Saranac Lake winter life, 1913

Winter Life is a magazine published by the Adirondack Enterprise, 100 years ago, in 1913 and now re-issued by the Enterprise. It is on sale at the Enterprise office for 5 bucks.

It’s a great piece of Saranac Lake history; here is more from that publication as a follow-up to last week’s column.

One headline on page seven reads: “Some General Facts About the Queen City of the Adirondacks” followed by a sentence or two that would fit in with our Wounded Warriors program of 2014:

“The fame of Saranac Lake and its practical founder, Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau, has been sounded with praise in every tongue and in every country where the science of curing men’s minds and bodies has been discussed.

“Saranac Lake is the ‘Metropolis of the Adirondacks.’ In the Adirondacks all roads lead to Saranac Lake. Reached by two railroads, the New York Central and the Delaware & Hudson, it is at once the point of contact between civilization and the magnificent wilderness, between urban comforts and the charm of the primeval, and it is, consequently and naturally the clearing-house of all who visit the Adirondacks for any reason whatsoever, be it business, or recreation, or health-seeking.”

Wow! The above is quite a mouthful and is all on the first page introducing the magazine with another glowing recommendation of our wonderful village.

“In short, Saranac Lake in the Adirondacks is a phrase synonymous with rest for the weary, adventures for the adventurous, health for the run-down, and zest for the red-blooded devotee of the outdoors.”

Saranac Lake pioneers

Walter C. Rice wrote a chapter about the pioneers of the village, starting, of course, with Jacob Moody and Captain Pliny Miller who came later; but then he went on to write some about the Civil War and how it touched our village.

“The year 1861 came to Saranac Lake with the alarm of war, and every heart in this little Adirondack village was patriotic. There was a spontaneous Betsy Ross in nearly every household, and little home-made banners of red, white and blue floated from the roofs, telling of devotion to the Union. The guides and trappers responded promptly to the call to arms, as the town records show. They were men who made the very best of soldiers and marksmen. Until 1870 the shock of war held the country in the grip of sorrow and distress, for long after the firing had ceased, the ‘faded coat of blue’ was always in evidence to remind you of the sacrifice that every hamlet had made.

“The value of the Adirondack Volunteers to the Union should be as evident to the reader as that of the men of Bunker Hill. In 1776 all Americans could handle a gun; in the Adirondacks of 1865 all men were more or less dead shots on the trail, as they are still today when there is less human game to hunt.”

Saranac Lake in touch with the outside world

“In 1870, an event occurred that brought the village into touch with the outside world. This was the extension of the Montreal telegraph company’s line to Saranac Lake. The pioneers in telegraphy!

“About this period came the daily Concord coach that ran from AuSable Station, the nearest point of the railroad, 35 miles away. Previous to the building of this road all passengers and freight traffic came, via Port Kent on Lake Champlain, a distance of about 60 miles. Sometimes it took three days to make the journey, especially when the roads were in a little worse condition than usual. When you took the journey in winter you placed your trust in Providence and took a calendar along with you. With the advent of the telegraph and the coach, we were no longer isolated backwoodsmen.

The next big step for Saranac?Lake

“The year 1892 was also one of great moment for Saranac Lake. The much-talked-of incorporation of the village was brought to a head by an affirmative election held on May 3rd of 1892. Dr. Trudeau was elected president, M.B. Miller, Dr. C.F. Wicker and F.M. Bull trustees and F. A. Isham, village clerk. At the first meeting held in Mr. Isham’s office on June 16th, Sylvester Buck was the first appointed policeman. That was also the year when the New York Central extended its lines into the village, traveling time being shortened by nearly eight hours.”

[In the 1940s and 1950s, Frank Buck, Senior was Village manager and two of his sons, Frank Jr., and Russell were village policemen.]