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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Rensselaer County Map - 1880

Click image to enlarge

Working in a library can be fun. Yesterday, the archivists in the Fixman Archives at RPI's Folsom Library gave me a hand digging out some old books on Rensselaer County history. I copied chapters from two books on the Town of Grafton which should prove interesting reading. This map is from History of Rensselaer Co., New York, With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of its Prominent Men and Pioneers; by Nathaniel Bartlett Sylvester, published by Everts & Peck in Philadelphia in 1880. I love maps. My office is plastered with them.

Remember, you can always click on photos like the above map to enlarge them.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Taconic Mountains



The Taconic Mountains orogeny is geologically distinct from those of the Green Mountains and the Berkshires. They cover a stretch of about 150 miles from southwest Vermont near Brandon to southeast New York, cutting into northwestern Massachusetts in the process. Go to Google Maps, search for "Brandon, Vermont," then put your mouse cursor on the map view icon to the right of your screen, change the map view from to "Terrain" and zoom out a bit to see the Taconic Mountains beginning just south of Brandon and working their way down the border between Vermont, Massachusetts and New York.

The highest peak in the Taconics is Mt. Equinox in Manchester, Vermont at 3,816 feet. (Interesting factoid: the average base to summit temperature change is 10 degrees.) The Taconic Mountains formed in the Late Ordovician (a mere 450-500 million years ago) when an Island Arc collided with eastern North America.

Taconic Orogeny - Collision of Island Arc and Proto North America

Map of the main mountain ranges of the northeast Appalachians

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Small Town

 Small Town 1st edition cover

I'm a big fan of Granville Hicks, author and critic, who lived in the Town of Grafton at the end of Shaver Pond Road from the mid-1930s until just before his death in 1982. I have all his many novels and non-fiction books -- many signed by him.  Future postings will tell more of his story but his most famous book is Small Town, a non-fiction book based on his own experiences about living in a small town in upstate New York called Roxborough, a pseudonym for Grafton (Grafton was actually called Roxborough in the late 1700s). This book, supported by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, is considered a pioneering classic on the sociological aspects of small town life to this day. Small Town was the first authoritative work written by someone who was a small town resident, it received great critical aclaim and popularity.

 Small Town signed by author

Small Town Fordham University Press reprint
(A project of Lansingburgh resident and Town of Grafton landowner Warren Broderick who also wrote the preface.)


Street Sign in Grafton Center

Read More:
Granville Hicks (Wikipedia)
Books': Hicks Town. Time Dec. 23, 1946
Small Town (Fordham University Press reprint full-text available online at DigitalResearch@Fordham)
Small Town (Fordham University Press reprint Amazon.com offering)