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Gift Card Tree fundraiser. Worth more than $350! Great gifts!

The drawing will be held at the Festival of Colors at 4pm on September 8th. You need not be present to win, but must make arrangements for pick-up. $5 for one, $20 for 5. Raffle Tickets available by contacting: Donna at 732-691-3390 or email whs12997@hotmail.com

Our 2018 membership drive is still underway. We look forward to your continued membership. If you know of others who might like to join, we would appreciate your telling them about the Wilmington Historical Society and encouraging them to do so. Brochures may be picked up at several locations, including the Whiteface Visitors Bureau, or they can contact us at whs12997@hotmail.com or 518-420-8370 for a membership form, or download a form or pay online at our website www.wilmingtonhistoricalsociety.org.


The Wilmington Historical Society will present Whiteface Mountain Ski History with Wilmington Historical Society President Karen Peters and former Wilmington Historical Society Trustee Guy Stephenson on Wednesday, August 15th at 7 pm at the at the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center at 110 Marble Mountain Lane just off Whiteface Highway in Wilmington. A slide presentation will include an overview of Whiteface Mountain ski area history from the 1940’s to the 1980 Olympics.

What began as a small ski center in 1948 with its original site at Marble Mountain adjacent to the Whiteface Mountain Veteran’s Memorial Highway, Whiteface Ski Center became a much larger ski facility by 1958 after moving to the current site on NYS Route 86. Early development planners include legends like Otto Schneibs, Hannes Schneider and Herman Smith-Johannsen. Those who influenced the transition include Governor Averill Harriman and first supervisor of both ski centers, Arthur Draper. Early ski rope tows, ski lodges, and ski shops gave way to more modern facilities. Mountain transportation, specialized vehicles and the innovation of snow-making changed over time as technology was able to transform to meet the demands of the sport. Local skiers, national celebrities and others with influence grew the fledgling ski industry of the late 1940’s into a bona fide economic driver by the latter part of the 1900’s. In 1980, the culmination of all the previous efforts and the vision of so many individuals resulted in a successful Winter Olympics alpine venue. The Whiteface Mountain Ski Center in Wilmington emerged as a world-class host and remains a valuable asset of New York State and the nation, still hosting national and international events.

Presenter Karen (Marshall) Peters is a former teacher whose ancestry traces back to the early days of Wilmington. She has a love of local history and is an amateur genealogist who likes to help others in finding their roots. Guy Stephenson is a “native son” of Wilmington who began skiing at Whiteface Mountain when he was 6 years old. As an employee of the Bob Run in Lake Placid and a heavy equipment operator for 30 years, he has actually worked at all of the Olympic venues, including the cutting and preparation of new ski trails for the Olympics. Both Guy and Karen are founding members of the Wilmington Historical Society and are two (2) of the authors of the photo book Wilmington and the Whiteface Region published by Arcadia Publishing in 2013.

The program is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided by the Country Bear Bakery in Wilmington. For further information, contact the Wilmington Historical Society at 518-420-8370 or whs12997@hotmail.com.


The Wilmington Historical Society will the present the program “Marking & Mapping the Land: a Brief History of Surveying in the Adirondacks” with surveyor Ralph Schissler on Wednesday, July 18th at 7pm at the Wilmington Community Center located at 7 Community Center Circle just off Springfield Road in Wilmington. Ralph Schissler’s presentation will focus on the “Great Surveyor of the Adirondacks”, Verplanck Colvin, whose work surveying New York State’s Adirondack Mountains and advocacy for its preservation led to the establishment of the 6 million acre Adirondack Park in 1892. Anyone who ascends the mountains of the High Peaks of the Adirondacks may be able to spot one of Colvin’s survey markers at its peak. Mr. Schissler will also share the influence that Colvin’s survey work has had on the profession over time and provide examples. He will have photos, wall hangings, and both vintage and modern surveying equipment for comparison.

Ralph C. Schissler III PLS is the owner of Adirondack Surveying PLLC with his office located in the Hamlet of Jay NY. Mr. Schissler has almost 30 years of experience in the profession of Land Surveying after graduating from Paul Smiths College in 1989 and becoming a Licensed Professional Land Surveyor in 2000. He has had a varied background, working both in the private and public sector, starting his career working in the Southwestern Adirondack Mountains performing Boundary Surveys for both private and governmental interests. Mr. Schissler’s interest in surveying extends beyond his professional work as a member of the “Colvin Crew”, a group comprised of surveyors, historians and the general public who are interested in the work of Verplanck Colvin, the “Adirondack Surveyor”. The “Crew” organizes outings to recover Colvin monumentation and baseline points. Mr. Schissler is the current Vice President of the Northern Land Surveying Association having served several terms as President in both the Northern and Mid-Hudson regional affiliation of the New York State Association of Professional Land Surveyors.

The “Marking & Mapping the Land: a Brief History of Surveying in the Adirondacks” program on July 18th is free and open to the public. Refreshments are provided by the Country Bear Bakery in Wilmington. For further information, go to www.wilmingtonhistoricalsociety.org or contact the Wilmington Historical Society at whs12997@hotmail.com or 518-420-8370.

In the Shadow of a Giant


The Wilmington Historical Society will the present the program “In the Shadow of a Giant- Remembering Paleface Ski Center and Dude Ranch” with author David Fitz-Gerald for a talk and book-signing on Friday, June 29th at 7 pm at the Wilmington Community Center located at 7 Community Center Circle just off Springfield Road in Wilmington. In the Shadow of A Giant is a well-researched historical novel which tells the story of a family-owned resort in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains and the struggle to thrive alongside the rugged, spectacular, and majestic Whiteface Mountain. It is mostly a true story of a dreamer, Boylan Fitz-Gerald, who fought Mother Nature, Father Time, and a dwindling checkbook balance and wound up creating a business with a lasting legacy—a business that left a deep imprint on the souls of many people. In the Shadow of a Giant is about a place, and also about an entrepreneur, his wife, their family and friends, the proprietors of other nearby Adirondack attractions, the communities of Wilmington and Jay, New York, and the local heroes who lived there. Take a trip back in time and enjoy a one-of-a-kind, vintage Adirondack vacation experience.

David Fitz-Gerald is a grandson of the visionary founder of Paleface Ski Center and Dude Ranch. Preserving it in its historical context has been a labor of love and an enriching hobby for this first-time author. Dave is descended from generations of people who lived in the North Country. He worked at Santa's Workshop in Wilmington during high school summers, graduated from North Country Community College in Saranac Lake, Clarkson University in Potsdam, and the University at Albany. In 2011 Dave became an Adirondack 46-er. He now resides in Vermont and is CFO of Carris Reels, a manufacturer of packaging for the wire and cable industry, and chair of The ESOP Association, which serves the employee-ownership community.

The “In the Shadow of a Giant-Remembering Paleface Ski Center and Dude Ranch” program on June 29th is free and open to the public. Refreshments are provided by the Country Bear Bakery in Wilmington. For further information, contact the Wilmington Historical Society at whs12997@hotmail.com or 518-420-8370.

North Pole, NY
North Pole, NY

A World Premier for our fans in the Adirondacks, we are having a special sneak preview screening for all of you at the Lake Placid Arts Center on June 23rd. This screening is extra special because many of the stars of the film will be in attendance. Early-bird tickets just went on sale and be sure to grab one today because this screening will sell out! www.lakeplacidarts.org/performances/north-pole-ny OR call 518-523-2512

A New Book-“Wilmington & the Whiteface Region” is here!

Book Cover

Now one of the Images of America series by Arcadia Publishing, Wilmington and the Whiteface Region is authored by the Wilmington Historical Society.

About the book:

While the year-round population of Wilmington has never been more than 1200, it swells to about 3.000 residents on average during the summer months, with 400,000 tourists visiting annually. As a small town in the Adirondack Mountains, Wilmington’s history spans 2 centuries, transforming from its agricultural and industrial roots to a popular four-season tourist resort. We are proud to have been able to put the history of our town into context with our book Wilmington and the Whiteface Region, with photographs and information of interest for residents and tourists alike. The 11 contributing authors of Wilmington and the Whiteface Region, each with a unique area of expertise, are Laurie Bepler, Nancy Cressey, Robert J. Cressey, Gilbert Dyke, Linda Joss-Dyke, Merri C. Peck, Karen Marshall Peters, Robert Peters, Julie Robards, Guy Stephenson Jr., and Douglas A. Wolfe. It is an ideal “memory book” for local past and present residents. We know that residents and others with ties to Wilmington will take pride in re-forming their identity through the history of their town. It makes a unique “souvenir” book for tourists whether they visit one or more of our attractions of Whiteface Mountain, Whiteface Mountain Highway, Whiteface Ski Center/summer gondola ride, High Falls Gorge, and Santa’s Workshop, or whether they come here to ski, fish, hike or bike or just relax and refresh their personal spirit and appreciation of life. We wish to encourage visitors to not just come once, but to return again and again to enjoy all that our town has to offer it can be purchased from the Wilmington Historical Society, at local gift shops and stores, and in book outlets such as Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble. Order your copy here

Adirondack 102 Club Cover

ADIRONDACK 102 CLUB: YOUR PASSPORT & GUIDE TO THE NORTH COUNTRY is by Martin Podskoch with Wilmington resident Jeri Wright providing the cover photo. ACTUAL OR ARMCHAIR TRAVELER, YOU CAN VISIT ALL 102 TOWNS AND VILLAGES IN THE ADIRONDACKS---written by residents of each town or village so that you are getting an insider's information about the history, the uniqueness of the place, recreation opportunities and points of interest. By getting the book signed or stamped in each town, the traveler accumulates “towns & villages visited”. Adults and children of all ages can be members. Once a member has reached their goal of visiting all 102 towns & villages, they will then receive the “Vagabond” award, so named after the self-described “Vagabonds” Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone & John Burroughs who took automobile camping trips throughout the Adirondacks.

Price: $20.00, including tax.

10% discount for Wilmington Historical Society members. Order your copy here

Whiteface-Wilmington Whiskey 10K Run coming up June 16th

Welcome to beautiful Wilmington, NY, the home of Whiteface Mountain and the 2nd annual 10K Whiskey Run! But why a Whiskey Run you ask? As it turns out, the area has quite a storied history with liquor, legal and otherwise. During the War of 1812, Wilmington supplied good rye whiskey to the American troops at the Battle of Plattsburgh as part of their daily ration. During prohibition with its proximity to Canada, Wilmington residents distilled moonshine and provided temporary haven for bootleggers crossing the border, and to this day, Wilmington is home to US Barrel, the oldest whiskey barrel cooperage in the Northeast. So with our somewhat checkered history and natural beauty we invite you to join us for the annual Wilmington Whiteface 10K Whiskey Run June 16th, 2018 starting at 9:30 am at the Festival Field in Wilmington. Following the race is the awards ceremony with food available for purchase at Festival Field. Run participants will receive a t-shirt and a “swag bag” filled with quality local goods. For further information see here Wilmington Whiteface Whiskey 10K Run.

To Pre-register go to www.adkwhiskeyrun.com

Wilmington Historical Society Purchases Site for Keegan Memorial History Center

A 50 MILE CHALLENGE TO BENEFIT THE WILMINGTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY The online site for Dave Fitz-Gerald’s 50 mile event fundraiser for the Wilmington Historical Society is www.crowdrise.com Contributions may be made to that site or can be mailed to the Wilmington Historical Society at PO Box 174, Wilmington, NY 12997, memo “Dave Fitz-Gerald 50 mile hike fundraiser.” The Wilmington Historical Society is a 501(c) 3 not-or-profit organization chartered by the State of New York and has recently purchased land with the goal of constructing a new building with fundraising focused on that purpose. It has in its possession more than 200 artifacts, 350 reference and library books, 300 microfilms, and considerable archival material. The society assists genealogists, supports historical research, conserves collections, creates displays and offers programs to the public. The Wilmington Historical Society may be reached at whs12997@hotmail.com or 518-524-1023.

Upcoming Programs by Wilmington Historical Society

2018 Programs in Adobe Reader


The mission of the Wilmington Historical Society is to collect, preserve, display and interpret the documents, photographs and artifacts that tell the unique story of how the people of this remote, mountainous small town with big ideas have adapted and survived in the harsh yet beautiful environment of the Adirondacks. Adopted 5/18/05
To join us, see and print out the applicaton form here.

Take a two mile walking tour of Wilmington, New York to understand the history of Wilmington. Wilmington began as an industrial/agricultural town in 1822. By the turn of the 20th century, Wilmington evolved into a tourism based economy. Find out how that happened...
Wilmington Historical Walking Tour

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Created 04.04.2004, Website rev. 08.06.2018