Grace and Ed Hudowalski are shown at Sleeping Giant, otherwise known as Mount Hoffman, taken from an essay by Thomas Yandon, winner in the original Hudowalski Essay Contest of 1962

SCHROON LAKE -- The Schroon-North Hudson Historical Society and the Adirondack Forty-Sixers Club have combined to resurrect a historic literary completion, the Hudowalski Essay Contest, named after Grace Hudowalski, one of the founders of the Forty-Sixers.

In 1957, Grace and Ed Hudowalski of Schroon Lake decided it would be a good idea to hold an essay contest among young people. A prize was awarded for the best essay submitted on an Adirondack theme.

The Hudowalskis encouraged the 11th-graders of Schroon Lake Central School to interview local old-timers and record their stories. These essays are now a historical and environmental record that helped promote writing skills among young students.

On the 50th anniversary of the Hudowalski essays, the towns of Schroon and North Hudson have piloted the contest in hopes that in the future other schools in the Adirondacks would participate.

The contest will award prizes for essays on Adirondack historical or environmental themes in and around the towns of Schroon and North Hudson and was open to children in area schools.

The best overall essay in either historical or environmental will be a three-week campership to Poke-o-Moonshine/Poko-McCready Camp in Willsboro.

Prizes are $1,500 for the best overall essay in either category and a second-place prize of $500 in either category.

Grace, who was born in 1906 and died in 2004, was a notable and much-loved resident of Schroon Lake, according to Loris Clark, who is managing the contest.

Ed was 46er No. 6 and Grace was No. 9, and with Pastor Ed Ryder, No. 7, they formed a hiking club originally known as the Forty-Sixers of Troy.

The Forty-Sixers emerged from a church class at Grace United Methodist Church in Troy in 1937. At the beginning, the objective was simply to climb at least one of the High Peaks a year and record the adventure.

It was Grace who conceived of the idea that climbers should record their experiences for posterity, and she always emphasized the importance of the journey as opposed to the destination, especially in later years when reaching the summits of all 46 High Peaks become the goal of a new organization, today's Adirondack Forty-Sixers Club.

Grace served as historian of the Forty-Sixers Club for six decades, exchanging tens of thousands of personal letters with generations of climbers and maintaining a record of their anecdotes. These letters are now part of the archives of the state of New York.

Climbers were always welcome at her residence, called The Boulders on Schroon Lake. It was tradition there to sign a register held in a cylindrical canister similar to those placed at the summits of the trail-less peaks.

Grace's legacy includes the Forty-Sixers Conservation Trust, to which she has contributed her life savings, Clark said.

The essay winners will be announced during the Schroon-North Hudson Historical Society's Strawberry Festival on Sunday at the Schroon Lake Boathouse.

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