Burros ascending Mount Pisgah

There are so many stories about the Algonquin Hotel back in the day that they must have hired there own public relations firm. Scrapbooks at the Adirondack Room of the Saranac Lake Free Library are packed with stories about Saranac Lake and the hotels here in the early 1900’s.

It always brings me back to the 1940’s when we still had five hotels here; the Hotel Alpine, the St. Regis and the Arlington, better known as the Potter block, all located catty-corner where Broadway and Bloomingdale Avenue come together. The Berkeley Hotel, at the corner of Main and Broadway, and the Hotel Saranac was on Main Street. Now we have none. Next to the Hotel Saranac was the beautiful Odd Fellows Hall used by Joan Frank for summer theatre productions. There was not one parking space or lot with any of those hotels. There was only the Saranac Lake Garage on Main Street, now Madden’s Storage facility. It held about 100 cars which were moved to the third and basement floors by a huge elevator which is still operating.

But times change and Saranac Lake today has a number of nice motels on River Street and Lake Flower Avenue with plenty of parking for their guests.

I could not resist the heading for this column from a very short storybut hey, with the right equipment, I could have joined Mayor Clyde Rabideau’s it’s not Rabidon’t … successful 6’er mountain club event.

The Troy Times -?1906

“Saranac Lake, July 19: The season at the Algonquin is now in full swing. The hotel is rapidly filling up and in a week’s time there will not be a room in the house or cottages vacant. With the arrival of the orchestra, the regular weekly hops have been started and have proved as popular as ever. The recent warm weather, while not felt to an uncomfortable degree, has warmed the water of the lake to such an extent that bathing is now a favorite pastime.

“Wednesday, a party of guests, consisting of Mr. and Mrs. Hicks, Hamilton Hicks, Mr. and Mrs. Peterson, Maxwell Peterson, Watson Harding and Mr. Warner, made the ascent of Mount Pisgah on burros.

“Fishing is still as popular as ever, and many good catches were made during the past week. Among the more lucky fishermen are Thomas Thedford, Harry Barschkies, J. H. Riedell and Edward Thedford, each of whom have brought in splendid catches of bass and pickerel. A 14 pound pickerel and a 12 pound lake trout are among this week’s catches on the lake.

“Sunday Mr. Haskins entertained a party of friends with a cruise on the lake in the launch Anita.”

The New York Herald – 1907

“Frederick I. Pearsall, who is spending the summer at the Ampersand Hotel, presented a silver cocktail shaker to be awarded to the winner on the Ampersand golf course and in the finals Harold S, Naylor defeated H. B. Reynolds by 3 up and 2 to play.

“Sunday Philip S. Waters of Yonkers and John G. Baragawanah of New York arrived at the hotel, having a trip of more than 200 miles by canoe. They continued their trip Monday intending to climb Ampersand and spend the night on the summit.

“Next week a summer fete will be held at the Ampersand Hotel for the benefit of the Church of St. Luke of Saranac Lake, N.Y.

“Tennis has increased in popularity and the courts are always is use. During the coming week a tournament among the Camp Rainbow boys will be held.”

The Troy Times – Sept. 12, 1908: Guide Herb Clark Wins Rowing Event

“In a race which was a fitting close of the series of interesting aquatic sports which have marked the summer of 1908 at the Algonquin. The Here’s How, the speedy motorboat owned by W. Chauncey Floyd-Jones of Philadelphia, on Labor Day defeated the Dorothy S, owned by R. W. Steel, also of Philadelphia. The race, which was the outcome of a long- standing dispute as to the relative speed of the two boats, was a scratch race over a sixteen-mile course, with the start and finish of each lap before the Algonquin dock. Both boats were not wanting for backers and there was a large throng out from the hotel and the surrounding camps on the Lower Saranac to witness the contest.

“On the same day there was a guide’s rowing race in which Herbert Clarke (sic) defeated John Devarney, who has long held the record as the crack oarsman of the Lower Saranac.”