The state of the economy is in the local, national and political news every day. Comparisons are often made between this recession and the depression of the 1930s.
The Adirondack Room of the Saranac Lake Free Library, with my friend Michele Tucker as curator, has come up with a treasure about the depression. It is a piece from the Enterprise with a headline; "Saranac and Placid See Depression End as Big News of 1934."
Here is the lead on that story:
"Saranac Lake and Lake Placid may join in rejoicing over one outstanding accomplishment of 1934. This is the completion of the connecting concrete highway between the two communities. The completion if this highway is expected to promote business in both communities, and to make this area more attractive to guests and visitors."
Those residents and visitors of 1934 would be shocked to see the condition of that highway today. The most traveled road in the Adirondacks is nothing but patches and potholes, a very black eye for the DOT and it's not only for tourist traffica large number of residents from Saranac Lake and Lake Placid commute to work on that highway every single day.
Rumor has it now that the DOT is not going to repair the pedestrian overpass on the La Pan Highway (dedicated in 1958) If that is true, what is going on at the DOT? Throngs of kids from the French Hill region use that access to school every day plus the line of kids from all around town that come up that well worn trail from Dorsey Street to Dorsey Terrace every day. When those kids reach the highway there is no light or crosswalk.
Comparing the numbers
This is from "CNN Money" report on the Internet; I am using round numbers for the percentagesthe Depression figures are between January 1930 and March 1933; the Recession figures are between December 2007 and May 2009.
Depression bank failures 9,096, Recession 57; Depression unemployment, 25 per cent, Recession 8 per cent; Depression economic decline 26 per cent, Recession, 3 per cent; Depression, biggest decline in Dow Jones industrial average 89 per cent, Recession, 53; Depression increase in money supply by Federal Reserve 17 per cent, Recession, 125 per cent.
1934 economic indicators
"Another cause for satisfaction in both communities is the definite change in the commercial, financial and general economic picture during the year 1934. After 56 consecutive months of economic decline, a change was noted in July. Retail sales, bank clearings, and incoming visitors showed increases from July on, as compared with the same periods during 1933.
"It is believed that this six-month period of 1934 marks the beginning of the long climb out of the depression and back to prosperity for Saranac Lake and Lake Placid."
Highlights of 1934
JANUARY -?Lithgow Osborne, Conservation Commissioner asks federal help to combat Adirondack wolf invasion.
First child born in 1934 was Louise May Morehouse to Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Morehouse.
Mrs. Marguerite Lapointe Delisle, 31 Lake Street celebrates 91st birthday.
There was a 25 inch snowfall Jan. 6 to 11.
APRIL - Ice leaves Lower Lake; first boat appears on Lake Flower; 801 beavers trapped "in this section" during open season and the wind piled ice 10 feet high on an island in Lake Placid.
MAY - William Mott, veteran Adirondack guide drowns in Cranberry Lake; Nine forest fires reported over the weekend of May 9; Tupper Lake Village Board passes local law which forbids Sunday dancing; Disastrous Bay Pond fire sweeps 10,000 acres and Godfrey Dewey is named Lake Placid convention director.
Highlights of 1933
OCTOBER - Delaware & Hudson railroad discontinues Bloomingdale station; Work starts on an $11,000 addition to the Saranac laboratory; Harrietstown GOP Club formed; Season's first snowfall; William F. Straight shoots Dr. Nelson Johnson and Mrs. James Moody and then takes his own life; 2, 874 register for election and the Sons of the Legion were organized.
NOVEMBER - Report 273 fires in this district during the summer; Thomas F. Showers sentenced to serve 20 years to life for murder of Cleo Tellstone [Vermontville school girl] and a tombstone was erected for Cleo by her classmates; Junior Birdmen of America chapter organized; Financial drive starts to keep Free Library from closing doors; Local housing group founded; Municipal league starts drive to revive winter sports here and the Harrietstown voters went Republican on the national and county level and Democrat on the state level.
DECEMBER - New municipal skating rink on high school athletic field opens; 900 children entertained by Rotary Club at Christmas party in Berkeley Square; Merchants report increased sales and the New York State Troopers moved their substation to Ray Brook.