29 Church Street Address: 45 Church Street

Old Address: 29 Church Street

Other names: Howell Cottage (1911), McBean Cottage (1930), Eckert Cottage (1935), Schreiner Cottage (at least 1943-1945)

Note: There was another McBean Cottage at 89 Park Avenue.2

Other information: A very large cure cottage operated at one time by Mrs. A. S. McBean. For the winter of 1935-36, this house was rented by Gerald and Sara Murphy" for their son, Patrick Murphy (1920-1937), a teenaged TB patient. Sara made a home for her son in the Saranac Lake area (in four different residences: two were houses in the village, and two were camps), while Gerald commuted from his work at the Mark Cross company in New York. Artist Fernand Léger was one of many visitors during the less than two years that the Murphys were here; he sketched Patrick reading in bed. 1

A statistical sample of Latin American patients in the village shows that two Latin American patients stayed here. In 1943, Esteban Varas of Cuba stayed here and took the Americanization English class along with some of his housemates: two Norwegians, a Yugoslavian, a Belgian, an Englishman, and a patient from Ireland.

John Baxter Black, a soldier in WWI, was a patient here for a time.

Elise Chapin was a patient in the Eckert Cottage from 1938 to 1940.

This house was also used as a convent for the Sisters who taught at Pius X High School between 1959 and 1971.

The Guild News, April 1943.


After we had decided to visit the Schreiner cottage at 29 Church Street this month, we had our doubts about the advisability of it when we heard that it housed under one roof two Norwegians, a Cuban, a Yugoslavian, and a Belgian--not to mention one gentleman born in England, and another born in Ireland. The latter two nationalities being enough to start an argument any time and any place. Considering everything, we thought it might be a good idea to time our visit with a session of the Guild class in Americanization English, under the tutelage of Mrs. Edward H. Levy, so we would at least have a bit of moral support. And we were glad that we did, altho' not alone for the above reason, for we found it immensely interesting. We sat right in with the class consisting of the Messrs. Varas, Kosovic, Markussen and Skaaren, and we are here to report that they are all doing excellently with their "th's." Of course, we were more interested in the men individually, so at the first opportunity we tried to get them to tell us something about themselves. This, in itself, is no mean trick, for aside from their natural reticence, the spirit of the cottage is such that the conversation is usually one hundred per cent general. However, over a delicious cup of tea -- served by the charming Mrs. Schreiner, who has directed the affairs of this private sanatorium for five years -- we did learn that --

Esteban Varas was born in Cuba and educated in Spain. His father is a leather merchant, and when Esteban has the proper grasp of the English language he intends to take business courses in shorthand, typing, etc., with a view to returning to his native land and going into business with his dad. He likes Spencer Tracy on the screen -- (we tried to talk him into Maria Montez, but he still liked Spencer Tracy) and orchestras such as Xavier Cugat on the radio. However, he was honestly more enthused about the benefit he was deriving from the Guild courses than anything else.

Niko Kosovic comes from Yugoslavia.He attended the Naval Academy there, and as a member of the Merchant Marine has visited most every part of the globe since he was nineteen. He has been in this country for two years and doesn't know whether he wants to return to Yugoslavia or not. "Depends," he says, "on the form of government they accept after the war." He is a Croat patriot, and has the making of a serious political student. He likes Deanna Durbin's singing on the screen, and in his spare time likes to listen to the foreign commentators on the radio.

Capt. Kjell Markussen, of the Norwegian Merchant Marine, was torpedoed twice in the Atlantic. first when his own ship went down, and then again when the ship that rescued him was sunk by a German sub. However, after drifting some 700 miles he finally reached Venezuela, and from there was sent to Saranac Lake -- which he says he likes better. When we asked him if this was because the climate was much like Norway's he replied, "Oh, all Norway isn't like this." And we still don't know just how he meant it.

Kolbjorn Skaaren, also of the Norwegian Merchant Marine, was second mate on an oil tanker, which before the war, was engaged in running oil between the West Indies and England. It also made trips between Mexico and Germany, much to his regret now. He is anxious to get back home to his family, and his face lights up when he mentions them.

The Belgian is Joseph Blankstein. He left Belgium two years ago--as he puts it--just ahead of the Germans. Before leaving he was a student of agricultural engineering and was later connected with a rubber concern. He is happy, for his folks are also in this country, in New York. He is full of vitality and is seldom still for a moment--either talking or moving around. However, he insists he does relax--when he listens to the music on WQXR.

Matthew Toolan is the Irishman (born in County Mayo) now an American citizen and, true to his native land, is the wit of the cottage. He has been in Saranac Lake for some years. Fred Warren is the Englishman. He was born in Bournemouth and is now also a citizen of the United States.

Miss Micki Carli is a native New Yorker. She was formerly employed by the Prudential Life Insurance Co., and when she first arrived, lived at Stony Wold. Later she returned to her home, but has been back now in the village for two years. Miss Carli is a member of the Guild Spanish class, has completed a diction course, and is a member of the Radio Club. Her hobby is reading, and she spends her spare moments trying to expose the card tricks the Norwegians show her.

We took time out to run upstairs to say hello to Charles Holmes, whom we had missed from his usual Sunday evening haunt. Mr. Holmes is really only a temporary patient at the cottage, at the present time, as he is recovering from an operation. But Mrs. Schreiner still considers him one of the "family." He was formerly a teacher of weaving at the Guild, and before coming here was a scenic designer and connected with the Russian Art Theatre in New York. He is also a commercial artist of repute. and some of his pen and ink sketches are in the Encyclopedia Brittanica.

Miss Ruth Burrow is the Guild Visitor. We had no trouble getting her to talk about the other folks, but when we told her that as a resident of the cottage we would have to divulge her past, she quickly changed the subject. However, it is no secret that Miss Burrow is a graduate of the N. Y. School of Fine and Applied Arts, and has been a student nurse at the Jersey City Medical Center. . . . 


Adirondack Observer, June 11, 1948; reprinted in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, September 30, 2017, by Howard Riley

SCHREINER--Miss Alice Moll has been entertaining her niece and nephew, Mr. and Mrs. J. Walter Marshall Jr. of Huntington. Dr. Raymond Whitney, who has spent several months with us is leaving for his home in Boston this week. We hope he will come back to visit us.


Other historic properties




1. Gallos, Philip L., Cure Cottages of Saranac Lake, Historic Saranac Lake, 1985, p. 129. ISBN 0-9615159-0-2.

2. "Cottage Calls," Guild News, April 1943, p. 5.