More breaking news from 1926

This photo has nothing to do with today’s column, but it is an interesting group of “tree planters” who were probably also “tree huggers.” The photo came to me through my neighbor Luanne Keith Riley (no relation) and Marc Wanner, grand exalted ruler of the Historic Saranac Lake Wiki page. Luanne got the picture from a collection belonging to her aunt, Mary Ellen Keith, long serving supervisor of the town of Franklin. Marc ran across a story about tree planting on the Oregon Plains Road, which loosely connects Vermontville and Onchiota. Now please, dear readers, try to identify someone, anyone ... some relative, some friend, some neighbor in the photo. Tell us about it and you will win one free copy of that Saturday’s Enterprise. (Photo courtesy of Luanne Riley)

Residents today wonder why Saranac Lake coined the logo; “Little City of the Adirondacks” … that’s because it was a little city … with a cultural and sophisticated atmosphere about the community brought about by the patients who came here to cure for tuberculosis; their friends and relatives who filled the town as visitors and because the William Morris Theatrical Agency headquartered in California built Camp Intermission on Lake Colby bringing first class theatre to the village.

Following are a couple of stories from the front page of The Enterprise dated Wednesday, July 28, 1926 that helps support that thesis…

Famous artists perform here

“An unusually fine music program has been arranged for the benefit concert to be given in the Pontiac Theatre next Friday evening, July 30, for the support of the work of the Tuberculosis Society.

“Mr. Socrate Barozzi, the violinist who has appeared with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, will give several solos, accompanied on the piano by Mr. Carl Lamson, who plays Kreisler’s accompaniments.

“Miss Betty Paulus, the contralto, and Mr. Bruce Benjamin, the tenor, both of New York, will sing two groups of solos.

“There will be four numbers by the Russian Ballet, danced by Mlle. Oguinska, premiere danseuse of the Grand Opera of Paris, and Mr. Pierre Malakoff, of the Imperial Theatre of Petrograd.

“Mr. Walter Galde of New York, who arranged many of the details of the program, as in the three years previous, will play the accompaniments for several of the artists.

“A few desirable reserved seats are still available at the office of the Society, 64 Main Street.”

Locals used in motion picture

“Adirondack residents and visitors will this summer have opportunity to take part in a motion picture that is to be produced and exhibited for the benefit of the North Woods sanatorium which is to be erected here by the Adirondack Fund for Tuberculosis. [I am not sure, but it may have been the three-story cure cottage Northwoods, all one word, located at 9 Church Street which burned down.]

“John Cohen, of moving picture fame, is to have charge of the production, and will have headquarters at Lake Placid. Persons interested in becoming members of the cast should get in touch with William Morris at his Camp Intermission at Lake Colby.

“To further swell the fund, arrangements have been made to give instruction in motion picture acting to those who are accepted for parts at the price of $50 per pupil. Those assisting in the direction of the film and in the training are to serve without charge so that all of the proceeds will go to the sanatorium project.

“When completed the film is to be exhibited in Saranac Lake for the first run.”

Follow up to town hall fire story

The same copy of the Enterprise quoted above had the story of the fire that destroyed the town hall. The fire was on a Tuesday, the coverage was on a Wednesday.

This could not happen today…that is the plans being made the next day to build a new town hall and a new printing plant for The Enterprise at 76 Main Street. The ‘red tape’ would bring this project to a standstill … not in 1926. To wit:

“Efforts were concentrated on saving offices on the first floor, the mechanical department of The Enterprise [how did they get this paper out the very next day? It seems that I had read somewhere previously that it was published by the Malone Evening Telegram] in the basement, and the lodge rooms of the Saranac Lake Lodge, No. 659 I.O.O.F., on the second floor. In past years this had been the village’s theatre and was still used for occasional public gatherings. The loss was partly covered by insurance.

“Town officials yesterday took immediate steps for construction of a new town hall. Plans were bring prepared by Scopes & Feustmann, local architects and preliminary sketches are to be ready for consideration at a meeting of the town board later this week. It is proposed to start building immediately so the structure can be enclosed by winter time.

“The new plant for The Enterprise is to be located on the rear of the lot occupied by the business block at 72-76 Main Street. Excavation for the foundation was started yesterday afternoon [the day of the fire] under the direction of Thomas P. McCormick, contractor and work on the plans is being rushed by William G. Distin, architect. The plant will be an addition to the present building, and will be of fireproof construction. The temporary offices of The Enterprise will be maintained at 66 Main Street between the Chamber of Commerce offices and the Berkeley Hotel building.”