Louis Mackay at the Eagles Nest, 1930s The Eagles Nest, 51 Lake Street The 1948 Olympic Bobsled team in front of the Eagles Nest. Tuffy Latour is front row, right. Courtesy of Tuffield P. Latour. Address: 110 Lake Street

Old Address: 51 Lake Street

Other names: Garnhart Cottage (1911), Steele Cottage (1911), Keegan Cottage (1916), Tubbs Cottage (1928), Hopewell Cottage (1928), Wallace Cottage (1928), Witherbee (1929-1930); DIS. One of the photos below also shows it as the Kernohan Cottage, likely a typographical error for Kernochan.

Year built:

Other information: The Eagles Nest belonged to Alexis Thompson, who was a major bobsledder among his other interests. The house had an elevator, so that bobsleds could be lowered into the basement for summer storage. Between 1949 and 1951, the building was taken over by the New York Football Giants as their training quarters. For several winters, the New York Rangers hockey team also camped there. From 1946-1948 the house was rented to the Philadelphia Eagles football team, whose pre-season training was held in Saranac Lake. 1

According to the 1916 TB Directory, the Keegan Cottage, run by a Miss Keegan, had room for 16 patients, had 8 cure porches and charged $15-25 per week.


Adirondack Daily Enterprise Weekender, June 2, 1978

SARANAC LAKE — In the late 1940s, New York sportsman Alexis Thompson owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, a professional football club, set up summer training camp for his gridiron organization in Saranac Lake.

Thompson, heir to a reported $5 million steel fortune, housed the Eagles in his renovated structure on Lake Street. Although the building has since been converted to an apartment style dwelling, it still bears its original name—The Eagles Nest.

"Alex was well-known internationally" recalls ex-bobsledder Donald "Ducker" Dupree, who along with his brother, Paul, "Stubby" Martin and Thompson were members of the Saranac Lake Red Devils Bobsled Club. In 1948 we called ourselves the "Dream Team" he mentioned.

Thompson was a gung-ho sliding enthusiast, whether it be piloting a bobsled here in the Adirondacks or steering a cresta through the icy curves at St. Moritz, Switzerland. So much so, in fact, that he had a bobrun start, graded downward at both ends, built in the backyard behind the Eagles Nest.

The idea for such a unique creation was suggested by the Duprees, who also helped remodel the Eagles Nest into an all-purpose facility that fit the needs of football players and bob-sledders alike.

"We built an elevator that lowered bobsleds into the basement," said Paul Dupree, a Lake Placid town board member for 25 years, who along with driver Tuffy Latour captured many 2-man championships in the 1940s.

Once in the lower level, bobsleds were moved about by way of an overhead chain and pulley system, which was dismantled when the Eagles needed the area for a meeting room.

The area was bustling with sports activity during the post-war years. Professional football in Saranac Lake, if only by nature of a summer camp, was matched by bobsledding, a sport in which local athletes attained a high level of success.

Newspapers carried extensive accounts of the bobsled races at Mt. Van Hoevenberg, The exploits of, Tuffy Latour, Jim Bickford, Lucien Miron, Dick Morse, Charles Keough and the Duprees seldom went by unnoticed.

And included in that group of distinguished bobsledders was Alex Thompson, the sportsman responsible for bringing the Riggs-Tilden-Budge-Perry tennis tour to the people and the Philadelphia Eagles to Saranac Lake. — By Steve Cohen


Adirondack Daily Enterprise, July 11, 1953

SLU WILL TRAIN AT "THE NEST"

Approximately seventy members of the football team and coaches of St. Lawrence University, Canton, will arrive in Saranac Lake Sept. 1 for a two-weeks training period.

They will occupy "The Nest" on Lake st., and will use the Saranac Lake Municipal Field for practice.

Announcement of this was made today by William G. Scheefer Jr., owner of "The Nest" and an SLU graduate, class of 1943.

Ronald Birkman is Director of Athletics at the college and Paul Patton is head football coach.

Former SLU football stars from this village are Bobby Reyell, who holds the record for the greatest number of touchdowns scored in one season there and Kenneth Wilson, football coach and president of the Saranac Lake Senior High School.

Known formerly as the "Eagles Nest", and owned originally by Alexis Thompson, of New York City, it was used as football training quarters in former years by the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Football Giants and the New York Rangers Hockey Club.

The structure contains a large kitchen, dining facilities, a large men's dormitory and additional sleeping quarters. The basement contains three coolers, a press room and a recreation room with 2,000 square feet of unobstructed floor space.

More than eighty people can be housed in the building.

 

Looking toward Petrova Avenue from behind 51 Lake Street, 1921 Looking toward Petrova Avenue from behind 51 Lake Street, 1928

 

 

The Eagles Nest, 1930 The Eagles Nest, 2009

 

Footnotes

1. Tissot, Caperton, History between the lines : women's lives and Saranac Lake customs, Jay, New York : Graphics North, 2007, p. 340. ISBN 978-0-9643542-9-4.