Seeking approval for new hotel

The proposed new Ampersand Hotel on the site of the old Ampersand Hotel destroyed by fire on the night of Sept. 23, 1907, didn’t need approval from the town, the state, zoning boards or the APA.

Nope, in 1922, seeking approval only from the Chamber of Commerce and the community to build this grand hotel on Lower Saranac Lake. If one drove almost to the end of Lake Street and looked across the lake to the other shore, that was the location of the hotel with the entrance off the Forest Home Road.

Albert Einstein loved Lower Saranac and spent five summers at the Knollwood Camp. He was a guest there when World War II ended in 1945. In the 1930s he had rented a summer home in the Glenwood Estates.

Anyone who has the slightest interest in history finds in research how inaccurate the “alternate” facts can be.

Saranac Lake hotels along with the resort hotel Paul Smith built and operated on St. Regis were in the big time back in the day. Can one imagine The New York Times today carrying a story, or even an ad about a hotel in Saranac Lake.

Confusing stories

In a brochure of the old Hotel Ampersand found in the archives of the Adirondack Room of the Saranac Lake Free Library where all of this information came from, is the following: “Ampersand Hotel opened in 1888. The main building burned to the ground the night of Sept. 23, 1907, after which the hotel was operated as a cabin complex until the property was acquired by the state.”

I did not find any story about the state owning the property.

Maybe the hotel opened in 1888 but I also found this piece of history:

“New York Times, May 26, 1895 – HOTEL AMPERSAND – Saranac Lake, Franklin County, New York. Eaton & Young Managers. Opens June 1, closes Oct. 1. Accommodations 275 persons. Board, $4 per day; from $21 per week upward. Ten hours from The Greater New York. Reached by the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad.”

Here are excerpts from the above stock subscription: “We the undersigned, hereby agree to form a stock corporation [no signatures, I have a blank copy] under the Business Corporation Law of the State of New York for the purpose of purchasing approximately 150 acres of land from the Ampersand Realty Company, Inc., including all the shore front owned by said corporation on Lower Saranac Lake, and erecting, equipping, furnishing and maintaining thereon a hotel, cottages and other buildings appropriately connected therewith and operating or leasing the same, etc……”

“It is also understood that said corporation shall be financed by means of a loan secured by mortgage not exceeding $450,000 with interest thereon at the rate not exceeding 6 per cent per annum; by preferred stock amounting to $350,000 being 3,500 shares at a par value of $100 each, said preferred stock being 7 per cent non-cumulative for three years and cumulative thereafter etc……”

“It is further agreed that in case the full amount of preferred stock and the loan above provided for shall not be arranged for before June 10, 1922, then all payments made on account of this subscription shall be returned in full.

“Payments may be made to Frank E. Kendall, Chairman, or to George H. Gazley of New York, at the option of the subscriber.”

This document was dated March 21, 1922.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.75/week.

Subscribe Today