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Historical Highlights

Teddy Roosevelt "Revisits" Sand Lake

DVD Available

Our Thursday, April 23, 2015, special event was very successful!  Teddy (a.k.a. Joe Wiegand) gave a masterful and unforgettable performance for a full house of over 250 at the Old Daley on Crooked Lake.  He graciously signed many autographs, and posed for many, MANY photos. Local people and those from out of town attended. Old Daley staff were most gracious and accommodating, and there was a wonderful assortment of raffle prizes! “Colonel” Roosevelt (he emphasized that he prefers that title to all others – Ed.) also spoke to Averill Park students and local residents on Friday, April 24.

Click on any of the images below to enlarge.

promotional sheet with reservation form Joe Wiegand as Teddy Roosevelt      'Teddy' speaks to students and the public at Algonquin Middle School 4/24/15

The talk was over an hour of fascinating anecdotes about Roosevelt’s childhood, his time as a member of the New York State Assembly and as 33rd Governor of New York, his service with the Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War, and (of course) his terms as the 25th Vice President of the United States and as the 26th President of the United States!

(One of my favorite anecdotes revolved around his Presidency, in a White House filled with his children and their “menagerie of somewhat inappropriately named pets.” Mention was made of a time one of the children burst into a meeting to announce that “Bishop Doane [a hamster] had twins”! I commented to “The Colonel” about that after the talk, noting that William Croswell Doane was, in fact, the first Bishop of the Albany Episcopal Diocese! – Ed.)

Joe Wiegand as Teddy Roosevelt Joe Wiegand as Teddy Roosevelt Joe Wegand as Teddy Roosevelt
  Joe Wiegand as Teddy Roosevelt   Joe Wiegand as Teddy Roosevelt
Joe Wiegand as Teddy Roosevelt   'Teddy' bears were among the raffle prizes    
  Joe Wiegand as Teddy Roosevelt   'Rough Rider Raffle' poster 'Rough Rider Raffle' poster with list of prizes

'Thank You' posterThere are so many to thank for making this event possible. Special thanks go to Joe Wiegand portraying Teddy Roosevelt, Averill Park Education Foundation, Averill Park Central Schools, Joe Farrannini – Gravestone Matters, Sand Lake Kiwanis Club, Spectra Environmental Group, The Old Daley on Crooked Lake,Crooked Lake Hotel register West Field Production Company, and the Sand Lake Center for the Arts. Also, the TR Dinner Committee: Barbara Neu Berti, John “Mac” McEvilly, Bob Moore, Dee Erickson, Mary Weber, Anna Church, Joe Farrannini, and Sue Powers!

This image from the Crooked Lake House guest register, dated 1898, is found in Images of America: Sand Lake Revisited and bears repeating here.

Oddly, not all that long ago, Roosevelt’s visits to the area and specifically to Crooked Lake had become almost more legend than fact. Witness this short article found in Troy’s The Times Record newspaper, August 12, 1958:

Troy Times Record article, August 12, 1958; click to enlarge‘Teddy’ Roosevelt Reported Once Sand Lake Visitor — Tradition says that President Theodore Roosevelt once came to Sand Lake and stayed for several days at what is now the Crooked Lake Hotel. He is said to have climbed to the high spot called Bears Head which overlooks the lake and there tied his shirt to a tree. For years youngsters who have gone hiking to Bears Head claim they have seen fragments of Teddy Roosevelt's shirt still tied to a tree.” Of course, we know that his visits to the area were not just "tradition" or "legend"!

A DVD of the entire program, also including a 1989 "tour" of Crooked Lake with then-owner Al Coons*, is available from SLHS.

*Al Coons originally was interviewed as part of the Averill Park Schools Video Discovery Program 1985-1991.

© 2015, from v.41, no. 3, the Spring 2015 issue of Historical Highlights

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5/3/2015; revised March 7, 2016 -- asm © 2018 Sand Lake Historical Society; all rights reserved.