History

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Lecture on History of Caffè Lena

Monday, October 8th, 2012

Folk musician and noted T&L hater/asshole Don McLean performs at Caffè Lena

On Wednesday, Skidmore grad and founder of the Caffè Lena History Project, Jocelyn Arem, will speak about her role in preserving the legacy of “America’s oldest continually running folk music coffeehouse.”*

In 2003, with the help of Skidmore’s President’s Discretionary Grant, Arem set out to compile the first oral history of Caffè Lena. The CLHP developed this research into exhibits celebrating the 45th and 50th anniversaries of the venue in 2005 and 2010.

Since then, the project has received funding from Skidmore College, the Association for Recorded Sound Collections, the New York Humanities Council, the Library of Congress Parsons Fund, the Puffin Foundation, the Sparkplug Foundation, and the Society for American Music.

*Seems debatable.
Wednesday October 10, 5:15pm @ Davis

Saratogian: How Skidmore Changed Saratoga Springs

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

In the olden days, Skidmore students had to walk all the way across Spring Street to get drugs

Listen up, history nerds: there is an article in today’s Saratogian that will make you think and nod thoughtfully. Written by Samantha Bosshart, executive director of the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation, the article outlines the importance of Skidmore in the formation of the modern Saratoga cityscape, focusing on the old Downtown campus, which was situated around the eastern end of Congress Park.

In 1903, Lucy Scribner purchased the above property, naming it Skidmore Hall, and founded the Young Women’s Industrial Club, which taught women the necessary skills to support themselves in the Saratoga off-season, when the track, hotels, and casinos were closed. In 1911, the YWIC changed its name to the Skidmore School of the Arts and began offering a wider breadth of courses.

Most of the original buildings that were part of the Downtown campus are still standing. Skidmore Hall, for example, has been converted into condominiums. These are perfect for people who want to pay $1,400 a month to live in an old dormitory. It’s all the fun of living in a studio apartment in New York City…but in Saratoga!

The whole article is pretty interesting, unveiling a little-known history that says a lot about the town as a whole. Bosshart asks a pressing question: what would Downtown Saratoga look like if calculator tycoon J. Erik Jonsson hadn’t donated the 650-acre parcel of land for the current campus?

Of this much we can be sure: students would be all over the area east of Congress Park, living in residences and heading to classes in buildings located on Circular Street, Regent Street, Union Avenue and other streets in the area.

Oh, the horror of that which could have been!

(via Saratogian)

Battle of Saratoga Encampment

Friday, September 16th, 2011

You could conceivably bro out with some Lobsterbacks, too.

The 234th anniversary of the first Battle of Saratoga is this Monday, so lots of fun things are happening at Saratoga National Historical Park over the weekend. In addition to the annual encampment, there will also be several performances/lectures by local historians. See the full schedule of events here.

Saratoga was arguably the most important battle of the Revolutionary War, and in addition to halting a British encroachment on New England, the victory of the Continental Army in our humble little city also led to international recognition from France, the Netherlands, and Spain.

Making fun of historical reenactments is the easiest punchline ever, and it’s never that funny, so instead, I’m going to talk about how much I love these things and how great the people really are.

Seriously, make the schlep out to the park this weekend if you know someone with a car/have the time. It’s a beautiful drive past the lake, over rolling hills, through dipping valleys and other nice things. In addition to being picturesque as fuck, I promise you’ll never meet a group of more passionate, charming, and colorful individuals. Last year, my friends and I got sandwiches and learned how to load a Revolutionary-era cannon. It was awesome, and I don’t think The Patriot is historically accurate, but it’s definitely a fair representation of how great this shit is.