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Tupper Lake village election, 1932

We missed the big election in Tupper Lake held March 15 by 89 years.

This story is for my niece Patti Sparks Littlefield, town supervisor of Tupper Lake, and Paul Maroun, mayor of the village of Tupper Lake.

Patti’s dad John Sparks and I were pals since we were teenagers. Anyone who knew us then probably would not have guessed we were mayor material, but years later he was mayor of Tupper Lake and I was mayor of Saranac Lake. John went on to serve as Franklin County legislator, for whom the North Country Community College sports complex is named.

Patti is married to Kevin Littlefield, son of John Littlefield and my sister Rita Riley Littlefield. Both Johns passed way too young.

Mayor Maroun, a close family friend, was kind enough to write a testimonial for Volume II of my book “You Know What …?” He is also a member of the Franklin County Board of Legislators … a post he has held, I believe, since his First Communion.

This formal picture of Tupper Lake village Mayor Paul Martin was apparently taken when he was town supervisor, since that is how he is identified on the back of the photo. (Photo and details courtesy of Ben Gocker at the Goff-Nelson Memorial Library, Tupper Lake)

Littlefield and Maroun are two family names, along with many others, synonymous with Tupper Lake history.

The election

Also on the election ballot was a proposition to have the chamber of commerce spend $1,500 to “promote and advertise Tupper Lake as a year around resort for tourists and sports seekers” and this second proposition — “to allocate $5,000 to purchase a site for the establishment of a permanent and beautiful public park.”

Written in pencil on the back of this photo is the following: “from the left — Ptl. Duquette, CH Frank Sheldon, Albert Deshaw, Thomas Somers, Arenil Baril [sp?], Mayor Paul Martin — Village Board. First Macadam Road — Cliff Avenue, 1928, Windsor Hotel on right.” (Photo and details courtesy of Ben Gocker at the Goff-Nelson Memorial Library, Tupper Lake)

We know that proposition passed, because witness the beautiful park on the water on Demars Boulevard — the headquarters for events all summer long: Woodmen’s Field Days, the Tinman, fairs and flea markets, and it goes on and on.

So thank you again to Douglas N. Callander, who was managing editor of the Malone Evening Telegram on Friday, March 4, 1932, for saving me this treasured copy of that newspaper from which the following is taken.

“The municipal annual elections in Tupper Lake for several years have been tame affairs with only the Republican party in the field.

“The election this year, which will take place on March 15, bids fair to create some of the old time excitement we were wont to have in the earlier days.

“The 1932 election will bring two tickets before the voters, as the Republican and Democratic parties each have a ticket in the field, although there are only two officers to be elected this year.

“The Republicans have nominated Albert J. Deshaw and Henry D. Rule as trustees to succeed themselves.

“The Democrats have placed on their tickets the names of Frank J. Wood and Napoleon Grenier for the post of trustees.

“Grenier, a Faust merchant and formerly a Trustee for some time was defeated in caucus two years ago by Rule for a place on the Republican ticket. Grenier now seeks a return to office on the opposition ticket. Both sides are working hard and much speculation is rife as to the outcome.”

Vote on two propositions

“Added spice will be given to the contest and help to bring out a record vote by the two propositions to be submitted.

“The first proposition is for $1,500 to be used through the Chamber of Commerce and under the advisory cooperation of the village officials, to promote and advertise Tupper Lake as a year around resort for tourists and sports seekers.

“The second proposition is for $5,000 to purchase a site for the establishment of a permanent and beautiful public park, a feature the village does not possess within its incorporated limits.

“The land under discussion is a parcel nearly one-fifth of a mile long, from 150 to 300 feet in width, following the shore of Racket Pond. It begins at the line of the William Trudeau property below the lower end of Cliff Avenue and extends along the water from lands owned by the Oval Wood Dish Corporation and the Ottawa Railroad uptown station.

“It is situated within 50 rods of the heart of Tupper Lake’s main business section, making it easy access to residents and the public.

“Several months ago, Mayor Paul Martin secured an option on the tract from Ferris J. Meigs, an official of the Santa Clara Lumber Company, the present owner.

“Mr. Meigs also stated to Mayor Martin that he would deed, free of charge to the village, all that land situated near the W. D. Wilson flour and feed plant, on which formerly stood the ‘Big Mill’ that was dismantled and removed two years ago. The later provision was to be made in the event that the purchase of the park site should be ratified by the voters.

“If the vote is favorable Mayor Martin states that a large force of unemployed men will be given work at once, to clean up the underbrush and stumps and get the park ready for use next summer.”

(Many things have changed since those long-ago days. Without too much exaggeration — if any village board today had that project, i.e. “ready for use next summer,” maybe it would be ready the summer after. Today you would have to hire an engineer, an architect, a consulting firm, a law firm specializing in surface water testing, the APA, the DEC and the Citizens to Protect the Adirondacks Society.)

“He also said that it is planned to build a road from the foot of Cliff Avenue, skirting the edge of the park and joining Demarse [sic] Boulevard at a point near the N.Y.C. and O.R.R. crossing just below Wilsons.

“Such action would create a fine thoroughfare and eliminate much of the danger incurred by heavy trucking in the curve near the American House.

“The project as planned is tentative, however, and depends upon the voters’ action on March 15 and it is anticipated that the result will be close.”

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