Manchester said the title comes from the name given by the first settlement colony to the territory that eventually became the township of North Elba; they called it the Plains of Abraham, and such a beautiful, evocative historic name seemed like the perfect choice for a book of local history about such a beautiful, inspiring place, he said.
The book preserves an incredible body of historical research about a very unusual community the birthplace of winter sport in America, a tiny mountain village that has hosted not one but two Olympiads, and a pioneer Adirondack resort community.
There are very few communities that have anything like this depth of material about their own history; Lake Placid and North Elba were indeed lucky to have someone like Mary Landon MacKenzie born among them, said Manchester.
The Plains of Abraham also serves to debunk some myths and misinformation about the history of North Elba by providing good, solid, in-depth documentary research on subjects like John Brown, the North Elba black colony, the story of the early Elba Iron Works, the real source of financing for the first church built in the township, and many other issues.
It covers Placid local history at a depth nobody has ever before attempted. The great bonus of the book is that, unlike some academic historians, Mary MacKenzie knows how to tell a story, which makes The Plains of Abraham a genuinely good read from start to finish. She tells her tales in an original voice that is at once authoritative, familiar and humorous, said Manchester.
There will be a launch program on Saturday, Aug. 4 at the Lake Placid Public Library with several speakers talking about MacKenzie and her remarkable career as a historian.
The 424 page book is published by Nicholas K. Burns Publishing of Utica and retails for $24.95. All royalties for the book have been dedicated to the Lake Placid Public Library.