National Geographic : 1947 Jul
The National Geographic Magazine which became active in 1935 upon the death of the last surviving founder. Now the fine old houses, with their stables transformed into School of Art studios, form a cultural center of Utica (page 68). Its art classes, exhibitions, tours, and lectures; its motion pictures and library of musical rec ords; its summer and Saturday classes for children in handicrafts, music, dancing, speech, and art drew a total attendance last year of 59,597. Utica has now become a seat of higher education. The Utica College of Syracuse University opened last fall with about 700 students, and the State-underwritten Mohawk College, an emergency educational setup, be gan operations with an enrollment of 1,200, which grew in six months to 1,831. Mohawk College occupies a vast collection of more than 180 cantonment-type buildings, formerly the Army's Rhoads General Hos pital, on the outskirts of Utica. More than 90 percent of the students are veterans (p. 91). The State has also established in Utica the Institute of Applied Arts and Sciences, special izing in retail management and other business training. In Utica, incidentally, F. W. Woolworth opened his first five-and-ten-cent store in 1879. It failed! "Where Truth and Honor Dwelt" At near-by Clinton, seat of Hamilton Col lege, was born the statesman Elihu Root, Secretary of War and State and United States Senator. And there, as the shadows length ened, he chose to return "to a plain old home in the Oneida hills, overlooking the valley of the Mohawk, where truth and honor dwelt in my youth." Hamilton, alma mater of sons so diverse as Root and Alexander Woollcott, is one of America's most distinguished small colleges. Named for Alexander Hamilton, it was founded as a school for white and Indian boys by the Reverend Samuel Kirkland, whose great influence held the Oneidas loyal to the colonists in the Revolution. Beside the missionary in the college ceme tery lies the Oneida chief Skenandoah, who died at 110 with the request that he be buried beside his friend so that he might "climb into Heaven holding on to the Dominie's coat tails." West of Utica, at Oneida and Sherrill, a thriving modern industry stands as a monu ment to one of America's many communal utopian experiments. To Oneida from New England 99 years ago came a colony of "Perfectionists" led by John Humphrey Noyes, whose daring ideas included abandonment of individual, sentimental love in favor of matings directed by the community. The practice he advocated died young, but the silver-plating industry established by the ener getic Perfectionists has flowered into Oneida, Ltd., making Community Plate, the "silver ware for brides" (Plate XIII). North of Utica stretch the vast pine-scented Adirondacks, with their wooded slopes and myriad lakes and streams.* Instead of yield ing to their appeal we kept our rendezvous with the river and rolled on down its south shore. On the boundary between the Oneida coun try to the west and the lands to the east where the Mohawks held sway stands the industrial town of Frankfort, which pioneered in mak ing matches but now has turned to milk prod ucts, road machinery, and farm tools. Farmers Fathered Ilion's Industries If a match is the symbol of Frankfort, a gun and a typewriter should represent Ilion. This busy town's lifelong livelihood stems largely from the talents of the Eliphalet Rem ingtons, father and son, farmer-mechanics both, who came here from Connecticut in 1800. Young Eli made himself a rifle, and when neighbors clamored for one as good he and his father began manufacture of firearms. Later, in 1873, their descendants produced the first successful commercial typewriter. Up in Ilion Gorge above the town stand remnants of the old Remington forge, ancestor of the Remington Arms plant and the Rem ington-Rand factory making typewriters, office equipment, and filing systems. These plants, with a normal total of more than 6,000 workers, form the industrial heart of the Frankfort-Ilion-Mohawk community. Almost any employee of Remington Arms, now under control of Du Pont, can tell you that Remington rifles rode west on oxcart and covered wagon, were standard equipment on pony express, and teamed with ax and plow to build our Nation. Remington has made arms for every war the United States has fought since 1847 (page 91). In near-by Mohawk, third of these triplet towns, stands the old Shoemaker Tavern, still doing business. Past the tavern panted the scout Adam Helmer on a September day in 1778 as he neared the end of his 44-mile run to warn the settlers that Joseph Brant and his Indians were at his heels. His fellow scouts watching the southern hills had all been killed and scalped in the chase. * See "New York State's Air-conditioned Roof" (Adirondacks), by Frederick G. Vosburgh, in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, June, 1938.