Address: 81 Main Street
Old Address: 82 Main Street
Other names: Wilson's Clothing Company; Blue Line Sport Shop
Year built: 1891; facade 1960
The pie-shaped trio of buildings, 82 and 84 Main Street and 2 Broadway, have a common bond in the present more than in the past, although they all stand on what used to be Anna O. Miller's land.
The lots for 82 Main Street and 2 Broadway were purchased from Anna O. Miller by W. Smith Fowler as part of a larger parcel in October, 1890. The lot occupied by 84 Main Street she retained until her death in 1899.
The Kendall Building
On October 23, 1890, W. Smith Fowler paid Anna Miller $2000 for 8/10 of an acre north of her Homestead Lot. Eighteen days later, Fowler sold a 32 x 65 foot patch from the southeast corner of this parcel to Dr. Frank E. Kendall for $800.
Kendall, some years later, would found a bank. Fowler obviously didn't need to.
Kendall, a pharmacist, soon built on his land and, in 1891, opened the Kendall Pharmacy there— the village's second.
The first pharmacy had been established by J.M. Bull in 1881 at 18 Main St. He and Kendall went into a partnership at that location in 1888, and that arrangement lasted until the latter opened his own store in his own building at 82 Main Street.
Kendall sold the building to Eugene DeLaMater and Leonard B. Magill in September, 1905, for $8,000. He did not sell the business, however, which DeLaMater ran as manager and pharmacist.
A year later, Kendall, along with others established the Saranac Lake National Bank.
In September, 1918, Homer P. Baker and Edwin J. Booth entered into a five-year lease agreement with Kendall for the store space and basement of DeLaMater and Magill's building. Rent was $125 per month.
Booth finally bought the property from DeLaMater in September, 1928, and became the sole owner of both building and business, although he operated under the name "Kendall Pharmacy" until his retirement in 1959 when he put the property on the market.
In the winter of 1959-60, a disastrous fire started in Meyer's Drugs in the old Post Office Building (a 3-story brick building in the style of the Roberts Block) at 69 Main St. The beautiful Scopes and Feustmann designed building was totally gutted, and the decision was made to cut the top two stories off and modernize the remainder.
While this project was in progress, Meyer's temporarily moved into the space at 82 Main Street, where all the pharmacy fixtures were still in place. Once more, people spoke of going to Kendall's even though the prescription bottle or vial in hand bore the name "Meyer".
By summer's end, Meyer's was back at 69 Main Street, and in October, 1960, Booth sold the Kendall Building to the Wilson Clothing Company, which was then operating a store at 8 Broadway.
Wilson's widened and remodeled the front of the building almost immediately and moved in. They then started slowly expanding: first to build a two-story, concrete block addition onto the rear of the Kendall building; then to purchase, renovate, and open a ladies' shop in the Jack Block at 2 Broadway; and finally, to purchase the Mulflur Building.
During the period 1959-1963, Saranac Lake lost, in part or in entirety, an unprecedented number of its downtown buildings. Some were lost to fire, some to parking lots, and some to "modernization". This last category can be divided into those that were remodeled after fire and those that were altered as the result of corporate decision. Of the buildings that were altered in the boardroom, Wilson Clothing Company's treatment of the Kendall Building is the most successful.
Certainly, the original, blond, narrow-brick facade on this two-story wood-frame, clapboarded structure has not been equaled by its replacement in terms of grace or of the appropriateness of its "fit" into the scheme of the street. But the present facade, now the Blue Line Sport shop, erected as part of a widening of the building in 1960, is gentle to the eyes.
The facade is a simple one. The ground floor's full width is a storefront stepped back in two stages so that there are four display windows on each side of the entry instead of the normal two. To the right, within this storefront section and at 90 degrees to the sidewalk, is the entry to the second-story office space.
The second floor facade is opened by three, equally spaced sets of steel-frame casement windows. All are transomed, and the casement lights of each set are separated by a stationary pane. Above the windows is a half-story parapet treated as an unbroken extension of the facade itself.
All the facing is of panels of mineral "composition material" imported from Belgium. The lower story is colored rust red and the rest is ivory. The coloring agents appear to be an integral part of the material or, at least, baked on very thoroughly. Unfortunately, one panel is presently missing, and another is broken.
All trim is aluminum — mostly plain, narrow strips except for a billeted band across the top.
Original text by Philip L. Gallos, 1983
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, May 18, 1961
RIBBON IS CUT THIS MORNING AT WILSON CO.
A substantial crowd this morning was on hand to witness the official opening of the Wilson Clothing Company's new store facing Berkeley Square. Hubert O'Connell, general contractor, formally presented the building to the clothing firm, represented by Carleton Wilson, Mr. William J. Norton, and other officials of the firm.
Mr. Wilson accepted the building with thanks to the contractors for their cooperation, gratitude to store customers for their patience and continued patronage during the construction and moving period, and said the Wilson Clothing Company's faith in the economic future of Saranac Lake was the deciding factor in the construction of the new store. He added that he felt certain other firms in the village, equally confident of the future here would follow suit.
Mr. Edwin J. Booth, former owner of the Kendall Pharmacy which originally occupied the site of the new store, cut the ribbon, officially opening the new store. Holding the ribbon for the ceremony were Mary Beth Duffy and Mary Jean Hayes.
Special guests for the occasion were Mayor Alton B. Anderson, Assemblyman Hayward H. Plumadore, Supervisor William J. Mansion, Postmaster Thomas P. Ward, Tony Anthony, Jacques DeMattos, Parnell LaTour, Kenneth Garwood, Stevenson Waltien and Gordon Partridge.
Contractors represented at the opening ceremonies, in addition to Hubert O'Connell, representing J. J O'Connell's, general contractors, were Saranac Lake Electric Co., Gillespie Painting Contractors, and Fobare and Sons, plumbing contractors.
Photo #85.279 from the Adirondack Collection of the Saranac Lake Free Library, estimated to be taken in the 1930s, shows a Western Union sign on the front of the Kendall building. Howard Riley wrote that the telegraph office was still there in the 1940s.