work is a grant-funded project, and we have received funding from: the National Endowment for the Humanities Digital Division, New York Humanities, Cloudsplitter Foundation, Adirondack Foundation (Charles B. Decker Fund), Northern New York Community Foundation, Public Employees Federation, Region 7 (Essex, Clinton, Franklin and St. Lawrence counties), J.M. McDonald Foundation, Inc., Wyncote Foundation, New York State Regional Economic Development Councils.



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