A lot of changes in 125 years

Now, I guess this is bragging, but I have been associated with The Adirondack Daily Enterprise for 77 years of the125 years that it has existed.

I was a newsboy in 1942, then I went to work in the composing room in 1951: page make up, linotype operator, circulation manager, reporter, managing editor and general manager followed, leaving the Enterprise 23 years later in 1974.

Then in 2002 when I retired as village manager, my newspaper career continued as a columnist for the Enterprise, which is what this is, a column that I hope you are reading.

This was all prompted by the announcement of Enterprise Publisher Cathy Moore that the Enterprise will now be delivered by the U.S. Post Postal Service because newspaper carriers motorized or otherwise, are hard to come by … although carriers will still be performing on numerous routes.

Mrs. Moore is working on a special section or edition for the 125th anniversary, so I don’t want to steal her thunder with this brief history.

Special edition at 75th anniversary

Rip (Jerome Ripley) Allen, one of the best Enterprise reporters ever; with a degree in English Literature from Cornell University; author and veteran of the Peace Corps serving in Guinea. There, he and his late wife, Heidi also in the Peace Corps, met James Loeb, U.S. ambassador to Guinea and Enterprise publisher.

Where was I? Or yes, Rip wrote a lot of the stories for the 75th edition including this excerpt …

“On April 9, 1892, the first newspaper in Saranac Lake came into being. This was the Adirondack Pioneer, a one page local weekly, six columns with one line heads, owned by Benjamin Woodruff, one of the pioneer settlers of the area and published by William F. Mannix.

“News of the outside world mostly had to be gleaned from outside newspapers such as the Plattsburgh Morning Telegram or another newspaper then being published in Malone.

“It was two years before the advent of the Adirondack Enterprise. Saranac Lake was already a thriving tuberculosis center, though difficult to reach. Because trains were routed through Rouses Point, the train trip to Malone covered 150 miles.”

The Enterprise, Jan. 5, 1911

“Agitation for a curfew ordinance will continue, according to a decision reached by the Village Improvement Society Tuesday morning.

“It is not for those children who are on their way from one place to another, or for those who are accompanied by parent or guardian; it is for the children who make a practice of loitering on the street late at night when every reason of health and morality demands that they should be home in bed.

“Mrs. DeLaMater and other ladies present said they had seen many children of tender years loitering about the doorways of stores and other public places late at night.”

[Two things here … a strict editor later made sure reporters referred to females in stories as women, not ladies … because all females are women he reasoned but not all females are ladies.

[The curfew was passed and was still enforced when we were in our early teens in the 1940’s. Kids up to age 16 had to be off the streets by 9:30 p.m. Police officer, big Matt Jones, would come along in front of Bernie Wilson’s Restaurant at 4 Broadway, the most popular teen handout, and gently tell us to ‘move along home now, it’s after 9:30.’ I was not part of that, I was always home, I just happened to hear about it. Now I had to add that last part because I know I will be hearing about it from my proof reader, critic and friend, Leslie Egglefield Brownell.]

Carriers and newsboys

The 26 newsboys when I was one of them, covered almost every household in Saranac Lake every day … local circulation slightly over 3,000 with another 1,000 going out from our mail room.

Girls could not deliver newspapers because they could not be employed in a street trade. However, after Mary Hennessy, one of the big family of handsome kids of Mr. and Mrs. Tom Hennessy of 14 Helen Street, joined the newsboys and she broke the mold … is that a run-on sentence, or what?

Every one of those 1,000 newspapers were wrapped by hand in brown sheets just the proper length and width to securely hold the paper. The top of that brown sheet was already addressed by being fed through an addressograph; clever name, eh?

The paper was six days a week and 3 cents a copy as witnessed by the logo above this column. We had to collect 18 cents a customer every Saturday and return to the Enterprise to pay our bill. We were independent contractors, you see, and if we collected enough on Saturday to pay our bill, whatever remained to be collected during the week was ours.

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