Plank Roaders Dissolve

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Altamont Enterprise Jan. 2, 2003

The Plankroaders gathered around Barney Palombo's kitchen table in May and broke down the organization's final accounts while snacking on chocolate cake and pastry squares.

The group started out as part of the Brothers of the Brush during the sesquicentennial celebration in 1972. The men grew beards and competed with other chapters in softball games and tug-of-war. When the sesquicentennial ended, the group remained together.

Barney Palombo, and her late husband, Harry, gave the plankroaders nine acres where they built a clubhouse with donated wood and labor. They took their name from the Albany-Schoharie Plank Road which once ran past their clubhouse.

Failed fund-raisers and changing interests led to the end. "It just broke our hearts," said Palombo in May. "We went in like a lion, and out like a lamb," said founding member Peter Oliver. The clubhouse was sold and is now being used as an aerobics studio. The deer heads — souvenirs of venison suppers, Harry Palombo's specialty, were divided among members. Plaques and mementos were returned to their original owners.

The Plankroaders' gavel, made from an original piece of the Albany-Schoharie Plank Road, was donated along with some other items to the Knox Historical Museum. The profits from the sale of the building, totaling over $7,000, were donated to the Knox Historical Society, the Hilltown Resource Center, the Community Caregivers, and the local food pantry as well as to several local fire companies and rescue squads. Some money was donated to health organizations like the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society.