Little Joe's 48-50 Main Street, before it's brick front was added, stands second from the left in this early, but undated, photograph. Courtesy of Mary Hotaling. Adirondack Daily Enterprise Little Joe's, 1960s. Gene Gladd, bartender, and his brother, Little Joe Gladd. Courtesy of James Rudi Snyder. Old address: 48-50 Main Street

New address: 57 Main Street

Other names: Sherrill's Grocery, Saranac Supply

The newest and largest of Milo Miller's Second Empire buildings is the one at 48-50 Main Street. It was built sometime after 1879 but probably prior to 1890.

As noted in the discussion of Gray's, it was purchased from the Miller Estate by Clinton J. Ayres who sold it to John Ridenour who in turn sold it to Walter Sagendorf.

The earliest tenants of the building are not yet known, but photos show that H. H. Tousley operated a grocery there c. 1910. Following Tousley was William Mullen with his Saranac Supply. The Supply was at 48-50 Main Street probably until c. 1921, after which the Mullen store moved to the Colonial Theater Building on Broadway.

During the period of America's involvement in World War I, there was a barrel behind the Supply. Anyone buying peaches was asked to put the pits in the barrel. This was the peach-eaters' contribution to the war effort. Periodically, the pits were taken away to a processing plant where they were ground to be used in the filters of gas masks.

It seems certain that during the first year Sagendorf owned the building (1922-23) he had the ground floor made into two storefronts from one, and had the present facade erected. Probably the first occupant of the northern storefront (#50) was the Margaret Kelly Dress Shop. She was followed in 1925 by Irving Altman's ladies' apparel store. Altman remained a tenant there until 1932 when he moved to his own building.

For part of this period, Flora Pruess operated a children’s-wear store at #48. In January, 1931, she bought the building from Sagendorf; but the property proved to be more of a financial burden than blessing, and, in July 1933, she turned it back over to him. Sagendorf was to own 48-50 Main Street until the day he died. His widow, Jeanne, sold the building to Monroe J. Gladd.

Gladd’s son Joseph, a flyweight Golden Gloves champion known to all as "Little Joe", opened a tavern in #48. Little Joe's rapidly became the most popular Saranac Lake meeting and drinking place of the 1950s and early 1960s.

Ownership of the building was transferred from Monroe to Joseph Gladd on New Year's Day, 1959.

In addition to being the largest and newest of the Second Empire group, Little Joe's is, regardless of its c. 1923 facade, the most intact. The new facade itself is actually quite in keeping with the character of the District, if not quite with that of the building to which it is attached. Also, it does no visual violence to the older structure.

Little Joe's is three stories tall, fairly narrow but rather deep. It is a wood-frame, clapboarded structure except for the facade which is brick.

None of the three buildings erected by Milo Miller is particularly ornate, as Second Empire buildings go; but Little Joe's has more visible detailing than either of the others. The wonderfully convoluted brackets supporting the second story cornice are especially appealing.

From an original text by Philip L. Gallos, 1983

Margaret Thompson worked as a cook there.


A George W. Baldwin photo dated February 1899 (#81.101d, Adirondack Collection, Saranac Lake Free Library) shows this building before the brick facade was added, with a prominent sign on the center of the second floor proclaiming "G. W. Baldwin Art Studio." The first floor appears to be Sherill's Grocery. Part of the present Post Office Pharmacy building can be seen to the building's right.

See also:

Other historic properties