Economic news from Main Street, 1938

The summer of 2014, so far, seems to be in a bit of a slump. I have taken the most unscientific survey in the history of surveys; two merchants in Lake Placid and two in Saranac Lake tell me that retail is taking a fairly big hit this summer.

Observing the trend from my weekly stint at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid is that there are fewer people through the center on a daily basis than there have been in the past five years.

Can you imagine this? When I was editor of the Enterprise, all the banks would give us, after the weekend, a total of business deposits for the previous week – a pretty good indicator of what was going on with the local economy. That sort of information from banks is probably now against the law.

The Adirondack Daily Enterprise reported on Aug. 2, 1938, that summer business was really down. Here are excerpts:

“July saw a drop of more than 25 per cent in the volume of summer guest business in this section of the Adirondacks, according to leading hotel men and restaurant proprietors. The drop, it is understood, was pretty general in resort localities throughout the eastern states this year.

“There is a general belief among the hotel men that the better hotel business from summer guests will pick up decidedly during August. There was an expectation that a rise in the stock market might have resulted in improvements in room occupancy in the good hotels before midsummer, but so far this has not made itself apparent.

“The general belief is that the cost of the New Deal, which hit the rich first in taxes and in restricted business enterprise, is now being passed on to the middle and lower income brackets.”

Plane lands on Lake Flower – low on fuel

The Enterprise, Aug. 4, 1938:

“Forced to alight because of a lack of fuel, a single-motor blue and gray Curtiss-Wright amphibian plane swooped down on Lake Flower at 11 o’clock this morning bringing with it three youths on a barn-storming tour.

“The plane was on a short hop from Tupper Lake when it was discovered that the fuel was low. It had started from Lake George yesterday from where it flew to Lake Champlain and then to Tupper Lake.

“Walter Rockwell of Syracuse piloted the plane which alighted near the armory (now the boat launch site) on River Street. The others of the crew are John Tierney of Albany and Sam Munden of Miami.

“Tierney said this morning that they are planning to take up passengers using the Crescent Bay camps on Lower Saranac Lake as a base.”

Noted mask-maker exhibits here

The Enterprise, Aug. 2, 1938:

“Doane Powell, noted mask-maker of New York City, exhibited several pieces of his work before a group of artists and art lovers yesterday at the studio of Miss Anna Rice at 72 1/2 Algonquin Avenue.

“Mr. Powell, who practices his skill in plastic characterization at his Greenwich Village studio, has the varied career of a portrait painter, advertising art director, and a cartoonist for a newspaper in Omaha, Nebraska. He is now devoting all his time to creating character and portrait masks.

“The artist wore several of his grotesque false faces during the exhibition to the delight of the group and he explained how moustaches are needed for masks that do not cover the mouth because so much of the ‘play’ is located there.

“He has exhibited at conventions and night clubs and his masks have been shown in motion picture shorts and in a series of leading picture magazines.

“Life masks of such famous personages as Mussolini, Al Smith, Herbert Hoover, President Roosevelt, Wallace Beery, and O. O. McIntyre have been made by the artist.”

Paving update, July 26, 2014

The state Department of Transportation has laid down a beautiful new black and yellow highway from the corner of Routes 86 and 186, better known as Donnelly’s Corners, to the Lake Clear post office, about 4 miles in length. I was hoping that paving was not an ILOLF (in lieu of Lake Flower). Different DOT budgets are created by county: We are in Franklin; Lake Flower is in Essex County.

Mayor Clyde Rabideau, in the event you missed it, visited the Hotel Saranac renovation job last week with Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Fred Roedel, the developer of the property, gave them a tour and invited the governor to spend the first night there when the hotel opens, and the governor accepted.

Oh, I almost forgot. The mayor told me that Lake Flower Avenue will be paved this fall from the railroad tracks on Route 86 to the NBT Bank at the corner of River Street.