Born: September 20, 1844
Died: c. 1935
Marcellus Leonard was a peddler and merchant from Bangor, New York, whose route took him, by horse and wagon, as far south as Saranac Lake. In June, 1895, he invested $1500 in the purchase of a lot at 85 Main Street where his son, William, built his first department store building, Leonard's, sometime between 1897 and 1900.
Lake Placid News, September 22, 1933
M. A. LEONARD REACHES 89TH YEAR MONDAY
Pioneer Business Man and 'Father' of Whiteface Road, He Still Leads Active Life
M. A. Leonard, one of Saranac Lake's oldest residents, reached a new milestone in his march thru the years Monday when he attained the age of 89.
Mr. Leonard, father of William C. and Ralph B. Leonard of Saranac Lake, F. S. Leonard and Mrs. F. B. Guild of this village, known throughout the Adirondacks as a pioneer business man, still retains much of his early enthusiasm for business and civic affairs.
It was through his efforts that the Whiteface Mountain road project was first brought to public attention nearly fifteen years ago. He is confident that he will be present for the opening of the road, early next summer, and if his brisk step and keen perceptions are any criterion of his future health, Mr. Leonard will be able to enjoy the magnificent view from atop Whiteface for many years.
He was born in Bangor, September 18, 1844, and in the long span of 89 years which has elapsed since that time, Mr. Leonard has witnessed revolutionary changes in many fields of endeavor. He has seen the Adirondacks develop from wilderness into an area of state parks, private estates and concrete roads that are amazing contrasts to the rough corduroy paths of a half century ago. He has witnessed the transition of a hunter's stopping point into a resort which by its health-giving qualities, has given new life to untold thousands.
One of the most interesting sidelights on his long career is that he has attended every session of the annual Franklin county fair in Malone since 1858. It is believed that this is some sort of a record in fair attendance. At any rate it serves as a good illustration of one of the main traits of his character — that of dependability.
His first business venture was in 1867, when he undertook the then long trip to Boston to buy his first bill of merchandise. His first store was in Bangor, the home of his birth, and from that beginning he gradually branched out, with the assistance of his sons, so that today, stores in Tupper Lake, Lake Placid and Saranac Lake bear the Leonard name.
Mr. Leonard's first vote in a presidential election was cast for U. S. Grant in 1868. Since that time he has voted in every presidential election, and looks forward to voting again in 1936.
His retirement from business took place some 30 years ago, although for other men, his years of retirement would seem more like an active career. Various civic activities have claimed his attention since retirement, mainly the Whiteface mountain road, of which he is generally acclaimed as the "father."
Lake Placid News, September 20, 1935
FATHER OF WHITEFACE ROAD NOT HERE FOR DEDICATION
Wednesday was the 91st anniversary of the birth of the late Marcellus Leonard. Often called the father of the Whiteface Mountain Memorial highway, Mr. Leonard made his last trip up the mountain one year ago on Saturday at the age of 90.
Had the veteran merchant of Saranac Lake survived six months longer he could have witnessed the opening of the road in July and the dedication by President Roosevelt last week, the events for which he had hoped to live to see.
It was Leonard's dream to see a road up Whiteface Mt. come true, not the dream of any later politician who has been thus quoted. The merchant was largely instrumental in the early stages in pulling the wires necessary to start action in the proper direction in securing the road. As a birthday treat a year ago he was taken up the road on the first pleasant day following his anniversary, the last time he was to view the scenic panorama from the peak at the end of the winding road of which he had dreamed for many years.