JOHNSBURG-Local entrepreneur Woody Widlund told the Johnsburg Historical Society (JHS) last week that he and his wife have tried to "walk the walk of the things we believe in" in regard to the involvement they've had in the Johnsburg community and beyond.
The conversation was part of a project the historical society has coined Living History. The group has begun interviewing dozens of Johnsburg residents in order to record and preserve their remarkable stories, according to Kathy Maiorana of the society. Recent interviews included Claude Cleveland, Mavis Dunkley Miller, Helen Cornwall, Dianne Harrington Szlachtowski and Don Roblee.
Many generous donors made it possible for JHS to purchase the latest recording equipment in order to preserve these precious stories, Maiorana said.
Most recently, society member Lyle Dye sat down with the Widlunds to discuss thier stories.
Elise, born in New Jersey and Woody, born in Connecticut, both grew up in small towns and met at the University of Vermont.
The couple invested in a house in 1985 within the Garnet Hill community and became permanent residents of North River in 1996.
"We found a community of like-minded, interesting people who love the outdoors and being active," Woody said about their decision to become Johnsburg residents.
Since then, the pair has worked on many projects including the preservation of the Waddel building on Main Street in North Creek, ultimately leading to its conversion into the current Caf Sarah.
"Community and giving back to the community has always been important to us," Elise said.
She has dedicated herself to the Ski Bowl Park Committee and Friends of the Johnsburg Parks, while Woody has served as a town liaison between ORDA and Front Street Development as well as become involved with the Adirondack Theatre Festival. The two have played pivotal roles in Community Fund For The Gore Mountain Region and the Adirondack Community Housing Trust.
Most notably, the couple purchased Bacon's Garage in 1999 and used the property to meet the town's need for a new ski hut after the original burned down at Ski Bowl Park. After working with local youth as well as other organizations to meet the needs of the community, Elise and Woody built Tannery Pond Community Center.
"We have been in small towns across the country that are very vibrant and we've been to small towns that time left behind," Elise said.
Johnsburg is one of the vibrant ones, according to her.
Passionate photographers, travelers and entrepreneurs, the Widlunds will now go down in Johnsburg history as part of the JHS Living History Project.