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Letters from the Porch (Historic Saranac Lake)

Life in the graveyard

Graveyards are for the living. It’s something I think about every autumn when Pine Ridge Cemetery comes alive with children on our annual fifth grade field trip. Ahead of time, the students research a person buried there. As we walk down to the graveyard from school, excitement builds. Upon ...

The luxury of health

Since we first opened our museum doors in 2009, thousands have come to learn about Saranac Lake’s history as a center for tuberculosis research and treatment. Visitors often ask about the cost of care and who was able to afford it. Was Saranac Lake’s fresh-air treatment just for rich ...

Animal friends

During these days of solitude, many of us are finding great comfort in our animal friends. Blissfully unaware of troubles in the world, our pets are thrilled that their humans are spending more time at home. Pets are a source of companionship and joy for us now, just as they were for the ...

Lessons in public health

Today, the planet is taking a crash course on the limitations of modern medicine and the complications of human disease. It is a good time to look back and see what Saranac Lake’s history might teach us about public health. From our place in the world of modern medicine and science, it ...

Essential workers in history

Saranac Lake’s tuberculosis economy depended on the labor of many essential workers. In honor of today’s heroes, here are a few favorite stories of brave helpers in local history. Nurses and doctors risked their own health providing care and companionship to tuberculosis patients far ...

Letters from the Porch: The great outdoors

Many Saranac Lakers find themselves heading outside during these unsettling times. In the woods around us we find a sense of peace, a place where human worries and sickness feel far away. In fact, the natural environment of the Adirondacks is at the heart of our history as a center for ...

Letters from the Porch: The joy of exercise

The old neighborhoods of Saranac Lake are lively these days as people of all ages take a break from solitude to go out walking at all hours. Like the tuberculosis patients of the past, we are eager to stretch our legs, breathe some fresh air and wave to a friendly face across the ...

Letters from the Porch: Arts, crafts gave patients a sense of purpose

During the years Saranac Lake was a health resort, many tuberculosis patients filled their time by making arts and crafts. These activities furnished a crucial sense of purpose for people struggling with isolation and boredom. Before antibiotics, there was no real cure for TB, so doctors ...

Letters from the Porch: gifts of music

To the editor: Dear friends: It has been a difficult week. Our hearts go out to friends and family coping with the coronavirus and to the brave medical professionals on the front lines of this crisis. In an effort to fill up the silence of social distance, many of us are turning to the ...

Letters from the Porch: radio contact

To the editor: During this time of social distancing to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, I have been thinking about our local history as a tuberculosis health community. TB patients came up with creative ways to combat isolation. Spending much of their time alone, often far from ...