William F. Madden, JrBorn: January 9, 1928

Died: April 19, 2013

Married: Eleanor Catherine Madden; Rita F. Sageman

Children: William Madden III, Mike Madden, Mary Catherine Madden-Heisler

Bill Madden was the son of William F. Madden, Sr. He operated Madden's Transfer and Storage at 187 River Street.

Adirondack Daily Enterprise, April 24, 2013

William F. Madden, Jr.

William F. Madden, Jr., age 85, of 59 Maryland Ave., Saranac Lake, died Friday, April 19, 2013 at the Uihlein Mercy Center in Lake Placid.

Born in Saranac Lake, New York on January 9, 1928, he was the son of William and Marion (Lynch) Madden. He married Rita F. Sagemen, October 15, 1992 in Saranac Lake.

Bill owned and operated Madden's Transfer and Storage in Saranac Lake for 65 years. He was a life long resident of Saranac Lake and had attended St. Bernard’s School, Saranac Lake High School and Clarkson University. He was a member of the Saranac Lake Elks Club BPOE 1508, Knights of Columbus and Saranac Lake Rotary Club. Bill also served on and is a past member of the Board of Directors for the Saranac Lake Hospital and Key Bank. Bill received the Citizen of the year award in 1991. He enjoyed photography and Nordic/Alpine skiing and tennis.

He is survived by his wife Rita Madden of Saranac Lake, two sons William Madden, III and his wife Heidi of Saranac Lake, and Michael Madden and his wife Sheryl of Saranac Lake, one daughter Mary Catherine Madden-Heisler of West Hampton, NJ, step daughter Betsy Sageman of Saranac Lake, six grandchildren Alex, Peter, Katelyn and Sean Madden and Ryan and Patrick Heisler. He was preceded in death by his father, mother, his former wife Eleanor Catherine Madden, two sisters and two brother-in-laws Helen and Joe Ramondi, and Kate and Bernard Bola.

Calling hours will take place at the Fortune-Keough Funeral Home on Friday, April 26, 2013 from 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place April 27, 2013 at 11:00 A.M. at St. Bernard's Church with Rev. Paul Kelly officiating. Burial will take place at St. Bernard Cemetery in Saranac Lake at a later date.

Friends wishing to remember William F. Madden, Jr. may make memorial contributions to Saranac Lake Vol. Rescue Squad or Saranac Lake Football 5th Quarter Club in care of the funeral home. Family and friends can also share their memories and sign the online guestbook at https://fortunekeoughfuneralhome.com.


See also: Historic Saranac Lake's Oral History Project Interview with William F. Madden, Jr.

Bill Madden Interview March. 12, 2010

Rich: Well, the reason we wanted to take a look at the Tousley building is because Amy made a comment to me about it being an important record storage facility at one time, and my friend, David here, is the official archivist for the state of Georgia. He was interested after seeing Marc's write-up about it at the Wiki site.

Dave: I've done a lot of work with Iron Mountain and I was interested in seeing the original building.

Bill: That's right, they were up here. And now, you're talking about the one down in the mountain.

Dave: Down in Garrison or...Yeah, I've been to that one. I've been to a couple of their underground facilities. But I understand this was the original.

Amy: So what does that mean that this was the original?

Dave: Well, Iron Mountain is the national....

Bill: The other building is the, where they originally had the records.

Amy: The government records?

Dave: They store for all kinds of corporations.

Bill: And there are still some safes and things like that down there at the original.

Dave: I just didn't realize there was such an historic structure here in this town.

Bill: Oh....yes.

Mary: Yeah, where do we start here, there is so much history...

Mary: Neither of these buildings was built to be storage buildings, were they?

Bill: No, this was a Curling Club. There is picture of it here. The one down street was built for vaults, valuables and government records.

Mary: For cars. too wasn't it? Doesn't it have an elevator in it?

Bill: There is an elevator in there.

Mary: That can lift a car?  I thought one time it was just a garage.

Bill: When I was about...(this high) and I went in there and here's two guards with machine guns guarding a car. It was during the bootlegging days...the end of it. It was Dutch Schultz's car. [probably really Legs Diamond]

Mary: Was Dutch Schultz in it?

Bill: No, but he had a place up on [Rainbow Lake]...his lady friend, he used to come up and see her. They'd park the car in there with two bodyguards with machine guns. I can just remember going in with my father. But there used to be a garage on the main floor and you could gas your car up or they'd service it. But they stayed right with the car, all the time it was here.

Mary: So nobody could booby trap it?

Bill: Yeah. I remember it was a big Cadillac or something.

Mary: But when you were a little bit older, say...(this high), were you a tray boy. I had this notion you were a tray boy. But maybe I'm wrong about that.

Bill: No, I never did, but I'd move the patients. Well, I was, say in high school, and the thing is, if you go and take a test for TB, anybody over 50 or 55 in this town will test positive. We had a lady that worked for us. She was about 70 years old. She come down with TB so we all had to get TB tests. Well, I said to my son "you won't test positive, I will." He said, "I hope you don't, you'll have to go in isolation." What do I test? It comes up white. like a tennis ball. She come in, she said, "I called the doctor." Well I said. "will you explain to her that I can carry it but I can't get it."

Mary: You never had active disease, you just...

Bill: No, No. Anybody, pretty near anybody I went to school with at one time or another worked in one of the TB houses, or like, uh you know, Trudeau San. Any of the private homes or the homes. Every kid worked there either serving tables or serving meals or doing anything.

Mary: Well. you grew up around the corner on Lake Flower Avenue.

Bill: Yeah, right around the corner. I was born at the top of the hill at the college. Other than going to college, I was always pretty much in sight of the homestead.

Marc: What was the address on Lake Flower Avenue?

Bill: It was 12. What the new address is I don't know.

Marc: We're starting to put that together.

Amy: Mr. Madden, how long was this business in your family? You said you were in the building with the guys with the machine guns when you were a kid. Did your father own the building then?

Bill: No, we didn't buy it until 1973, that building. This one we bought when I was a junior in high school. That was in 1944. And uh, at that time, we needed more room so we bought this, thinking we would never fill this place. Well, we filled this place, and another one, and the one down street.

Mary: Well, your family has a moving:storage/delivery or some kind of business for one or two generations before you, didn't they?

Bill: Since 1895. There's a picture of some of the horses. That was right behind ah, the Quonset hut down on the parking lot.

Mary: That used to be delivery at one time, or that area. And so you used to own the Quonset hut, or did somebody own it?

Bill: No, we owned the Quonset hut at one time.

Mary: And maybe another garage down there too, or a stable?

Bill: Well, the stable. There was a livery there, and then my grandfather took it over, or the horses were there. And he was a teamster. He went up and unloaded the freight cars and delivered around the town with a horse and wagon.

Mary: So you went to the railroad station to pick up deliveries and stuff there.

Marc: It was also Bombard's one point, Giles Bombard?

Bill: What was that?

Marc: I think Bombards one time owned it.

Bill: Under that white slip there's a picture of my father with him. There's a picture of him with his model T. That was about 1914.

Mary: OK, so which one is your father?

Bill: The one on the left.

Mary: So, he started out in that property down by the Quonset hut?

Bill: Yeah, then he moved over to, he had the place where the original Dew Drop's was... before Dew Drop had it, way back.

Mary: Where was the original? I don't know where the original was.

Bill: Well, not the one on the corner there.

Mary: Oh, you mean the one across the river where the ducks swam in the...

Bill: Yeah. Well, originally that's were he started, had the office.

Mary: Oh yeah, because there are barns back there, all kinds together...all those garages those building...

Bill: There was the Dwyer Drug Store downstairs.

Mary: Dwyer was downstairs and he was upstairs?

Bill: Dwyers was upstairs and he was downstairs. Then we bought this building, then we bought the La Pan Highway property, then we bought the Tousley.  I still refer to it as Tousley.

Mary: Anything else?

Bill: No, no that was it.

Mary: Your family house was on the corner of Church Street and Helen, right?

Bill: My grandfather built that house, my father was born in that house. Kitty-corner across from the Methodist Church.

Mary: Why did they come here, the Maddens, in the first place?

Bill: Well, back in about the 1840's, 45's, there was six brothers left Ireland. And they come over in the winter and they got off the boat and they were in Montreal. And the story was they walked across the ice and down to Jay. And my great-grandfather, they all originated down in Jay. And then later on, my grandfather come up to Saranac [Lake] because there was a little more work here. Then I had two uncles, they went to Lake Placid. But the original homestead was down on the Irish Glen Road in Jay. Then my father come up here. He worked, for, actually, the American Express for a couple of years.

Mary: Right by the railroad?

Bill: Yeah, the railroad. Then these people would come in and they didn't want their families to know that maybe their father or brother was in Saranac Lake because of the TB. They had died. So, of course then the trains used to come in and the back half would be on one end of the station. and the other end they would have the freight cars, or the baggage cars. And would be putting, this was when I was in high school, they'd load the bodies on the front so the ones in the back couldn't see the caskets going out, and they're getting off and come to be patients. So we used to go over every night about 7:30 and bring the caskets over there. This goes back before that. They'd bring these things in and they'd have to be packed. So my father used to take them home, and then he'd pack them and then send 'em out. A lot of times we'd take 'em to Lake Placid because they didn't want them to know they were in Saranac Lake. So, that's they way he really got involved in it.

Mary: In packing and shipping of it and stuff?

Bill: Yeah, and that started to grow and then he left the railroad and started the business. He borrowed four hundred dollars and bought a Model T. And, that's the way it was.

Mary: So, what year did you say you bought this building?                                                                          [16:30]

Bill: This one was completed in 1928. The Tousley building was completed in 1928, I think. There had to be a big...'cause it was the year I was born... that the Curling Club was originally across the road. Then they bought that and then they built this because they needed a bigger, a wider one. And they built this one and uh, the Cluett from the shirt company, he come down one day and this was all open and they used to have dances. There was like a restaurant, a stove that end. And all this was glass, which looked out over the warehouse, or out over the ice. And uh, Cluett come down one day just as they were building this addition and he said, "I want a fireplace." And they built...he donated twenty five hundred dollars to build a fireplace, and they tell me today it couldn't be built but for to seventy-five thousand dollars.

Mary: And there is a special kind of construction, that Lamella roof...

Bill: It was copied from out in the middle west. They had a lot of buildings like this. But the thing was, it was too expensive to build later on in years because the amount of wood is fantastic. But it's a...many people looked at that design. And if you go out to the middle west, there's quite a few buildings like it. But, they stopped making buildings like it.

Mary: See, I grew up out there but I don't remember seeing any.

Mary: Would it be OK when we leave if we take photos?

Bill: Oh yeah....

Amy: You have some nice old telephones on the wall. Where did those come from?

Bill: We haul for the telephone company and we haul all over the east coast. Now those phones are one thing. That phone right there is an original Canada Bell, which the Bell laboratories wants that phone. It's a very rare one. That one. That's one of the original ones going way back in history. I know because we had a vice president of the telephone company come in and he said, "Name your price." He said "We've been looking for that particular phone."

Dave: So did you name a price?

Bill: No...No, I told him you haven't got enough money. But some of those up there are some of the old coin box ones...up on the top there. And they literally drop in and listen, whether it was a quarter or a dime. I have a couple more. We haven't put them up yet. One of them come out of that Howard Hughes airplane that crashed on Johnson Mountain. This was in 1973.

Mary: Wow. I hadn't heard about that.

Bill: Well, they flew...his lawyer was over in Lake Placid...And they cheated. They didn't fly the pattern to come in. They banked up and stood it right on end. It was a Jet Star. And we had to go up and take it off the mountain.

Mary: Did they get killed?

Bill: Yeah, they got killed. Three, two pilots and a stewardess. And we had to take it off the mountain.

Mary: You get all the good jobs.

Bill: Yeah. The warmest it got in 30 days, was 20 below zero. It was a big jet. We had it out in the yard on our truck, and we had to take it down to Georgia. But we had the engines out. It was an education.

Mary: You have a telegraph key up there.

Bill: Yeah. They use to have those in the central offices for the old fashioned teletypes. And they used them. I've got one up in the other building I've got to bring it down. It's one of the old original teletypes.

Marc: What's that? The brass one underneath?

Bill: That's an old horn that came off a boat in Upper Saranac Lake we had to pull out. It sunk so they gave me the horn.

Mary: Was that something else you had to pull out?

Bill: Yeah, it sunk up there, so they gave me the horn.

Mary: This is the original building.

Bill: Yep. That is all a part of the original, all the glass...

Rich: They just would flood this and let the air temperature freeze the floor, right? There was no refrigeration?

Mike: Yeah, it's cold in here year round.

Comment: At least it's cool in here in the summer.

Mike: Best place to be in town, here in the summer time. In fact. during the Olympics, they were going to use this in a circle if something ever happened...

Comment: These boxes remind me of Indiana Jones...

Comment: It looked like in the picture they had a cement platform on one side....

Marc: So, was the floor refrigerated?

Mike: No, it's just cold enough... last year spent a couple of days just chipping ice in here because it was so cold in here.

Rich: "Special Delivery Corset Factory" (on side of a box).

Mike: There's three of them there.

Mary: Look's like you made some repairs to the roof.

Mike: A while ago. It must have a been something just to watch them start building this. Well, it's seven crates high.

I been here 30 years. When I first started working here, you'd think nothing of three or four times a year through the winter getting up there and shoveling the snow off.

I can remember back when we would get a lot of snow, you could just walk up on the roof from the back of the parking lot and think nothing of it.

These beams are the only thing holding this up. To replace them we'd replace one, then skip one all the way round until they were all done.

Mary: Did you put those windows up there or were they already there?

Mike: No, when we did the old office we had to put those there, but actually I think the old windows are still there.

Mary: So this is just a slab, right?

Mike: Just a slab.

Comment: It's pretty basic when it comes to the foundation part of this.