National Geographic : 1933 Nov
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE New England winter to the Commander-in Chief at Cambridge. And when Burgoyne, trying to apply a military nutcracker to the patriot army in the upper Hudson area, got caught in the same sort of trap he tried to set, despair changed to hope. For that victory, by bringing the French to the American side, gave America a support at sea, without which there might not have been a York town. As for Lake Champlain, we may well be lieve that but for MacDonough's brilliant victory there in the War of 1812, in front of Plattsburg, the British might have at last succeeded in the wedge-driving tactics they had essayed so often in earlier wars, and might have marched in triumph to New York, splitting the Nation in twain, as they had so desperately sought to split the Colonies. WHERE BASEBALL WAS BORN New York west of the Adirondacks and the Catskills may not have a Hudson River, nor a Lake George or Champlain, but it has a Roland of arresting landscape for every Oliver of delightful panorama east of the mountains. For the Hudson country's Tarrytown and its romances of the Dutch, there is the Susquehanna's Cooperstown and its thrill ing tales of the Indians. Washington Ir ving's Knickerbocker Stories and James Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales balance one another in their fascination and make the authors two of the Empire State's best-loved men of letters. One who cuts across country from Little Falls, where the great Ice Age forced the Mohawk to reverse itself,* and motors down by the beautiful Otsego Lake to Coopers town is gradually prepared for the glorious scene that greets him there. Yes, it is the "Glimmerglass" country (see Color Plate III). I also visited the little baseball field where Abner Doubleday invented and started on its amazing career "the great American game" (see page 541). No matter where one has traveled, he will still stand enchanted in that summer fairy land which has come to be known as the Finger Lakes country. Little wonder that the Indians of the long ago believed that * See "Pirate Rivers and Their Prizes," by John Oliver La Gorce, in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, July, 1926. the Almighty put his hand down upon the area and left his fingerprints there. Other lands have lakes that are rare as Killarney itself, but here civilization has set itself all over the splendid slopes that sepa rate these sky-mirroring waters, and has carpeted these slopes with Brobdingnagian rugs of fairer pattern than ever came from the looms of Persia or Turkistan. In no State have public-spirited citizens contributed lands so generously for parks. To such people as the Tremans of Ithaca, the Harrimans of the Bear Mountain coun try, the Letchworths of the Genesee, and many others whose gifts and whose services have been of like merit, posterity will ever owe gratitude for the splendid areas they have set aside in perpetuity for the enjoy ment of all. In a previous article I told the story of Niagara's dramatic r61e in war and in in dustry.* (See Color Plate IX.) Niagara, of course, is the scenic master piece of New York; but across the State from there to Ausable Chasm stretches a series of glens and gorges each beautiful enough to be the boast of any State, but all constituting a veritable galaxy of witching spots where white water has cut its way through level-lying strata of shale, some layers thin as paper and as easily broken and others massive and resistant. Watkins and Enfield Glens, the Buttermilk and Taughannock Falls, and the gorges of the Genesee are splendid examples of white water at work (Color Plates I, VIII, XII). Wander with me down the Chemung Valley from Painted Post to Corning, Horseheads, Elmira, and Waverly, and I care not where you have traveled, you will still appreciate the panorama you see there. In the Horseheads-Big Flats country, where the ancient Chemung left its bed and cut a new way through the mountains to Elmira, is an area the geologists of the world like to visit to read its Ice Age story in the rocks and the soil. And below Elmira lies the Battlefield of Newtown, where Gen. John Sullivan, in the heart of the Iroquois territory, put down, once and for all, those fierce raids the Indians and their Tory allies had been staging in the middle period of the Rev olution. * See "Niagara at the Battle Front," by William Joseph Showalter, in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, May, 1917.