Breaking news in Enterprise, October 1927

The entire community is ecstatic over the proposed sale of the Hotel Saranac to Fred Roedel and his family, and I predict that enthusiasm and support will continue and grow as the deal comes to fruition.

So what a find when Bob McCasland, former Enterprise newsboy and now a resident of Virginia, called to tell me he found some old copies of the Enterprise at the home of his mother, Enola.

There, at the top of page 5, was the story about the committee formed by the chamber of commerce to “secure financial support for the new hotel,” not yet named the Hotel Saranac.

Life is stranger than fiction. I was present as a village trustee when Paul Smith’s College was purchasing the hotel back in the 1960s, and I was in my car with John Mills, president of Paul Smith’s College, in Albany in 2007 when he received a phone call about the sale of the hotel.

If one thinks the college’s decision to sell the hotel, without ever offering it for sale locally, was unpopular, the purchase was not without controversy.

A committee had come before the village board to request an education facility tax deduction. Mayor John Campion told the group that there was no way the board could determine what that deduction should be. A spokesman for the college said something like, “Well, then, we’ll have to go to court to settle it,” and Mayor Campion, replied, “That is exactly what we want you to do.”

Remember, here was a hotel and restaurant, going in competition with the other hotels, motels and restaurants in town, with what I believe was ultimately a 35 percent tax reduction with many of their employees being students in training at the college’s hotel, resort and hospitality program.

It turned out to be one of the best things that happened to Saranac Lake’s downtown: the restaurant, the Boathouse bar, rooms that were remodeled, new stainless-steel equipment throughout the kitchens, and the greatest gift shop in the Tri-Lakes.

Then, as we all know now, it was one of the worst decisions for Saranac Lake’s downtown when the college sold the hotel without any public input. I know, it’s a private school, but there was plenty of public input when they bought the hotel.

So three cheers for the Roedels. Let’s move on to what will become a better-than-ever Hotel Saranac.


Fire department

“Monday night between the hours of 9 and 10 o’clock was a busy time for the village fire department, three calls coming one after another from widely separated parts of the village.

“The third and most damaging fire was at 174 Broadway in a house owned by Matthew Dineen and occupied by Howard Alford and family. The blaze started in a front room on the ground floor, and fire and water ruined floors, walls and ceilings of that and an adjoining room connected by a large opening.

“At about 9 o’clock the smaller fire truck responded from its temporary housing place in the Riverside Garage to a call from Ampersand Avenue where a tree had fallen on an electric wire and had started to burn.

“While this blaze was being extinguished, another call came from Edgewood Road and the truck proceeded to that location to help extinguish a burning automobile. The car belonged to Raymond Boisseau, taxi driver, and was almost completely destroyed.”

New tax rates

“Announcement of the annual school tax rates in this district was made today by the board of education in connection with the collection period, which begins Thursday at the Town Hall and continues to Saturday, November 21.

“The town tax rate varies this year in the four towns in which the school district is situated as the result of a 50 per cent increase in all property assessments by the Harrietstown board of assessors.

“On the basis of the equalization ratings made in Albany, the tax rate per $100 in these towns will be as follows:

“Harrietstown, $2.03, based on an equalization rate of 60 per cent.

Santa Clara, $3.44, based on the rating of 40 per cent. St. Armand and North Elba, $3.06 based on a rating of 45 per cent.”