The SLPD police blotter, June 1939

This photo was published in the Enterprise on June 5, 1973, as part of a picture page celebrating former Saranac Lake police Chief Bill Wallace on the occasion of his death.

My readers love the entries carried in the old police blotters. But now, however, I have been through all the copies available. This last one in my possession will be returned shortly to the Saranac Lake village vaults on Van Buren Street.

The street is named for Van Buren Miller, who was one of the first settlers in the village. Mr. Miller moved here from Wilmington, married to Sarah Eleanor Malbone of Wilmington, and they raised a family of eight children here.

He was town justice for 33 years and Harrietstown supervisor for 14 terms.


Police work was a little different in Saranac Lake 82 years ago … mostly kids making too much noise, dogs barking and drunks staggering around town and disturbing restaurant patrons.

6-7-39 — 9:30 a.m. William M. Fraser reports that someone stole a bill fold from his pants pocket. [I thought, at first, the cops were looking for a “pickpocket,” but Fraser was not wearing his pants at the time.] His pants were hanging in the closet of room 21 at the Hotel Saranac. Fraser states that a Mr. Foot, rooming with him, got up at 6 a.m. and went out about 7 a.m. [Hmmm …] and left the door unlocked. Mr. Fraser got up at 8:30, and his bill fold was missing. The bill fold contained one $50 bill, two $10 bills and a one dollar bill. The bill fold was black with an Elks head on it. A maid, Mrs. Slater and two bellhops, Gibbs and Brown, were helping to search for the bill fold. — Higgins & Tyler

6-10-39 — 7 p.m. Call from Hotel Saranac for police. Investigated and found three fellows from Plattsburgh who had been fighting but were all quiet when we arrived. Bartender did not want them put out but wanted them “to take it easy.” We told them to quiet down, and they said they were leaving right away, anyway. — Ryan & Tyler

6-12-39 — 11:30 p.m. Call from Mrs. Hubbard, 28 South Hope Street. Said there was a drunk prowling around in her driveway. Said she was alone and very nervous. Investigated and found Herb Mason of Lake Clear asleep in the grass but lying partly in the driveway, drunk as hell. Brought him down and locked him up for P.I. [public intoxication]

6-13-39 — 6:15 p.m. Call from Mrs. Carpenter that a gas main on the Baker Bridge [Pine Street] was leaking and the gas was burning. I called the gas works and talked to Mr. Fogarty, who came and put the fire out. His truck was out of commission, so I took him to Gladd’s Garage to get some tools and then drove him home. We think lightning struck the bridge and started the fire as the call came right after an extra big bolt of lightning and a loud crash of thunder. — Jones

6-15-39 — 1 a.m. Call from Mrs. Moss, 32 Duprey Street. Investigated by Tyler and Higgins. Family argument. Mr. Pete Moss had been drinking and broke some dishes. Mrs. Moss didn’t want him arrested. Told him to get to bed and not cause any more trouble tonight. — Higgins

6-16-39 — 5:45 a.m. Complaint from N.V.A. [Will Rogers Hospital] about dogs howling and disturbing the patients. Looked around, couldn’t find any dogs.

6-16 — 9:30 p.m. Complaint from N.V.A. about dogs barking near there. Found husky dog and small dog belong to Archie Lyons Jr. and Roland Lyons. We told them this was their last warning about keeping the dogs quiet before a summons would be issued.

6-17-39 — 5:45 a.m. Complaint from N.V.A. about dogs barking and howling up near there. Investigated and found them to be 3 hounds belonging to Arthur and Nelson Charland. Warned them to keep the dogs quiet. Disposed of a female dog for Roland Lyons and a husky dog belonging to Archie Lyons Jr. — Higgins & Tyler

6-17-39 — 10:30 p.m. Complaint from a resident about the kids raising hell in the Broadway school yard. Chased the kids away and warned them if found there again they, with their parents, would be bought before the judge. [Then again, on June 18 at 8:45 p.m.] A complaint from Mrs. Tuthill about kids making a lot of noise in the Broadway School yard [located behind the former E&M Market]. Told her we would send the kids away at 9 o’clock. — Jones

6-19-39 — 7:30 p.m. Call from Mrs. Anne Daigneau of 24 Franklin Avenue. Complained that she had six men rooming with her for 4 nights. These men had been working on a paving job at Woody’s Gas Station at 70 River Street [later Big Red Hogle’s Chop Shop]. They had taken their baggage and left last [Saturday] night without paying their room rent. I investigated at the gas station and was told that the job was not finished and that the men had gone home for the weekend and would be back tomorrow to finish the job and would settle for the rooms. Gave above information to Mrs. D. — Jones

6-21-39 — 2:20 a.m. Call from Mrs. Craig, 11 Park Place. Wanted to see police right away. Investigated by Higgins and Brown. A fellow up there by the name of Ned Walsh, age 35, came home drunk last night. He’s a sick man, and Mrs. Craig says he is going out of his head. Had cut his arms in several places with a razor blade but not bad [?]. Gave him a couple of Sodium Anatole tablets, and he went to sleep. [That is a strong sedative that now probably requires a prescription. I wish I knew when he woke up.] Mrs. Craig did not want police to go to his room because he might become frightened and didn’t know what he would do then. Wanted to know what she could do with him. Advised her to call Dr. Trembley in the morning, and she said she would do that. Also told her to give us a ring if he should wake up and start raising a rumpus. Walsh is a roomer there. — Brown


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