About Bob Bayle
Bob Bayle is the son of Francis Bayle and is the co-author of three Images of America books about Glens Falls, New York. He is a retired science teacher and a member of the Glens Falls – Queensbury Historical Society, a trustee and member of the Warren County Historical Society and a volunteer at the Chapman Historical Museum in Glens Falls.
Bob resides in Queensbury, NY, with his wife, Carol, and actively pursues his avid interest in local history and genealogy.
Why am I involved in all of this?
I retired from teaching in June of 1996. I knew I had to have something to keep me busy. For some time I had been going through my dad’s photographs thinking that they were a treasure house of early photos of my family, the Adirondacks and the lower part of Warren County. I decided I would get a few of them printed and matted and see if they would sell. They did. Then I got the idea that maybe people would be interested in notecards pf my dad’s photos and so I printed some of them. They sold too.
At this point several people had asked me about my dad’s pictures, how many I had, what they were of and what I intended to do with them. My dad had done a slide program using his Adirondack pictures so I thought that they would be a good subject for a book. It took me a while, but I finally got to put it all together during 2015 and early 2016. I made use of the writings and diaries my dad kept and used the photos to illustrate his various hikes into the mountains of the Adirondacks.
In the process looking for places to sell the photos and note cards, I visited the Chapman Historical Museum. I had always had an interest in local history as my family came to Glens Falls around 1870 and my grandfather had a store on Glen Street in the 1880’s. The museum at that time was starting a local history research project and I became involved in that which led to the three books about Glens Falls.
My interest in genealogy stems from a project that my dad did around 1950 that resulted in a pretty detailed family tree of the Bayle side of my family. So in retirement, I continued research on that and into my mother’s side of the family. Both families came from Europe, my dad’s from France and my mother, from Ireland. It was fun and interesting to try and trace their origins. It got easier as the internet developed and more and more information was posted on line.
So why do I do all this? Because I really enjoy it. It is satisfying to find that other people are interested in my dad’s photos and it’s always a thrill to discover a new person that you are related to or find out what your family did in the old days.
About Francis Bayle
Francis Bayle was born in Worcester, MA in 1894, the son of George F. Bayle, Sr. and Louisa Bienvenu Bayle. When Francis was three, the family moved to New York City and then to Glens Falls, New York in 1902. He attended school in Glens Falls and started his engineering studies at Cornell University. World War I intervened and the engineering students were sent to the University of Wisconsin where Francis graduated in 1919.
By then the war was over and Francis obtained his first job at Stone, Webster and Company in Boston. In 1922 he left there to become a draftsman at the Glens Falls Portland Cement Company where his father was president. The job was to be for six months, but lasted until he retired in 1962. During much of that time he served as the plant engineer, designing and supervising various construction projects at the plant and documenting much of the construction with photographs.
While his vocation was engineering, his avocations were exploring the Adirondacks and photography. Between the years 1910 and about 1970, he took many hundreds of pictures of the Adirondack region. His photos were mainly scenic and provide a unique representation of what the area looked like in the early part of the 1900’s. Francis was an active member of the Adirondack Mountain Club and the Glens Falls Camera Club. Francis described how his interest in the Adirondacks developed in an article he wrote in 1955 for the With Our Writers column of The Ad-i-ron-dac, the magazine of the Adirondack Mountain Club.
“My first acquaintance with the Adirondacks began in 1902 when my father took the family from Warrensburg to Lake Placid, hiring a team of horses and a three seated buckboard for the journey. We took the trolley car from Glens Falls to Warrensburg and the whole trip took three days. How I wish now that I had been old enough to remember more of this journey (He was 8 at the time). It was before the time of the big forest fires and I do remember deep, heavy forests and quite a few other points along the way.
However, my travels in the Adirondacks really began about 1907 or 1908 when a boy in school. Two or three of us started by exploring and climbing the small mountains to the west of Glens Falls and gradually we worked to some higher peaks to the north and finally, some years later, we undertook several camping trips through the Big Peak region. On all of these trips we were enthusiastic camera fans, a hobby that still has its hold on me.
About 1926 I joined the Glens Falls chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club and have enjoyed its associations ever since. From about 1928 – 1932, I was editor of the old club magazine, High Spots.
My vocation is Plant Engineer for the Glens Falls Portland Cement Co.”
Francis served as editor of the Adirondack Mountain Club magazine for several years. During that time, he wrote several articles for the publication about his photography, hiking trips and opinions about the Adirondacks. I have chosen to excerpt some of these articles and insert them into the book where appropriate. I believe they will provide a better insight into how Francis accomplished what he did.
In addition to the articles from the Adirondack Mountain Club magazine, which are quoted in this book, Francis gave several talks locally, and in some of the Adirondack towns, about his early hikes and showed his photos. He called his presentation: Adirondacks – Past and Present. He had converted the black and white photos to slide format and showed the old photos along with color slides of a more recent vintage. Some of the color slides duplicated the views of the mountains which he had visited in the early hikes.
In 1969, The Scout, a magazine published by and for the people of Finch, Pruyn & Company, Inc., and edited by Pauline Smith, featured an article Francis wrote titled: Those Were the Days – Early Touring in the Adirondacks. It was illustrated with photos of his early auto trips.
The Fall 1973 issue of Adirondack Life featured an article written by Robert H. Mellon about Francis’ photography titled, The Eyes of Francis Bayle. It was illustrated with several of his photos.
The Chapman Historical Museum in Glens Falls curated two exhibits of Francis’ works. The first was in 1974 and featured nearly three dozen of his works. It was titled, The Photography of Francis L. Bayle. The second exhibit was in 1980 after I had donated many of his prints to the museum. It was titled, S. R. Stoddard/F. L. Bayle: Their Adirondacks.
The emphasis was on their style in taking photographs and comparing the way each man observed the Adirondacks. S. R. Stoddard was a very well-known photographer based in Glens Falls whose career was ending at about the time Francis began taking pictures.