The Pink Palace

Address: 308 Park Avenue

Old Address: 135 Park Avenue

Other names: Charles M. Palmer House, Palmer Cottage (1911) DIS

Year built: c. 1902; altered 1927

Other information: Built for Charles M. Palmer, it was later the home of Dr. William Steenken, the Director of Research at the Saranac Laboratory. A Mediterranean Revival-style residence designed by William H. Scopes and altered in 1927 by William G. Distin, Branch and Callanan, contractors

From Cure Cottages of Saranac Lake by Philip L. Gallos, page 156:

George V. W. Duryee purchased the land at 135 Park Avenue in September 1901. In February 1902, he sold it to Alice Perkins Chace of Providence, Rhode Island, the wife of Arnold B. Chace, Jr. . . . [The Chaces] built the original cottage at 135 Park Avenue probably in 1902. . . .  In December 1905, Alice and Arnold Chace sold their cottage to Daniel Howland of Scituate, Rhode Island, and it was thenceforth known as "The Howland Cottage." Mr. Howland was in residence there in 1906, but there is no record of his whereabouts after that. [Sylvia Howland, who married artist and patient Paul Sample in 1928, may have been Daniel and Elizabeth Howland's daughter.] In June of 1910 the house was leased to Charles Middlebrook Palmer. . . . {The Palmers] moved to the Howland Cottage, where they remained until June 1915. . . . [I]n August 1922, Daniel and Elizabeth Stanley Howland, then of East Greenwich, Rhode Island, sold the house to Jonas Lie (pronounced Lee). . . . The Lies sold the Howland Cottage in October 1925 to Dorothy Forbes, who owned it for less than two years. . . . Dorothy Forbes put the Howland Cottage on the market. Charles and Mary Palmer must have had fond memories of their seven years there because, in April 1927, they bought the house, which came with $14,500 of a mortgage outstanding from the Lie ownership.

Fond of the Howland Cottage as the Palmers may have been, they did not leave it as it was. . . . [T]hey had to remake their house in their own image. They did such a complete job that one can only speculate upon its original appearance. . . . It is known that William Scopes had designed the house for the Chaces, but the plans have been lost.

Charles and Mary Palmer wanted a Mediterranean villa in the Adirondacks. They retained Scopes & Feustmann to plan the reconstruction (it was far more than a renovation) and a decorator to advise on the interiors. The Palmers went to Europe to collect antiques and artifacts to furnish the house. [T]hey brought back sconces from an Austrian castle and a marble fireplace from an Italian villa. They built a two-story addition onto the cottage which included a 20 x 40 foot living room installed by Italian craftsmen hired in New York City and a 20 x 30 foot master bedroom with dressing rooms and spacious bath. They put in 5 1/2 more bathrooms , a 20 foot entrance foyer, a library, a loggia for plants, servants' dining room and living quarters, four fireplaces and an electric elevator.

When the $100,000 job was finished, the house at 135 Park Avenue had thirty rooms, plus seven more in the basement which included a shop, a laundry, another half bath, and a wine cellar.

Charles and Mary Palmer took a shingled house and covered it with stucco; and they had the stucco tinted pink. Thenceforth, the place was known as the C. M. Palmer Cottage, or The Pink Palace.