This is a small selection of photos and stories from Hammond, from both the museum and community contributors. Stay tuned for more in-depth, individual stories to come!
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North Country At Work is a photo archive and storytelling project that explores the work history of the Adirondack North Country (learn more about the project here, and see more photo highlights in Backward Glances: North Country Historical Photos). We’re collecting photos around our region at photo scanning events; our first was in Hammond.
From the moment we set up in The Hammond Museum on a sunny August morning to our packing the car back up nine hours later, we were busy. Busy sifting through photos, listening to stories and memories of the town and its more colorful characters as seen through the eyes of its residents, and trying to record it all.
Our guide was Donna Demick of The Hammond Museum, who supplied us with museum photos and mountains of undisplayed photo donations from Hammond families. She also dug up family-specific materials for some of the people who came in to speak with us. In a few cases, they had the memories but no photos, and Donna came to the rescue with a folder, saying “I knew we had something about his mother being a school-teacher…”
We heard the same names and places again and again, the town’s collective memory and identity inextricably tied to its work. After just one day exploring Hammond’s work history, we felt as though we knew the town. We knew the famous and beloved Soper Brothers, who ran the mill and several other businesses in town. We heard about dairy farming – its heyday and its collapse (an archetypal story integral to North Country work in the last thirty years). We learned the town’s largest families, their surnames plastered across old photos and documents. We saw pictures of the old Inn at Oak Point, where local teenagers could find summer work, back when summer camp was a family activity.
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