This year the Ticonderoga Historical Society is commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the ending Second World War in 1945. The first in a series of a planned “WW II Scrapbooks” where we will take a regional retrospective review of that era. It is our intent that it be both a remembrance and learning experience. The first to those of the rapidly dwindling generation that lived it; and, for the “new” generations to inform and be a source of knowledge of that time on both the home and war front. The war had a significant impact on the people and its economic well being that transcended for many years later.
The beginning of WWII started with Germany invading Poland on September 1, 1939. On December 7th, 1941 the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, four days later Germany, Italy, declared war on the United States. We were are war again for the second time in first half of the 20th century. The war did not take long to make a material impact on the way we lived and worked.
Building the Armed Forces
1942 Early Area Registrants Standing on Ti’s Community Building Steps
Restrictions & Rationing
Adkins & Scott – Produce Section Grand Opening April, 1941
In March of 1942 Willis Wells, of Lake Placid and chairman of Essex County Defense Council, and local units prepared county residence for civil defense operations with its first county “blackout test.” The southern area of the county had their first “dress rehearsal” on March 16th and the northern area on March 18th. In Ti observation posts were established near the “old Fireman Grounds” and at the Upper Falls near the “old WIPS radio station.” The local signal was provided by the International Paper mills whistles – beginning – one long whistle followed by one short for a period of two minutes. The “all clear” was the same except for one minute. During the exercise the local air raid wardens and their lieutenants were “charged with the duty of visiting each residence and business place within their districts to supply complete information relative to regulations. All lights which would be visible from the exterior of a building must be extinguished, and all traffic halted.” Motorist “were to immediately park and extinguish all lights upon sounding of the warning signal, pulling their machines over to the curbs and making certain not to park double in the event that fire trucks and ambulances may be called upon to use the thoroughfares.”
Victory Gardens were an integral part of the war effort. They not only to provided the necessary food stuffs for the armed forces it provided those on the home front with fresh locally grown produce that were full of vitamins and free from availability due to rationing and restrictions in the use of metals for canning, gasoline, tires and transportation in general.
Early in 1942 Essex County formed a Victory Garden Council with a purpose ~ “adding to the national food supply; providing better nutrition and in turn, healthier bodies; relieving the strain on the family pocketbook during times of higher living costs; saving transportation by relieving already overloaded transportation systems; recognizing the morale and release values of the gardening effort, including the growing of flowers and other ornamental plants.” The gardens would stimulate the production of essential vegetables, provide fresh produce during the growing season and provide stored canned and other processed vegetables during the remainder of the year. Schools and community gardens were encouraged to plant these gardens. For the schools produce grown by them were included their food services program. One reference reports that at its peak there were over 20 million Victory Gardens in the US and by 1944 these gardens were producing about 40% of all vegetables grown.
Below is four pages from a 1943 “Jung Quality Seeds” catalogue. The last is an official Essex County Defense Council form.
As the means of transportation for workers grew tighter due to rationing and restrictions new services were required. One of those were new bus services within Adirondacks. For the rapidly growing mining effort in the Town of Moriah a new bus route was authorized between Port Henry and Mineville to operators Wallace N. Edwards and Charles H. Belden of Port Henry. Adirondack Transit Lines established routes in Ti, Crown Point and Moriah to assist in transporting workers to the mines and Moriah and the mills in Ti.
In March of 1942 the owners of area plants and mines engaged in war production testified at the N.Y.S. Public Service Commission’s hearings that the growing inability to replace tires and cars have already tended to diminish the number of cars available for workers and that in some cases workers had to seek other employment. In their testimony they were much concerned over the transportation situation and have found it difficult to obtain enough help to operate their plants efficiently.
Bob Hope & Frances Langford Entertain the Troops
By early 1942 there were 574 active U.S. O. units – 270 clubs and 304 service centers. During 1942 the USO was expanding into more US cities and establishing off-shore units. Essex County was in the forefront with establishing a USO Campaign in 1941. In Ticonderoga, besides letter writing and providing news, local newspapers began sending free papers to enlisted service personal. (We will write more about this in a future addition) In 1941 as troops were on the move in the region, there were two large groups of soldiers from Plattsburgh and Pine Camp encamped at Fort Ticonderoga. The local unit provided hospitality and entertainment for these soldiers. Local committee members were: R.L. McNeal, Mrs. Mazie Bell, Harold Stewart, Francis E. Malaney and Westall L. Densmore.
At the Front
Troop carriers heading for the Pacific Theater
Articles from area newspapers found in our “Scrapbook”
On March 27th, 7 PM at the Hancock House’s Meeting Room, Robert Lamb, Trustee, will present a lecture on “World War II – An European’s Perspective Having Lived Through It.”
The program is about his childhood when he lived on the outskirts of Glasgow Scotland, near the docks and shipyard. A personal remembrance of his thoughts listening to adults discuss the war, bomb shelters, the sinking of ships, being sent off to his grandparents in Ireland for safety, rationing and recycling for the war effort, schooling, etc.
Interested in assisting in helping us with our WWII projects? Looking for volunteers and donations as we work on our military archives, exhibits, plan a small Victory Garden, collect Oral Histories and a “U.S.O. style show” for August 29th.