Old Address: 6 Slater Street
Year built: c. 1914
Architect: This design is identified as that of a kit house, “The Maytown,” in 1918 Sears Honor Bilt Modern Homes, p. 62.
Other information: A Queen Anne-style cure cottage with an octagonal corner tower. According to the nomination to the National Register of Historic Places (see link below for the complete document), the structure is unusual in the area for its extensive use of rusticated concrete block. Blocks for this house were manufactured by John Norman at the masonry business operated in 1902 by Elihu W. Norman at 15 Lake Flower Avenue nearby. This was one of the first structures to be built in the subdivision that John W. Slater made out of a section of his 100-acre farm on the eastern edge of the village.
This house is architecturally significant as an intact and representative example of early 20th century residential architecture, which incorporated cure-related features into its design. The house was built by guide John Marquay, whose daughter, Mildred was a nurse. There is a second-floor cure porch integral to the structure, though there is no documentation of commercial use. The 1917 health survey indicates occupancy by a TB patient, but the house was never registered with the T.B. Society.
The following is summarized from some correspondence Historic Saranac Lake has from Daniel D. Reiff, an architectural historian and a Professor of Art History at SUNY-Fredonia; he grew up in Canton and has been visiting the Adirondacks since 1944. He published an article in Adirondack Life, Collectors Issue 2000, and referenced many house patterns available in various books – reprint and originals. Part of the following quote was omitted from his article.
It appears that many local carpenters simply looked at the attractive pictures in the catalogs, studied the plans next to them, and then built their own “bootleg” version of the professional design, without the cost of ordering the plans, or the out-of-state materials! A striking Sears house in Saranac Lake at 6 Slater Avenue confirms that this approach was indeed sometimes used by thrifty Adirondackers.
What is interesting to note is that across the rear of the house at the second floor is a glazed "cure porch" (finished in stucco). . . . Thus the design was adapted, as is often the case with catalog houses, to meet specific local needs.
“The Sears 'Maytown' model was sold in their catalogs from 1909 through 1922, though the design . . . seems to have been based closely on a popular model sold by the Chicago House Wrecking Co. from about 1906 on. . . . Clearly the Maytown model in Saranac Lake is not their usual version, as it is made of concrete block—which they did not sell through the mail!
“As early as 1905 Sears also was touting the newly developed concrete block machine, a 'modern marvel' invented in 1900. With the hollow-core type of block developed in 1906 it became possible for one person to handle, and build with, these blocks. As Sears explained, 'small landowners who have gravel pits or sand banks on their property, are the ones who can reap the greatest benefits' from making these blocks themselves. It was the perfect device for the North Country. [The Normans had easy access to sand in the esker that runs parallel to Lake Flower Avenue.]
“Thus although 6 Slater Avenue is a 'Sears house,' it appears that this popular model was constructed here by local talent without benefit of the pre-cut Sears materials—though always possibly using a Sears concrete block machine.”
2010-02-06 04:06:43 Oh my God! John Marquay was my great grandfather! —18.104.22.168
2010-02-06 04:11:39 I don't know if anyone gets these comments but, here it goes. My name is Glenn John Marquay. John Marquay was my great grandfather. His son, Leon, was my grandfather. His name is listed on the HSL website as being inscribed on the WWI memorial. Is there anyone who can put me in touch with whoever now owns the Marquay cottage? Is it still in the Marquay family? Unfortunately, my father (Leon Jr.) has alzheimer's disease. He can not tell me anything of where I come from in terms of family history. He just always talked of Saranac Lake. I googled 'Marquay Saranac Lake', and here I am. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much. Feel free to e-mail me at [email protected]
2010-02-06 21:15:37 Hi Glenn! So glad you found this site and your family's house! I will email you at the address you provided. Perhaps we can help you track down more info. about your family here in Saranac Lake. — Amy —amycatania
2011-08-10 23:42:06 I grew up in that house thats where I grew up check my Facebook photos ,cottage my ass ,my room was in the front of the in the front 3rd floor pisses me off they cut down the tree that was in front of the house,nice to know about the history of the house —22.214.171.124
2011-08-11 17:49:39 The house looks very familiar, but I can't even remember where Slater Street was. I have been away far too long! —126.96.36.199
2011-08-11 18:32:44 who grew up in that house because I did to until 1980 when it was sold. —188.8.131.52
2011-08-11 22:15:13 This is very cool!!! My father owns this house. Me and my sister grew up there and last summer me and my husband were married on the front lawn :) I love my home !!! —184.108.40.206
2012-09-29 18:06:56 You father owns the house? Are you and your father related to the Marquay family in some way? Feel free to contact me at [email protected] or at my phone number: (619) 850-1111. Thanks.
- Glenn Marquay (Great-Grandson of the builder of the home). —220.127.116.11
2013-01-20 18:19:18 I lived in that house for one year...I believe 84 to 85 Ish. My parents rented it. —18.104.22.168
2013-07-24 12:38:08 For the person whose family owns the home: Are there any remnants/antiques from the original owner, John Marquay, left there? Please contact me at your earliest convenience, as I am trying to trace the Marquay line beyond John Marquay Sr. My e-mail is: [email protected] Thank you! —22.214.171.124