Lake Placid News, April 14, 1933 National Army Store

Adirondack Daily Enterprise, July 30, 1982

Store façade is restored


SARANAC LAKE - The "Historical Saranac Lake" theme is resurfacing again on Main Street.

The National Army Store on 83 Main St. is reverting its facade back to its original brick covering. Workmen have been chipping away at the modernized front since July 6 to restore it to its original condition.

Playing host to a bit of nostalgia was not in the original renovation plans at the downtown business. Manager Sheldon Hounsell explains that the owners were considering redoing the store front in a motif similar to the knotty pine, rustic front of the Adult Center on Broadway.

However, members of the Historical Saranac Lake Society suggested restoring the structure.

So now, Hounsell said, "We're restoring it to what it was I don't know how many years ago."

The work, being done by the Richard Lyon Construction Company of Saranac Lake, is expected to be completed in mid-August.

Additional outside work includes unboarding the nine narrow windows on the second floor and building a wooden valance. The top, third floor windows will remain shuttered. Also, a different type of trim will be added to the business.

The Army Store is working on more than its outside appearance, too. On the second floor, which has been used for storage in the past several year, a girls department is going to be set up. Carpenters are already busy decorating the interior in rough cut pine.

This women's section will carry sportswear, ladies shoes and lingerie. Hounsell explained that the store was last renovated when the building was purchased by the National Army Store chain in March of 1966. The split level first floor was leveled, wall to wall carpeting put in, and the elevator was discontinued. The building had previously housed Leonard's Department Store for 70 years.

It was built in the late 1800s by M.A. Leonard, and later turned over to his son, W.C. Leonard. In 1944 the Leonard family leased the business to a small chain company called the Empire State Stores, but they were only on the premises a year before the building was leased to the N.N. Landau Company.

The Landau Company, which ran a chain of department stores and then switched to discount stores, vacated the building in January of 1964. The National Army Store, which had previously been situated at 71 Broadway, moved into the store in March, 1966.

The Harrietstown Town Hall is another building on Main Street that has done extensive renovations to bring the building back to its original condition.

Mary Hotaling of Historic Saranac Lake said that commercial buildings doing major rehabilitation can get tax credits for the work. Such credits, she said, are available now.

"It really gives them a shot in the. arm," she said of places wanting to do the work.

The downtown business district, she said, is just one of the areas in Saranac Lake under consideration for placement on the National Register of Historic Places.

The aspects being looked at for buildings around town are whether they are in reasonably original condition and if they are historic because of the "cure porches".

The town, she said, is under consideration historically because of its history in curing tuberculosis.

Adirondack Daily Enterprise, January 6, 1992

National Army stores to close


Enterprise Staff Writer

TRI-LAKES — It will be a tough winter for local National Army Store employees as all nine stores prepare to shut down following a close-out sale beginning later this week.

For many years, National Army stores were important anchor stores in the downtown shopping districts of all three Tri-Lakes villages. Rumors of the chain's imminent closing proved true when the chain's owner announced recently that the remaining nine stores in the chain will close their doors after all the merchandise is sold. This is expected to take several weeks.

Irving Caplan, president of the chain and son of its founder Myron Caplan, today declined comment on the closings and referred the Enterprise to a prepared statement which attributed the closings to the poor economic conditions." The statement said all merchandise "must be sold to the bare walls" and that all fixtures in the Stores are for sale. The stores will be closed until, Thursday as employees prepare for the sale.

Caplan's grandfather started a clothing store in Plattsburgh around the turn of the century. Caplan's father and uncle started the National Army Store chain in the 1920s. The Saranac Lake store, originally located at 73 Broadway, moved to 67-69 Broadway, the location of the old Oxford Market, during World War II. In 1964 the business moved into its present location at 81 Main Street. The building was extensively renovated in the early 1980s.

Other than the National Army stores in Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake and Lake Placid, outlets will close in Malone, Canton, Potsdam, Ogdensburg, Ticonderoga and St. Albans, Vt.