Adirondack Journal — The Museum Celebrates it's 50th Birthday


The Adirondack Museum opened to the public on August 4, 1957, an achievement that is largely credited to the dream and tireless work of Harold K. Hochschild whose collecting, recording, and researching of Adirondack history provided the framework for the museum.

Harold's work would come to be Township 34, published in 1954. Many of the Adirondack Museum's exhibits are illustrations of the personalities, artifacts and events that were first referenced in Hochschild's book. Artifacts such as the locomotive from Marion River Carry, the steamboat Osprey, logging equipment, and guideboats are just a few examples of pieces that were pictured in Hochschild's book that would come to be on display at the museum.

The rolling stock of the Marion River Railroad was one of the first objects collected by the Adirondack Museum. The line was equipped with three former horse drawn street cars discarded by the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company, and a H.K. Porter light locomotive, a duplicate of the steam engines used on New York City's elevated subways. The equipment lay derelict in the woods from the time the railroad ceased operations in 1929, until the summer of 1955 when a bulldozer pushed the locomotive and cars onto flatbed trailers and they were trucked to the museum.

Despite ongoing construction, the museum opened in August 1957. On August 2, local residents were invited to tour the new museum, and there was a formal opening ceremony the next day. On August 4, the Adirondack Museum officially opened to the public; over 500 people came through the gates.

Through the course of time the museum's collections have grown and additional buildings and wings have been added to house the collections. Today's campus of 22 buildings is a stark contrast to the 9 buildings and exhibits that visitors of 1957 would have been presented with.

On August 11, 2007 the Adirondack Museum celebrated 50 years of sharing the history of the North Country with its visitors. The day was a tribute to Hochschild and all of those who have contributed, and continue to contribute their efforts and creative work to the Adirondack Museum.

The festivities included a speech by State Senator Betty Little (R, Queensbury) who represents the residents of the state's 45th Senate District, including Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Warren and Washington Counties. Little briefly addressed the more than 700 visitors who joined in the birthday celebration and then cut the Adirondack Museum's 50th birthday cake with John Fritzinger, Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Director Caroline Welsh. The students of Paul Smith's College made the cake. Fifties' tunes spun by DJ Lynn Pratt and rockabilly music by Eddie Angel and Johnny Rabb delighted the crowd. Dance and hula-hoop contests, a photo booth, kettle corn, shaved ice, cotton candy, and I Love Lucy reruns rounded out the day's fun.