Tag Archives: Saranac Lake

50th Willard Hanmer Guideboat Race:Largest Gathering of Adirondack Guideboats Ever?


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On Sunday July 1, 2012 will mark the 50th annual Willard Hanmer Guideboat Race commemorating Willard Hanmer the preeminent Guide Boat builder of his era. The race has been celebrated every year since 1962 on the Sunday closest to the 4th of July.

This year, to celebrate the craftsmanship of this uniquely Adirondack craft, the organizers are planning a display of over 50 guideboats in a guideboat parade on Lake Flower prior to the race. Following the parade will be guideboat, canoe and kayak races.

This year the one-person guideboat race will follow the traditional route on Lake Flower, carry around the dam and down the Saranac River to the Fish and Game Club where there will be food, refreshments ands festivities for the whole family. Canoes and kayaks will be following the one person guideboat course, also going down the river. For those wishing to race in either the guideboat, recreational canoe or kayak classes contact: 50thhanmer@gmail.com.

According to the Historic Saranac Lake Wiki (a great local online history source) Willard J. Hanmer, the son of Thoedore J. Hanmer “began working in his father’s boat shop as a child in about 1910, sticking tacks, caning seats and sanding hulls. He built his own shop in the 1920s.” The guideboat parade will be open to anyone wishing to display their guideboat. Natalie Bombard Corl Leduc, a participant in the inaugural race invites all past participants of the race to row in the parade. For those wishing to display their guideboats or participate in the guideboat parade contact: 50thhanmer@gmail.com.

Historic Saranac Lake Offers Lecture Series


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Historic Saranac Lake announced a new seminar series, titled “History Matters,” to be held in May in the John Black Room of the Saranac Laboratory. The three Thursday discussions will focus on various topics of interest in Saranac Lake’s past.

The talks are presented by Historic Saranac Lake in collaboration with Paul Smith’s College. The series begins on May 17, with “The Development of the APA”, a panel discussion with Sandy Hayes and Steve Erman, moderated by Jim Hotaling. On May 24, the topic will be “History of Homesteading in the Adirondacks,” with Brett McLeod of Paul Smith’s College. On May 31, the theme is “Remembering the Olympics,” a panel discussion with Howard Riley, Jack LaDuke and Jim Rogers.



Three Thursday Discussions beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the John Black Room of the Saranac Laboratory, 89 Church Street, Saranac Lake. Entrance is $5 / person, members of Historic Saranac Lake free. Light refreshments will be provided.

Historic Saranac Lake to Hold Annual Meeting


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Historic Saranac Lake will hold its Annual Meeting on November 1 at 7:00 PM, in the John Black Room of the Saranac Laboratory Museum in Saranac Lake. The meeting will feature a presentation of historic films by Jim Griebsch, featuring newly digitized footage of the Trudeau Sanitorium in 1929. The Kollecker film footage is shown courtesy of the Adirondack Room of the Saranac Lake Free Library.

An independent film and video director, Jim has spent time digitizing, restoring and editing 16mm spools of film from the 1920’s through the early 60‘s which have been archived in the Saranac Lake Free Library’s Adirondack Room.

Born in Saranac Lake, Jim is an award winning producer, director and director of photography with numerous film, television and interactive credits to his name during his 40+ year career. He co-founded and owned Heliotrope Studios Ltd., in Cambridge, Mass. He worked on the feature film Cold River in Saranac Lake. His work has taken him around the world. Jim and his wife Carol have returned to Saranac Lake to live and as he continues to travel to Boston to work with MediaElectric Inc., on a variety of projects.

Jim Griebsch recently joined the Board of Directors of Historic Saranac Lake. In its 31st year, Historic Saranac Lake is an architectural preservation organization that captures and presents local history from its center at the Saranac Laboratory Museum.

The meeting is open to all members of Historic Saranac Lake and the public at large. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, please contact Historic Saranac Lake at (518) 891-4606.

Enhancing Main St: Making Upper Floors Work Again


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Enhancing Main Street: Making Upper Floors Work Again is a free workshop that will be presented by the Preservation League of New York State on Tuesday, September 20, 2011 from 9:00 am – 3:30 pm at the Saranac Laboratory, 89 Church Street, Saranac Lake, NY.

This program will provide immediately useful information for property owners, developers, and preservation professionals including historic site managers, architects, consultants and accountants dealing with preservation project financing.



This workshop is in very high demand across New York State and this is the only time it is being offered in the North Country in 2011. While the workshop is free, seating is limited, and participants must register by Friday, September 16, 2011 for the 9/20 program.

The workshop’s featured presenters will include:

* Historic Preservation Program Analyst William Krattinger from the NYS Historic Preservation Office, who will discuss the advantages of Historic District designation;

* Joe Fama, architect and Executive Director of the Troy Architectural Program in Troy, who will explain how New York’s building codes and preservation can work together;

* Karl Gustafson of NYS Homes and Community Renewal, who will provide information on the New York State Main Street Program; and

* Gary Beasley, Executive Director of Neighbors of Watertown, who will discuss making the best use of upper floors.

Enhancing Main Street: Making Upper Floors Work Again is presented by the Preservation League of New York State and sponsored by Historic Saranac Lake; Adirondack Architectural Heritage; Empire State Development Corp., NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation; and NYS Homes and Community Renewal.

Historic Saranac Lake Unveiling Photo Exhibit


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On June 22, 2011, Historic Saranac Lake will unveil a new John Black Room Exhibit, “The Little City in the Adirondacks: Historic Photographs of Saranac Lake.” Created in collaboration with the Adirondack Room of the Saranac Lake Free Library, the exhibit features almost fifty framed historic photographs of Saranac Lake residents and buildings during the early part of the twentieth century.

The exhibit portrays a vibrant little city with a prospering and diverse economy. Saranac Lake grew quickly in the early 1900s to accommodate thousands of health seekers that came to the village seeking the fresh air cure for tuberculosis, made famous by Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau. The exhibit features the unique architecture of the village as well as photos of local residents at play and at work.

The photographs represent only small portion of the rich photo collection of the Adirondack Room of the Saranac Lake Free Library. Library curator, Michele Tucker graciously loaned the photos to Historic Saranac Lake, and a team of dedicated volunteers has worked to install the exhibit. Many of the photos were originally printed and framed by the late Barbara Parnass, who was one of the founding Board Members of Historic Saranac Lake in 1980.

The photograph exhibit replaces an earlier exhibit on World War I in Saranac Lake. The exhibit will be on display for twelve months. Plans are underway for a new, comprehensive exhibit on Saranac Lake history to be installed in the John Black Room in 2012.

The Saranac Laboratory Museum opens June 22. The public is invited to visit the new photo exhibit and the laboratory museum space during regular hours through October 7, Wednesday through Friday from 10:00 to 2:00, or any time by appointment. Admission is $5 per person, members and children free of charge.

Photo courtesy of the Adirondack Room, Saranac Lake Free Library.

Historic Tour of Saranac Lake Cure Sites


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Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) and Historic Saranac Lake (HSL) are offering a “Pioneer Health Resort Tour” in Saranac Lake, NY on Wednesday, June 15, 2011. The tour will be led by Mary Hotaling, former executive director of HSL, and current director, Amy Catania. It will include many of the buildings and sites that made Saranac Lake America’s “Pioneer Health Resort.”

The village’s late 19th- and early 20th-century history is closely tied to the treatment for tuberculosis developed by Dr. Edward L. Trudeau. The tour will include the Trudeau Institute, where we will see the first cure cottage, Little Red, and the bronze sculpture of Trudeau by Gutzon Borglum. We’ll visit the former Trudeau Sanatorium, Saranac Laboratory, the Cure Cottage Museum, and the Béla Bartók Cottage.

The tour begins at 10 a.m. and ends around 3 p.m. Be prepared for uphill walking. The fee is $35 for AARCH and HSL members and $45 for nonmembers. Tour attendees will also receive a copy of Cure Cottages, by Phillip L. Gallos. Reservations are required for all tours by calling AARCH at 834-9328.

Photo: Little Red cure cottage, Saranac Lake.

Farmers’ Museum Exhibit: New York’s Good Eats!


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Do the words “Buffalo Wings” make your mouth water or do you prefer Shredded Wheat? Either way, you can thank New York State for bringing you both of these foods and many others as well. A new exhibition at The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown tells the story of the foods that got their start in New York State. New York’s Good Eats! Our Fabulous Foods opens this Saturday, May 28th.

Several foods commonly eaten everyday across the nation were invented or first produced in New York State. Buffalo wings and potato chips are probably the most famous, but Thousand Island dressing was also created in the Empire State, and celery was first commercially farmed here. The exhibition will profile over a dozen foods – everything from Jell-O to Lifesavers to ice cream sundaes.

“New York has a rich agricultural and culinary history,” says Museum Curator Erin Richardson. “The whole family will enjoy learning about their favorite foods, discovering how they got their start, how they’ve changed, and the impact they have had.” In addition to fun food facts, New York’s Good Eats! will showcase important objects and artifacts, such as the oldest known tomato ketchup recipe, classic Jell-O molds, and an original packing crate for Shredded Wheat.

This new exhibition promises to be popular—not only because of the topic, but also because of how it is designed. “The Farmers’ Museum has developed an innovative, hands-on approach to engage visitors of all ages with this exhibition,” says Richardson. “From recipe sharing to an interactive family guide to trivia quizzes and coloring stations, there is something fun for everyone.”

New York’s Good Eats! Our Fabulous Foods opens Memorial Day Weekend on Saturday, May 28th in the Main Barn of The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y. The exhibition will run through October 2012. It is sponsored in part by Price Chopper, The Tianederrah Foundation, WMHT, Savor New York, and The New York State Council on the Arts. Visit FarmersMuseum.org for more information.

Illustration: The Saratoga Specialties Company makes potato chips according to the original recipe used by George Crum. The chips are made by hand and packaged in replica Moon’s Lake House take-out boxes. Ccourtesy of Saratoga Specialties Company.

Wife of Abolitionist John Brown Subject of Performance


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Author-historian Sandra Weber and musician David Hodges will present a dramatic performance of the life of Mary Day Brown, wife of radical abolitionist John Brown.

The Adirondack Museum‘s Cabin Fever Sunday series will return to Saranac Lake, New York on February 27, 2011. “Times of Trouble” with Weber and Hodges will be held at Saranac Village at Will Rogers. The time will be 2:00 p.m. The presentation will offered at no charge to museum members, residents of Saranac Village, and children of elementary school age or younger. The fee for non-members is $5.00.

Dressed in period costume, Weber and Hodges will weave narrative and song to share the little known life of Mary Brown. The poignant piece illustrates the significant role this plain woman played as wife of the radical abolitionist John Brown.

The program will present Mary’s early life and marriage as well as later tragedies involving bankruptcy, accidents, and death. The presentation closes with Mrs. Brown’s most difficult “times of trouble” in the aftermath of the raid on Harper’s Ferry. Sandra Weber has spent ten years researching the life of Mary Day Brown.

Weber is an author, storyteller, and independent scholar with special interest in the Adirondacks, Mary and John Brown, as well as women’s history. Her publishing credits include eight books and numerous articles in periodicals such as Civil War Times, Adirondack Life, Pennsylvania Magazine, and Highlights for Children.

In 2004 and 2005, Sandra Weber toured with folksinger Peggy Lynn performing stories from their book, Breaking Trail: Remarkable Women of the Adirondacks.

David Hodges has played guitar and bass for more than twenty years. He has performed with bands throughout New York, Texas and Pennsylvania and recorded CDs with “Mad Factory” and “Evil Twin.” Hodges currently plays with “Mr. Freeze,” a blues-rock band, and accompanies Sandra Weber in folk music performances.

Adk Museum Acquires Architecure Collection


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The library of the Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake, New York has acquired the archives of a major Adirondack architectural firm that include what museum officials are calling “the most important collection of historic architectural records in the Adirondack Park.”

The Saranac Lake firm began as William L. Coulter, Architect and ended more than a century of notable work as Wareham, DeLair Architects (WDA). Principals in the firm over time included Coulter; his partner, Max H. Westhoff who practiced solo after Coulter’s death; William G. Distin, Coulter’s protégé and Westhoff’s partner; Arthur Wareham, Distin’s partner; and Ronald H. Delair, partner since 1970.

The Adirondack Museum received the materials as a donation from Ronald DeLair, the firm’s final principal. According to museum librarian Jerry Pepper, the process to receive the collection began in the late 1970s. Official transfer of custody was completed in the late summer, 2010.

Pepper notes that DeLair took extraordinary care of the collection over time, and that the extensive material is very well organized. The collection is diverse as well as wide-ranging. The index alone is comprised of forty single-spaced pages.

Including thousands of architectural drawings and renderings for camps, residences, businesses, sanitarium, Olympic facilities, municipal buildings and churches, a certificate signed by President Theodore Roosevelt, as well as forty boxes of records and three-dimensional models, the collection documents some of the region’s most important architects.

Coulter was the first resident architect to establish a practice in the Adirondacks. Distin was a pioneer of the Adirondack style of architecture. A sample of his classic designs include “Camp Mossrock” on Upper Saranac Lake, “Camp Wonundra” built for William Rockefeller in 1934, and Eagle Nest, designed for Walter Hochschild in 1938.

Westhoff was a member of the original class at Pratt Institute and introduced a Swiss motif into the firm’s repertoire. Wareham completed design work for the Trudeau Institute and worked on numbers of libraries and municipal buildings. DeLair designed fewer camps than his predecessors, concentrating on public projects.

Wareham DeLair Architects, which celebrated it centennial in 1997, is the fifth oldest firm in continuous practice in New York State.

In addition to capturing the wide spectrum of regional architecture, the collection also illustrates changing tastes and building technology over time, and provides a unique and invaluable insight into the history of the Adirondacks.

Jerry Pepper says that the DeLair material builds on the Adirondack Museum’s already significant collections of architectural records that include drawings by William West Durant, Grosvenor Atterbury, Augustus Shepard, and John Burnham.

Photo: Trudeau Foundation Research Laboratory, Saranac Lake, NY. Distin and Wareham Architects, 1964. Collection of the Adirondack Museum.

Historic Saranac Lake Gets Preservation Grant


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Historic Saranac Lake (HSL) was recently awarded National Endowment for the Humanities Preservation Assistance Grant. The grant will support the services of a professional consultant and the purchase of storage materials for the HSL collection.

Eileen Corcoran, of Vergennes Vermont, will conduct a general preservation assessment and to help draft a long-range plan for the care of the HSL collection. She will also provide on site training to staff in methods and materials for the storage of collections, best practices for cataloging collections, and proper methods for the arrangement and description of archival collections.

Historic Saranac Lake houses a collection of letters and manuscripts, photographs and objects pertaining to the early scientific research of tuberculosis and care of TB patients in Saranac Lake, as well as a variety of items relating to the architecture and general history of the community. A number of these items are rare survivors of the many, many examples that once existed, such as an inspection certificate, or a record of patient treatments. They tell the story of a community of healing.

The Historic Saranac Lake collection is used for exhibitions, educational programs and by researchers. Historic Saranac Lake currently maintains two exhibitions at the Saranac Laboratory Museum. The main laboratory space is a model of a very early science lab. Visitors explore and gain an appreciation for the history of science by observing artifacts and letters on display such as early microscopes and laboratory equipment, early scientific journals and photographs of important men in the history of science.

An alcove in the laboratory has been arranged as an exhibit on patient care, another important facet of Saranac Lake’s TB history. Items from the collection are displayed such as a cure chair, photos of cure cottages, letters from patients, sputum cups, a pneumothorax machine for collapsing the lung, and items made by patients in occupational therapy. Visitors gain an understanding of the patient experience taking the fresh air cure in Saranac Lake.

The main floor meeting space contains another exhibition, “The Great War, WWI in Saranac Lake.” This exhibit includes letters from local soldiers, medals, photos, and a complete WWI uniform and supplies such as a gas mask and mess kit. The exhibit interprets this important time period in history and how it impacted Saranac Lake.

Historic Saranac Lake is a not-for-profit architectural preservation organization that captures and presents local history from their center at the Saranac Laboratory Museum. Founded in 1980, Historic Saranac Lake offers professional knowledge and experience to the public in support of Historic Preservation, architectural and historical research and education. HSL operates the Saranac Laboratory Museum and an online museum of local history at hsl.wikispot.org.

NEH is an independent grant-making agency of the United States government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities. Preservation Assistance Grants help small and mid-sized institutions—such as libraries, museums, historical societies, archival repositories, cultural organizations, town and county records offices, and colleges and universities—improve their ability to preserve and care for their humanities collections.