Article Title: Book prompts memories of Glens Falls' glory
Author: Megin Potter
GLENS FALLS - Walking down Broadway in Saratoga Springs in August, with swarms of people crowding the streets, it's hard to imagine that anyone could ever describe it as being like a ghost town.
But that's the way Bonnie and Stephan Lapham remember it being in the 1950s.
Back then, before the building of the interstate and the shopping plazas on Quaker Road, it was downtown Glens Falls that was the summer place to be.
"There's lots of things you can think about old Glens Falls," said Bonnie Lapham. "It was unique."
The Laphams were reminiscing during their visit to the Chapman Historical Museum on Sunday.
They came to pick up a copy of the newly released "Glens Falls People and Places" and have it signed by authors Bob Bayle, Lillian Casola, Stan Malecki and Gwen Palmer, members of the museum's Corners Project who spent four years researching the book.
"Local history's kind of in my blood," said Stephan Lapham.
The Lapham family has been an important fixture in the history of Glens Falls.
Stephan's grandfather founded Lapham's Sporting Goods Store, the largest store of its kind between New York City and Montreal, he said, and his father started Ray Supply and was co-founder of the Chapman Historical Museum.
"There's a plaque with his name on it around here somewhere," he said.
When asked if he thought, 100 years from now, about his own name going down in the history books, Stephan said he could never live up to the legacy his father left.
"It's fun trying, though," Lapham said.
That's the story of Glens Falls, according to the Laphams: a city that keeps trying.
After the bustling and lively place of the '50s, Bonnie Lapham remembers a period of urban renewal in the 1960s that she deems "really criminal."
During this time, many of the city's historic buildings were destroyed and the area's natives left town.
Bonnie's two sisters now live in Montana, and each year she sends them a piece of Glens Falls memorabilia, including cookbooks and calendars.
"I tease them that maybe I'll entice them home," she said.
Today however, the Laphams are hopeful about the city's future. They are excited about renovation projects and are witnessing people who left starting to come back.
"Glens Falls is really coming around now," said Bonnie Lapham. "There are a lot of reasons to go downtown. It's a destination, and I think we'll continue to see it grow."
Information about the history of Glens Falls is sought after by people like the Laphams, who have lived in the city for years and can reminisce about the changes that have taken place, said Timothy Weidner, Chapman Historical Museum executive director.
"Glens Falls," the first book written by the authors of "Glens Falls People and Places," sold 500 copies just during the holiday season of its release in 2004, said Weidner.
"The books are a way for the people to own that history, in a sense," said Weidner.
The museum also carries a large selection of books chronicling the changes the city has undergone, a set of playing cards featuring notable personalities from the area and a newly released calendar featuring historic photographs.
Article Title: Book celebrates 'Glens Falls People and Places'
Author: Doug Gruse
If history repeats itself, then Glens Falls has promising days ahead.
In "Glens Falls People and Places," Bob Bayle, Lillian Casola, Stan Malecki and Gwen Palmer -- members of the Corners Project at the Chapman Historical Museum -- offer a pictorial history of prominent residents from the city's past and their contributions to the area's development.
"We tend to live in the moment. We wanted to help people develop a respect for the history of the community," Malecki said.
The authors will hold a book signing at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Chapman Historical Museum, 348 Glen St.
The book features photos from the Chapman's archives and information on some of the leaders, like Henry Crandall and Samuel Pruyn, who remain household names. In the middle of the 1800s, the city had as many millionaires as New York City, according to the group.
"The men with money put their money right back into the community," Casola said of notable Glens Falls philanthropists.
Bayle was impressed by what he learned about Ephraim Potter, a local architect of industrial, commercial and residential buildings.
"A number of his buildings are still around," Bayle said.
The authors also included some of the quirkier and lesser-known figures in local history.
Philetus Allen, who died in 1957, was an amateur astronomer who built his own telescopes and gave lessons to local children.
"I knew him as a kid," Palmer said.
Palmer also was taken by Harry Elkes, a world-class bicycling champion at the turn of the 20th century.
"He trained riding up and down the Glen Street hill," she said.
Elkes died at age 25, when his chain brake tangled in his rear wheel and he was thrown from the bicycle.
Glens Falls also was home to the youngest Pony Express rider in history, who moved to the city later in life.
Charles Mortimer Miller, also known as "Broncho Charlie," was a performer in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and trained horses for Theodore Roosevelt and the U.S. Army.
"He is a character," Palmer said.
When it came to compiling the book, the researchers said the little details were the most time-consuming.
"I don't think people would realize how long it took us just to research everybody's birth and death dates," Palmer said.
Bayle said the work got him thinking about which names from today might become part of the city's future history.
"It's interesting to think, 100 years from now, who might be included in a book like this," he said.