Married: Dorothy Stephen
Children: Son, Dormer
Joseph Stephen was an attorney who came to Saranac Lake in 1921
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, December 27, 1955
My memory dates back to a bleak cold November night in 1921. I had left Buffalo the day before in a Model T Ford touring car with side curtains, no less, to make the trip to Saranac Lake. The family was moving here to join my brother and my sister who were curing. From Buffalo to Little Falls took one day. The next day on to Albany and up through Saratoga Springs, Schroon Lake, Elizabethtown to the mountains. The first vivid memory of the Adirondacks is that of coming down Spruce Hill outside of Elizabethtown in a snow storm with brakes that were none too good.
I remember going to school in the old school where the Hotel Saranac stands today. The move to the new school on Petrova Avenue — marching up Lake Street hill, class by class. The old wooden footbridge over the Saranac River by Town Hall. The first football team with Tony Gedroiz as its star quarterback. Later, Tom Wallace, the fastest halfback the North Country has ever seen. His first Malone game, lost in the final minutes of the last quarter, 19-13. Watching Johnny Morgan, Russ Daunais and Bob Herron play.
I remember some of the famous fires of our town. The Grand Union Hotel, the old Town Hall, the Berkeley Hotel, Branch & Callanan's, the Murphy block and the day school let out because the Hennessy block across from the Pontiac Theater was burning — Francis Cantwell trying to help the fireman from his office window with the hose from the Pontiac building — the fireman liberating bags of Canadian beer or ale from the flaming building.
Do you remember the skating races at the old Pontiac Rink? Ed Lamy, Art Staff and Bobby McLean in the pros. Charlie Jewtraw, Joey Moore, Kasey and Charlie Forman, who would run the first 100 yards of the 440 on the tips of his skates, the local skaters — Ned Mulflur, Danny VanNortwick, Orlie Green, Bud Graves, Mil Dietz, Bud Malone and many more. The color of the five-mile race with the music playing and 40 or 50 skaters striding in unison.
Do you remember the old baseball teams? When Mickey Cochrane was the reserve catcher, right fielder and ticket seller. When his manager Dan Sullivan told him he would never be a ball player! The day Jack Dempsey appeared at a ball game on the field where the high school now stands. Buck Freeman in center field making every catch a circus catch. Hick Hanaford's third basing. Clare Caywood playing center field with Bob "Pumpernickel" Bouck in left. When Hugh "Losing Pitcher" Mulcahy pitched every other day and twice over the week end. Then came the Doc Gautreau era with Hank Borowy, Joe Kelly, Red Daughters and company.
Do you remember "Bags" and his Moon roadster, the snazziest car in town, Bugs Rice and "Bounce"? When all the drug stores had motorcycles with box sidecars for delivery and Doctor Welles' black collie Jerry and my collie Toddy used to chase the delivery men all over town. When most cars were put up on blocks for the Winter and those brave enough to drive carried axes to chop their way out of the ruts. When the Post Office Pharmacy was next to the Post Office. When the Itch theater was on Bloomingdale Avenue where the Grand Union now is.
I remember when Matt Munn ran the grocery store, where the Enterprise office is today, with the barrel of apples on the sidewalk which we always helped ourselves to in passing from school). When The Enterprise was published in the old Town Hall. The Riverside Inn and the Empire Hotel, The Bottling Works behind the Currier Press where as kids we were given the seconds. Bruzza's fruit store and soda fountain in the present Tom Finnigan store.
Do you remember harness racing on the ice at Moody Pond? The road to Lake Placid with its 99 curves. The Pine Ridge dance pavilion at Ray Brook. When Ralph (Sports Shop) Cheeseman was an orchestra leader and drummer. The Sunday that President Coolidge and Governor Al Smith both attended church in our town. The early days of radio — one of my first recollections of the static and squeak is the 1924 Democratic National convention — Alabama's 24 votes for Underwood. When the KKK rode for a brief span in this area and the red faces of some of our businessmen when they found out they had been sold a sheet for $100 by a fast-talking promoter.
The things one remembers and writes about are the little incidents either humorous or tragic, but the thing one remembers but can not be put down on paper is the spirit: The heart and soul of the people of Our Town — the quick and overwhelming response to any emergency when all come running with open hands to help anyone in distress or in need.