In this Place: April 16, 2014

By Trish Adams

April: Whatever Weather Wends Our Way
Easter comes late this year, and so will my Easter column. Instead I thought we'd enjoy a good old-fashioned olio of thises and thats. When trying to attract the reader’s eye, it never hurts to start with true crime or have “murder” in the headline, even if one didn’t occur. In this “crime most dog-gone foul,” the only real tragedy seems to have been the loyal family pet (what kind of coward shoots a dog?) This murderous gang was so inept they didn’t even have their victim’s first name down pat. And three of them chickened out.


In This Place: April 2, 2014

“Tramping” with “Oom John”
In a year when we’re all longing for spring, I thought we could spend some time with the man who was born on April 3 and attributed his optimistic nature to this “hopeful” time of year — naturalist and Roxbury native, John Burroughs.
Making selections was hard — Burroughs was a frequent topic in this paper and his obituary, memorial services and centennial cele­brations alone could fill many columns.
So I focused instead on the day-to-day news of his doings and sayings, and the unassuming way he lived among his neighbors and friends.
Coincidentally, the News is now running a serial story, “Roose­velt, Bur­roughs and the Trip that Saved Nature,” sponsored by the New York News Publishers Association. Although we are now on Chapter 5, you can find the entire series here on our website in the “Features” section. The book is meant to introduce children to the conservation movement, which got an enormous “leg up” from the lasting friendship between Burroughs and Roose­velt. This is how it all started . . .

March 27, 1903 — John Burroughs Honored
President Roosevelt has invited John Burroughs, the naturalist who is a native of Roxbury, to accompany his party on a trip to Yellowstone Park. The invitation [was] inspired by Mr. Burroughs’ article in a March per­iodical which the President had been reading.

HAPPY CAMPERS: President Theodore (never "Teddy" to his friends) Roosevelt and John Burroughs during their historic trip to Yellowstone in 1903. Photographer unknown.HAPPY CAMPERS: President Theodore (never "Teddy" to his friends) Roosevelt and John Burroughs during their historic trip to Yellowstone in 1903. Photographer unknown.


In This Place: March 26, 2014

“No Passengers: This Train is Headed for the (Grave) Yard
by Trish Adams

Most times, significant histor­ical transitions come and go and people don’t notice until years or even decades later that an epochal shift has had a huge impact on their lives and their communities.

That is not the case with the demise of the railroad — and especially its passenger service — among our villages and towns. Indeed, old and young alike seemed acutely aware of the immense role the railroad played in Catskills industries and its quality of life. Nostalgia was rampant before the last passenger train had left the station.


In This Place: March 19, 2014

It’s that time of year again. Mud season? Not quite. No, it’s bragging — uh, tapping — time. The sugar harvest simultaneously evokes nostalgia for the old days, marvel at the wonders of modernization and a fierce fidelity to a tradition which will always require time, patience and, it is hoped, good company.

Shawn McComas, left, brings up another kettle of sap as Joe Duggan and Douglas Cowan stoke up the fire. Jerry Duggan stands by to lend a hand. These boys have tapped several neighborhood maples and conduct their syrup-making operation in the back yard of  the Donald Cowan home. The boys have produced more than a gallon and a half of the sweet product. “Sport” accompanied the boys and seemed to be having as much fun as his young masters. A dog adds much to a group of boys whether they are making maple syrup, roaming the fields or throwing a stick in the home door yard. (From the issue of March 5, 1954)Shawn McComas, left, brings up another kettle of sap as Joe Duggan and Douglas Cowan stoke up the fire. Jerry Duggan stands by to lend a hand. These boys have tapped several neighborhood maples and conduct their syrup-making operation in the back yard of the Donald Cowan home. The boys have produced more than a gallon and a half of the sweet product. “Sport” accompanied the boys and seemed to be having as much fun as his young masters. A dog adds much to a group of boys whether they are making maple syrup, roaming the fields or throwing a stick in the home door yard. (From the issue of March 5, 1954)


In This Place: March 12, 2014

Of Saints and Sinners: St. Patrick’s Day
It’s a wee bit disappointed I am. Not that me pilferings of St. Paddy’s incidentals was an abuse of me time. But I was hoping for some doings of, shall we say, a more “spirited” nature? If it’s research into the Wearing of the Green in these archives you’ll be doing, put on your Sunday go-to-meeting finery, because nary a stain can ya find ‘mongst these temperate proceedings.

Well . . . almost none!