More on the old hotels

What a nice surprise: When I picked up my copy of the Press Republican today, June 3, right there on the front page was a testimonial to my weekly history column. Robert Weible, New York State Historian spoke at the AuSable Valley Grange Hall in Keeseville and here is the PR’s lead on the story by Amy Heggen:

“History can have the power to influence and hold together communities, making the study of history an important endeavor, the state’s top historian told a local audience Saturday.” Yea, Mr. Weible!

Big hotel meeting

When hotels were driving the economy in the Saranac Lake Regionfrom the Troy Times – 1904:

“The fourteenth annual meeting of the Adirondack Hotel League was held at the Wawbeek on Upper Saranac Lake on Tuesday. The business meeting was opened at 4 p.m. and a general discussion of telegraph and express questions was had.

“The following officers were elected: Hon. George A. Stevens of the Stevens House, Lake Placid, President; J. Ben Hart of the Wawbeek, First Vice President, George S. Moulton of the Ampersand, Second Vice President; John Harding of the Algonquin, Secretary and Treasurer; Paul Smith, Jr., Paul Smith’s, member of the Executive Committee to serve five years.”

[The year before, 1903, the Hotel League meeting was held at the Ruisseaumont in Lake Placid with more local membershipand how important were the railroads back then?]

“The league sent a letter of congratulations to H. D. Carter, one of its honorary members, who has just been appointed General Freight Agent of the West Shore Railroad.

“The following were elected to active membership: C. W. Bickford, AuSable Chasm; Benjamin F. Stetson, Elizabethtown; A. T. Throop, Saranac Club; John Corbett and E. C. Pine, of the Riverside Inn, Saranac Lake; Charles H. Gang, The Berkeley, Saranac Lake; E. C. Ackerman, the Lake Placid House and Edwin H. Lee, Whiteface Inn.”

Following are two stories about the Lake Clear Inn sent to me by e-mail. Be sure and link the Mitchell facebook there are many good photos of the Inn.

Mr. Riley,

I enjoyed your article on Lake Clear Inn. My family, The Mitchell’s and Dorlon’s have owned “Camp Bywater” for 100 years. Our lake front property is surrounded by the Inn property. While Bywater was never apart of the Inn, we were apart of the Inn Community. I can recall dining at the Inn in her last year at the age of 4.

Have you seen my Lake Clear Inn facebook page? My family has many pics of the Inn’s history:

Many Thanks,

Jim Mitchell

Hi Howard, I admire your local history articles within the Enterprise, and have a footnote on your 5/25/13 Lake Clear Inn background. As you know, Charles H. Wardner, who purchased the Lake Clear Inn (nee Rice’s Hotel) in 1911, was the nephew of James M. Wardner, founder of Rainbow Lake and the Rainbow Inn. Charles grew up working for his uncle, then ran a hotel in Bloomingdale for several years until it burned, then he managed the Hiawatha House on Upper Saranac Lake, followed by a long stint renting and operating the Rustic Lodge, also on Upper Saranac. When the Swensons raised his rent, he left and purchased Rice’s Hotel in Lake Clear. From the assorted stories I’ve read, he must have built the ancillary cottages/cabins at Rustic Lodge and felt he owned them, because over the winter of 1911, he cut them in half or thirds, and transported them over the ice to their current location on the grounds of the Lake Clear Inn. One other “tribute” to Charles is that all his hotels were “dry”, with no liquor served, a carry-over from his Uncle James Wardner’s Rainbow Inn days.

As luck would have it, this would certainly be the opportune time to remind you and your legions of readers that on 7/6/13, the 3rd Annual Lake Clear Day will be held at the train station and grounds of Charlie’s Inn on Junction Road in Lake Clear. Among the many attractions will be the day long appearance and rides in the horse drawn 1868 Paul Smith’s restored Stage Coach, as well as some expected train gear. The 1911 Train Station also contains a large train diorama of both Lake Clear and Paul Smith’s complex, and this year’s addition of the original Saranac Inn train station. Attendance and parking are free.

Thank you for your great articles. Regards, Wayne Tucker (Rainbow Lake resident, and father of Jill Brockway & son-in-law John Brockway, Innkeepers at Charlie’s Inn) -?Wayne W. Tucker

The guide’s song

The Adirondack Guide’s Association has been getting its share of ink lately and now I have discovered a guide’s song which was printed in the minutes of their third annual meeting in 1896. The following excerpt is from a story by the editor in “Forest and Stream.”

“The genius of these men sometimes runs into very different channels than that of guiding, for a male quartette rendered the following song, which was composed by Mr. George Garwood, a Saranac Lake guide:

“We welcome all, both great and small,

And friends from all about.

We’re glad you’re here; you bring good cheer;

We greet you with a shout.

From Racquette far, and Paul Smith’s near,

Childwold and Tupper Lake;

For once a year we gather here,

To have a good hand-shake.

In ’91 we had a meet,

With Colvin in the chair,

To organize and self secure,

And boom these forests fair.

There’s men of wealth and men of fame

Who’ve joined us in our plans,

To help make laws, protect the game,

Preserve State forests, lands.”

[Here is one verse of the Chorus:]

“But we ought to have hounding again

Through the month of October I’m sure;

So let’s try with our might

To get what is right,

For we ought to have hounding again.”

[Now let us hope that Adirondack Guide, Joe Hackett, does not attempt to sing this song around the campfireit will scare off the wildlife for 100 miles.]