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What you need to know for 04/28/2017

Adirondacks festival celebrates moose and more

Adirondacks festival celebrates moose and more

If tramping through the mountains and woods of Hamilton County looking for the largest member of the

If tramping through the mountains and woods of Hamilton County looking for the largest member of the deer family isn’t your idea of a great time, there are still plenty of other reasons to attend the fourth annual Great Adirondack Moose Festival this weekend.

For some, a nice stroll down Main Street in Indian Lake listening to Bill Zullo talk local history is a much more relaxing and educational way to spend their time. Zullo, historian for both the town of Indian Lake and Hamilton County, will lead his tour through the hamlet of Indian Lake beginning from the town hall at 11 a.m. Saturday.

“I start out by letting people go through my house, which was built in 1870 and has been in my family since the 1920s,” said Zullo. “It’s a nice old farmhouse, but nothing spectacular. I’m not sure who exactly built the place, but it was owned by the Shermans, a pretty prominent family from Glens Falls.”

Zullo’s tour also includes the Indian Lake Museum on Main Street, which was built in 1865 by returning Civil War veteran Allen Brooks, as well as structures built by other prominent citizens such as George Tripp, Isaac Kenwell and Franklin Shippey.

History lesson

Zullo will also talk about some of Indian Lake’s earliest settlers, including Abenake Indian Sabael Benedict, who lived just a few miles south of the current hamlet.

Great Adirondack Moose Festival

If tramping through the mountains and woods of Hamilton County looking for the largest member of the deer family isn’t your idea of a great time, there are still plenty of other reasons to attend the fourth annual Great Adirondack Moose Festival this weekend.

“There’s a store down there now named after him, but he probably came here around the time of the American Revolution,” said Zullo. “The first white guy was Rubin Rist around 1838, and then the next wave of people came from the east, Vermont. When they had cut down all the trees around Glens Falls, they had to move west.”

Indian Lake did become a resort town to some degree over the second half of the 19th century, but when Thomas Durant brought the railroad to North Creek in 1871 and then to Racquette Lake in 1900, Indian Lake lost many of its summer visitors.

“The really wealthy people didn’t want to get jostled on the stage coach, so they took the train to Racquette Lake,” said Zullo. “Things did get better in the 1920s and 1930s because of the automobile; people started coming back, and in the 1950s we had a thriving car dealership, a few barber shops and three grocery stores. We still have our Indian Lake Theater, built in 1938, but things have changed. We don’t even have one grocery store now.”

Impressive animals

What has returned to the area after a long absence is moose, and Zullo has had a few sightings of his own.

“I saw one last year by Mason Lake when I was on my way to the office in Lake Pleasant,” said Zullo. “You’re going to see them sometimes on Route 30. I saw a mother and two calves six years ago; four years ago I saw the monster moose, this huge one with a very impressive rack, and I got a good look at one, a cow, last summer along Route 30. They’re still around.”

Along with his guided tour of the hamlet of Indian Lake, Zullo will host an open house at the Town of Indian Lake Museum at 1 p.m.

The festival begins Saturday morning at 8:45 with a guided hike up Sawyer Mountain. Other events include a self-guided driving tour of Moose River Plains, a turkey shoot at the Indian Lake and Blue Mountain Lake Fish and Game Association, and Adirondack quilt show, and North Country sidewalk sales, all beginning at 9 a.m.

Also at 11 a.m. Saturday, Department of Environmental Conservation wildlife biologist Steve Heerkens will give a one-hour PowerPoint presentation at Indian Lake Theater updating the current status of moose in the Adirondacks.

Some of Saturday’s activities will be repeated on Sunday. For more information, contact the Indian Lake Chamber of Commerce.

Reach Gazette reporter Bill Buell at 395-3190 or bbuell@dailygazette.com.

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