This past weekend's filming of the Fox News Network's Huckabee show segment in Chestertown, casting Chestertown and Lincoln Logs into a national spotlight, was a strange and remarkable event.
A fair number of hours of taping represented more than a dozen lengthy interviews on all aspects of the Lincoln Logs business, broadcast nationally Sunday as a 12-minute segment of the show hosted by former U.S. presidential candidate and Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.
The show, however, depicted a small portion of the interviews and information on the recent rescue and resurrection of Lincoln Logs by the Stephenson family of Stephenson Lumber and Riverside Truss.
Several of us were afforded quick sound bites, rather than the lengthy segments we were expecting.
Although the news/talk show appears scripted in some of its episodes, the questions Huckabee asked Erin Stephenson Brothers onstage in Manhattan were apparently spontaneous.
Erin, daughter of Stephenson Lumber founder Larry Stephenson, appeared in the broadcast to be relaxed and well-informed about the new venture.
She said Monday she had no knowledge of the questions that would be posed, and Larry, Lincoln Logs employee Adam Smead and I - interviewed in Chestertown by Huckabee via satellite - were also not briefed beforehand on topics to be discussed.
The three of us were chosen to sit on a flatbed truck set up as a makeshift stage in the Lincoln Logs mill yard, backed up by a crowd of locals prompted to applause intermittently.
We were expecting several questions and a fair amount of air time, but we got only some quick sound bites.
The story of Lincoln Logs' future and its importance to the area communities was portrayed well in the finished broadcast, but I would like to have had more time to put the Lincoln Logs story into perspective.
I'll mention one of the points here.
Over the past 27 years, there have been many dubious entrepreneurs who have come up into the lower Adirondacks and promised jobs and prosperity, spent government funds and private investment money to bankroll ventures - then in a short time we'd see the enterprises crash and burn.
So many of these ventures were either outright scams, schemes to enrich the principals at the expense of others, or just plain unworkable concepts.
Who can forget the Warrensburg Board & Paper plant, the idea to build steel jail cells in Warrensburg or the various water-bottling developments?
While so many of these enterprises were concocted and proposed by guys who came up here wearing $800 suits and driving Cadillacs or Mercedes, most of the time it wasn't their money at risk, but either investment partners who had been sold a bill of goods, or the taxpayers.
But in 1984, Larry Stephenson set a new standard.
At the time, he was an accountant for American Forest Products, which fell into bankruptcy after an episode of overexpansion.
He took over the lumber and hardware chain - founded by high rollers - and turned it into a successful business that kept its expenses and payroll in check and for 25 years maintained a firm, enduring commitment to employees.
Through good times and bad, he didn't lay off an employee except temporarily when a mill burned down.
As the chief of a multi-million-dollar firm, he didn't spend money on fancy cars, a luxury home and toys, but he prudently invested money back into the business and its employees.
The result has benefited the lower Adirondacks tremendously, with the Stephenson Lumber firm providing stable jobs.
Here at Denton Publications and the Adirondack Journal, we're sure his business acumen and his prudent community-minded approach will mean the same substantial success for the resurrection of Lincoln Logs.
Thom Randall is Adirondack Journal editor. He can be reached at email@example.com