Haase Block Adirondack Enterprise, November 15, 1926 Address: 67 Main Street

Old Address: 60 Main Street

Other names: (as 64 Main Street) Haase Block (1911), Mills Cottage (1929), L.C. Irvine (1931), Bombard Apartment (1954), Saranac Lake Federal Savings Association, Adirondack Bank; DIS

Year built: 1907; rehabilitation 1985-86

The Reynolds Lots

In the 1870s and 80s, Milo and Kate Miller sold approximately one acre from the northern part of their Main Street holdings to two men whose surname was Reynolds. Ransom Reynolds purchased the southern 7/10 acre in August, 1872, for $350; and in November, 1881, Reuben R. Reynolds paid $297 for the northern 1/4 acre. These adjacent lots ran from the middle of Main Street to the east bank of the Saranac River and, eventually, became the site of the group of brick buildings at the center of the arc of Main Street's west wall. Those buildings, numbers 56, 60, 68, and 70, have a story that intriguingly intermingles the lives of photographers, architects, bankers, and the Adirondacks’ most famous historian.

In October, 1899, Anna L. Brown, then of New York City, bought Ransom and Josephine Reynolds' 7/10 acre and the frame house that stood upon it. Her mortgage, held by Reynolds, amounted to $5750.


In 1903, a 35 year old Episcopal clergyman, his talented, 25 year-old wife, and her mother moved to Saranac Lake from St. Louis. The clergyman, William H. Haase, treasurer of the A.C.L. Haase and Sons Food Company, was to have become Chancellor of the St. Louis Diocese; but, in 1902, he learned he had tuberculosis. He went first to a sanatorium in San Antonio, where he showed no improvement, and then moved east to come under the care of Drs. E. L. Trudeau and Edward Baldwin.

In September, 1906, Haase and his mother-in-law, Emilie K. Saussenthaler purchased from Anna Brown, who by then had moved to Chicago, the remainder of her lot on Main Street, a fifty-five by two hundred and seventy seven-foot parcel directly north of the Donaldson Block. William and Emilie were by then quite well known to Donaldson, since Emilie's daughter, William's wife, was Marie Saussenthaler Haase, the young violinist whom Donaldson had met in Europe. (See the Donaldson Block)

Haase, Haase, and Saussenthaler rapidly became a major, "upbuilding" force in Saranac Lake. They had the financial wherewithal to be as generous as they wished toward the community as well as toward their friends and themselves.

The Saussenthaler money, as has been mentioned in discussion of the Donaldson Block, came from beer brewing. Haase's wealth was derived from the family food company. It had been established here in the United States in 1850; but, for generations, the Haases of Hamburg had owned olive groves in Seville, Spain. Hamburg itself had been divided between Germany and Denmark, and the Haases had pledged loyalty to the latter country. So, when Augustus Haase emigrated to America and set up in St. Louis, the new company almost immediately became a major importer of Spanish olives and Danish fish, and remained so until recent times. The A. C. L. Haase and Sons Food Company finally closed its doors in 1976.

In June, 1907, Emilie Saussenthaler acquired the Ehrich Estate, more than 100 acres running from Lower Saranac Lake to Little Colby Pond and encompassing a substantial portion of the latter. This became Pinehurst — along with Knollwood and the Guggenheim Camp one of the most exclusive enclaves on the north shore of the Lower Lake.

Later the same year, the Haase Block was completed at 60 Main Street.

Through the years, the Haases and Mrs. Saussenthaler financed a "free bed fund" at the old Reception Hospital, so that those who were without means would not be turned away. They gave all the operating equipment for the first General Hospital of Saranac Lake and supplied all the linens for that facility at least through the 1940's.

Marie Haase was a founding member of the Village Improvement Society. In the first decade of this century, the firm of Frederick Law Olmsted studied the village and drew up the first of Saranac Lake's "master plans". Emphasis was given to parks, naturally — especially the development of parks along the river corridor. In 1907, a group of prominent village women formed the V.I.S. to promote and initiate the park aspect of the "Olmsted Plan", as it came to be called. Today, the V.I.S. continues this work with half of the community's ten parks under its direct ownership and care and with advisory status for the rest; and, it is still working toward completely green river banks.

As part of her own personal work to "improve" the village, Marie Haase landscaped the vacant space behind the Haase Block (now a parking lot, except for a newly developed park strip along the river). There, during the summer, there was a tent theatre — a place remembered by many as the starting point for Rosalind Russell's rise to stardom.

Upon her death it was learned that Marie Haase had willed $25,000 to the General Hospital of Saranac Lake, $10,000 to the Saranac Lake Society for the Control of Tuberculosis, $10,000 to the Saranac Lake Free Library, $15,000 to Dr. Charles C. Trembley, as well as many thousands more dollars to a long list of people who had helped or befriended or worked for the Haase family through the years.

The earliest tenants of the Haase Block were the Saranac Lake National Bank, the Denny jewelry store, and architects Scopes and Feustmann who had designed the structure.

The Saranac Lake National Bank had been founded in 1906 by Dr. Frank Kendall and others. One of the members of its board, and its president when it collapsed, was Dr. Charles C. Trembley, the Haase 's family physician and close friend.

Mr. Denny owned a strip of swampland along the river running downstream from the corner of Bloomingdale Avenue and Pine Street. He slowly filled it in and built it up, planting trees and shrubs — some quite unusual to this area — as he went. Having turned down a sizable offer from an oil company who sought it as a service station site, he gave it to the Village Improvement Society. It thus became the first V. I. S. park, and today it bears Mr. Denny's name.

After the dissolution of the Saranac Lake National Bank in 1938, Fred Norman, a well known and wealthy farmer from Bloomingdale, seven miles to the north, led a reorganization effort that resulted in the formation of the Saranac Lake Federal Savings and Loan Association. This institution continued to lease the old S.L.N.B. space in the Haase Block until it bought the building in January, 1945, from William and Marie's son, Peter Augustus Adolphus S. Haase.

The S.L.F.S.L.A. [in 2010, it is the Adirondack Bank] has been expanding ever since and is now the sole occupant of the building; but, as recently as 1980, the offices of Wareham and DeLair, architects, were located there. That firm is the successor of Distin and Wareham which, in 1960, had moved into the Scopes and Feustmann space.

The Haase Block is a three-story, steel framed, brick building with a facade that gives an impression at once airy and solid. This is achieved mainly by recessed galleries that dominate the central half of the facade on the second and third floors and straightforward Flemish bond brickwork strategically broken by molded concrete accents.

These galleries, like the galleries, recessed balconies, and second story verandas on a number of other buildings in the district, are a quite unusual feature in such number and variety and one rarely encountered in small-town business blocks. Their purpose, along with the even more numerous stacks of rear porches, was to give apartment dwellers, who might also be tuberculosis patients, a place to take the fresh air.

The galleries in the Haase Block are flanked by single, sash windows with brick, "flat-arch" lintels with pronounced, concrete keystones. The upper gallery is arcaded, the five arches having basically the same keystone treatment as the windows. The lower gallery is of a post and lintel type.

The ground floor has a concrete slab facing above a limestone block base but is dominated by a series of seven four by eight foot plate glass windows. This is a modern front, erected c. 1961 by the Saranac Lake Federal Savings and Loan Association, but it is harmonious with the scale and character of the original facade.

At the middle of the Haase Block's south wall there is a broad, relatively shallow, and nicely detailed oriel window on the second and third stories. It is supported by two pairs of curvilinear brackets. At the back of the building, there is a set of glassed-in porches running from the basement to the third story and spanning almost the total breadth of the rear wall. Beneath these, there is an entry to a small subbasement.

The building has a restrained and dignified cornice above which is a stepped parapet. The center panel of this parapet used to bear the name Haase, but that has been bricked in.

Upon the roof is a charming feature seldom seen because it is not visible from the street. It is a squat cupola, almost entirely glass. Its roof is a skylight and its walls are windows: three on the east and west sides, two on the north and south. The easterly and westerly windows open from the inside by a system of lines and pulleys. The purpose of the cupola was apparently to admit natural light into and facilitate ventilation of the upper floor. The conscientiousness with which this feature, hidden from view, was designed and executed is exemplary of the spirit of the Haase Block.

Original text by Philip L. Gallos, 1983

A.H. Denny, Jeweler and dealer in "The Gruen Watch", was located at 62 Main Street according to an advertisement in the program for the St. Bernard's Club's Minstrel Review, circa 1930.


Other historic properties


2012-04-23 14:18:27   As part of the 1913 Winter Carnival festivities, the Haase Block was awarded the 1st Prize Trophy Cup for Decorated Building. This trophy was recently given to Historic Saranac Lake by George Outcalt. -- J.Rush 04/23/2012 —