William L. Distin's gravestone in Pine Ridge Cemetery A young ballet troupe, photographed by William L. Distin, 1928 Distin portrait of an American Indian in ceremonial head dress, 1904. Adirondack Daily Enterprise, November 6, 1999 Overpainted photograph by William L. Distin (untitled, undated) Adirondack Enterprise, October 1, 1915

Born: 1864

Died: July 26, 1930

Married: Helen Gray, 1883

Children: William G. Distin, the architect; and two daughters, Rhoda (Mrs. Charles F.) Roberson and Mrs. Helen Distin Leggett

William Langmead Distin was a photographer who, with George Baldwin, and William F. Kollecker produced a rich collection of photographs of the area, that is largely preserved in the Adirondack Collection of the Saranac Lake Free Library.

Distin was born in Barrie, Ontario, the son of John H. and Anna (Coston) Distin. In 1898, Distin and his family moved to Saranac Lake from Montreal and took up residence in the Donaldson Block at 56 Main Street, probably on the third floor, front, soon after the building was completed. He went into partnership with George Baldwin, and they worked out of the shop and studio downstairs in the north storefront. After a few years, Baldwin left to work in Lake Placid and Distin absorbed his business and acquired at least some of his glass plate negatives. In August, 1908, Distin bought 56 Main Street for $12,500 from Alfred L. Donaldson.

In addition to being a prominent portrait photographer, he is known for his scenic views. Distin was also a professional artist of high caliber whose distinctive imprint easily identifies his work.

W. L. Distin seal, Historic Saranac Lake CollectionsThe former Distin studio was acquired by Bernard M. Acosta on Jan. 15, 1940.

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