Big news in the Enterprise, 1930s

Taxi cab service was a big business in Saranac Lake until Trudeau, Stony Wold, Will Rogers and the New York State tuberculosis hospitals in Ray Brook started shutting down in the mid-1950s; to say nothing of the big cure cottages throughout Saranac Lake that closed when a cure was found for that strain of TB.

There was a very hot topic in a page one story in the Enterprise in the spring of 1933 taxi cab rates.

The village board had voted to increase in-town rates from 15 cents per passenger to 25 cents per passenger. This was done by passing a local law with no public hearing, which the board claimed was not necessary.

“William Jewtraw of the Jewtraw Taxi Company objected to the rate increase and to the manner in which the ordinance was passed. He has placed his complaint in the hands of an attorney in an effort to find means of continuing on his present rate schedule.

“In the opinion of Saranac Lake attorney Francis J. Stephen a possible flaw in the local board’s method of passing the ordinance would be one basis for court action. Failing that the constitutionality of the state law allowing villages to determine taxi rates is a second basis for legal action.

The in-town rate now is 4 or 5 bucks. It was 50 cents per passenger when I drove cab in the summer of 1948.

There were still quite a few taxi’s operating as advertised in a 1957 phone book The Berkeley Taxi Service owned and operated by William Furlong, Jr., at 2 1/2 Broadway; Underhill’s at 80 Broadway;

Brundage taxi at 55 Main Street; Eight-0-Eight [the phone number] Taxi at 70 Broadway; Jim’s Taxi 11 Park Ave.; Arthur Bartlett 5 View Street; Riordan Taxi at 22 Broadway and Sporck’s Taxi at 23 Lake Flower Ave.

Two injured in Riverside Drive fire, 1937

“Both Mrs. Charles H. Roberts and J. A. Douglass, a fireman, suffered burns in an apartment fire at 41 Riverside Drive Saturday afternoon, Mrs. Roberts when the blaze started and Mr. Douglas in attempting to extinguish it.

“The fire, which blackened walls in the apartment, started as Mrs. Roberts was using an open pan of cleaning fluid, which exploded. Although she was burned about the face, hands and arms, she rushed to other apartments in the building, spreading the alarm.

“Mr. Douglas suffered burns about the head and face as he, with other firemen, attempted to enter the blazing room. The fire was brought under control by use of chemicals.

“Mrs. Roberts, who is secretary to William G. Distin, is under the care of Dr. John R. Murphy.”

Speculator crash, May 17, 1937

“Failing to make the sharp Lake Flower Avenue curve near the Freeman Baker boat landing [now Fogarty’s] property, Max Kennedy, 23, of Lake Placid, early yesterday morning drove a heavy sedan through a 15-foot-wide marsh, over a 3-foot embankment and crashed into the porch of Christian Sporck’s home, overturning the car.

“Kennedy, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Kennedy, of 444 Main St., Lake Placid, is in General Hospital recovering from his injuries. His condition was reported as ‘fair’ this morning by hospital officials who stated that the full extent of his injuries was still undetermined.

“The youth was driving a large sedan registered to Mrs. Daisy Reiss, 50 Hillcrest Ave., Lake Placid, police say. The car was practically demolished in the crash.

“Kennedy is believed to be coming from Lake Placid into the village at a high rate of speed, when he failed to successfully make the curve. Only an object moving at considerable speed could cross the water, climb the bank and rip out four posts on the porch, as the car did, police say.

“The young driver was taken to the hospital by Mr. Sporck, who was awakened by the crash, as were many others in the immediate vicinity of the accident.”

(Editor’s note: The column from May 24 “Saranac?Lake as an art center” was mistakenly run again, as it originally ran April 19.)