WWII Veteran Bruce Adams Remembered by the Chapman Historical Museum


As part of its exhibit Let’s ALL Fight: World War II Home Front Posters , the Chapman Historical Museum is remembering Bruce Adams, a true  hero of WW II and one of Glens Falls’ most remarkable native sons. Courtesy of Executive Director Timothy Weidner, here’s the museum’s September 4th newsletter, with the tribute to Bruce Standish Adams, one of the greatest of the Great Generation.

[After you’ve read about Bruce, please read on and note especially the Chapman’s appeal for your support. As with every nonprofit during this pandemic, the museum is facing a deficit this year. Please join me in supporting  the Chapman Thank you!]

CHAPMAN NEWSLETTER: SEPTEMBER 4, 2020
WWII Veteran Bruce Adams Remembered

We chose to feature the exhibit Let’s ALL Fight: World War II Home Front Posters on the 75th anniversary of the end of the war.  It seems fitting that we also acknowledge some of the contributions and sacrifices of individuals who served their country.

Bruce Adams of Glens Falls was one.  His story was chronicled by Joseph Cutshall-King in Over My Shoulder, a collection of his newspaper columns in The Post Star.  We thank him for allowing us to paraphrase and share excerpts from his column about Bruce’s WWII experiences.

Bruce had taught skiing during winters before the war, and his abilities led him to join the army’s new division, the famed 10th Mountain Division, which had been formed a few days before Pearl Harbor.  He was sent to Camp Hale at 8000 feet in the Colorado Rockies.  There he trained ski troops, which was “intensely rigorous, cold and unrelenting.” In summer, the troops climbed mountains!

After training, the 10th was sent to the Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska to drive out the Japanese.  Attu Island was taken by heavy fire, but Bruce related that the American troops “reached Kiska after the Japanese had snuck away.”  Next, in November 1944, they shipped out to Italy where the division fought heroically in the Apennines, the mountain range that forms the backbone of the peninsula.

In March 1945, two months before the war’s end, Bruce was seriously wounded and left for dead.  When the next day’s sun rose, he was found alive, although barely able to speak or move.  As he began to recover, Bruce determined “to rise and attempt to get on with living.”  On board the transport ship bringing him home, he practiced taking steps. He related to Joe, “I fell down and got up, fell down and got up, fell down and got up,” over and over again.

Bruce came home to recuperate with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Claude Adams, who opened a ski center on Bay Road in Queensbury. Bruce (center) eventually came to be able to ski at his parents Ski Hill, using a conventional ski on one foot, while hand-guiding the other ski by means of a pole.  Joe, who came to know Bruce well, wrote that he never heard him boast of his valor nor complain of his injuries, and he deflected compliments by saying, “All things are possible.”

Joe Cutshall-King’s books, Over My Shoulder, Volumes 1 & 2 are available online or in the Chapman Museum Shop. The photos included here are part of the Adams Collection which is housed in the museum’s archives.

Upcoming Events

September 15, 7 pm  
Talk: “How Hollywood Fought WWII”
Film historian, Audrey Kupferberg

In Person and on Zoom
Seating is limited, call (518) 793-2826 or email director@chapmanmuseum.org
Look for the Zoom link on our website Events Page next week

Sign up now for the Chapman Golf Tournament
October 9th at Queensbury Country Club

12:30 pm Shotgun Start / Scramble format
$89 player / $356 foursome
Limit: 60 golfers.  Don’t miss out!
Sponsored by Talk of the Town. For details and to sign up: Chapman Golf Tournament

Do you enjoy Chapman programs, emails, blog and social media posts? Please support the Chapman Museum with a gift.
Due to the cancellation of major fundraisers and the loss of earned income, we are facing a huge deficit by year’s end.
Help us to raise $50,000 to bridge the gap. Make a gift online. Thank you!


Click here to learn more about my Over My Shoulder books.

Have a question? Please contact me:

“Back Over My Shoulder” podcast # 3 – Cruisin’


Historian & Author Joe Cutshall-King

Here’s my Back Over My Shoulder podcast #3 — Cruisin’ – Memories of summer nights on wheels!

Remember cruisin’ up and down the main drag of your town, looking for fun, love, and maybe even a bit of trouble? Put your seatbelt on and click on any of these links to listen: AnchorBreaker;   Google Podcasts; Overcast;   Spotify; PocketCastsRadioPublic.

Hope to be hearing from you.

Joe Cutshall-King


Click here to learn more about purchasing Over My Shoulder and  Over My Shoulder 2 in both print and eBook formats.

You can contact me here:

“Back Over My Shoulder” podcast # 2 – June 23, 2020


Historian & Author Joe Cutshall-King

My second Back Over My Shoulder podcast is ready for you to hear—Reese, Rebel flag boosters have skewed view of history.

As you probably guessed, it’s about the Confederate flag controversy and I don’t mince words. Click on any of these links to listen: AnchorBreaker;   Google Podcasts; Overcast;   Spotify; PocketCastsRadioPublic.

When you’ve listened, would you give me your reaction? Thanks! I look forward to hearing from you.

Joe Cutshall-King


Click here to learn more about purchasing Over My Shoulder and  Over My Shoulder 2 in both print and eBook formats.

You can contact me here:

New! Back Over My Shoulder podcast


Historian & Author Joe Cutshall-King

Hi! I’ve formally launched my new podcast, Back Over My Shoulder. In it, I’m reading my “Over My Shoulder” columns I’d written weekly for The Post-Star—columns on regional history, commentary, and my own reminiscences.

I’ve published six years’ worth of columns in two books, Over My Shoulder and Over My Shoulder 2.  Friends who have been reading them said I should podcast the columns, so they could listen to them while driving, jogging, eating lunch, sitting still, lying in bed, wherever!

So, I have, and here’s my first podcast—this time a personal reminiscence called, “A Baby and a Circus.” You can click on any of these links to listen: AnchorBreaker;   Google Podcasts; Overcast;   Spotify; PocketCastsRadioPublic.

A favor? Wherever a comment section is available (including below), please tell me what you think. I look forward to hearing from you!

Joe Cutshall-King


Click here to learn more about purchasing Over My Shoulder and  Over My Shoulder 2 in both print and eBook formats.

You can contact me here:

Upcoming Presentation & Book signing at Chapman Historical Museum


Join me at the Chapman Historical Museum on Saturday, December 14, at 2:00 pm for Tim Weidner’s beautiful  presentation, From the Mountains to the Sea: S. R. Stoddard’s Hudson River Photos. Tim will share Stoddard images from Lake Tear of the Clouds in the Adirondack High Peaks to New York Harbor, taken during the 1870s and 1880s. The event is free and open to all.

Right after it, I’ll be doing a book signing for both WATER & LIGHT: S. R. Stoddard’s Lake George, and for my new book Over My Shoulder 2.

These two books will make the perfect gift for family and friends. Please note:  the Chapman is offering WATER & LIGHT softcover and hardcover copies at 30% off the regular price! WATER & LIGHT is a beautiful coffee-table sized book, with 150 exquisite reproductions of Stoddard’s Lake George images.

Over My Shoulder 2 is my Volume 2 of my “Over My Shoulder” columns published in The Post-Star from 1998 to 2000. It has 117 columns, all fully indexed, that span the entire region of The Post-Star. It’s solid, timeless history, delivered with humor, critical commentaries, and my love of this region.

The Chapman Historical Museum is located at 348 Glen Street, Glens Falls, NY 12801. [Map & Directions] For further information, please contact at 518-793-2826 or online.

See you Saturday, December 14!


Click here to learn more about WATER & LIGHT: S. R. Stoddard’s Lake George.

Click here to learn more about Over My Shoulder 2.

Or, contact me:

A Thanksgiving Memory from “Over My Shoulder 2”


Jane King, working in her kitchen 1972

Here’s a Thanksgiving memory I’m sharing from my new book, Over My Shoulder 2. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

OVER MY SHOULDER column for November 20, 1999:

Memories of holidays gone by, via the back porch

My mother, Jane, had a special affinity for enclosed porches that were not winterized. They provided a holding space for a chaise lounge, crockery and other antiques, dried flowers, stacks of books, old New York Times magazines that rose like towers, and once a year, a Thanksgiving turkey.

The porch was her sanctum sanctorum. Of course, the whole house was Jane’s to decorate as she saw fit. God knows my father had as much inclination toward interior decorating as a duck has for space travel.

But an enclosed porch was hers alone. My parents’ last home in Ticonderoga, actually provided Jane with two unheated enclosed porches. The front porch had loads of window space, providing good sun. Here she had assembled various pieces of antique crockery and tinted 19th century medicine bottles that cast soft blue light when the sun shone through them. There were a few chairs and even a small bed that a guest could use.

The porch had been painted repeatedly and the chalky white paint took on a particular odor that gradually built into something hauntingly familiar. When dry flower arrangements and a few more antiques appeared, the realization came to me. Jane was carrying on a tradition. Here was a porch much like the unheated porch at her Aunt Kinks’ house.

Aunt Kinks, given name Cornelia, occupied a special place in Jane’s life and it was fascinating to see Kinks’ porch – itself a place of warm memories for us all – re-emerging in our house in Ti.

However, it was the second porch off the kitchen that eventually became Jane’s true sanctum sanctorum. The front porch was just too hot in the summer and, with the crockery and dried bittersweet, it developed as more of a room to behold than to occupy. The back porch had more shade. It was more of a cubbyhole, too, holding as it did the freezer and various large oven roasters, as our house sported the world’s smallest kitchen.

Packed in there was also a chaise lounge. Summers, when hollyhocks grew tall outside the little porch, Jane would retreat there to read her books and newspapers and take the essential nap.

In the winter – mid-October to mid-April – the whole porch was a substitute refrigerator. It was very much like, I also saw, the back porch off Aunt Kinks’ kitchen. It offered excellent cold storage for Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, when the variety and number of dishes Jane prepared surpassed anything offered by Julia Child.

I recall a particular Thanksgiving. It was a bit warmer than usual. Most of us kids were home, packed in the dining room with parents and grandmother. Between the number of bodies, the kitchen stove going round the clock and the fact that my father, George, had the thermostat cranked to 75, the house was unbearable. Occasionally to escape the heat, I’d step on to the front porch, which had received the overflow of relishes and rolls that no longer fit on the table or piano bench, already full with food. The smell would transport me to my aunt’s house.

Thanksgiving dinner done, George ensconced himself in “his” chair in front of the football game, and was promptly snoring. We kids were ready to go out to visit friends. Mom, who should have been on the couch, was nowhere to be seen. Impulse guided me to the back porch. There, amidst the roaster pan with the turkey carcass, dishes of creamed onions and scalloped oysters, and stacks of magazines, lay the chef, asleep on her chaise with a coat on and a blanket pulled over her.

I let her be, but left the door open to let in the heat, allowing the sleeper to dream that it was summer again, with the hollyhocks in bloom.


Over My Shoulder 2: A Collection of “Over My Shoulder” and “Passed Times” Columns published in The Post-Star from 1994-2003; Volume 2: 1998-2000 (Copyright ©2019 by Joseph A. Cutshall-King; all rights reserved); a production of Matchless Books®

Click here to learn where to purchase a copy of Over My Shoulder 2.

Have a question or comment? Please let me know:

“Over My Shoulder 2” Is Here!


Over My Shoulder 2 is now available! This is the second collection of my “Over My Shoulder” columns on regional history, commentary and personal reminiscences, originally published in The Post-Star, the daily newspaper of Glens Falls, New York.

Over My Shoulder 2 is 203 pages long, with 117 columns published from 1998 to 2000, and all fully indexed. These columns deliver solid, timeless history, oftentimes with humor, sometimes with critical commentaries. But always engaging the reader! I believe that good history is meant to be enjoyed and not be an instrument of torture!

The columns span The Post-Star‘s whole region of Warren, Washington and Saratoga Counties, and then some! It’s one of our nation’s most historic areas—from Saratoga Springs on the south, to Ticonderoga on the north; east into Vermont; and west into the Adirondacks.

Over My Shoulder 2 topics are timeless and timely, and sometimes as timely as today. The column “Local man’s early calls to impeach president” is about the 1868 attempt to impeach President Andrew Johnson. It was first published in 1998 as Congress debated President Clinton’s impeachment. Ironically, it is republished now as President Trump undergoes an impeachment inquiry.

Because variety is the spice of Over My Shoulder 2, it features a 16-page index. Here’s a sampling of a few index subjects and the history they’ll lead you to:

African American Revolutionary War veteran: about Prince Taylor, a Black Revolutionary War veteran who became one of Ticonderoga’s most prominent citizens.
Atomic bomb, practicing for the: where I reminiscence about atomic bomb practice drills in elementary school.
King, Martha, and The New Yorker: about how famed New Yorker magazine humorist Frank Sullivan included my sister, Martha King, in one of his New Yorker Christmas poems.
Speakeasy, Jerry Linehan’s, South St. & Joey Green murder: Part of a four-column series on Street, Glens Falls, this is about Glens Falls’ rumrunning days and the 1932 South Street murder of gangster Joey Green. (In fact, nationally syndicated columnist Walter Winchell declared Warren County to be the place to “get away with murder.”)

As in Volume 1, I’ve included my reminiscences of growing up in Saratoga Springs, Fort Edward and Ticonderoga, and loving memories of my own family.

Speaking of family, Over My Shoulder 2’s production was a family affair! My daughter, Julia C. Cutshall-King, has once again been my Editor, helping me to select from the many columns I wrote from 1998 to 2000. My brother, Michael George King, of Black Swan Image Works, again did all the cover artwork for Over My Shoulder 2. Thank you both!

Over My Shoulder 2 is $11.00 plus tax. It’s available on Amazon.com. It will be available at Battenkill Books in Cambridge, the Village Booksmith in Hudson Falls, and at the Chapman Historical Museum. More venues will be announced.

I’ll be at The Glens Falls Chronicle Book Fair at the Queensbury Hotel Sunday, November 3rd, from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. Join me so you can get your autographed copy of Over My Shoulder 2—and pick up your companion copy of Volume 1 of Over My Shoulder.

I’ll be looking for you, Over My Shoulder!


Over My Shoulder 2: A Collection of “Over My Shoulder” and “Passed Times” Columns published in The Post-Star from 1994-2003; Volume 2: 1998-2000 (Copyright ©2019 by Joseph A. Cutshall-King; all rights reserved); a production of Matchless Books®

Have a question or comment? Write me!

From The Post-Star to Self-Published: Four Journalists Talk About Their Books


Clockwise from upper left: David Blow, Michael DeMasi, Joseph Cutshall-King, and Maury Thompson

Journalists, writers, authors of books—and those aspiring to be! Ever wonder what it’s like to be a journalist for a daily newspaper? Ever think of self-publishing your own book, but wonder how?
Then attend “From The Post-Star to Self-Published: Four Journalists Talk About Their Books,” a panel discussion on journalism, writing, and self-publishing.
     It will be at Crandall Public Library on Saturday, September 28, from 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm. It’s free.
     Who’s on the panel? Four authors who have both written for The Post-Star and self-published their own books: David Blow, Michael DeMasi, Maury Thompson, and yours truly. We four are pleased to report that Bob Condon, City Editor of The Post-Star, will be the moderator. Bob was editor of each of us at various times, so you’ll get that dynamic of newspaper work. He is a wonderful editor.
    What are we are going to cover? Bob will ask us to discuss how, when and why we self-published our books; what we learned about the process; and our advice for others who want to do the same thing.
     Any other topics? Yes! Bob will lead discussion on the our experiences writing for newspapers; how journalism has changed over the years; advice for aspiring journalists; and predictions for the future of the newspaper industry.
     Can the audience ask questions? Yes! There will be a Question & Answer period for the audience. We want your questions!
     After the Q&A? Then we authors will hold a book signing for those interested in purchasing copies of our books.
     Here’s some information on the authors:
   David Blow is a 30-year, award winning journalist and 15-year Castleton University Media and Communication professor. Dave wrote for The Post-Star for 15 years before starting his career teaching at Castleton University in Vermont. He still contributes to The Post-Star. In recent years, he has won Associated Press first place awards for investigative reporting of both Whitehall’s Amish community and the impact locally of undocumented immigrants. He self-published his book, Blow by Blow: A Quarter Century of Voices from my Notebook.
     Michael DeMasi has been a newspaper reporter in the Greater Capital Region for more than 25 years. He started his career at The Post-Star writing feature stories and covering city hall, and then was a reporter at The Daily Gazette in Schenectady. Since 2005 Mike has reported for the Albany Business Review. He recently self-published What They Said: 25 Years of Telling Stories, a collection of his favorite stories about “CEOs, entrepreneurs, politicians, gadflies, artists, teachers, clergy, police, prisoners,” and more.
   Maury Thompson was a reporter and columnist for The Post-Star for 21 years before he retired in September 2017 to pursue an “encore career” as a free-lance writer specializing in the history of politics, labor organizing and media in New York’s North County. Maury still contributes to The Post-Star. A published author of two books, his most recent is his The Animated Feather Duster: Slow News Day Tales of the Legendary Facial Hair of Charles Evans Hughes, self-published in 2018. He is now working on a documentary about Hughes.
     Joseph Cutshall-King first wrote a local history column for The Post-Star from 1975 to 1985, as Director of the Chapman Historical Museum. I returned to The Post-Star from 1994 to 2003 with “Over My Shoulder,” a weekly column of regional history, commentary and personal reminiscences. In the late 1990s, I was also a Post-Star correspondent. Since retirement in 2012, as SUNY Adirondack‘s VP for Institutional Advancement, I’ve dedicated myself to writing. The author of six books, most recently I self-published Over My Shoulder: A Collection of “Over My Shoulder” and “Passed Times” Columns published in The Post-Star from 1994-2003; Volume 1: 1994-1997.
     For more information on “From The Post-Star to Self-Published: Four Journalists Talk About Their Books,” visit the Crandall Public Library website.

See you there!

Hey Judy! – A Ti Memory


On July 2, there was a post on the Facebook page “If you grew up in Ticonderoga, NY you remember …” Jane Banker posted a photo and asked, “Does anyone recognize these people???” Here’s a cropped version of the old black and white photo:

Jane Banker photo posted on “If you grew up in Ticonderoga, NY you remember …” on July 2, 2019. On far right is Judy Dedrick McLaughlin. Standing next to her is Jane Banker.

Well, right away I recognized the person on the very right—Judy McLaughlin! (And a Facebook comment by Darlene Treadway confirmed it. Darlene also identified Jane, standing next to Judy.) Well, the photo brought to mind a column I had written in The Post-Star about those days when Judy had worked at Burleigh’s Pharmacy in Ticonderoga. Here’s a reprint of that column from my newest book, Over My Shoulder. Hope you enjoy it!

“OVER MY SHOULDER” COLUMN FOR DECEMBER 4, 1995
Remember the old Ti coffee club?

A letter from Judy McLaughlin, in Ticonderoga, brought back memories of what I’ve dubbed the “Coffee Club” at Burleigh’s Pharmacy, where my father was pharmacist from 1962 until his death in 1987. While the names differ, I think you’ll recognize the faces from your town. Coffee Clubs are the same everywhere.
Now, I’m going back to the sixties and seventies. My parents, Jane and George King, were alive then, both active in the Coffee Club, which wasn’t really a club of course, and its morning “coffee hour” was usually more than an hour. Its “members” were the regulars, clustered at the counter, some quietly reading the paper until they fully awoke, some having arrived chattering and happy.

My parents’ morning routine was predictable in its unpredictability. George would roar in, frantically groping for the keys, usually late. Often Jane’s driving was the source of agitation – and entertainment for the Club. Mom had gotten her license after turning forty and Dad, a PT Boat commander in “the war,” unwillingly gave over the helm, keeping up a litany of instructions and gentle cursing that could set a tone for their entry into the store. He would dart to the prescription area, she to the counter, where Judy or one of the other “girls” (all young women, but I am using the language of that period) on duty that morning had hot coffee going, while they prepared the salads for the lunch hour. The sulfurous smell of hard-boiled eggs mimicked what we called the “smell of prosperity,” the sulfurous smell of the paper mill.

With each new arrival, the regulars interrupted their conversations about births, deaths or the intimate details about their kids or their spouses, neither who were there to defend themselves. They’d always ask Jane, “What’s George done now?” I can see the Club: Paul and Thelma Joubert, Betty Curtis, “Toot” Hurlburt, who had the cab stand by the bank. Paul, a bear of a man, who worked for the phone company, and my mother had both graduated from Albany Business College and so had a mini-alumni association going. There’s Virginia “Babe” Smith, a former mayor, and banker Tom Gibson, a Canadian by birth, who always looked to me like a dashing British RAF pilot. There’s Jean Brown, Carolyn White, Cy LaPointe. That’s only a few. Forgive my faulty memory.

To the rear, in the prescription room, dad would meet his boss, “Bunny” Bevilacqua, the Mayor of Ti, and a wise and wonderful man. The two were like cousins. George would then migrate to the counter to “exercise his humor,” which could be piercing. He nicknamed everyone, especially the girls behind the counter: Roxanne, Lolita, etc. And he had eagle eyes. A girl whose boyfriend had bestowed upon her a “hickey” would always get caught. He’d walk back to the prescription room, pretending not to have seen, but then would boom out to her, “An old war wound on your neck?” The Club would go wild! She’d run to the cellar, only to be kidded by Hayden P. Wallace, a WW II veteran whom Dad had nicknamed Sgt. York. Haydie, who cleaned at the store, had heard every word through the metal chute that conveyed the soda fountain’s garbage to the cellar. In revenge, the girls would often dump massive quantities of pickle juice down the chute. Sgt. York’s profanity, piped up through the chute, would send the Coffee Club into near hysteria.

Sometimes – how can I say this gently? – George would “overindulge,” and Jane would offer loud critiques of said behavior, to the delight of the Club. It irked her no end that she rarely drank and had migraines, while he “partook” and had none. Jane’s driving offered him revenge. Such as the time when she slid off icy Champlain Avenue, slicing away the D&H switching mechanism, and halting all freight traffic into the village for days! And offering a source for George’s sarcasm for months.

While Burleigh’s and its soda fountain still exist, there’s no pharmacy now. And those old days, like so many of the Coffee Club, are gone. But all will be remembered, especially with friends like Judy to remind us of the good times.

Hey Judy! Pour us another cup, will you?

_______________________________________________

Some explanations about the column: Hayden P. Wallace was a US Navy veteran. My father, also a US Navy veteran, had nicknamed Haydie after “Sgt. York” the famed ARMY veteran of WW I. It was a bit of ribbing between Navy vets. Also, I mentioned in the article that Burleigh’s Pharmacy is gone. What is now there is Burleigh Luncheonette. Walking into it recently, I felt as if I’d gone back in time, as it has wonderfully preserved the original character of the soda fountain area of Burleigh’s Pharmacy. You should visit it!
Over My Shoulder is now available in both print and in Kindle format on Amazon.com.

“Over My Shoulder” in the Black Watch Memorial Library


Front cover of “Over My Shoulder” by Joseph Cutshall-King

My newest book, Over My Shoulder, is now in several libraries in our region! I’m hoping to get one in every library of every town mentioned in my book, which would many towns.
   So far, it can be found on the shelves of Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls, NY; Easton Library in Easton, NY; and the Greenwich Free Library in Greenwich, NY. And now the newest addition to the list is the Black Watch Memorial Library in Ticonderoga, NY.
   Let me write a bit about this most recent library, The Black Watch Memorial Library is in what I consider to be one of my home towns. Built in 1905 with funds provided by Andrew Carnegie’s foundation,  the Black Watch Memorial Library is also one my mother, the late Jane King, absolutely loved. An avid reader, I think my mother must have had the muscles of Hercules, as she borrowed more books from that place than one could believe. She and Courtney King Morton, the Director, had a special bond. Jane worked across the street from the library at Dr. Tom’s. (That is, at Dr. Thomas Cummings’ office. In Ti, every doctor was referred to by his first name.) How easy it must have been to slip over and borrow a sackful! Jane died in 1984, but I imagine her spirit still slipping over to see what new books Heather Johns, the current Director, has just gotten in.
   There are more than a few articles in this book about Ticonderoga Over My Shoulder: A Collection of “Over My Shoulder” and “Passed Times” Columns published in The Post-Star from 1994-2003; Volume 1: 1994-1997.  Some are about the historical Ticonderoga of Revolutionary War fame. Others are about the more modern history of Ti, when yours truly was a tad younger. Here’s one of my favorites, an “Over My Shoulder” Column from June 30, 1996 about my first summer working in the International Paper mill:

A summer through the mill

In 1966 I got a summer job at the old International Paper mill in Ticonderoga. A mill job meant real money, union wages: $2.61 an hour. Back then, IP occupied the center of downtown. It’s all gone today, replaced by the present mill, built in 1971 near Lake Champlain.
   I started my first workday on the 7 to 3 “tower” (tour). I stood with a group of 18-to-20-year-old “college kids” (not a term of endearment) in the old-time office next to the huge “new mill” that had been built right across Lake Champlain Avenue, cutting the street in two.
   Under the skeptical eyes of the regulars, we nervously clocked in (always 20 minutes ahead as a courtesy to the person you were relieving). Thankfully we were interspersed with some full-timers, like Tommy Slattery of Port Henry, and experienced college kids, like Gene Thompson from Moriah. They made sure we didn’t hurt the machinery. Or kill ourselves. Even now I see all our faces, but don’t remember all the names: Danny Ahern, Bill and the others from Whitehall; Johnnie from above Port Henry, Bob Denn, from Albany; and a kid from Butler College that everybody called Butler.
   We walked down a long set of steel stairs into the bowels of the mill, a three-story high basement. The next floor up were the thundering number 7 and number 8 paper making machines, two behemoths we would help feed. In spite of sodium lamps, the basement was dark. Machinery noise was a constant thunder. We shouted to be heard. The temperature was 25 to 30 degrees hotter than outside and rain forest humid. The entire place smelled of rotten eggs from the sulfite process. Our first day. We thought we had arrived in hell. Thirty minutes later, day foreman Jigger Donovan arrived, bellowing a blue streak as he told us how, where, and when to work. Hell was complete.
   Bob and I threw imperfect paper (“broke”) on a five foot wide, clanking steel conveyor belt, feeding the “Liebeck,” a two story steel cone with a whirling drum of blades and superheated hot water that chewed the broke into pulp, feeding it back into Number 7 and 8. The other guys brought broke down in hand-pushed carts from the trimming machines above or in slabs from the splitters cutting imperfect rolls in two. The men above us used it faster that we threw it on. “They’re screamin’ for broke on 7!” we’d hear. Sweat flowed from us. A red light near the top of the belt would signal when we were to stop feeding in broke. It rarely went on.
   We “college kids” tried our best to show we could, and would, work. But I honestly think we probably drove poor Jigger Donovan and the shop stewards nuts in those first days. Dan and I began to ride the battery powered hand trucks around like cars, reciting lines from “Chicken Man, the white-winged, weekend warrior” and singing “Paperback Writer.” We all kept filling the Liebeck long after the red light went on. Suddenly a man, soaked head to foot in mushy paper came running, screaming for us to stop. He had been sitting upstairs in the computer room where the tops of holding vats were. The liquid pulp had overflowed the tops of the tanks, gushing down over him and his co-workers, washing them to the floor. He looked like a giant clump of wet toilet paper. We tried not to laugh. I think we tried.
   In that first week we worked doubles constantly, from 7 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. After 16 hours of body-building work, we’d shower and run up to the Burleigh House, also known as Willy Roundhead’s. Willy had live bands who’d play the Beatles and Motown hits at deafening decibels. With teenage energy, we’d drink too much beer, dance until two, and then go to Burgey’s Cave in Hague to do the same until three.
   A little over three hours later, at 6:40 a.m., we’d be clocking in, groggily grabbing breakfast from Mr. Good’s “Goodie Cart,” and doing the same thing all over again. Including the dancing – from that night into the next morning.
   And summer had just begun.

   So, head over to your nearest library if you’d like to read more. Or, if you’d like to buy a copy, can order through Amazon.com at https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_17?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=over+my+shoulder+cutshall-king&sprefix=over+my+shoulder+%2Cinstant-video%2C197&crid=2TOW7WFWO302A.

   I’ll be looking for you, Over My Shoulder!

A sample column from my new book: “Over My Shoulder”


 

Post-Star front page banner – December 4, 2018

What a gift I received when I saw the December 4th , 2018 edition of The Post-Star! Gretta Hochsprung’s Hometown News column “Looking Over his shoulder” was about my new book, Over My Shoulder.

In it, Gretta reported on a reading I’d given from the book at the Chapman Historical Museum. It was an emotional experience, akin to a homecoming. I’d started my career at the museum, as both a historian and a writer. Also, I felt such pride as my daughter, Julia Cutshall-King, the editor of my book, stood there with me. And, finally, one of the columns I read brought on such unexpected emotions that it became impossible for me to finish it. As Gretta wrote, “He shed tears as he read ‘Truly a Gift From the Heart,’ about a Christmas gift from his adopted brother, Scott. His daughter finished reading the column for him.” I thought I’d offer that column here. The ending of it is as heartfelt today as it was when this first published on December 18, 1995.

Scott King & Martha King Oct.1965

Truly a gift from the heart

     This is a Christmas tale some of you may have heard before. My friend JoAnn Adams suggested I relate it in this column and so I will. It is a personal story, about a lesson that I learned at a Christmas that was almost thirty years ago, although it still seems like yesterday.
     By the time that my mother and father had reached their forties, two of their four children were in college and the other two were of an age that now allowed Mom and Dad to relax a bit…something that they certainly deserved and certainly looked forward to. Which made what they did all the more difficult for their children to understand at that time. For, in their mid-forties, my parents adopted their God-child, who was a little boy, only five years old.
     When my brother Scott came to live with us at age five, he was so shy and so withdrawn that we thought he’d never come out of his shell. I should say, we kids didn’t think so. My parents felt far more confident about the whole thing. Or at least that’s the impression they gave. Parents are like that, you know.
     Over the first few years our new little brother gradually carved his niche in the family. By and large he was a quiet boy and around the time he was seven he began to hoard things, keeping them close to himself and hidden, as if he would never get them again if he were to let them go. It had taken him awhile to get used to the fact that he had his own bed and could have his own things, but this year, when he was seven, he really did hoard things away in an almost miserly fashion, especially money that my mother would give him: pennies, nickels, dimes. He hoarded it all. To me he became a little Ebenezer Scrooge, but then I was away at college most of the year and was not as understanding as those still living at home: Mom, Dad, and my sister Martha and brother Bill. My parents had an idea that it was because of our family just having moved to a new house. The move, they said, had made Scott insecure, because he thought that he was going to change homes…and families…again. I thought to myself, “Well… That could be.” But, honestly, I just clung to the thought that he seemed very greedy. What a lesson I was to learn.
    It came Christmas time, our first Christmas in the brand-new house. With Scott a seven-year-old still believing in Santa Claus, you can imagine that we were all up at the crack of dawn. Presents were being opened, and Scott, uncharacteristically for him, insisted that we open his presents. We did and, as with the youngest child in every family, did so with a great deal of fanfare. It was a fanfare that was truly deserved, and I will never forget those presents. Mine was incredible. A wooden box, originally used to package salted codfish, but now filled with nails. It was his favorite wooden box. And the nails he had collected because he knew I needed them. As everyone opened their present, it was slowly dawning on us all that Scott was giving us his things that he cherished most.
     At last, it was time for my mother’s present. What a special glow Scott had on his face as he gave it to her. She opened it and took out…his wallet, filled with ALL the money that she had given him over the year. He had given away, as Christmas presents, EVERYTHING he owned, everything that was most precious to him. We all sat, with tears in our eyes, unable to speak, until Scott said, “Did I do something wrong?” And we all rushed him at once to hug him and to tell him, “No, no! You did everything right, just right!” He beamed all over.
     I still have that codfish box with the nails. It is a constant and wonderful reminder of what giving really means…a lesson my brother taught to me on a Christmas long ago.
     Merry Christmas to you my brother, wherever you may be.
                                                                    [end]

Now, twenty-three years later, I hope this same Christmas wish is somehow received by my brother Scott, wherever he may be.

I’ll be reading from my new book this Wednesday at the Chapman!


Over My Shoulder cover

I’ll be at the Chapman Historical Museum this Wednesday (Nov. 28) at 1:00 pm for a book reading and signing for my new book Over My Shoulder! Come on over and we can share memories!

Over My Shoulder is Volume 1 of a collection of columns I wrote for The Post-Star and covers between 1994 and 2003. This large 175-page book is packed with history from all over the Greater Glens Falls Region. (It also has a large index, too, so you can more easily explore what’s in it.) And, it’s only $9.95 plus tax. Perfect for the holidays!

Oh, yes! The Chapman will also be selling “WATER & LIGHT: S. R. Stoddard’s Lake George” for which I wrote the essay and text.

The Chapman is on 348 Glen Street, Glens Falls. For more information, call 518-793-2826.

Thanks! See you this Wednesday! Bring a memory!

“Over My Shoulder” at the Glens Falls Chronicle Book Fair


Over My Shoulder, my newest book, debuted at The Glens Falls Chronicle Book Fair last Sunday and the public gave it a great reception!

Cover Design: Black Swan Image Works

My daughter and the book’s Editor, Julia Cutshall-King, my wife, Sara Cutshall-King, and I had a table at the 23rd annual Chronicle Book Fair. The Book Fair was spread out over the entire first floor of the Queensbury Hotel in Glens Falls, NY. As always, it was wonderful! According to The Glens Falls Chronicle‘s most recent edition, about 120 authors were there. Sincere congratulations to Cathy DeDe, Managing Editor of The Chronicle, who oversees this yearly event. This such an important venue for regional authors to gain exposure for their books.

Hundreds of visitors streamed through the Queensbury Hotel, which is undergoing such beautiful renovations and was the perfect place for the Book Fair. Our family greeted many friends and new acquaintances who stopped by to visit—and to buy a copy of Over My Shoulder: A Collection of “Over My Shoulder” and “Passed Times” Columns published in The Post-Star from 1994-2003; Volume 1: 1994-1997!

In addition to having a table, I’d been invited by Greenwich Free Library Director Annie Miller and Battenkill Books Proprietrix Connie Brooks to be on a panel of authors: Jackie Fisher, Adrienne Morris, Dr. Daniel Way, and me. With Annie moderating, our panel discussed one of PBS’s Great American Read themes, the concept of heroes in history and fiction. (By the way, congratulations to Annie for the library’s having received one of the 50 PBS Great American Read Library Programming Grants awarded in the nation!)

Right in the same room in which we had our table, there were so many authors and booksellers. At the risk of offending someone by missing a name, I have to mention a few. On our left was the Chapman Historical Museum, with loads of copies of its newest book, WATER & LIGHT: S. R. Stoddard’s Lake George, for which I wrote the essay. On my right was Adirondack writer and photographer,  Dr. Daniel Way, whose lovely books of his photos were piled high. (Dan and I share a passion for the legendary American photographer Seneca Ray Stoddard.) Speaking of  photography, photographer, historian and author Bob Bayle had his two beautiful books on the photography of his father, Francis Bayle.

Nearby was Saratoga Springs Chief of Police and crime historian  Greg Veitch, signing copies of his book on Saratoga gangsters. (I had my novel The Burning of The Piping Rock, so I was in good company.) Very appropriately, next to Greg was Mike Carpenter, Professor of Criminal Justice at SUNY Adirondack. Like Greg, Mike was “off duty,” and busily selling his Common Man Books — guidebooks on hiking, biking and kayaking.

Roseann Anzalone, Program Coordinator of Literacy NY Greater Capital Region, was on hand. How appropriate and essential was that! Without Literacy, where would authors be?

I missed seeing teacher, historian and author Matthew Rozell. My friend was in Hudson Falls being  inducted into the Hudson Falls Central School District Wall of Distinction.  His The Things Our Fathers Saw series and other books on World War II have been a gift to us all.

Luckily, I did see my friend Maury Thompson, journalist, author and historian. Maury had his book on Charles Evans Hughes. Although retired from The Post-Star, Maury’s been making guest appearances lately with great articles on the history from the year 1918.

In all, we had a great day and sold a lot of copies of Over My Shoulder at the 23rd annual Chronicle Book Fair. Congratulations again to Cathy DeDe and The Glens Falls Chronicle.

Here is some basic information on Over My Shoulder:

ABOUT: The book is 175 pages long, with 104 columns arranged in three categories: Glens Falls History, Area History, and Personal and Family Memories. It has a table of contents, and a large 8-page index.

COST:  $9.95 plus tax.

AVAILABILITY: Available at Battenkill Books in Cambridge, the Village Booksmith in Hudson Falls, at the Chapman Historical Museum in Glens Falls, and on  Amazon.com. And you can order through this website. (More places to be announced!)

I’ll be looking for you, Over My Shoulder!


Over My Shoulder: A Collection of “Over My Shoulder” and “Passed Times” Columns published in The Post-Star from 1994-2003; Volume 1: 1994-1997 (Copyright ©2018 by Joseph A. Cutshall-King); a production of Matchless Books®

“Over My Shoulder”—The Book Is Here!


My newest book, called Over My Shoulder, is now available!

Cover Design: Black Swan Image Works

The whole title is (ready?): Over My Shoulder: A Collection of “Over My Shoulder” and “Passed Times” Columns published in The Post-Star from 1994-2003; Volume 1: 1994-1997.

As you can see, Over My Shoulder is a compilation of my weekly “Over My Shoulder” columns which combined local history, commentary, and personal reminiscences. My sincerest thanks to The Post-Star for making it possible for me to reprint these columns in book format.

My Over My Shoulder columns cover the entire territory of The Post-Star— Warren, Washington and Saratoga Counties, plus a bit beyond. That’s a territory roughly from Ticonderoga in the north, Saratoga to the south, east into Vermont and west into the Adirondacks.

Over My Shoulder is 175 pages long, with 104 columns arranged in three categories: Glens Falls History, Area History, and Personal and Family Memories. It has a table of contents, and a large 8-page index. That’s because I want you, the reader, to be able to easily find your town, or someone you knew, or history you like. The columns cover an enormous range of topics, such as the Ti Coffee Club; Burgoyne’s campaign; Abolition; Women’s Suffrage; tourism on Lake George; S. R. Stoddard; the founding of LARAC; to skiing in Bolton Landing; a Whitehall woman’s childhood memories of growing up on a canal boat; my own memories of growing up in Saratoga, Fort Edward and Ticonderoga; French Canadians—and so many more.

Assembling Over My Shoulder has been a family affair. My daughter Julia C. Cutshall-King was my Editor, helping me to pick from the 400+ columns I wrote from 1994 to 2003. (That’s why we created Volume 1.) My brother, Michael George King, of Black Swan Image Works, did all the cover artwork for Over My Shoulder. Thank you both!

Over My Shoulder is $9.95 plus tax. You can order through this website. It’s available on Amazon.com.

It will be available at Battenkill Books in Cambridge, the Village Booksmith in Hudson Falls, and at the Chapman Historical Museum. Plus more places to be announced!

AND, I’ll be at The Chronicle Book Fair at the Queensbury Hotel this Sunday, November 4th, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Join me!

I’ll be looking for you, Over My Shoulder!


Over My Shoulder: A Collection of “Over My Shoulder” and “Passed Times” Columns published in The Post-Star from 1994-2003; Volume 1: 1994-1997 (Copyright ©2018 by Joseph A. Cutshall-King); a production of Matchless Books®

Reporters called him “The Animated Feather Duster”!


“Fun Fact”: Maury Thompson’s newest work, The Animated Feather Duster, is a delight!

And I know his upcoming film on Charles Evans Hughes will be the same.

Cover of “The Animated Feather Duster”

But first, let’s look at The Animated Feather Duster. “Fun Fact” is a phrase you’ll read many times in The Animated Feather Duster, a book about Charles Evans Hughes, a child prodigy who grew up to be a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.
Maury gives us an unorthodox but fascinating way to look at Hughes—by concentrating on his beard! Glens Falls native Charles Evans Hughes served as New York State Governor, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, U.S. Secretary of State, and then Chief Justice of the United State Supreme Court. The sole office for which Hughes campaigned and lost was for United States President. That was to Woodrow Wilson.

As Maury has discovered in his extensive study of Hughes, as soon as Hughes entered public life, his beard became the focus of a lifelong attention of reporters. This was originally due to a sarcastic jab taken at Hughes by none other than publisher William Randolph Hearst, who ran again Hughes in the New York gubernatorial race in 1906. Hearst lost, but how his jab turned Hughes’ facial hair into a national phenomenon is a great read.

Hughes first grew a beard after graduating at age 19 from Brown College. You might ask, “Why did he grow it?” That’s a fun fact you’ll discover in The Animated Feather Duster.

As you’d expect from a longtime reporter who had a distinguished career at The Post-Star, Maury Thompson doesn’t skip the essentials of Hughes’ career or diminish the importance of his crusader’s drive. As Governor, Hughes was a true reformer, putting in bills favoring better working conditions and benefits for laborers, as well as being a tireless foe of corruption and waste. And being a tireless foe of gambling. While well-loved in his hometown of Glens Falls, in Saratoga Springs citizens were “less than enthused” about Governor Hughes in 1907, as he had gotten legislation passed outlawing horse racing! Obviously, that “serious mistake” (as far as Saratogians were concerned) was soon rectified.

Still, as this is a book about Hughes’ beard, Maury never loses track of the “hirsute Hughes.” And he devises some wondrous ways to portray it, including a whole gallery of photos of bearded Presidential candidates throughout US history! Now, that is history outside of the barbershop.

The Animated Feather Duster, 48 pages long and illustrated with color and B&W artwork, is on sale now. For more information go to Maury’s Facebook page.

Also, I mentioned an upcoming film. Expanding on his fascination with Hughes, Maury has launched an ambitious project to create a film called, “Charles Evans Hughes & The Adirondacks”

Hughes BTS

Author Bill Loughrey being interviewed.

Working with Caitlin Stedman of Snarky Aardvark Films, Maury is filming in-depth interviews with a variety of people. (He interviewed me at Crandall Public Library and is a good interviewer.) With this article, I’ve included two photos from other interviews plus a shot of filming at the Hyde Collection (all courtesy of Caitlin Stedman).

Queensbury Town Historian Joan Aldous being interviewed

Photographs and recordings will be added to those interviews. Maury writes that, in all, the film will explore Hughes’ “ties to the area, both personal, political and economic, as well as their lasting impacts.” The film will cover four geographic areas: 1) Glens Falls/Hudson Falls, 2) Lake George/Northern Warren County, 3) Saratoga Springs, and 4) Essex County/High Peaks. It is slated for release in 2020.

Hughes BTS 2

At the Hyde Collection

So, there you have it! Two “Fun Facts” about Maury Thompson’s newest works about Charles Evans Hughes!

Till the next time!
———————
© 2018 Joseph A. Cutshall-King; all rights reserved.

Fort Ticonderoga’s Oral History Project


 

Fort Ticonderoga

Did you ever work at Fort Ticonderoga or were you somehow formally associated with it? I had worked there as a teen and recently had the chance to share some of my memories of that time—and to have them recorded! You can, too. And you should. Please read on and find out how.

Last Friday my wife Sara and I sat at a table at the Thompson-Pell Research Center of Fort Ticonderoga while staff member Tabitha Hubbard asked me questions about the time I’d worked at Fort Ti, all the while recording my memories.

Tabitha Hubbard is the Project Manager of the Institutional Legacy Initiative, Fort Ti’s project to record its own history by recording the memories of all those who ever worked at the Fort or were in any way associated with it. A place about history is recording its own history. How perfect.

A good interviewer, Tabitha let me blather blithely on about my memories of Fort Ti when I worked for Karl J. LaPointe in the Log House Restaurant, slinging milkshakes and hamburgers to the crowds of tourists. My three summers there—1963 to 1965—were memory filled.

Tabitha showed me photos from that time. Oh, how they brought back memories! Once again I saw such familiar faces, and they made me gasp. There’s a photo of K. J. LaPointe and his son, George. There’s John and Pyrma Pell. And Jane Lape, Curator and Librarian. Oh, there’s Sally Tefft. And, look! Snapshots of Bob Bartlett and Terry Clarke in their Revolutionary War costumes. You can bet the guides didn’t have to wear an ice cream smeared apron!

I didn’t see any photos of my brother Bill King, who later worked at Fort Ti in the gardens. Maybe he has some of his own to share.

Congratulations to Beth L. Hill, the President and CEO of Fort Ticonderoga, for launching this project. How worthwhile my memories will be for future historians is anyone’s guess. But as I sat relating those memories, I experienced a “pinch me” moment. I’d gone from serving milkshakes at Fort Ti to now

“292. Ruins of Fort Ticonderoga. 1882” by S. R. Stoddard. From “WATER & LIGHT: S. R. Stoddard’s Lake George” (Chapman Historical Museum).

having a book of mine, WATER & LIGHT: S. R. Stoddard’s Lake George, being carried in Fort Ticonderoga’s shop. Now, that is a very gratifying feeling.

I know there are many hundreds of you out there who have worked at or have been in some way formally associated with Fort Ticonderoga. Please take part in this wonderful project. You’ll find Tabitha Hubbard is easy to talk with. And I know you’ll be as pleased and amazed as I was by how many names, places and faces she has grasped in the relatively short time she’s been there. You can have all the supercomputers you want, but one good human mind cannot be bested for research.

Okay! Memories ready? Then please contact Tabitha Hubbard at (518) 585-2821 or email her at collections@fort-ticonderoga.org.

Oh! I almost forgot to mention this: it’s fun!

Upcoming book of “Over My Shoulder” columns from the Post-Star


Over My Shoulder masthead 4Recognize that photo and the column’s name?

For nine years, from 1994 to 2003, that “younger version of me” wrote Over My Shoulder, a weekly column of commentary and local history for The Post-Star, the Glens Falls, NY, daily newspaper serving Warren, WPost-Star mastheadashington and Saratoga Counties.

Increasingly, many of you, my former readers—from Ticonderoga to Saratoga Springs, west into the Adirondacks and east into Vermont—have told me how much you enjoyed my columns (thank you!) and more than a few have been asking for copies of them.

So, with that in mind, my daughter Julia and I are selecting a good number of Over My Shoulder columns to create a book of them. Julia is serving as my Editor and we plan to have it out by mid-autumn of this year. The tentative title is, Over My Shoulder: The Post-Star Columns 1994-2003.

BUT, WAIT! We need your help! There are more than 400 Over My Shoulder columns! My Editor and I discussed grouping the columns by topic. I asked her to winnow out the columns that were dated and/or boring, so we could see how many remained and then we could start grouping them.

Well, dear Editor had a brilliant suggestion: ask my readers! And so, I am. Could you help us decide on topics to print? Do you have a particular column or series of columns that you liked and want to see reprinted?

My editors at  The Post-Star had allowed me a wide latitude in my writing the Over My Shoulder columns. So, the topics were broad-ranging and never-ending. I think I wrote about everything: the Revolutionary War; my own personal memories from my family’s times living in Saratoga Springs, Fort Edward, Ticonderoga and Glens Falls. (And no, I have not lived since the Revolutionary War.) I wrote on histories of our towns and cities ; tourism; sports; famous, not-so-famous, and not-at-all-famous people; holiday memories; and more.

Often your suggestions inspired what I wrote. So, would you write again to let us know what topics you like? Or do you wish to see a particular Over My Shoulder column reprinted? Please leave a comment and we’ll try to fulfill your wish. As mentioned above, Over My Shoulder: The Post-Star Columns 1994-2003 is scheduled to be out in early to mid-autumn.

Please leave a comment, if only to let us know you’d like to get a copy. My Editor and I looking forward to hearing from you! And, thank you!


Over My Shoulder: The Post-Star Columns 1994-2003, copyright © 2018 by Joseph A. Cutshall-King; all rights reserved.

“Water & Light: S.R. Stoddard’s Lake George”—a major new book on Seneca Ray Stoddard


CHM_W&L_Front Cover -2

You’re looking at the cover of Water & Light: S.R. Stoddard’s Lake George, a handsome new book featuring the work of Seneca Ray Stoddard, one of the greatest 19th century American photographers. It  is on sale at the Chapman Historical Museum, 348 Glen Street, Glens Falls. Or you can go to the Chapman’s website to purchase a hardcover or softbound copy.

For anyone who loves the Adirondacks, here’s your book.

Water & Light: S. R. Stoddard’s Lake George is a 160-page book taking you on a scenic tour of Lake George via Stoddard’s photographs of “The Queen of American Lakes.” In all, there are nearly 150 reproductions of his photographs, painting, sketches and maps. There’s an introductory essay to give you some of his history and discuss his why his art is so highly prized today. Whether you live on Mohican Point on Lake George, in Midtown Manhattan or in Malibu Beach, California, you will find these photographs of Lake George exquisite.

Rustic Bridge at Hulett’s Landing – Lake George

Stoddard’s work is a guarantee of beauty. The earliest photographs date from 1868 with one of his first images of the lake and go through to the mid-1880s. All the images in Water & Light: S.R. Stoddard’s Lake George are printed using the duotone process, which offers incredibly faithful color reproduction. The paper reproduces the look and feel of the albumen paper on which Stoddard printed his photographs.

Starting at the southern end of Lake George, Stoddard’s photographs take you northward. The book divides the lake into five regions, the final region ending where the waters of Lake George join Lake Champlain at Fort Ticonderoga. Each region is accompanied by a corresponding section of Stoddard’s Map of Lake George, surveyed and drawn by him.

SRS Lake George Map southern end

The Chapman’s Executive Director, Timothy Weidner, selected the images used in this book, quite a feat considering that, of an estimated 10,000 images Stoddard took in the Adirondacks alone, over 1,000 were of Lake George! The majority of the images are from the Chapman’s own Stoddard Collection. The remainder were graciously loaned by photographer Dr. Daniel Way. Susan Pearce designed the book, producing a layout that perfectly complements Stoddard’s work.

I was honored to be asked to write the introductory essay and other text for Water & Light: S.R. Stoddard’s Lake George. It’s been a dream come true, as I first “met” S. R. Stoddard in 1977, when the Chapman Historical Museum was offered its huge Stoddard Collection. I was the museum’s Director then and under the leadership of its Board Chairman, Dr. Richard C. Merrill, Stoddard’s great legacy was brought home for all to enjoy.

189 Lake George from Fort Gage

Here’s a bit of history on S. R. Stoddard. He was born in Wilton, NY, in 1843. He began his career in 1862 in Troy, NY, as a painter of interior murals for railway cars, then moved to Glens Falls in 1864. In 1867, he began photographing professsionally, taking his earliest iamges in and around Glens Falls. He started photographing Lake George in 1868. He quickly moved into the rest of the Adirondacks and by 1872 was photographing the entirety of them.

122 Lake George - East Side Sheldon Point

122 Lake George – East Side Sheldon Point

Also by 1872, Stoddard was writing very readable, humorous and popular guidebooks for Lake George and the Adirondacks, reminiscent in humor and pithiness to Mark Twain. Only two years later he was producing excellent maps for those regions. Some were later adopted as official maps by the State of New York and became standards over the decades to come.

But Stoddard’s genius was in his photography. Fine arts scholars have ranked him among the greatest 19th century American photographers, including William Henry Jackson, Timothy O’Sullivan, and Mathew Brady, Carlton E. Watkins. The National Gallery of Art placed his photographic compositions on a parallel with those of Hudson River School painters.

329 Lake George - Huletts Landing - Cooks Island

329 Lake George – Huletts Landing – Cooks Island

Stoddard was a household name by the 1880s. An ardent conservationist, he greatly influenced the New York State Legislature, with lantern slides of his Adirondack photographs, to create the Adirondack Park in 1892. While he went on to photograph throughout the United States, Europe and the Middle East, he repeatedly returned to Lake George, which he photographed until shortly before he died in Glens Falls in 1917.

272 Rogers Slide - Lake George

272 Rogers Slide – Lake George

So there you have a brief introduction to S.R. Stoddard. Get to know him and his art even better with Water & Light: S.R. Stoddard’s Lake George. It’s being offered in softbound for $29.95 and hardcover for $49.95, plus tax, shipping and handling. For further information, or to order, go to the Chapman’s website, call the Chapman at 518-793-2826 or visit the Chapman at 348 Glens Street, Glens Falls, NY 12801. [Click for map.]

Saratoga Springs humorist Frank Sullivan is honored!


Author Frank Sullivan reading The New Yorker

Author Frank Sullivan reading The New Yorker

The 20th Century American humorist Frank Sullivan is beginning to enjoy a much-deserved revival in the 21st Century! “The Sage of Saratoga,” as he is lovingly called in his birthplace, Saratoga Springs, was in his heyday a renowned humorist and regular contributor to The New Yorker magazine, a member of the Algonquin Round Table, and a published author whose works delighted millions.

Thomas Dimopoulos reports in Saratoga Today‘s “Sage of Saratoga Honored with National Literary Landmark” that Frank Sullivan’s home on 135 Lincoln Avenue in Saratoga Springs is to be dedicated as a “Literary Landmark” by United for Libraries, a division of the American Library Association. This gives Frank’s home the same honor as places associated with other great American authors as diverse as Dorothy Parker, Mark Twain, W. E. B. DuBois, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Frederick Douglass, to name just a few.

In addition, Saratoga Springs Public Library will feature “Frank Sullivan at His Best,” a selection of Frank Sullivan’s writings that are the library’s 2017 choice for the SaratogaReads! a community-wide reading and discussion initiative. Hats off to Saratoga Springs Public Library Director Issac Pulver!

On a personal note, Frank Sullivan came into my family’s life in 1946, when my parents, George and Jane King, moved to Saratoga Springs. They rented the first floor of 121 Lincoln Avenue, just down the street from Frank’s home, where he lived with his sister Kate. My father had accepted the job as Manager of MacFinn’s Drugstore on Broadway and Frank immediately reached out to the young couple, starting a friendship that lasted until Frank’s death 30 years later. Even after we moved from Saratoga, my mother corresponded with Frank and stayed in touch with him until he died in 1976. For our family, then, simultaneously thinking of Frank Sullivan as both a dear friend and a great author was very easy.

However, I have to recognize, however grudgingly, that forty years have passed since Frank’s death, and many more since his heyday, and people’s memories are short. So, in this time when we need gentle humor served with real intellect, it’s wonderful that the humorist whose New York Times obituary described him as “a gentle wit” is being brought back for a whole new generation to enjoy.

For those of you not familiar with Frank Sullivan, here’s a thumbnail biography of him. Frank was born in 1892 in Saratoga Springs on 177 Lincoln Avenue, next door to the Saratoga Race Track and not far from his second and last home on 135 Lincoln Avenue. He was educated in Saratoga—meaning then that he not only attended schools there, but also worked at the track, where he received a liberal expansion of his scholarly education. As Alden Whitman wrote in his New York Times obituary of Frank, “Frank Sullivan, Humorist, Dies at 83; A Gentle Wit and Spoofer of Cliches”

As a boy of 10 he worked as a pump boy in the betting ring at the race track. On one occasion he served a glass of water to Lillian Russell, the actress, who tipped him 50 cents and said to him:

“Thank you, little boy. Tastes better out of a tin cup, too.”

“It was a swell job,” Mr. Sullivan said of his pump‐boy job, “easy hours, plenty to see, little to do, 10 to 15 bucks a day in tips and no income tax.”

While in Saratoga Springs High School, Frank was also a part-time reporter for The Saratogian. He went on to Cornell University, graduated in 1914, and then returned to the Spa City to write full time for The Saratogian.

So far, much of that description typifies the careers of many hundreds of newspaper reporters of that era, but Frank’s rise to renown began right after World War I. Drafted into the US Army in 1917, he served as a Lieutenant. Post-war, he moved to New York City and briefly worked as a reporter for the Sun and then the New York Herald, before joining The World in 1922. Very significantly, in 1925 he also began a long association with The New Yorker magazine, newly created by Harold Ross. That literary relationship lasted until a little before Frank’s death in 1976.

Frank’s fame began in the Roaring Twenties and it is this part of his life that I know will provide some keen biographer with the core of an excellent book. Simultaneously writing for The World and The New Yorker, while contributing to the Saturday Evening Post and other magazines, Frank Sullivan also became an “unofficial” member of the Algonquin Round Table. A daily luncheon gathering at Manhattan’s Algonquin Hotel, the Round Table included newspaper reporters, columnists, and humorists, as well as Broadway playwrights, producers, directors, and actors. Its“official” (charter) members were:  Franklin Pierce Adams, Robert Benchley, Heywood Broun, Marc Connelly, Ruth Hale, George S. Kaufman, Dorothy Parker, Brock Pemberton, Harold Ross, Robert E. Sherwood, John Peter Toohey, and Alexander Woollcott. Harold Ross, not coincidentally, was the founder and editor of The New Yorker.

Frank Sullivan had been “invited to the table” as an intellectual compatriot and would become a lifelong friend to many of them. But, before you think of the Round Table’s “unofficial” members being minor players in that scene, consider just some of those who held that rank with Frank:  Noël Coward, Harpo Marx, Tallulah Bankhead, Jane Grant, and Edna Ferber. Ferber, you’ll recall, wrote Saratoga Trunk, later made into the musical Saratoga by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II.

Frank’s period of greatest fame spanned from the 1920s through the 1940s. Beyond the Algonquin Round Table, Frank’s friends also included noted writers, actors, playwrights and producers. For example, there was his dear friend and drinking companion Monty Wooley—Yale professor, Broadway producer and actor, and Hollywood movie star. Also, Frank counted the acclaimed novelist and short story writer John O’Hara as a friend. And there were many more friends from every walk of life. That was the gift he had.

In all things, Frank was a Saratogian at heart. In 1930 his newspaper, The World, went out of business and, deeply affected, Frank moved from New York City back to Saratoga Springs, where he bought his second and last house on 135 Lincoln Avenue. (I should note that there are differences among sources as to the date he returned to live full time in Saratoga Springs. I chose the year that Alden Whitman had reported in his obituary of Frank.)

Of course, business dictated that Frank still went to Manhattan. While there he stayed at the Cornell Club on East 44th Street, right next to Grand Central Station. Being a short hop from Grand Central must have appealed greatly to Frank as, to my knowledge, he never drove a car or even had a driver’s license.

 

The Night They Burned the Old Nostalgia Down

The Night the Old Nostalgia Burned Down

 

Beyond newspaper and magazine articles, Frank published eight books, including The Night the Old Nostalgia Burned Down. For many, Frank’s Christmas poems in The New Yorker were a much-anticipated annual event, as he extended greetings to the internationally famous and his neighbors down the street.

What is Frank Sullivan’s place among American writers? I can’t say. His humor was subtle and gentle and, in contrast to Dorothy Parker’s pithy zingers, probably wouldn’t have the same appeal in today’s world. But Frank deserves a full examination of his work, and a good biography of his life. For Frank Sullivan was a renowned writer who walked among, and had lunch with, the giants of his day.

I’ll be back next week with some King family memories and more personal history of Frank Sullivan. Meanwhile, may I ask a favor? Does anyone have a photo of Frank taken in, say, the 1940s, something from around when he was 50? The photo always shown now (and which is included in this article) is of Frank as an older man with thick glasses. Yet I always conjure up an image of him as younger, being smartly dressed in a suit and tie, as if ready to step out to a Broadway show in Manhattan or to the Colonial, his favorite watering hole on Broadway in Saratoga Springs.

Till then,

J.A.C.K.

———————

© 2016 Joseph A. Cutshall-King; all rights reserved.

PLEASE HELP Racing City Chorus’ $how to Benefit Saratoga Springs HS Music ♫ Department


THE RACING CITY CHORUS NEEDS YOUR HELP!!! (Yes, I am repeating myself!) The Racing City Chorus is Raising $$$ to Benefit the Saratoga Springs High School Music ♫ Department. PLEASE join us! Please help us make this a smash hit! (At the bottom of this you’ll see all kinds of ways you can share this.)

The Racing City Chorus (RCC) of Saratoga Springs, NY, is celebrating its 60 anniversary this year with a Diamond Anniversary Show on June 4thand we are going to donate 50% of the Show’s net proceeds to the Music Department of the Saratoga Springs High School.

I call this cause RCC sings for Saratoga Springs Music.RCC Sings for Saratoga Springs 7

For our Chorus, this is HUGE (or as Billy Fuccillo would say, “You-jah!“) and we need  your help. We believe in our Barbershop music and in supporting music education for youth. Candidly, we’d like to raise a LOT of money to make a really large donation. (For some more information see Paul Post’s great article “Singing for a Cause” in the 4/12 issue of The Saratogian.)

AND PLEASE COME TO OUR SHOW! It will be an a capella singing lover’s feast! Here are the details:

WHEN & WHERE: Saturday, June 4, 2016, the Maple Avenue Middle School 515 Maple Avenue Saratoga Springs NY 12866. Two performances: 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm.

Maino2

Mike Maino

OUR PERFORMERS: Barbershop Harmony Society favorite Mike Maino will Emcee this fabulous LINE UP:

2015-NED-0456The Racing City Chorus and its four Quartets – Contempt of Chord, Elderly Brothers, Late Bloomers, and Primrose Lane!

VS 1Vocal Spectrum, 2006 International Barbershop Harmony Society champions! These four young men rock Barbershop singing, America’s original a capella art form!

SSCSD logo JCK 3Saratoga Springs High School Choraliers led by Kathleen McCarty (7:00 pm show)!

southgf_HP_bannerSouth Glens Falls High School  SGF Vocal Point led by Elizabeth Stambach-Fuller (2:00 pm show)! (Thank you SGF Vocal Point for helping!!!)

The Afterglow: Join Vocal Spectrum, Mike Maino, and all of us for a more casual sing. Pizza and wings to be served. (Starts after the Show at the Saratoga Springs K of C hall.)

  • TICKETS AND COST:

    • TO BUY TICKETS ONLINE CLICK HERE: (Reserved Seating available, first come, first serve!)
    • OR CALL:  518-504-SING (that’s 518-504-7464) to buy Tickets through the Racing City Chorus.
    • NEED HELP ORDERING? HAVE A GROUP ATTENDING? HAVE OTHER QUESTIONS? Please Email pbaker1@nycap.rr.com.
  • Show Tickets:
    • VIP Seating: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $23.00
    • Premium Seating: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . $19.00
    • General admission: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  $17.00
    • Non Reserved General Admission: .  .  . . . $15.00
  • Afterglow Tickets: Per person: . . . . . . $20.00

FOR MORE INFORMATION: visit the Racing City Chorus website OR Telephone 518-504-SING (that’s 518-504-7464).

Join the  Racing City Chorus June 4th  as RCC sings for Saratoga Springs Music“!  Thank you!

Joe Cutshall-King

  • Information on The Racing City Chorus:
    • The Racing City Chorus is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit, chartered in Saratoga Springs in 1956 as a Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society.
    • Mailing Address: PO Box 713, Saratoga Springs, NY  12866
    • Telephone 518-504-SING (that’s 518-504-7464)
    • Website: http://racingcitychorus.org/

Do you think my ♫ cause is worth going viral?


I have a Music ♬ Cause and I am asking you this:   Should it go viral?

Here is my cause:  My Barbershop chorus, The Racing City Chorus (RCC) of Saratoga Springs, NY, is celebrating its 60 anniversary this year with a Diamond Anniversary Show on June 4thand we are going to donate 50% of the Show’s net proceeds to the Music Department of the Saratoga Springs High School.

I call the cause RCC sings for Saratoga Springs Music  (or RCC ♬ for $$$ for Saratoga ♬).RCC Sings for Saratoga Springs 7

For our Chorus, this is a huge undertaking and we need the public’s support. But we believe in our Barbershop music and in supporting music education for youth by 1) donating to our hometown school’s Music Department and in doing so,  2) drawing attention to music education for youth. Candidly, we’d like to raise a lot of money to make a really large donation.

Paul Post beautifully describes our efforts in his article “Singing for a Cause” in the 4/12 issue of The Saratogian. If you think RCC sings for Saratoga Springs Music is a good cause, will you share this on social media and via email and help it go viral? (See: “Share this” below.)

And please come to our show! It will be an a capella singing lover’s delight! Here are the details:

WHEN & WHERE: Saturday, June 4, 2016, the Maple Avenue Middle School 515 Maple Avenue Saratoga Springs NY 12866. Two performances: 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm.

Maino2

Mike Maino

OUR PERFORMERS: Barbershop Harmony Society favorite Mike Maino will Emcee this fabulous LINE UP:

2015-NED-0456The Racing City Chorus and its four Quartets – Contempt of Chord, Elderly Brothers, Late Bloomers, and Primrose Lane!

VS 1Vocal Spectrum, 2006 International Barbershop Harmony Society champions! These four young men rock Barbershop singing, America’s original a capella art form!

SSCSD logo JCK 3Saratoga Springs High School Choraliers led by Kathleen McCarty (7:00 pm show)!

southgf_HP_banner

The Afterglow: Join Vocal Spectrum, Mike Maino, and all of us for a more casual sing. Pizza and wings to be served. (Starts after the Show at the Saratoga Springs K of C hall.)

  • TICKETS AND COST:

    • TO BUY TICKETS ONLINE CLICK HERE: (Reserved Seating available, first come, first serve!)
    • OR CALL:  518-504-SING (that’s 518-504-7464) to buy Tickets through the Racing City Chorus.
    • NEED HELP ORDERING? HAVE A GROUP ATTENDING? HAVE OTHER QUESTIONS? Please Email pbaker1@nycap.rr.com.
  • Show Tickets:
    • VIP Seating: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $23.00
    • Premium Seating: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . $19.00
    • General admission: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  $17.00
    • Non Reserved General Admission: .  .  . . . $15.00
  • Afterglow Tickets: Per person: . . . . . . $20.00

FOR MORE INFORMATION: visit the Racing City Chorus website OR Telephone 518-504-SING (that’s 518-504-7464).

Join the  Racing City Chorus June 4th  as RCC sings for Saratoga Springs Music“!  Thank you!

Joe Cutshall-King

  • Information on The Racing City Chorus:
    • The Racing City Chorus is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit, chartered in Saratoga Springs in 1956 as a Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society.
    • Mailing Address: PO Box 713, Saratoga Springs, NY  12866
    • Telephone 518-504-SING (that’s 518-504-7464)
    • Website: http://racingcitychorus.org/

American Pharoah faces the “Saratoga Jinx” on Triple Crown winners


American Pharoah

American Pharoah

Saratoga Springs—It’s all about American Pharoah. Whether we don’t know a horse from the carrot it’s chomping, we all seem to know about American Pharoah. Tomorrow (8/29) we’ll all see if that Triple Crown winner breaks the “Saratoga Jinx” at the Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.

With this world-wide American Pharoah mania, all eyes are on Saratoga Springs—and on its infamous gambling history. Last Sunday journalist Heather Kovar had me on WTEN TV’s News10 @ 9am to talk about those gambling heydays, as one of her top stories was on whether Triple Crown winner American Pharoah would be visiting Saratoga Springs while the ravers was run. (Thanks, Heather!)

Heather Kovar

Heather Kovar

Well, we know now that American Pharaoh is more than visiting–he’s running in the Travers. The only speculation now is whether American Pharoah can beat the “Saratoga Jinx” on Triple Crown winners competing in the Travers Stakes.

For those unfamiliar with horse racing, here’s a short explanation of the Travers and the Triple Crown. The Travers Stakes has been held at Saratoga Race Course since 1869 and was named for William R. Travers, the first president of the then Saratoga Racing Association.

The Triple Crown is officially “The Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing.” Three-year-old Thoroughbred horses that win the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes in a single season are Triple Crown winners. The first Triple Crown was won in 1919.

And what is this “Saratoga Jinx”? It’s simple. While twelve horses have won the Triple Crown, only one of them has ever won the Travers Stakes—Whirlaway in 1941!

NYRA’s webpage on Whirlaway  reports that, “in 1941 the crowd-pleasing ‘Mr. Longtail’ often landed above” baseball great Joe DiMaggio and boxing legend Joe Louis “on the front pages of the nation’s sports sections.” It also states that the famed jockey “Eddie Arcaro called him ‘not the best, but the runningest’ horse. His trainer called him dumb, stupid and crazy.” Out of the Whirlaway could unpredictably run all over the track, but then always pulled out at the right moment to leave the others in his dust. Arcaro rode Whirlaway to his Belmont victory for his 1941 Triple Crown victory.

Whirlaway was now slated to run in the Travers on August 16, 1941, when tragedy struck! Ten days before the race, on August 6th, the Jockey Board of Stewards suspended Arcaro from riding because of charges of “rough handling” of the horses he rode. Instead, Alfred Robertson took Arcaro’s place. The racing world was in a state of frenzy.

Piping Rock Casino

Piping Rock Casino

In the Spa City, the casinos and other businesses were finally enjoying a financial revival after the Great Depression and this race was symbolic of that revival. What would happen now? Never mind that most of the world was already at war, with the US was aiding the beleaguered British in their fight against the Third Reich and the Empire of Japan. (And Pearl Harbor was 103 days away.) No, what was vital was the Travers!

On Saturday, August 16, 1941, the stands at Saratoga Race Course were packed for the Travers Stakes. As the horses broke from gate, Whirlaway sprung to action—well, almost. William DuPont’s Fairymant took the lead by 15 lengths and Samuel D. Riddle’s two horses, War Relic and Lord Kitchener, were coming up strong. Whirlaway wasn’t doing well.

Cy Peterman of the Philadelphia Inquirer summed it up best: “When Whirlaway turned on the pressure, all chances of a shock were erased. Up to the mile post, before he made his move, he looked as if bound to make history repeat. . . . But once Whirlaway came into full stride there wasn’t much to it. As far out as the 16th pole the race was over; he was almost four lengths ahead at the finish, and Fairymant had two and a half on Lord Kitchener.”

Peterman also reported that, “By his victory, Whirlaway took down another $16,900 for [Whirlaway owner] Warren Wright. Chicago sportsman who found there are more ways of raising dough than with the baking powder he manufactures.”

Whirlaway

Whirlaway

Wright was presented with the gold cup by Samuel D. Riddle, owner of War Relic and Lord Kitchener, and George H. Bull, president of the Saratoga Association.

And since that day 74 years ago no Triple Crown winner has ever won the Travers Stakes. In fact, Whirlaway is the only Triple Crown winner ever to have won the Travers!

Damon Runyon

Damon Runyon

“The play,” as author Damon Runyon described gambling in Saratoga’s gaming heydays, is understandably high. In just a few days, the Travers purse has risen from $1.2 to $1.6 million. As of this writing (Friday, 8/28) the odds are, well, odd. Saratoga Race Course is showing 3/5 odds, while across the pond in the UK, Ladbrokes is offering 28/9 odds. (We attempted to find Runyon’s Bookie Bob, but Bob’s kidnappers have yet to release him.)

Adding to the frenzy is that Saratoga Race Course has sold out seating for tomorrow’s Travers!

So, all that remains now is to see if Triple Crown winner American Pharaoh breaks the “Saratoga Jinx” and wins the 2015 Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.

In this instance, all bets are definitely on!

Review of The Ox Factor: China Invades the US – Can America Survive?


The Ox Factor

The Ox Factor

When Richard Duvall’s techno thriller novel The Ox Factor: China Invades the US – Can America Survive? came out in late 2013, its premise could have seemed to some to be too far-fetched, too militaristically overcharged, and even harboring a borderline xenophobic reaction to China.

But, oh my, what a mere 20 months has done! Here in 2015, The Ox Factor’s premise of a Chinese invasion of the US in 2027 seems far more plausible. The last year has witnessed China’s continued GDP growth with its ever-increasing “ownership” of American debt; its geographical and military expansion into the South China Sea; its cyber-attacks on the US, including the hacking of personnel files on 18 million US employees and the hacking of SONY by its puppet North Korea. And all of this has resulted in ever-increasing tensions between the US and China. Just a few days ago, the Obama administration warned China about its covert agents operating in the US.

So, to read The Ox Factor now is to believe that by 2027 China has surreptitiously wormed its way into the US military cyber systems. By 2027 America has placed its heaviest reliance upon those cyber systems and unmanned warfare, because of shrinking budgets. And then China shuts both down. With that done, one million Chinese troops invade the US, totally surprising the US command structure and rapidly moving to seize not just western states, but Gulf States as well. Duvall has, to this lay reader, extensive knowledge of military weaponry and command structures, all controlled by a Chinese supercomputer. Duvall deftly and chillingly dispels readers’ doubts that such an invasion could occur.

The action is fast, taking place over a six week period. It reminds me of several authors, Tom Clancy among them. The Ox Factor cuts back and forth between the Chinese vantage point and several American vantage points: that of US Navy sub fleets, of Army posts, of National Guard units, of US President Elizabeth Rutledge (at last, a woman President!), of a hacker genius named “OX” whom Rutledge is forced to trust and work with, of patriotic Chinese-Americans, of Black and Hispanic gangs, of white militias—and more.

With American satellites seized and its worldwide command structure hijacked, America’s Air Force and Naval capacity has been destroyed or incapacitated and its land forces isolated. The action ranges in focus from the East Coast, with a near-paralytic Washington, to Montana, to the urban jungle of Los Angeles, to Canada, and even out in the Pacific itself, where a lone sub has managed (with Australia’s surreptitious aid) to elude the destruction of most of the US Navy by the Chinese.

Blackmail and extortion have a juicy part to play in the plot. European countries and others are “virtually” (double meaning intended) blackmailed into submission by the Chinese. In essence, “Try to help and we do the same to you.” There are Chinese-Americans being blackmailed into helping by threats to their families back in China. And American moles are present in the Chinese commend structure. It would be understandable for someone reading this review to assume the scenario is far-fetched, but once this reader gave into to the fast paced action, a la Clancy, and ignored the occasional two-dimensional minor characters, the ride was a thriller.

As that action is rolling out, President Rutledge works with Ox, fighting to save the Union as states fall one by one, and as Rutledge is being addressed by the leading Chinese military commander as the “former President” of a defeated nation. China threatens worse than a mere invasion if she does not publicly surrender.

It is difficult to review a thriller without revealing the plot, but let’s just say that Rutledge proposes a solution to save the Union that is unique in this reviewer’s reading! The character of President Rutledge is good. She fights with Congress on Capitol Hill, not to mention with her own father, who “just happens” to hold a top position in the American military. So she is at once hosting Family Feud and jockeying with the Department of Defense. These and other conflicts go on as subplots of (and fuel for) the drama.

Author Richard Duvall, who very sadly passed away as his book was coming out, provides us with many surprises. He offers some excellent insights into the American political and military landscape, which he presents in liberal/conservative jousts between those on the right and left, whether on Capitol Hill, or in a family in Montana, or in the barrios of LA. Duvall had the benefit of merchant marine service in World War II, of US Army service in the Korean War, and of extensive work and travel in China. Duvall obviously deeply respects the Chinese people, but underlying the entire novel is a common truth forgotten by some today: China is a dictatorship that has skillfully, and ironically, fostered rapid capitalistic growth under a communist government. Marx, Engels and Mao must be spinning in their graves.

Using his rich life experience, he makes observations on paradoxes of American politics through his characters. He lets some of them engage in a bit of polemics, which can seem a bit much at times. One such occurs in Montana, where a very conservative father and his very liberal daughter heatedly argue over the militias and other ultra-right organizations that portray themselves as saviors of America. An abrupt end to that argument comes as the father stops to say hello to his friend Nestor Ruiz, a young Latino man sporting gang tattoos, who has just entered the room. He and his family had moved to Montana to escape LA’s gangs and Nestor’s brother just happens to be “a Navy officer.” Now you see the connective tissue between Montana and Los Angeles.

The notion that an entire war could initially begin by cyber-attack has certainly been given legs by hackers recently having shut down entire retail chains, invading SONY’s most confidential records, and hacking US government employee records.

And that brings us back to the character for which the book is named, the genius computer hacker Ox. No, there’s no spoiler alert here. Ox’s identity is safe—that is, until you read Duvall’s novel, The Ox Factor: China Invades the US-Can America Survive? which I think would also make a great movie. Get your copy now — and keep watching the news!


The Ox Factor: China Invades the US-Can America Survive?: Published by Northshire Bookstore (November 26, 2013); paperback, 542 pages long; available in stores and on Amazon in Kindle and paperback.

Join me Tuesday July 15 at Saratoga Arts Center!


Piping Rock ablaze

Piping Rock ablaze

This coming Tuesday (July 15) at 7 p.m. I’ll be giving a presentation in the Saratoga Arts Center (320 Broadway, Saratoga Springs) on The Burning of The Piping Rock for the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation! The title of my presentation is “Arson in Saratoga: Piping Rock and Beyond.” I’ll be talking about the architecture of the infamous Piping Rock Casino, other casinos and the “mysterious fires” that consumed Piping Rock and so many other Saratoga Springs buildings.

There’s going to be a hot time in the old town that night, so come join us! For more information click on: Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation. Or contact Sarah Kaplan, Membership and Program Coordinator at 518-587-5030 (email:  skaplan@saratogapreservation.org).

Visit the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation events page on Facebook.

“A Very Special Santa”—a Christmas memory


Here is a Christmas memory I wrote for my “Over My Shoulder” Column© in the Glens Falls Post-Star of December 21, 1994. I hope you enjoy it.

A Very Special Santa

My mother had a little ornament that she placed on the Christmas tree each year, a tiny cotton Santa that she said she had placed on her tree from the time she was a little girl. The little Santa was, truthfully, in sad shape for its years of wear. But it was one of “those things,” something given a special meaning when my mother was so little. Why, no one knew. Not even Mom.

As I grew older, with each Christmas I came to look forward to that Santa being placed gently on a high bough, nestled securely to prevent shrieking children, or cats, from knocking it to the floor. Without realizing it, a part of her childhood Christmases gradually became a part of her children’s. It was a good feeling.

The tiny Santa moved a lot over the years. From my mother’s birthplace in Mechanicville, it went to Saratoga, then to Fort Edward and then Ticonderoga, at each juncture adding children and years to its life. It sagged and it drooped and it faded. Yet it survived, tying each new Christmas into the ones that had passed.

The last time my mother put the Santa on her tree was in Ticonderoga in 1982. Shortly thereafter, she was diagnosed with cancer and on her next Christmas, which was to be her last, she decided she and my father would come to our homes instead. I remember her apology for not having a tree, which I later recognized as her way of saying, “I’m angry because I can’t put up a tree, like I should.”

So that year, 1983, for the first time in decades, the little Santa stayed in a box in my parents’ cellar. At Christmas, 1984, my mother was gone and, again, the little cotton Santa stayed packed away. For that Christmas and the next two, my father would not decorate the house nor have a tree. The Christmas person in the King family was Mom and the Christmas person was gone.

About two and a half years after my mother died, Dad told us he was selling our family home in Ticonderoga. It was too big and too full of memories. “Come and take what you want,” he told his children. The rest he would sell. For weeks upon weeks we helped him sort through the remains of a lifetime, as much a reward as a burden. For you must understand that Mom saved everything:  family pictures and letters, dad’s service records, the kids’ report cards, canceled checks, even occupant mail. As I had before, I looked through acres of boxes of Christmas decorations. As before, I could not, amidst them all, find the tiny Santa.

Mom always was fond of saying, “What will be will be.” I resigned myself to the fact that it was gone. “Things change,” my father was always saying. Oddly, I think that while he knew that was true, in a way he never resigned himself to his own wisdom. Almost three years to the day after my mother’s death, he died. Things had, indeed, changed.

For my wife, Sara, and I, that Christmas of 1987 in Glens Falls was, with my daughter being six, filled with expectations of Santa. It was also an oddly empty Christmas. We got out the boxes of decorations and frantically searched for our tree’s special angel, fearful it had been misplaced and then found it packed snugly away. My daughter sighed a big sigh! Under our regular boxes were the ones I’d brought from Ticonderoga. I rummaged through them, looking at the bubble lights and other things from my childhood Christmas trees.

And then, I found it. A tiny box inside of which was my mother’s faded cotton Santa wrapped up securely. Lost, but never really lost. Tenderly, I placed it on a high bough. And there it will go again this year, as we celebrate our Christmas and the memories that a special decoration carry with it.

From my family to you, a very merry Christmas.

Joe Cutshall-King

(“Over My Shoulder” – a weekly column written Joseph A. Cutshall-King for the for the Post-Star of Glens Falls, NY. All content Copyright © 1994-2013 by Joseph A. Cutshall-King. All rights reserved. No reproduction by any means or methods allowed without express written permission by the author.)

“Piping Rock” presentation on December 2nd–Easton Library, Easton, NY,.


Join me on Monday, December 2nd at 7:00 pm at the Easton Library in Easton, NY . I’ll be giving a presentation on my historical mystery novel, The Burning of The Piping Rock.

The Easton Library is on 1074 NYS Route 40 in Easton, NY. My presentation will include a book reading and book signing. The presentation is open to the public and free of charge. (Click here for a map.)

For more information, contact Helen C. Brownell, Director of the Easton Library at 518-692-2253 or on the library website at http://easton.sals.edu/.

See you then!

Joe Cutshall-King

In memory of all veterans


In memory of all veterans, I post this photo of my father, Lt. George A. King, Commanding Officer of PT Boat 27, with some of his crew. Left to right: Stan Lewis, Lt. George A. King, Jack Gilligan, & Bill Maynard. (Undated photo; possibly taken in late 1944 at Pearl City, Hawaii.)
PT Boat 27 Crew l-r--Stan Lewis, Lt. George A. King [Commanding Officer], Jack Gilligan & Bill Maynard; South Pacific

PT Boat 27 Crew, left to right: Stan Lewis, Lt. George A. King [Commanding Officer], Jack Gilligan & Bill Maynard; South Pacific

At Woodlawn Commons in Saratoga Springs


Last Friday, November 8, the residents at Woodlawn Commons, part of the Wesley Community in Saratoga Springs, had me as their guest to give a presentation on The Burning of The Piping Rock.  What a great group they were! Several had been to Piping Rock Casino in its glory days. They discussed how much they enjoyed dancing to the big bands at Piping Rock Casino and watching the hit stars, such as Sophie Tucker, Hildegarde, Kay Thompson and the Williams Brothers. (In those post WW II days, Andy Williams performed as one of the Williams Brothers.) When I showed them this photo of the entertainment revue at Piping Rock Casino, and other photos, they gasped in recognition of those times long ago. Thanks to Gina Mergel for the invitation to speak at Woodlawn Commons!

Piping Rock Interior  around 1946-B&W

Piping Rock Interior around 1946-B&W

Post-Star carries great news about Cossayuna’s new Lakeside General Store!


Today’s Post-Star carries Amanda May Metzger’s excellent story on the reopening of the Lakeside General Store in the hamlet of Cossayuna, where we live.  Last year, the little country store had closed and it left a gaping hole. Well, our neighbors, Joe Troiano and Palma Kolansky, bought the store,  made wonderful changes, and recently reopened it.  All of Cossayuna has been been celebrating the reopening of the store and what it offers now! Please read all about it in the article, “Couple opens Lakeside General Store after six month vacancy.” Click here to read the article and celebrate with us!

Thank you Greenwich, NY, Senior Citizens!


Sara Idleman, Nan Fitzpatrick & Susan Frisbee with author Joe Cutshall-King Greenwich Seniors Lunch

Sara Idleman, Nan Fitzpatrick & Susan Frisbee with author Joe Cutshall-King Greenwich Seniors Lunch

Patrick Gilgallon takes “The Burning of The Piping Rock” to new heights!


'Piping Rock' at LG 09-13 - photo by Patrick Gilgallon.

‘Piping Rock’ at LG 09-13 – photo by Patrick Gilgallon.

This photo was taken by Patrick Gilgallon, a fellow devotee of Barbershopper music, who sent it in an email, saying: “While at my cabin on Lake George I THOROUGHLY ENJOYED READING The Burning of the Piping Rock! I couldn’t stop thinking about the story line when I put down the book periodically. So much could I NOT put down the book, that upon departing for a hike, I packed it in my backpack. At the summit, I read for 2 hrs.  What a beautiful day that was!!!”

To prove his point, Patrick attached this photo he took at the summit.

Thank you very much, Patrick, for your totally unexpected and totally appreciated email!

Saratogian article (9/8/13): “Author to unravel ‘Piping Rock Arson’ at brown bag lunch”


Check out this article from The Saratogian about my upcoming program for the Saratoga Springs Heritage Area Visitor Center’s Brown Bag Lunch Lecture  Series held at Saratoga Springs Public Library! Saratogian (9/8/13) - Author to unravel 'Piping Rock Arson' I’m looking forward to seeing you this Thursday (Sept. 12 ) at noon in the Community Room of the Saratoga Springs Public Library! (Thanks to Chuck Packevicz  for this clipping!)

Article courtesy of The Saratogian (9/8/13)

“Piping Rock Arson” by Joe Cutshall-King: Brown Bag Lunch Lecture (9/12) at Saratoga Springs Public Library


Brown Bag Lunch

Brown Bag Lunch

From The Post-Star to Self-Published: Four Journalists Talk About Their Books


L-R: David Blow, Michael DeMasi, Maury Thomson, and Joseph Cutshall-King

Journalists, writers, authors of books—and those aspiring to be! Ever wonder what it’s like to be a journalist for a daily newspaper? Ever think of self-publishing your own book, but wonder how?
Then join us at “From The Post-Star to Self-Published: Four Journalists Talk About Their Books,” a panel discussion on journalism, writing, and self-publishing.
     It will be at Crandall Public Library on Saturday, September 28, from 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm. It’s free.
     Who’s on the panel? Four authors who have both written for The Post-Star and self-published their own books: David Blow, Michael DeMasi, Maury Thompson, and yours truly. We four are pleased to report that Bob Condon, City Editor of The Post-Star, will be the moderator. Bob was editor of each of us at various times, so you’ll get that dynamic of newspaper work. He is a wonderful editor.
    What are we are going to cover? Bob will ask us to discuss how, when and why we self-published our books; what we learned about the process; and our advice for others who want to do the same thing.
     Any other topics? Yes! Bob will lead discussion on the our experiences writing for newspapers; how journalism has changed over the years; advice for aspiring journalists; and predictions for the future of the newspaper industry.
     Can the audience ask questions? Yes! There will be a Question & Answer period for the audience. We want your questions!
     After the Q&A? Then we authors will hold a book signing for those interested in purchasing copies of our books.
     Here’s some information on the authors:
   David Blow is a 30-year, award winning journalist and 15-year Castleton University Media and Communication professor. Dave wrote for The Post-Star for 15 years before starting his career teaching at Castleton University in Vermont. He still contributes to The Post-Star. In recent years, he has won Associated Press first place awards for investigative reporting of both Whitehall’s Amish community and the impact locally of undocumented immigrants. He self-published his book, Blow by Blow: A Quarter Century of Voices from my Notebook.
     Michael DeMasi has been a newspaper reporter in the Greater Capital Region for more than 25 years. He started his career at The Post-Star writing feature stories and covering city hall, and then was a reporter at The Daily Gazette in Schenectady. Since 2005 Mike has reported for the Albany Business Review. He recently self-published What They Said: 25 Years of Telling Stories, a collection of his favorite stories about “CEOs, entrepreneurs, politicians, gadflies, artists, teachers, clergy, police, prisoners,” and more.
   Maury Thompson was a reporter and columnist for The Post-Star for 21 years before he retired in September 2017 to pursue an “encore career” as a free-lance writer specializing in the history of politics, labor organizing and media in New York’s North County. Maury still contributes to The Post-Star. A published author of two books, his most recent is his The Animated Feather Duster: Slow News Day Tales of the Legendary Facial Hair of Charles Evans Hughes, self-published in 2018. He is now working on a documentary about Hughes.
     Joseph Cutshall-King first wrote a local history column for The Post-Star from 1975 to 1985, as Director of the Chapman Historical Museum. I returned to The Post-Star from 1994 to 2003 with “Over My Shoulder,” a weekly column of regional history, commentary and personal reminiscences. In the late 1990s, I was also a Post-Star correspondent. Since retirement in 2012, as SUNY Adirondack‘s VP for Institutional Advancement, I’ve dedicated myself to writing. The author of six books, most recently I self-published Over My Shoulder: A Collection of “Over My Shoulder” and “Passed Times” Columns published in The Post-Star from 1994-2003; Volume 1: 1994-1997.
     For more information on “From The Post-Star to Self-Published: Four Journalists Talk About Their Books,” visit the Crandall Public Library website.

See you there!