A huge Christmas present for Saranac Lake

There was applauding and hooting when Gov. Andrew Cuomo arrived at the Down Hill Grill in Saranac Lake yesterday afternoon (Sunday, Dec. 15) and it continued for a good hour after his arrival because each speaker praised him for the millions of dollars he has brought to the North Country.

It is true that Gov. Cuomo loves the North Country and especially Saranac Lake. Some of that admiration came about because the governor and Mayor Clyde Rabideau were already friends. The mayor, a great speaker, introduced the Governor at that Sunday shindig, and he had the crowd so fired up it sounded as though he was announcing an Ali-Frazier fight.

As the television commercials say, “but wait, there’s more” there was applauding and hoots earlier when Fred Roedel III entered to join others in the VIP section next to the podium. Fred is a rock star in Saranac Lake.

And in the event that you have been in Tibet for the last year or so, here is what is happening Fred, with his father, Fred Roedel, the principals in the Roedel Companies, and their family are giving Saranac Lake the greatest Christmas present everthey have purchased and are remodeling the historic Hotel Saranac, sinking millions of dollars into the hotel and into the economy of Saranac Lake now and into the future.

The Roedel family history is synonymous with the history of Saranac Lake. Mrs. Roedel, Fred’s mom, is the former Kay Leetch, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Henry Leetch and a graduate of Saranac Lake High School. The Roedel’s daughter, Jennifer Bernard, is our good friend and has the entire family history back to her great-grandfather Pearly Gould. His daughter, Pearl Gould, mother of Fred Roedel senior, grandmother of Jennifer and Fred went to school in the former high school which was located where the hotel is located today. There is an interesting story of their family history in Saranac Lake which we can get into sometime in the future.

It seems entirely appropriate that we publish again the photo and Christmas story about the Hotel Saranac from the archives of the Adirondack Room of the Saranac Lake Free Library. The following story was carried in the Enterprise in January, 1952. Harold Cox, General Manager of the Saranac had established a special tradition for the employees of the hotel sometime in the late 1940’s. They would have a party for the employees in January after the holiday guests had left. Here are excerpts from the Enterprise story:

“Costumes from the Gay Nineties, the Roaring ’20s and some other dateless period appeared last night in a skit, ‘Christmas and the Gay Nineties’, written, produced and spontaneously acted by employees of the Hotel Saranac.

“The occasion was the fourth annual Christmas party arranged by the manager who also arranged to free everyone of the 55 employees who work at the hotel in any capacity for a post-Christmas party. The restaurant and bar closed early and a special person is brought in to relieve the man at the front desk.

“The ball room was filled with a most appreciative audience made up of families, friends and co-workers of the thespians. And handle bar mustaches, the lady known as Mae West, the novelty dancers, all came in for their deserved share of laughs and applause.

“The grand finale of the evening was the welcoming in of 1952 with Denton Lewis as Father Time, and with the New Year represented in duplicate by Robert Russell and Bobby Dumas.

“Other performers were: Edna Drowlette, Margery Duquette, Jane Russell, Elzida Wilkins, Charlotte Russell, Zephy Trombley, Mrs. Mary Coldiron, Mrs. Mary Foley and Iva McManus.

“Also Viola Turner, Shirley Miner, Ethel Jewtraw, Liselotte Jackel and Wallace Baldwin, George Galdiero, Danny Page and Paul Gentile contributed music for the evening.

“There was a gift for everyone under a lighted Christmas Tree. An automatic clock radio was presented by the employees to Mr. and Mrs. Cox.”