Meet the King
Philip “Bunk” Griffin is described as an odd duck, and a unique one. In addition to being a lifelong resident, he is also fourth generation.
In the course of his 50-year career as a cook he worked at two classic town dining establishments. While on duty at the Dew Drop Inn he saw pranksters changing the Hotel Saranac signs to read “Hot Sara.” At Tyson’s, where he cooked from midnight to 8 a.m., he was said to have seen sights and heard conversations that would have made a lesser man faint.
He has been a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks for 30 years, holding the rank of leading knight, and is also a member of Historic Saranac Lake.
He’s an artist who painted the famous bobsled mural on the wall of Chuck’s Bar, and for years he drew a comic strip for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and the Lake Placid News. His quirky, adorable local character Mountain Al was featured on a T-shirt with the wording, “Welcome to Saranac Lake, Official Olympic Parking Lot.” The shirts were so popular the Olympic Committee sent him a cease-and-desist order, which he promptly obeyed — as soon as the last T-shirt was sold.
Griffin was married to the late Pauline M. Gardner Griffin. He has two daughters, Kary and Kelly, who are incredibly proud of their dad and all of his accomplishments. He also has two grandchildren, Christopher Karley Grace.
He enjoys bringing his grandchildren on adventures throughout the Adirondacks and bestows upon them his great stories and memories of the good old days gone by.
A self-taught computer whiz, he built and maintained a website featuring all things Saranac Lake. In addition to demonstrating his skills as a premier local historian, it has been a source of memorabilia, reminiscences, oddball anecdotes, eulogies and a way for townies long gone from town to stay in touch with their past as well as with each other.