Calendar of Events 2023

March 15: Jerry Mikorenda, author – America’s First Freedom Rider: Elizabeth Jennings, Chester A. Arthur, and the Early Fight for Civil Rights via Zoom.

For many, the civil rights movement began with Rosa Parks’ brave stand against segregation in 1954. However, few people realize that the right for African Americans to even ride in streetcars was earned a hundred years before that in a landmark civil rights case here in New York City.

Author and Historian Jerry Mikorenda breathes life into this struggle with America’s First Freedom Rider: Elizabeth Jennings, Chester A. Arthur, and the Early Fight for Civil Rights (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020). Using rare period photos and lithographs, in a 30-to-40-minute PowerPoint presentation, followed by a Q&A, the author recreates “The World of Elizabeth Jennings” by exploring the sights and people of old New York as this momentous battle with the Third Avenue Railroad unfolded.

Jerry’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Herald, The Gotham Center History Blog, and the 2010 Encyclopedia of New York City. His biography America’s First Freedom Rider: Elizabeth Jennings, Chester A. Arthur, and the Early Fight for Civil Rights was published in 2020. His short stories have appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, BULL, Cowboy Jamboree, and Gravel Magazine as well as other journals. His historical novel, The Whaler’s Daughter was published by Regal House in 2021, and nominated for two Kid’s Choice Awards.

May 17: Robert Feranec, paleontologist – Mastodons and the PaleoClimate of Warren County

Dr. Robert S. Feranec is currently the Director of Research and Collections and Curator of Ice Age Animals at the NY State Museum in Albany. His current research is focused on understanding how ecosystems assembled in NY after the Ice Age.  For his academic training, Dr. Feranec received his undergraduate degree at Syracuse University, his Master’s in Geology at the University of Florida, and his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley.  Just prior to his appointment at the State Museum he was a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford University.  He and his family currently reside in Burnt Hills.


 June 22: Joseph W. Zarzynski,  Anchors from Fort William Henry Museum
Joseph W. Zarzynski, RPA (Register of Professional Archaeologists)
Fort William Henry Museum opened its doors to tourists in May 1954. Over its early years, the museum acquired a large collection of anchors, grapnels, and grappling irons, many of those dating to the 18th century. Maritime archaeologist Joseph W. Zarzynski, a board member of The French & Indian War Society at Lake George, Inc., will give a PPT presentation reviewing the results of a 2021 inventory and study of the museum’s anchor, grapnel, and grappling iron collection. The program will likewise compare the Fort William Henry Museum’s assemblage of marine artifacts with an anchor and grapnel recovered several years ago from the GE dredging of the upper Hudson River. Moreover, Zarzynski will discuss options for the longtime preservation of the replica fort’s marine artifacts. Zarzynski is the author of several books including Ghost Fleet Awakened–Lake George’s Sunken Bateaux of 1758 (SUNY Press, 2019).
Talk will be at the Crandall Library. More details to follow.
Joseph W. Zarzynski, RPA (Register for Professional Archaeologists)
Joseph W. Zarzynski is a maritime archaeologist with a B.A. (Ithaca College, History), a M.A.T. (Binghamton University, Social Sciences), and a M.A. (University of Leicester, UK, Archaeology & Heritage).
The Endicott, NY native serves on two not-for-profit corporation boards: The French & Indian War Society at Lake George, Inc. and the Foundation for the Preservation of Captain Cook’s Ships, Inc. Further, Zarzynski serves on the Sanctuary Advisory Committee for NOAA’s proposed Lake Ontario National Marine Sanctuary.
The Saratoga County, NY resident is the author or co-author of seven books: Champ—Beyond the Legend (1984), Monster Wrecks of Loch Ness and Lake Champlain (1986), the young adult book, The Radeau Land Tortoise—North America’s Oldest Intact Warship (1993), Lake George Shipwrecks and Sunken History (2011), Documentary Filmmaking for Archaeologists (2012), Ghost Fleet Awakened—Lake George’s Sunken Bateaux of 1758 (2019), and Lochend—Monster Hunting on the Run (2021). His eighth book, on Lake George’s Fort William Henry and its grounds, will be released in the summer of 2023.
Zarzynski wrote or co-wrote four shipwreck documentaries including “The Lost Radeau: North America’s Oldest Intact Warship” (Pepe Productions, 2005) and his last video documentary with Pepe Productions is “Iron Sentries: The Mystery Cannons of Fort William Henry” (2016).
Zarzynski is author of over 500 articles, book chapters, encyclopedia entries, and professional papers and reports. Further, he co-wrote four National Register of Historic Places nominations with those shipwrecks being listed. Moreover, he co-authored a National Historic Landmark (NHL) nomination that resulted in the 1758 Land Tortoise radeau shipwreck being designated as a NHL, then only the sixth shipwreck in American waters with that designation.

July 19: Dr. Jim Schaefer – The Schaefer Family and the Adirondacks

Jim was born and raised in Schenectady where he gained a lifelong appreciation of the environment and his surroundings—weekend family hikes, arrowhead hunting, skiing, fly fishing, hunting, spent summers in northern Idaho, western Montana, northern Arizona & New Mexico. Early career interest in forest fire research and management; subsequent career drinking behavior and management. Jim has championed many ideas emanating from his illustrious family heritage especially that of his father, mother and uncles: Vincent (inventor of cloud seeding), Lois, Paul, Carl Schaefer’s ideas: The Long Path of New York, Ancient Windows of the Earth, Schaefer homes and masonry, the 1930s Snow Trains, First Ski Patrol, regional Prehistory, early history of the “Forever Wild” environmental activism in the Adirondacks and Catskills. Jim is Rotterdam Town Historian.

Sept 20: Dan Forbush – Spatial Storytelling in Western Warren County

Since February 2022, a team of historians, students from Skidmore College and SUNY Plattsburgh, and editors have partnered with the Warren County Department of Planning and Community Development in publishing stories that support heritage tourism in western Warren County. Early in 2023, the “First Wilderness Story Collaboration” — which publishes its work at — started moving into “spatial” media. These include interactive web maps that support “point-and-click” storytelling and audio tours in which GPS markers trigger stories on your phone. Warren County GIS Administrator Sara Frankenfeld and Cliff & Redfield Interactive Founder and Editor Dan Forbush will brief WCHS members on progress to date and describe the future they see for spatial media.

Nov 15:  Dr. Daniel Way, author – Seneca Ray Stoddard

During his 37-year career as a Family Physician, Dr Way wrote three books between 2004 and 2016 chronicling his Adirondack medical career and the many patients he came to know: All in a Day’s Work: Scenes and Stories from an Adirondack Medical Practice; Never a Dull Moment, and We Were There: World War II Stories from the Adirondacks’ Greatest Generation. Each book includes many richly illustrated patient vignettes that venerate the doctor-patient relationship while describing the joys and frustrations of practicing rural primary care in Upstate New York’s Adirondack Park. 

Since retiring, he has completed work on his most recent book, Seneca Ray Stoddard; An Intimate Look at an Adirondack Legend.  It includes almost 300 illustrations and covers new ground that celebrates many facets of the legendary Victorian-era photographer/environmentalist/author/traveler/surveyor/lecturer/publisher, including many that have never been published before. You can learn more about his writing and photography on his website at and on Facebook. 

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