An aerial photograph from the early 1970s shows Broadway angling up from lower left and Ampersand Avenue angling down from upper left. To the right of their junction stands the triangular D. Cohen and Sons building, with Cedar Street running past it to the right. Directly above the D. Cohen building and across Broadway is the former New York Central Railroad passenger depot. To the right of the depot, across the tracks that bisect the photo vertically, is the North Country Dress Factory, later Joan Frank's roller rink. Adirondack Daily Enterprise Detail from 1924 Sanborn Map D. Cohen & Sons was a builder's supply company located at 199-203 Broadway (258 Broadway after 911 changes), according to an advertisement in the program for the St. Bernard's Club's Minstrel Review, circa 1930. The "Sons" were Max, Snair, Louis and Arnie Cohen; the family also operated the Bloomingdale Hardware in Bloomingdale. The Bloomingdale building was later one of two locations there of the Sign of the Fish, Jakobe's antique shop.

The building at 17 Cedar Street, labelled "Hardware Store House" on the 1924 Sanborn map, could have been a storage facility.


Adirondack Daily Enterprise, May 5, 1936

…Upon recommendation of the village manager, the board voted to approve the application of D. Cohen & Sons for permission to build a gas station on Upper Broadway


Adirondack Daily Enterprise, March 26, 1971, reprinted November 27, 2004

Smoke gets in your eyes

Probably if you poked carefully into the Cohen fire rubble and went down far enough, you could still cook a marshmallow, but you could never find the history of the building as I found it from Bertha Munsen.

Bertha dropped a hot letter in the mail the other day to defend the shape of the Cohen building and to say they didn't run out of wood or squeeze the late-lamented hardware between Broadway and the railroad.

Bertha said that the man who owned the property was Charlie Greenough, and he had donated land to the railroad close to the building for his advantage.

There was a lot of discussion about the structural oddity mostly at early morning restaurants. Ostensibly, it was a feed and grain concern under Mr. Greenough, who was a good business man and a village official also. Charles was a trustee when the Adirondack Daily Enterprise was owned by I. Vosburgh, who was village president. The population called for a president rather than a mayor in those years.

When the first railroad came to Saranac Lake in 1887, Charles Greenough owned all the land from the corner of Broadway and Ampersand Avenue to Lower Lake and named Ampersand after he began selling building lots. 1

Mrs. Greenough's brother was Fred Isham, a Lake Placid Lawyer, and he owned the land from Church Street to Pine Street and had a hand or voice in naming several streets when he began parceling property into building lots.

Helen Street was named after his daughter, Helen Isham. McCarthy Terrace was named after the Presbyterian minister of the day. When a man curing here named Shepard built a home for the minister out of appreciation and respect, they named a street "Shepard" for him.

From what we learn, it appears, that the Cohen boys owned the building since 1930, when Mr. Greenough died. His son sold the old Greenough homestead on Broadway to the Cohens, and they built the warehouse after demolishing the house. If that isn't too clear, I can't blame either Bertha or myself … time does fly and fade memories and whatnot.

Bill Madden, who has studied the logistics of moving and relocating not only objects of minor concern but also houses and battleships, probably said it was always a matter of concern … or at least a minor miracle why the Cohen building didn't tip over as there was more raw iron in the form of bolts, stoves, anvils, horseshoes, nails, plows, tools, iron ware kettles and furnace parts in the loft of the building than anywhere else of comparable size in America.

The way the rear of the building reduced to about three axe handle spans, it is no wonder it didn't collapse. But Bill always wanted a horse collar out of the Cohen building and may still be able to salvage a relic of this type if he gets on his hands and knees and begins probing the ruins.

For a few moments, it looked like he had his treasure when during the fire, one of the volunteers at the rear ran up and grabbed a smoking object as the building went down and thought he had a horse collar. It turned out to be the deluxe model of the Little Lydia 1933 oak toilet seat so prized by collectors today, because they only made about 50 of them and then went into the mahogany model.


Adirondack Daily Enterprise, September 13, 1971

Boyd Hayes was associated with D. Cohen and Sons Inc., Hardware for 40 years, ten of which were as a vice president. He is now employed at Big D, the successor to D. Cohen. He is a World War II veteran and is active in the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He was president of the Bloomingdale Board of Education before area schools centralized

Comments

2010-04-26 14:52:27 The building was said to be located in the existing triangle surrounded by Broadway, Cedar Street and the railroad tracks, though it seems too small. — Mary Hotaling

2017-11-25 It was definitely located in the triangle. Although it seems a small space, it was a huge building. It was right against the curb on Cedar St, right up to the sidewalk on Broadway, and the up to the railroad siding on the northeast side. It was three stories tall and had an electric freight elevator. The building that is now Blue Seed was not part of the property, but there were by 1964 there were other multistory wood frame warehouses. One had a manual freight elevator powered by an endless rope loop over a large wheel, -Bill Decker


2010-04-26 15:53:19   Yes, it looks pretty tight there, but it sure looks like a hardware and builder's supply there, so I labeled it based on your comment. I would imagine that the large "Hardware Store House" with its railroad siding south of Cedar is what made it workable. That would appear to be Blu Seed Studios. —Mwanner

Footnotes

1. The first railroad to reach Saranac Lake was the Chateaugay Railroad; while it did, indeed, reach Saranac Lake in 1887, it came in from the northeast, and ended at what is now the Union Depot, well short of the Greenough property, which became involved in railroad building in 1892, when William Seward Webb's Adirondack and St. Lawrence Railroad built a branch line to Saranac Lake.