Have you seen this quilt?
SARANAC LAKE – Village officials have joined a group of local quilters in the search for a special quilt that disappeared from the Hotel Saranac just before the property was sold.
The Centennial Quilt, which depicts various buildings and landmarks around the village, was designed and created by the Cabin Fever Quilters in celebration of the village’s centennial in 1992. It was given to the village and had been displayed in several locations around the community, most recently in the Hotel Saranac.
The quilting group recently discovered, however, that the quilt was removed from the hotel before the Arora family sold the property in early December to Roedel Companies.
Coralie North, a Cabin Fever Quilter who helped make the centennial quilt, said she was told that Sewa Arora, the hotel’s prior manager, had given the quilt to a charitable organization.
“I sent him an email asking him which charitable organization he had given it to, so I could make arrangements with them to get the quilt back,” North told the village board Monday. “I’ve had my fingers crossed the whole time, but I’ve not heard from him.”
The board passed a resolution that directs village Attorney Charles Noth to contact the Arora family to “determine the whereabouts of the Centennial Quilt and, if located, take appropriate action to recover said quilt or, if the quilt is missing, consider whether the village may be entitled to any monetary damages for its loss.” The resolution says the quilt “has sentimental and historical value to the village of Saranac Lake and its citizens and rightfully belongs to the village of Saranac Lake.”
“We’re going to do what we can,” Mayor Clyde Rabideau said. “My mother is a big quilter. She’s done all the quilting shows in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties, and I know how much hard work goes into quilting. It’s a creative endeavor, and it’s something very special when you do it for your village, so let’s see if we can’t make the right thing happen.”
“I have no idea what happened to it,” Fred Roedel III, a partner in Roedel Companies, told the Enterprise this week. “I know that the plexiglass that protected it is laying against the wall in the lobby. We’ve provided (Arora’s) address and phone number to a variety of people and asked him about it. He says he doesn’t know anything about it, but it was not there when we took over.”
While the sale was pending, Arora said he planned to donate many of the hotel’s room furnishings to charities. The two he named at the time were the Saranac Lake Ecumenical Council and Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany. Some hotel furniture was also donated to Tupper Lake-based Family Champions.
Although North said she was told Arora gave the quilt away to charity, Roedel doubts that.
“He didn’t donate it because it wasn’t there,” Roedel said.
The quilt is just one of several historical hotel furnishings that disappeared, and may have been sold off, before Roedel Companies took ownership of the property. Several original chandeliers that were in the building are missing, one of which showed up at an antique dealer in Albany, Roedel said.
Roedel said he’s also been approached by someone who claims to have the hotel’s original revolving door, although that was removed decades ago.
“There’s a salvage yard in Vermont, and the guy claims he has them,” Roedel said. “That’s what he claims. We’ll see. I have been able to verify that there was at one point a revolving door there.”