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Former teacher keeps the old new

Ballston home from where a tabletop desk - said to be surrounded by mystery, was discovered.
Photo submitted

Ballston home from where a tabletop desk - said to be surrounded by mystery, was discovered. Photo submitted

— Have you ever heard of a French Connection to Ballston or wondered about what the town was like 100 years ago?

Those answers and more will be revealed by Town Historian Rick Reynolds in a presentation entitled “History Isn’t Old, It’s New” on Tuesday, May 22, at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall Community Room on Charlton Road.

He’ll also be discussing some recent discoveries, including a lot of mystery surrounding a tabletop desk found in the attic of a town resident.

According to Reynolds, the legless desk was used by town clerks before town offices were built. It’s no surprise the desk was found in a home, but he promises that there is much more to the story that he will expose at the presentation.

Reynolds gives several presentations every year as historian and before taking the post in 2004, he taught social studies for 37 years at O’Rourke Middle School. Now retired at 62, he enjoys being able to continue to share history with the community.

“He was a favorite of many students, including my own children, ”Town Supervisor Patti Southworth said.

She added that he’s “very passionate about history” and that comes across especially when he performs re-enactments, which he has done in the classroom and as historian.

“I’ve always had an incredible interest in local history. … I totally enjoy what I do, it gives me the opportunity to research and analyze a lot of the history of this area and I just plain love history,” Reynolds said.

Past presentations have included a look back at the town during each century since the 1700s, the history of the BHBL School District and where names in communities come from. He has also written a book about the area, “From Wilderness to Community,” published in 2005.

One of the stories Reynolds shares with audiences about community names involves how Burnt Hills got its name. There is an interesting, though somewhat gruesome, back story, depending on what version from the late1600s tale you believe.

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