Category Archives: Boonville

A Changing of the Guard


Hello, and welcome to the Boonville Historical Club blog. It’s been much too long since this site has been updated, and for that we do apologize. Hard to believe – at least for me – it’s just been sitting here doing nothing for more than a year! But, thanks to a willing and able volunteer, it appears that won’t happen again. More about that later.  In the meantime . . .

Our last post concerned the club’s participation in the 5th Annual Oneida County History Day on October 1, 2011. Originated in 2007 by the Oneida County Historians Association to call attention to the county’s rich history, the 2011 History Day observance coincided with Boonville’s Annual Fall Arts Festival. Several Oneida County historical societies joined the Boonville club, displaying exhibits of interesting information about their areas.  There were lots of things going on, not just at the History Day focal point in the historic Masonic Temple, but all around Boonville. Attendance was great, despite the dismal weather, and lots of folks ventured in to look around.

masonic temple

There have been many photos hiding out on my camera sinHISTORY DAY 017ce that 2011 event. But, as the saying goes, “Better late than never.” So here are some of the photos we took of activities on that History Day.deb seelman and quilt HISTORY DAY 001


As you’ll note, there were many things to see and do.

Here are more photos for your enjoyment!

HISTORY DAY 016daryl marcy and patty with scavenger huntHISTORY DAY 029

And so, what about someone else taking over the updates for the Boonville Historical Club?

JoAnn Ballard, director at the historic Dodge-Pratt-Northam Art and Community Center – the beautiful building pictured above – ( along with officers of the Historical Club, will add the latest news, so you won’t be wondering what’s going on! If you have any questions, you can contact JoAnn at

Just in case you weren’t aware, yours truly has moved from the Boonville area, back home to York County, Pennsylvania. Although I miss all my friends in the Boonville area, and especially all the Historical Club ladies, it’s great being close to family.

My personal blogsite – previously called boonvillebeat – has long been neglected, too. But my goal is to update that site (now renamed)  more often, mainly to fulfill my urge to write! If you care to follow me, visit me often at

Thanks for visiting the Boonville Historical Club’s blogsite. Please come back again soon – and tell your friends!





Filed under Boonville, Boonville Historical Club, Dodge-Pratt-Northam Arts and Community, History, Oneida County


History will come alive in Boonville during the 5th Annual Oneida County History Day on October 1. The Boonville Historical Club is planning activities for the whole family. Originated in 2007 by the Oneida County Historians Association to call attention to the county’s rich history, this year’s History Day observance will coincide with Boonville’s Annual Fall Arts Festival, so there will be plenty of fun for everyone! And don’t forget your walking shoes!


The historic Masonic Temple, next to the Dodge-Pratt-Northam Art and Community Center, 106 Schuyler Street, will be the focal point for the History Day events. From 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. the Boonville Historical Club, as well as several Oneida County historical societies, will be on hand with exhibits of interesting information about their areas.

 Tammy DePaola  will be demonstrating carding, spinning, and weaving with a table loom – which shows the process from beginning to end! The Boonville Historical Club will also display the wall covering that members recently completed.

From 11 a.m.-1 p.m., there is a Kids Corner coloring contest for two age groups; up to 7 years, and from 8-12 years old. Kids can win a prize for coloring either a canal scene or a Civil War figure.

Boonville Town and Village Historian, James Pitcher, will be available from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. to answer any questions about local history.

An exciting feature for everyone is the Civil War reenactment unit, which will be camping nearby. Members of the 76thNew York State Volunteer Infantry look forward to visitors, and the soldiers will be happy to answer questions and explain their activities.

The 76th NYSVI Re-enactors Unit as they appeared at the June 3, 2006 dedication of the historical marker in Erwin Park honoring Boonville's 97th NYSVI.

Included in the History Day events are walking tours to view the historic architecture in the village. Maps are available for self-guided tours throughout the day. If you’re not brave enough to venture out on your own, a guided tour will depart from the Masonic Temple at 11:30 a.m.  Another fun family activity is the Historical Marker Scavenger Hunt.

Maps will be available beginning at 11 a.m., and at 2 p.m. a winning name will be drawn from the correct entries. The lucky winner will receive a gift certificate for the Historic Hulbert House.

Local author Irene Uttendorfsky will be promoting her newest book, “I Will Stand With My Father,” a novel for middle school readers about the Revolutionary War in the Mohawk Valley as seen through the eyes of a 15-year-old Oneida warrior. Irene’s book signing will take place from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Masonic Temple. For more information about Irene visit

The Boonville Black River Canal Museum, Main Street and Route 12, will also be a part of History Day. The museum will be open from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., and will host a variety of activities, including an open house, tours, and demonstrations of old-time skills.  The film, “Little Ditch,” an excellent documentary about the building of the Black River Canal, will be shown continuously throughout the day. As always, admission to the museum is free.

Stephanie Dietz, author of “Under the Blinking Light,”will host a book signing at 1 p.m. Her children’s book is based on her two daughters going to camp in the Woodgate area, and it debuted this summer. From 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., there will be a shingle-making demonstration by Bob Coscomb. The cedar shingles can be purchased for a $2 donation. Charlie Hammond will be on hand with his forge to brand the shingles. Mark Kehl from Woody’s Mountain Folk Art will be demonstrating his wood-working talent outside on the lawn.  Peg Sawyer will be inside the Mercantile Building with her loom, and Sharon Woodcock will have a display of antique canal era toys in the Archive Room in the Conference Center. Books, canal items, shirts, and jackets will also be available for sale in the Mercantile Building.

 For more details about the Canal Museum, visit their website:

In addition to the free History Day activities, the Fall Arts Festival will provide ample opportunity to enjoy food, crafts, cooking contests, music, sidewalk sales, and more fun for the kids. So plan to visit beautiful, historic Boonville on Saturday, October 1.

For more information about the Boonville Fall Arts Festival, call the Chamber office at 942-5112 or visit

The Hemlock Mercantile General Store at the Boonville Black River Canal Museum complex, Main Street and Route 12.


Filed under Boonville, History, Military, Oneida County

Nettles Soup?

Shown after the program at the meeting on April 4, left to right, club president Barb Traxel, guest speaker Lisa Fazio-Ferguson, and club VP Joan Ferguson.


Our most recent  meeting took place  Monday evening, April 4, at the Presbyterian Church fellowship hall.  The program – open to the public – featured practicing herbalist Lisa Fazio-Ferguson, owner/operator of Hawthorne Hill Herbs, an herbal apothecary in Newport, New York  (

Lisa discussed identification and preparation of local wild plants, many of which can be found growing in our own backyards. These plants can be used for medicinal purposes and as nutritious food. Lisa also  handed out lots of information, including a recipe for nettles soup! Calling our attention to the various species in our area and in the Adirondacks on the “at-risk” list, Lisa said many herbs and flowers are becoming scarce due to loss of habitat and acid rain. 

Members also discussed a “welcome home” covered dish dinner for our Fort Drum 10th Mountain Division Adopted Platoon, which will probably be held in May. Our soldiers recently returned safe and sound from Afghanistan.

But backing up  a bit – way back! Sorry, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, for several reasons. I went to the December meeting without my camera, and just recently got my hands on the group photo taken that night!

Club member Joyce Charboneau gets some tips from herbalist Lisa Ferguson at the club's most recent meeting.

As usual, the December program was a  delightful Christmas get-together. Club member Linda Marcy invited us to her beautifully decorated home.  Luscious snacks, drinks, and a holiday “sing-along,” accompanied by our own Glenyce Trainor on the keyboard,  put everyone in a festive mood. Twenty members and associate members attended the “musical” meeting, while the snow gently fell outside.

Club members are in a holiday mood during the December meeting.

Because the  club does not meet in January, there’s nothing to report for that month.

Peg Sawyer, center, at the February meeting with new club members, Chris Adsit, left, and Deb Seelman, right.

Yours truly was in Pennsylvania visiting relatives at the time of the February meeting. So, I  can only report second-hand information. The club met at Boonville’s First Presbyterian Church on February 7. Member Laura “Peg” Sawyer presented a program on Architecture of the Great Camps in the Adirondacks in the 1920s and 1930s. She showed photos of some of the great camps, including Sagamore near Raquette Lake. William West Durant, Sagamore’s owner, used natural materials, logs, stone, and twigs for buildings, structures, and furnishings. Laura showed her audience a twig plant stand, a pack basket, an Adirondack chair, and a handmade white-birch container. Club president Barb Traxel welcomed new members Chris Adsit, Deb Seelman, Charlene Ludwikowski, and Diane Kilbourne.

Peg Sawyer talks about Adirondack architecture at the club's February meeting.

The March 7 meeting was scheduled to take place in the Town/Village offices building. The meeting was cancelled, however,  because of the weather! Snow storms in the morning caused school closings, and the policy is, when Adirondack schools are closed, the club does not meet. Often, by the time the club would normally meet, the snow is no longer a problem. But the policy has been in effect for many years! The program was to have been about the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC),  presented by Forest Ranger Robert Coscomb. Perhaps we’ll get to hear him another time.

Mary Yahnke will present a program on “Tourism in the Adirondacks” at the May 2 meeting. It will again take place in the First Presbyterian Church fellowship hall. The public is invited to her presentation, which follows the club’s regular business meeting.


Filed under Boonville

“Acid Rain, Acid Snow” is November Meeting Topic

The Boonville Historical Club’s featured speaker for the November 1 meeting in the fellowship hall of the Presbyterian Church was local author, activist, and historian  Dr. John Slade, Woodgate, who spoke on the subject of acid rain, particularly its  effects on the Adirondack Mountains and everything that lives within the area. Dr. Slade is the author of the book, Acid Rain, Acid Snow,  published in 2000. He has  also written about 15  other books, including the epic American Revolutionary War novel, Bootmaker to the Nation (for more about John’s books see Club Vice-president Joan Ferguson was in charge of the meeting, since President Traxel had recently been hospitalized.

Dr. Slade signing a copy of his book, "Acid Rain, Acid Snow"

The club’s next meeting is planned for Monday, December 6. It will be a festive holiday celebration, with the singing of familiar Christmas carols.

We continue to collect items to send to our Fort Drum Adopted Platoon in Afghanistan, and members are requested to bring donations to the next meeting. Anyone who would like to help with this project, please call club President Barb Traxel at 942-4010.

Members have also been asked to put on their aprons and whip up something special for the Bake Sale during  the  Christmas on the Canal event at the Boonville Black River Canal Museum on Saturday, December 4 (for more information see

Ladies interested in joining the club, please click on our Membership tab at the top to learn more. You can also contact membership chairman Marilyn Fowler or Club Treasurer Vivian Brucker at or call 942-4251.

 We’ll be updating this site again soon, so we hope you’ll stop back and visit!

And comments are always welcome.

Club Historian Joanne Sattler (left) reads an early club program that belonged to Marilyn Fowler’s mother.

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NEW OFFICERS TAKE OVER; Adopt a Platoon Continues

Sorry,  it’s been quite a while since I’ve been able to update this blog! There have been several changes over the summer, so to keep you up to date, I’ll post the information here.

At the club’s dinner-meeting this past June, an election of officers was held. Taking over as president is Barbara Traxel; the new vice-president is Joan Ferguson; Melanie Fitzgerald will serve as recording secretary;  Elaine Tompkins remains as corresponding secretary, while Vivian Brucker will serve another term as treasurer. Joanne Sattler continues as  club historian.  These new  officers will serve a two-year term.

The first meeting of the 2010-2011 season was held Monday, October 4, in the Presbyterian Church fellowship hall, and featured a program by member Patty Bellinger. It detailed the life of a young girl in the Adirondacks from birth to graduation in the early 1900s.  The club’s them this season is The Adirondacks

In keeping with this theme, the group’s next meeting will feature well-known local author, activist,  and historian Dr. John Slade, of Woodgate. He will present a program entitled Acid Rain, Acid Snow, also  the title of a  book he published in 2000. Not only does Slade lament the declining Adirondack environment resulting from acid rain and snow, the book also contains many original poetry pieces. The meeting is scheduled for Monday, November 1, in the fellowship hall of the Presbyterian Church, beginning at 6:45 p.m.  

The club continues to sponsor a platoon from Fort Drum, and has recently sent several cartons to the soldiers of the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Reconnaissance Platoon (CBRN Recce – pronounced “see-burn rec-key” – or Chem Recce for short). The  platoon is part of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion (HHC1st BSTB), 10th Mountain Division, (Light Infantry). 

Plans call for more boxes to go out shortly. If you’d like to donate some goodies or toiletries or other personal items, including books and magazines, please see our list posted on November 9, 2009, entitled,

“What We’re Collecting.” You can also



No, they're not aliens! These are members of our adopted platoon, in protective garb, ready for duty!

 leave a comment below with any questions you may have. 








For more information on the next meeting or about becoming a club member, contact President Barb Traxel at 942-4010, or Treasurer Vivian Brucker at 942-4251.

Thanks for visiting our blog! Stop by again soon. We’ll continue to update these pages, and we welcome your comments.  

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Filed under Boonville, History, Military

Club Presents Annual Awards

The Boonville Historical Club presented its annual Fourth Grade History Awards to students in the Adirondack elementary schools during the year-end awards assemblies. The club presents these awards to a girl in each fourth grade section who shows an exceptional interest in local history. This year each recipient received a certificate and a Native American one-dollar coin. (See for more information about the coin.)  



Those receiving the awards at Boonville Elementary were Raigen McGahey, a student in Ms. Tina Weiler’s class; Madeline Maher, in Mr. Richard Chrisman’s class, Sadie Buckingham, from Ms. Jackie Layton’s class, and Hannah Hutchinson from Ms. Christina Kornatowski’s class.  

At Forestport Elementary, the award went to Elizabeth Seelman, whose teacher was Ms. Erin Burns.  

The West Leyden award recipient was Ashley Britton, a student of Ms. Christina Jokajtys.  

Adirondack Central High School graduating seniors Amanda Marsh and Dalton Hyde tied for the club’s annual cash award, which they received during commencement exercises Saturday, June 26. Since 1979, the club has given this award at graduation to the senior receiving the highest mark in a grade 12 Social Studies elective, taught by the Social Studies Department. Both Amanda and Dalton had a 99 average. (Sorry we have no photos of the students!)  

Adirondack Central High School, Boonville, New York

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 The Boonville Historical Club is continuing to collect magazines, toiletries, and snack items for its adopted 10th Mountain Division soldiers, currently stationed in Afghanistan. Several club members met Tuesday morning, June 8, to pack three cartons for shipment to the soldiers.    

 If anyone would like to donate items for the platoon, please see our earlier post here, about what we’re collecting,  or call Joyce Charboneau at 942-4835, for more information.   

 The club would especially like new or gently read copies of People magazine and other popular men’s and women’s magazines, on topics such as sports, outdoors, fitness, movies, etc.
 Not shown in the photo  are Elaine Tompkins, Joan Ferguson, and Judy Routson, who also showed up to help with the sorting, packaging, and paperwork.
We’re hoping to meet again soon to package up more goodies for our guys and gals in Afghanistan. We’ll keep you posted!   

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Filed under Boonville, Military