Born: c. 1950



Chiefly known for:

Adirondack Daily Enterprise, February 9, 1984

Reader recalls area's first sled dog races

Dear Editor

Just recently received clippings on some of the highlights from the high country, especially the ALPO supremes. Certainly the Chamber of Commerce deserves the praise of many events. Some in Saranac Lake should remember when (about 1920) Giles Bombard and co-workers organized to create a housing boom. The site chosen for a starter was on Lake Street and Madam Petrova turned the first shovel of dirt Mr. and Mrs. Ned Cady purchased the bungalow just beyond Clyde Cheeseman's toward the Hollow.

Hollow was the area where Lake and Petrova join. In behind that was Jenkins' Swamp, the flats and so on over to Edgewood Road where Caribou Bill had his movie colony, complete with Indians, Cowboys and Esquimox. Caribou had actually dozens of sled dogs (the small variety whose tails curled over their backs like a clock Spring. They used the dogs to haul supplies from the village, Petrova Avenue then being just a trailer short cut off Dorsey.

Walt Weir took part in movies, among other things. He had a trained saddle horse which at a given signal would itself flip to the ground in a most realistic spill (a sandy spot being chosen). I guess Walt was a "stand in!" For one scene in particular he jumped his horse off the high rocks on Bluff Island (circa 1914-1915).

The first dog race I ever saw was from Placid to Saranac. It wound up in front of the old Boy's Club on River Street next to the Pontiac Rink. As I recall (about 1918) Francis Cantwell, with an assortment of about 5 different breeds won hands down as he collapsed in the arms of policeman Matt Jones on a bright blue Sunday afternoon. Francis was an attorney of note, worked with Boy Scouts, horsebacked, swam and took part in just about any sports activity one might name.

Later on Felix Lesser had dog teams out on Kiwassa Road (the old Evan Evans farm) as it was once referred to.

Seems to me the Chamber made its first big move by hiring a director, or at least professional secretary, one Mr. Judson to organize and promote Saranac Lake. His daughter, Laura, was a classmate, of mine and the Main Street school was still churning out students from 1-12 grades. My sister Bertha H. Stickney of Lake St. knows these things too.

John H. Homburger