Selected short subjects

I have a couple of interesting history stories that have been hanging around my desk and it is time to fit them into this space. Former Enterprise owner and publisher Jim Loeb had, what I thought, was a clever turn on words when he printed in a box above the Enterprise logo, “All the News That Fits, We Print” to parody the New York Times motto which was, “All the News That’s Fit to Print.”

Certain subjects seem to attract like subjects. So, just recently, up pops a tale of the Saranac Lake Fish and Game Club in this space, by what is always a wonderful and humorous column by my pal, Bob Seidenstein.

Enterprise Editor Peter Crowley and his wife Michelle are remodeling a house at 9 Rosemont Avenue that was originally owned for 50 years by Frank Shelhamer. They found a history of the Fish and Game Club, typewritten on a single-sided piece of paper, which was presented at a meeting of the Club in 1955 here it is

“Greetings to Officers and Members of the Saranac Lake Fish and Game Club. I will now give you a brief history of our club, as to when and where it was organized.

“The first Thursday on October 1905, 11 men met at the Old Town Hall in the basement in Saranac Lake. We met under lantern light and sat on empty beer or pop cases. The Town of Harrietstown did not think we would make any progress but they gave us the use of the basement for meetings at night only.

“The morning following the first meeting we planted whitefish in Lonesome Pond. Those plantings the fish were William Mervin, William Stearns and Al Bernard. William Mervin fell in the pond and the rest of us had to pull him out.

“For the next year we met in the back room of John Hogan’s drugstore which is now occupied by Charlie Green. Our eleven (11) charter members were: John Morgan, 1st President; John Hogan, Vice President and Nicholas Davenport, Secretary and Treasurer.

“The rest of the members were: Les Smith, Howard Demerest, William Mervin, William Stearns, George Gutshaw, Milfred Dietz, Sr., Ira Clark and Al Bernard.

“It was voted that night that the dues would be 10 cents per month for the first year, and one dollar ($1) per year after that. We agreed to meet the first Thursday of every month, which we are doing at the present time.

“At every meeting we had a luncheon, and the members, in turn, would bring sandwiches and other refreshments. As an organization we are fifty years old today, and I feel we have made considerable progress. Submitted by Al Bernard.”

The first post office

Bob Jones gave me the following clipping from the Enterprise:

“The first post office in this village was located on Pine Street at what was referred to as ‘Baker’s” the terminus of the stage coach line. Built in 1854 the post office was named officially the Saranac Post Office. It was known locally as Baker’s after the first postmaster, Col. Milote Baker, who served between 1854 and 1862.

“In 1862 a new post office was established at Martin’s Hotel on Lower Saranac. Owner of Martin’s Hotel, William F. Martin was appointed postmaster. The hotel and post office was located on what is now the extreme end of Lake Street. When the facility moved to Lower Saranac its name was changed to Saranac Lake Post Office. It retained that name when the facility was moved back into the center of the village in 1864.”

Obituaries were more informal in 1904

[From the Archives of the Adirondack Room of the SL Free Library]

“Mrs. French, wife of R. L. French, who for several years was proprietor of French’s Hotel near Franklin Falls passed from this earth on Monday morning, January 18th at 10 o’clock. Mrs. French had been sick for some time, but no one thought the end was so near. She was a devoted Christian and was beloved by all who knew her. She leaves a husband and two daughters, Flora and Jennie, to mourn her loss, besides a host of friends throughout the Adirondacks. She was about 65 years of age.

“Mrs. Jennie Miller, one of Bloomingdale’s most estimable young women, passed from this earth on Sunday, Jan. 17. Mrs. Miller had been sick for many years, but her disease was such that her death was not anticipated; but no one can tell how many days we have before us, and the end comes quickly. She was but 35 years of age. The funeral took place form the house on Wednesday, Rev. J. G. Kunz officiating. The interment was in Brookside cemetery. She leaves a son to mourn her loss besides a host of friends both in Bloomingdale and the surrounding country. May her soul be happier in the next world than it was in this.”