PLATTSBURGH — The Dewey Decimal system and President William McKinley are not usually the first things to come to mind when thinking of the Adirondacks.
Yet for former Peacock Music owner Gary Peacock, they represent just two of the many details that make up the history of the region.
Since closing his namesake music store in 2006 after 23 years of business, Peacock has worked to study these and other stories and pass them along to Adirondack residents and visitors alike.
RETURN TO SCHOOL
The shift from music salesman to Adirondack historian began in 2009 when Peacock started taking classes at Clinton Community College.
He enrolled full time in 2010 and graduated as valedictorian of his class with an associate’s degree in humanities in spring 2011.
“That was really exciting and really got me pumped up and thinking, ‘Well, I got this far. I might as well keep going,’” he said.
That fall, Peacock enrolled as a history major at SUNY Plattsburgh. Shortly after beginning his coursework, he noticed an opportunity to combine his interest in studying history with his lifelong appreciation of the Adirondacks.
Having grown up in Chateaugay, Peacock remembered many childhood vacations spent traveling in his family’s camper van to different Adirondack campgrounds, including Fish Creek Pond and Lake Meachum.
“So I was exposed to the deep part of the Adirondacks from a pretty early age,” he said.
It wasn’t long into his SUNY Plattsburgh studies that Peacock noticed that almost every course he took could be used to examine a different aspect of the Adirondacks.
With that idea in mind, he worked with campus officials to develop a customized curriculum and, in 2012, became the first student at SUNY Plattsburgh to minor in Adirondack history.
Peacock said he has enjoyed discovering how his general courses, such as ecology and geography, could apply to his minor.