The Adirondack Observer

The Adirondack Observer was a tabloid size newspaper published in Saranac Lake back in the 1940s. I have an incomplete copy, dated June 11, 1948, on loan to me from Paul “Wacky” Patnode via Enterprise publisher Cathy Moore; this copy has a few pages missing but I have pages 6 to 16 so it must have been a pretty substantial newspaper.

I know the offices of this newspaper were on the fifth and unfinished floor of the Alpine Hotel on Broadway. The hotel was seven stories but the top three floors were never finished. Another part of that famous fifth floor was once an artist’s studio.

Part of my early education was as a bell hop at the hotel when certain rooms were part of the dorm facilities for Paul Smith’s College during their first year of operation in 1946. Most of the students who stayed there were guys who were combat veterans of World War II, some of whom had already reached the ripe old of age of 24. I believe the total enrollment at the college was a little over 200 students that first year with maybe 100 being ex-GI’s on the GI bill.

When I would arrive at work at 7 a.m. on my weekend schedule the parties downstairs in the Alpine Lounge would just be winding down and Al Amell, a kind and funny man, head of maintenance, would tell me great stories of what went on in the hotel.

The newspaper

Pages 10 and 11 were folded to make one full page as an advertisement reading “Welcome Postmasters,” a convention booked by the Chamber of Commerce. The center of the ad was a map of the village with this information in big type: “To help you completely enjoy your stay in our village we offer you this map and business directory of Saranac Lake. Relax?- make yourself at home! Our Merchants and Citizens will welcome any opportunity to be of service.” Then there were words of welcome and pictures of Mayor Alton B. Anderson, Chief of Police William Wallace and published here today, the picture and greeting from handsome Ed Worthington, Jr., President of the Chamber of Commerce, father of Janet Dudones.

Lots of sports news

There was much coverage of the local town baseball teams: the Saranac Lake Majestics, the Bloomingdale Fireman, the Brighton Blues, the Lake Placid Majestics and the Saranac Lake Elks-Merchant team.

The Saranac Lake Majestics were leading all teams early in the season so here are bits and pieces of the write-up about the Majestics game against the Firemen.

“Meeting the Bloomingdale Firemen in a fill-in game before one of the best crowds of the season, the Majestics romped home with nine runs, Bloomingdale 2. Brown started for the Firemen and worked well until the sixth inning when it was impossible for him to retire a single Majestic. Benny Reick came to Brown’s aid in the sixth but was manhandled to the same degree himself.

“Getting under way in the first inning it appeared the Firemen were giving notice that they did not accept the superiority of the Majestics. With two outs Stub Goodman was hit for two runs and three hits, including a double by Benware. That was the beginning and the end for the Fireman, however.

“When Sprague singled scoring Benware from second, Kennedy followed and was an easy out, Baker to McGrain. From that point on not a single Fireman got to first. [At some point the game was tied, read on]; “Wally Gay, batting a cool .130 at the time, unleashed a Chinese triple that scurried along the first base path and curved into right field.”


“At the Saranac Lake General Hospital -?At 4:18 p.m. on Monday, June 7, Mr. and Mrs. Richard H. Dale became the parents of a 9 lb. 9 oz. boy, Nicholas Hart Dale.

“Mr. and Mrs. William McLaughlin of 41 Margaret Street are the parents of a son born at 3:47 on Friday.

“Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Kaestle of 14 Keene Street are the parents of a daughter born ay 10:25 p.m. on Wednesday.

“A daughter was born to Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Alden of Lake Colby at 6:27 a.m. Thursday.”

History of Will Rogers Hospital

There was a column in the Observer entitled, “Will Rogers Notes and Activities, By the Old Minstrelman”. Following are some excerpts:

“When the N.V.A. sanatorium opened its doors on Spion Kop some eighteen years ago [1930] approximately sixty patients registered in, among the first ten to sign were Dan Astella, Frisco DeVere, Ben Schaffer, George Harmon, Helen O’Reilly, Harry Namba, Toni Temple, Lawrence McCarthy, Bobby Hatz and Happy Benway. Only three of the gang remain in Saranac Lake, Ms. O’Reilly of her own Hollywood Dress Shop, Benway and Schaffer. The rest are spread across the U.S.; some retired, some working, having regained their health here, a monument to Saranac Lake.

“During the first year after the opening of the N.V.A. the following big names of the show world visited the gang, Sir Henry Lauder, Kate Smith, Ruth Etting, Sime Silverman, Phil Harris, Rudy Vallee, Belle Baker, Sophie Tucker, Benny Rubin and others.

“Mrs. William Morris known as ‘Mother’ to all the ailing artists of the theatrical world flew to London to see the grand opening of the show, the Last-of-the-Red-Hot-Mamas with Sophie Tucker. Miss Tucker registered the biggest hit ever registered by an American artist in the history of show business. Her good deeds to the patients at Will Rogers shall never be forgotten by the gang.”