by Linda Heistman
How can one lamp generate light on a variety of conversations? On Wed-nesday, January 13, the participants of the Senior Health and Activity Recreation Program (SHARP) had several conversations prompted by a lamp created by the late local artist Bernard Hemmer.
It was loaned to us for the day by the Goodsell Museum, the home of the Historical Association in Old Forge.
The lamp was just one example of Hemmer’s art work. While he is not particularly well known for his art, he is known for building the Hemmer Cottages (1937-1960).
Kate Lewis, the director of the Goodsell Museum, was also kind enough to give me some information about the Hemmer Cottages to read to the participants of SHARP. These cottages were built “…in the style of a foreign country…Finland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Lapland, Ireland/Scotland…”
“I remember all those little cottages…they were very cute,” remarked Ruth Brussel.
After the cottages were moved, the empty space behind the school (where the new addition to the school now stands) served as a place for summer events.
Ruth ran the children’s summer programs that were similar to the ones currently enjoyed at the George T. Hiltebrant Recreation Center Pavilion on North Street.
They would have costume parties, play games, and Mr. Hemmer would often come out to help with these activities.
Ruth remembers that during a Christmas in July event, her uncle was chosen to be the Santa. He arrived riding a bicycle, saying, “Ho-Ho-Ho” in his rich German accent.
“He looked so funny!” laughed Ruth.
The cottages used to be located on Park Avenue across from Maple Ridge. This triggered another topic regarding the Main Street side of the school property.
Gigi Hollister said that the school’s property on the Main Street side was originally owned by her father, Leroy (Curley) Wakely Deis.
The property was sold to the Town of Webb for the school building.
But the town could not take ownership because it was found that a burial site was on the property.
Gigi’s father’s brother had died as a baby, and in those days (early 1900’s) people would often bury their dead in their back yards. Before the new school could be built, the infant’s coffin had to be excavated. It was transported to a Deis family plot in Boonville.
Upon hearing that, “Mary Silver Hemmer of Saranac Lake…wrote the words of the Town of Webb Schools’ Alma Mater…” Ruth Brussel piped in that her daughter, Lynn Brussel, composed the orchestration to accompany it.
But wait…there’s more! Stay tuned to The Weekly Adirondack to learn the rest of the story!
In the meantime, mark your calendars for an exciting upcoming event. The Senior Health Activity and Recreation Program (SHARP) will observe its first anniversary on Wednesday, February 3 and all are invited to join in the celebration.
We will have an Open House from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Niccolls Church in the Fellowship Hall and all are welcome to stop by and have some snacks and warm beverages with our seniors!
SHARP is a free program offered to all independent senior citizens from Woodgate to Raquette Lake.
We meet at Niccolls Memorial Church in Old Forge from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Wednesday.
Lunch during our regular Wednesday sessions is provided by the Community Health & Wellness Fund (formerly the Town of Webb Health Center Fund.)
For more information, call or text (315) 225-7553, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Check our Facebook page anytime for updates. Search: SHARP