Adirondack Daily Enterprise, December 10, 1994
Historic booklet offers personal portrait of SL residents
To obtain a complete picture of our village during the year of 1906, one must refer to a directory which was published in that same year by McDonald & Foy and sold for $1. The booklet was titled "Adirondack Directory" and covered Saranac Lake, Lake Placid, Bloomingdale, and Lake Clear.
An alphabetical list of residents indicates names and occupations, while business organizations appear in bold print. Most interesting, however, are the advertisements which call to mind the many diverse activities that once offered services throughout the village and in the outlying areas. Some prominent names have endured to present times while others have vanished from our memories. Selecting at random, we will mention some of the listings in both categories and, wherever possible, include a few related remarks.
To start with, the Adirondack Enterprise Print Shop at page 80 has a fold-out example of half-tone printing in three colors: "With attractive type faces, engraving and superior printing - Ah! but the wit to speak for one's self!" Located at 30 Main Street, office in the Town Hall. (But no mention of the newspaper.)
The front cover of the directory is divided between two ads: J.A. Latour and the Adirondack Bottling Works. J.A. Latour & Co. has two large liveries, at 64 Broadway and the Hotel Ampersand. Agents for the Franklin Motor Car have automobiles for rent, hour or day. "Dealers in the finest coal and have extensive wood yards. Local and long distance telephone."
The lower half of the cover is taken over by the Adirondack Bottling Works of Frank E. Starks and claims the largest bottling works in northern New York. "Wholesale agent for Pabst Milwaukee Beer and Feigenspan's Ale and Porter. Manufacturer of Carbonated Beverages."
Turning to the back cover we find the space shared by three advertisers: Edward LaBounty, George Duryee, and L.W. Durgan. Ed La Bounty was a general hackman and baggageman who ran a livery stable on Woodruff Street, but was far better known for his wit and storytelling ability. He was a great admirer of horses and his teams were admirably harnessed with trimming and tinkling bells. George V.W. Duryee had Adirondack Real Estate for sale or rent at the Bank Building in Saranac Lake. He offered furnished cottages and camps both here and in Lake Placid. More about him later.
L.W. Durgan was the proprietor of the Adirondack Dairy and Poultry Farm which boasted "Aerated Milk and Cream" together with fresh eggs for invalids and high grade table use. "Poultry dressed to order."
Turning to the listing of village residents, each individual is named in alphabetical order, his or her occupation is given, and finally, the party's address is shown. For example, here are some of the entrees:
Abbott, Dr. G.M., physician, 24 Church Street; Adler, Phillip, bakery, 22 Terrace Street; Allen, Arthur N., photographer, 38 Broadway; Ames, Mrs. M.S., housekeeper. Riverside Inn; Appleyard, Stanley, bookkeeper, 120 River Street; Ayres, Clinton J., clerk, 17 Shepard Avenue.
Bailey, Agnes, domestic, 20 River Street; Baker, Andrew J., guide, Stevenson Cottage Lane; Baker, Freeman, engineer, 33 Flower Avenue; Baldwin, Dr. E.R., physician, 6 Church Street; Benham, Hiram, guide, 120 Pine Street; Blumenthal, Mrs. Carl, 66 Broadway; Brennan, M.J., wines & liquors, 22 Broadway.
Daley, Thomas, clerk, 67 Bloomingdale Avenue; Delisle, Nelson, shoe-maker, 27 Church Street; Dickert, Chas. L., taxidermist, Algonquin Road; Distin, Wm., L., photographer, 58 Main Street; Duffy, Anna, clerk, 25 Pine Street; Duso, R.J., tailor, 47 Main Street.
English, Edward, policeman, 11 Bloomingdale Avenue, Everett, Fred, clothier, 27 Broadway; Finnegan, Thomas, prop. Nickel Express, 16 Ampersand Avenue; Fortune, A. Sr., 14 Helen Street; Fuller, James M., editor, 103 River Street.
Some of these names ring a bell to jog our memories when connected to a certain occupation or happening. Going down the list it is easy to recognize some of the more notable ones, such as:
Freeman Baker was more than an engineer. He was a boat builder of the highest supremacy, a tour-boat operator, and a fancy skater on the side. He built the "Blue Bird," a popular passenger boat on the Saranac waterway and the first paddle boats to appear on Lake Flower. His former boat shop is now the home of Keough Marine at 33 Lake Flower Avenue, where Charlie Keough follows in Freeman's footsteps.
Hiram Benham was a member of an early family who pioneered in the Pines. Their home at 120 Pine Street was beyond the River Street intersection on the Old Military Road toward Lake Placid and, for latter day high school students, was the home of Eileen Benham, Saranac Lake High School superintendent for many years.
Lee Cheeseman later moved to the Berkeley Hotel building where he opened a sporting goods store next door to Bouck's Bakery and Delicatessen. He was joined by his son, Ralph, in this venture which was a gathering place for local sportsmen for many years.
Charles Dickert had his taxidermist shop on Algonquin Avenue specializing in both local and foreign trophies. A collection of his work is featured in the Dickert-Guggenheim Museum in the Saranac Lake Free Library.
Earlier it was mentioned that we would hear more about George V.W. Duryee who was more than a real estate dealer. He arrived on the local scene, like so many others, as a health patient and as he gained in his recovery, he took an active part in local events. The Adirondack Library had closed its doors due to lack of interest and loss of funds and Duryee took it upon himself to reorganize the facility. He formed the Saranac Lake Free Library and raised funds for a new building. By 1910 the red brick library was open for business and the original structure is still in service as the nucleus of the expanded present Saranac Lake Free Library. Mr. Duryee also founded the Meadowbrook Farm, a successful dairy operation at Ray Brook. He died in 1912 and his former farm became the present Saranac Lake Golf Club.
Of all the many interesting ads the most bizarre presents a full page photo of James M. Fuller, the self-appointed "Duke of Saranac Lake," publisher of Fuller's Gleaner, a semi-monthly magazine selling for 5 cents per copy. In aristocratic pose Fuller's fierce glare takes on the pose of nobility.
All in all, the little directory offers an intimate and retrospective glance into our more recent history when Saranac Lake was emerging from its commercial cocoon.