Little Red, on the campus of Trudeau Institute, 2022
Courtesy of John Eldridge
THE LITTLE RED HOUSE—The first T B curing cottage in the U.S., still on view at new site of Trudeau Institute, was on the 1934 Christmas Seal of the National Tuberculosis Association. Here, a model of the house used for the seal is presented to President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the White House by Dr. Francis B. Trudeau, with Mildred Showalter garbed as a nurse. (Trudeau Institute, A Century of Science, 1884-1984 Little Red, in its forth location, at Trudeau Sanatorium, c. 1938. From Richard H. Ray's memoir, Saranac 1937-1940 Address: 154 Algonquin Avenue

Year built: 1884

"Little Red" is the symbolic original cure cottage of the Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium founded by Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau. He wrote of it: "This first cottage consisted of one room, fourteen by eighteen, and a little porch so small that only one patient could sit out at a time, and with difficulty." 1 The small scale of the cottage had several advantages over larger structures— improved ventilation and sanitation, and Trudeau found that donors liked funding an entire small structure rather than part of a large institution.

Christmas Seal envelope featuring Little Red in honor of Trudeau Sanatorium's 50th anniversary. Postmarked December 25, 1935. Historic Saranac Lake Collection, TCR # 379.
Courtesy of Ned and Patricia Trudeau.
Presentation of the 1934 Christmas Seal to Dr. Francis B. Trudeau at the "Little Red", October 5, 1934. Left to right: STANDING: Ernest Wood, Florence B. Breed, Marie Warner Anderson, Dr. Francis B. Trudeau, Dr. Edward R. Baldwin, Marie E. Dohm, Seaver A. Miller, Rev. Hiram W. Lyon, M.M. Feustmann, W.A. Lawrence; SEATED: Fred Heise, Charles R. Armstrong, Hugh Kinghorn
Courtesy of the Adirondack Experience.
Undated. Courtesy of Noreen OslanderCalled either the "Little Red" or "The Jenks" cottage when it was built, it was originally sited on the northeast side of the first Main Building (Site #1). The cost to build it was $350, donated by Mrs. William Jenks, of Philadelphia. Sisters Mary and Alice Hunt, tuberculous factory workers, were its first patients; they both recovered. An eyewitness, Marguerite Armstrong, wrote: "The Main Building was completed February 1, 1885. A few days later, two or three non-paying patients were cared for in this building. But the first cash book patients were entered, May 5th, and placed in the 'Little Red.' For this reason Little Red has been called The Pioneer. As a matter of fact, the two other Little Stokes [cottages] were completed at the same time." 2 While the common story is that sisters Mary and Alice Hunt, tuberculous factory workers, were the first patients in Little Red, it is not know whether they were the non-paying — or the first paying — patients; they both recovered.

In 1888 it was moved back to make room for the "larger and at that time, very pretentious Minturn" cottage, built in 1889. The cost to move Little Red was $154.53. From 1888 to 1893 it was used as an isolation cottage for the very sick. It is shown on the map of 1898 as "Jenks" (Site #2).

In 1913 the cottage was moved back a further 25 feet to make more space for an addition to the Service Building (Site #3).

In 1914 it was reportedly placed in its "permanent" position where it was used as the home of old employees. This location has not been identified, and does not seem to appear on any map. Because of the closeness of the dates, this may be the same as Site #3. The groundskeeper Ell Kelly lived in Little Red after his wife died, perhaps at this location.

In 1935 at age fifty, Little Red was taken to a "location on the main entrance road." 3 On the map of 1930+, it is shown well down the road toward the South Gate, just north of Reid Nurses residence, in the area of the grounds in which employees housing was concentrated. The site can be identified by its filled-in steps in a low stone wall and a flagstone walk leading to a stone foundation (Site #4).

Little Red, interior, 2022
Courtesy of John Eldridge

Finally in May of 1964, Little Red was removed from the grounds of the sanatorium and relocated as a memorial at the new Trudeau Institute on Lower Saranac Lake (Site #5, present). Little Red is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as one of the cure cottages of Saranac Lake.

Members of an art museum from western New York visited Little Red on a tour in the late 1990s. Two of the tour-goers were a retired couple — both doctors — who had worked at Trudeau Sanatorium early in their careers. Imagine everyone's surprise when they saw Little Red and told the rest of the visitors that they had spent their internship/honeymoon in Little Red!

Edna Dubray VanNortwick was a housekeeper at the Trudeau Sanatorium. She met her husband, David, when he working as a delivery person. The two married c. 1900. Dr. E.L. Trudeau offered to let them honeymoon in Little Red.

The 1934 Christmas Seal stamp from the American Lung Association featured an image of Little Red.

Other historic properties




1. E. L. Trudeau, Autobiography, 170.
2. Armstrong Scrapbooks.
3. Cole, 20.