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

Wilmington Historical Society Purchases Site for Keegan Memorial History Center

A 50 MILE CHALLENGE TO BENEFIT THE WILMINGTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY "This was much more difficult than I thought it would be!" exclaimed Dave Fitz-Gerald as he completed the re-enactment of a 50-mile hike accomplished by Denny Miller in 1963, only in reverse, which is to say - from Plattsburgh to Lake Placid, on Saturday, May 5th. Dave, a member of the Wilmington Historical Society in Wilmington, NY, had decided a while ago to re-enact the feat of postman Denny Miller as a fundraiser for the Society through the online fundraising site Crowdrise by GoFundMe with the goal of raising $1000. Dave had researched the Denny Miller event while writing the book In the Shadow of a Giant, a local area history of Paleface Ski Center and Dude Ranch owned and operated by Dave’s grandfather, Boylan Fitz-Gerald. Dave, who started his hike just after midnight early in the morning of May 5th, had to fight wind and sometimes total darkness due to power outages for the first few hours of his trek because of the effects of the previous day’s inclement weather. When dawn arrived and the winds calmed, he only had to fight his own inner self for the fortitude to continue. Nevertheless, he succeeded, 17 hours later, arriving at his destination a little after 7:00 pm in Lake Placid to be greeted by members of his family and the Wilmington Historical Society. The fundraiser has garnered $345 for the Wilmington Historical Society to date.

Dave Fitz-Gerald’s accomplishment was based upon the story of Denny Miller’s 50 mile hike from Lake Placid to Plattsburgh in 1963. The 1963 Denny Miller achievement was a local sensation at a time when 50-mile walks were a craze throughout the country. The local news outlets and radio station WIRY carried the event and Denny became an instant celebrity. The event actually began as a gag. Denny, after hearing of a North Carolina military serviceman who hiked 50 miles in 11 hours and 44 minutes, claimed to his letter-carrier colleagues one Wednesday morning that for $100 he could easily do the same thing. While Denny went about on his postal route that day, his colleagues set about making arrangements for him to do just that, contacting the local radio station and other news outlets and getting local businesses to put up the money. When Denny returned after deliveries, he learned of his colleagues’ trick and good-heartedly accepted the challenge set for the following Monday. It was decided that since he was a letter-carrier, he should deliver mail, so it was set up for him to deliver a letter from the Lake Placid postmaster to the Plattsburgh postmaster. His trek began in a snowstorm that February day. Nevertheless, he was up to the challenge and completed the 50 mile course with much fanfare and acclaim.

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’s website is www.wilmingtonhistoricalsociety.org and may be reached at whs12997@hotmail.com or 518-524-1023.

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

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

WILMINGTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY TO PRESENT “Whiteface Mountain Ski History” Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018.

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 Thursday, February 8th at 7 pm at the Lake Placid Olympic Museum in the Olympic Center in Lake Placid. 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 or the Lake Placid Olympic Museum at 518-302-5326 log on to www.whitefacelakeplacid.com about ORDA venues and events.

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

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

Please note our "Open Discussion" dates for 2018.

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