Enterprise history, 1906-1918

This is part two of a story about Kenneth W. Goldthwaite, who owned and published the Adirondack Enterprise from 1906 to 1918. His son, E.K., wrote a great story about his father and the newspaper for the newspaper’s 75th anniversary in 1969. Dick Brown of Duane has loaned me a promotional book of pictures of the village published by Mr. Goldthwaite in 1914, which prompted me to recover the Goldthwaite story on Historic Saranac Lake’s website.

Kenneth Goldthwaite left home at age 15 and got a job in Utica at the Daily Observer as a copy boy, and by the time Chester Gillette was on trial in Herkimer County for the murder of Grace Brown, he was a reporter. Another young reporter at the trial was Theodore Dreiser, who later wrote a novel, “An American Tragedy,” based on the murder. Authors have been turning out books on that murder and trial ever since, but most people probably remember the story most from the movie “A Place in the Sun,” starring Montgomery Clift and Shelly Winters It was remarkable how much Clift and Winters resembled the real people.

The Enterprise office

Goldthwaite’s Enterprise office and press room were located in the former town hall that burned down in 1928. Read on:

“From Main Street, under the clock tower, one entered a generous doorway leading to a broad hall; immediately to the right were stairs up to the Odd Fellows hall which, on occasion, doubled as a movie theater. On the right, past the stairs, was the headquarters of the village Police Department; on the left, the editorial and business offices of the Enterprise.

“Also to the left, just past the Enterprise office was the lockup, a frequently occupied place. At the end of the corridor was the meeting room for the town.

“The reliable means of fast communication was the telegraph and messages in Morris Code clacked almost without ceasing in the Enterprise office. Whenever big things were happening, the paper would publish bulletins, hand-printed with crayons on newsprint, which were tacked up in the front office.”

The secret telephone

“In the 1915 Winter Carnival, Ed Lamy, the world champion speed skater in the one and two mile races was challenged by a relative newcomer to speed skating. Bobby Mclean of Montreal. Mclean was Canadian champion, but Lamy’s backers, and Lamy, was so confident that bets were going across the bar in the Berkeley Hotel in the thousands of dollars, with Lamy the odds-on favorite.

“Father sat at a table on the ice at the starting line. On the table was a telephone, and occasionally he would talk into it. The people in the stands thought that this was some kind of an act because there were no visible wires. For a time, when he would pick up the phone and talk into it, there would be laughter. The, when the event started, they forgot him. And soon they forgot all else to keep their eyes on Ed Lamy, who was wearing red body tights, and Mclean, who was wearing purple.

“What only a few knew was that a telephone wire ran down the leg of the table to a channel in the ice and father was talking directly to the composing room, and the events were being set in type as fast as they were received.

“The crowd had scarcely recovered from the shock of Mclean beating Lamy to win the world championship when they got another, as they were leaving the stadium they were met by newsboys hawking the Adirondack Enterprise with the complete results of the meet.”

Big stories covered

“Sometime around 1914, the faithful Saranac Lake fire horses were replaced by American-LaFrance fire trucks and the instant harness rigs were cut from the ceiling at the fire house on Broadway. There was still a use for the horses as they replaced the tired old dobbins that had been hauling the street-watering wagons. The arrangement was fine until the first afire alarm, when the horses took off like the hammers of Hades, dragging the sprinkling cart and decking the driver. This happened several times, and once on Helen Hill, a cart was wrecked and the driver went to the hospital with a broken leg.”

“Reported on the formation of the ‘Bull Moose’ party from Theodore Roosevelt’s camp at Long West Lake; Found the wife of a Chicago banker, believed lost and feared kidnapped, it was discovered she’d gone off with a handsome Indian guide; Organized in cooperation with the Adirondack Guides Association, the first Sportsman’s Show held in the old Madison Square Garden; Revealed that the Saranac lake Medical Society had dispatched a delegation of MD’s to Austria to investigate reports tuberculosis cures were being effected by turtle bites, and here is a big one; found in a Saranac Lake barber shop, Thomas A. Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone who had ‘disappeared’ while on a trip to Vermont; amazingly, no one had recognized them and they in turn were unaware that they were the objects of a search in three states and Canada.”

I highly recommend going to Historic Saranac Lake’s website and reading the entire Goldthwaite story.