The old Academy is at lower right (with closed shutters), after it was moved to Academy Street; with the large new Saranac Lake High School, at center, 1902. The Odd Fellows Hall is above, and 9 Academy Street, at bottom center. The white building with cupola at the center of this photograph is the old academy on Main Street in its original location. From Saranac Lake Village, c. 1885, by George Baldwin. (from The old academy is seen at the center of this detail from a 1948 aerial photograph by William Kollecker. For the full image, see Saranac Lake Village, c. 1948 Address: 100 Main Street

Old Address: 95 - 101 Main Street, moved to 13-15 Academy Street

Other names: White School House

Year built: After 1870; a new source says 1871.

Other information: The old Academy predated the Saranac Lake High School, and was moved to Academy Street 1890, when the high school was built. [New source says the building was moved in 1892 or 1893.]

Donaldson writes "In 1870 the two school districts were consolidated, and the school "on the hill" was taken back to the center of the village again. A new building was erected on the lot opposite the Berkeley, where the large High School stands to-day. It soon proved inadequate for the rapid increase in pupils, and a larger school-house had to be built. The old one was moved back to the corner of Academy Street, and used for a while in conjunction with the new one. When finally abandoned, it became the home of the local Masons, until they built one of their own in 1902. It was then transformed into a dwelling, and has been so used ever since." [p. 238]

Watertown Daily Times, 1948 Watertown Daily Times, 1948

OLDEST PICTURE — Believed the oldest picture of Saranac Lake in existence, the above photograph, taken by George Baldwin, recently appeared in a display at the Adirondack National Bank and Trust company and was loaned by the E. L. Gray and company.

With his tripod set up in what was then marshes, Photographer Baldwin focused on the Berkeley Hotel, then the largest building in the village. Four-stories high when it was built, a fire on Jan. 1, 1924, leveled the top floor of the building to such an extent that when repairs were made builders placed the new roof over the third floor and eliminated the fourth story.

Directly in front of the Berkeley Hotel is a barn like structure, which at one time housed an undertaker. On that site today stands the George L. Starks building and to the left of it today is Woodruff street. Across from the barn is an early livery stable which was demolished shortly after the picture was taken. On the right side of the photograph can be seen a crude wooden bridge that extended Broadway over the Saranac river. Today that bridge is a structure in stone and steel.

On the extreme upper left side of the picture is the famous "Manning House" which still stands and has become the Saranac Lake Study and Craft Guild. The white church-like building to the right of the Manning House is the original school house. This building was moved when a new building was constructed and set many feet behind its original site. It still stands and is now 15 Academy street.


As of November  2014, two new, as-yet-uncatalogued photos of the original old academy building on Main Street have been discovered in the Adirondack Collection of the Saranac Lake Free Library. A note on the back of one reads: "Built 1871. This is the school where I got what education I have. It stood on Main St. about where the entrance to Hotel Saranac is now located. It was moved back on Academy St. about 1892 or 1893 to make room for the new school building. See picture in my album. [Unfortunately, the library does not have his album.]

[Signed] E.L. Gray



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