Editor’s Note: Bill Harman has led SUNY Oneonta’s Biological Field Station on Otsego Lake since its founding.
Historically, as in all our inland lakes after the original European settlement, rowboats, canoes, and sailboats capable of carrying a few passengers dominated Otsego Lake.
Early on it provided a corridor between the waters of the Mohawk drainage and the Southern Atlantic states via the Susquehanna River and was of national importance. It was used for a diversity of commercial and military activities over that length of time.
The first dirt road was built up the east side of the lake by William Cooper in 1787. By 1818, sections of road had begun to be built along the west side of the lake between Cooperstown and Springfield, but there was no direct route until about 1917.
Those early roads did not provide access to hotels and residences along the lake since they were constructed along the ridgetops to avoid the necessity of building bridges over the many streams running to the lake.
During that period, the lake itself served for commercial as well as recreational transportation. The first steamboat was launched in 1858. The last commercial steam vessel plied the lake in 1933.
During the height of those activities in 1894, 10 steam-powered vessels were active on the lake. At least two, the “Natty Bumppo” and the “Cyclone,” could carry more than 300 passengers.
CHERRY VALLEY – Fixing up a guest house in Cherry Valley, Graham Humes was worried what his summer tenant, Jane Glover, in town to conduct “L’Incoronazione di Poppea” at the 1994 Glimmerglass Festival, might think.
“I was afraid she wouldn’t like it!” he said. “But we got a piano in there for her, and she was very happy.”
So happy, in fact, that she returned for the next five years to conduct at the festival, often having dinner with Humes or spending an evening at the Rose and Kettle. “She was a charming woman who loved Cherry Valley,” said Humes.
Glover, a renown conductor of Baroque music, has recently released her second book, “Handel in London: The Making of a Genius” with MacMillian. The book has receive a starred review from Kirkus and praise from the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.
“I thought the book was wonderful,” said Francesca Zambello, Festival general & artistic director. “She’s a wonderful collaborator, very connected to the drama, while also having an eye to the conventions of the baroque pieces.”
PHOTOGRAPHY – 5 – 7 p.m. Take photographs during ‘Golden Hour’ just before sunset with staff member Kevin Gray providing pointers on composition, light, shadow, more. Cost, $17/non-member. The Farmers’ Museum, Cooperstown. 607-547-1450 or visit www.farmersmuseum.org/Sunset-Farm-Photography
COMEDIAN – 9 – 10 p.m. Have a fun night out with bonafide Georgia peach (native) Mia Jackson, who has appeared on Last Comic Standing, NickMom’s Night Out, others. Water Front Room, Hunt Union, SUNY Oneonta. Visit oneonta.campuslabs.com/engage/event/2644366
LUMBERFEST – 9 a.m.-5 p.m. See timbersports, enjoy activities with Hanford Mills, go on a train ride, do a project, see a demonstration, more. Free, open to public. Co. Rt. 35a, Portlandville. Visit WightmanLumber.com
ART OF ANATOMY – 2 p.m. Discover how artists and doctors have collaborated in the study of the human body over time and what they have learned from each other. Learn it all at this lecture by artist/MD Allison Hill-Edgar. Tickets, $15. The Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown. www.fenimoreartmuseum.org/Vanitas-Dissected
COOPERSTOWN – As the Glimmerglass Festival opens its 2016 season this weekend, it announced its 2017 season, which will include two favorite American musicals, Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess,” and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!”
Also, the repeated visits of Supreme Court Justic Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be honored with the production of “Scalia/Ginsburg,” based on her opera-based friendship with her ideological foe, who passed away earlier this year. It will star 2017 Artist in Residence William Burden.