Dear Hope Friends,
Iím looking greatly forward to seeing many of you at the Hope History Jam on July 8! As with last year, Iíll be there with my scanning equipment to document any images and stories of historic Hope that people would like to donate. This year, Iíll also be accompanied by Amy Feiereisel of North Country Public Radio, who is especially looking to collect materials for NCPRís fantastic North Country at Work project, an Adirondack-wide digital archive of North Country labor history. As the Hamilton County Historian, Iíll of course be happy to digitize any and all materials on Hope history.
Digitization efforts like this one are especially important in the Town of Hope, which has one of the most ďhiddenĒ histories in Hamilton County. This is partly because Hope is a very old community, having reached the peak of its development before towns like Inlet were even settled, and before amateur photography was really widespread. Itís also because it was far more an agricultural and industrial community than a resort town, and never had massive numbers of tourists passing through snapping photos, at least compared with places like Lake Pleasant. Digging up Hope history is really like looking for a needle in a haystack, despite the fact that Hope was once Hamilton Countyís largest town, with upwards of 1000 people at its demographic height.
Nonetheless, Iíve made some genuinely fascinating discoveries in my research on Hope over the past year, and Iím hoping that some of you can help me fill in some of the blanks. For example, it was long thought that Wells was home to the only glove factory in Hamilton County. However, Iíve recently discovered that Hope had a far older and larger one dating back to the turn of the century and employing some 80 women. It only lasted a few years, yet so many Hope women continued to sew gloves in their homes between 1900-1930 that glove work was Hopeís second-largest industry (going by sheer numbers of workers) after farming. I know of NO images or other artifacts related to glove work in Hope despite its importance. Similarly, I have found evidence of an active granite quarry in Hardscrabble, yet very little information about this operation seems to exist. We have similarly little on Hope agriculture, despite the fact that Hope made Adirondack farming work successfully for over a century (so successfully, in fact, that my research on Hope has made me rethink Adirondack agriculture altogether). We know a little more about lumbering, tanning, river driving, and lodging, but more research is needed in these areas, as well as on Hopeís more recent 20th century history, including its now long-gone dance halls and watering holes like Coloumbeís, Wadsworthís, the Belmont and the Old Homestead, and how the creation of the Sacandaga Reservoir affected the Hope community.
In 2018, we will celebrate Hopeís bicentennial, so this year is a prime opportunity to uncover and document the hidden history of Hope. We have several exhibits and talks planned, and Iíll be writing an article on Hope history for Adirondack Life magazine as well. Anything you can contribute to this effort - images, stories, clippings, postcards, or other artifacts, especially family and labor history - will be much appreciated.
Town of Hope History Jam