Saranac Lake welcomes N.Y. Giants

PICTURE OF THE WEEK: Pictured above is Broadway with dirt streets and heavy power lines in 1909. Now today, just past Chester’s Coal and Wood establishment, one can stop in at the Main Street Exchange and say hi to Tori, and then stroll across the bridge and say hi to Shelley at the fancy donut shop. No cars, just horse and buggies — a dapper gentleman in the foreground and a lady in a white dress walking up the wooden sidewalks. Dirt streets must have been tough to plow when it was snowing, but then, hey, they are already sanded! (Photo Courtesy of the Adirondack Room of the Saranac Lake Free Library – 83.875)

It was a big day in the history of sports in Saranac Lake 73 years ago when 1,500 residents packed the New York Central Depot to greet the New York Giants football team.

Maybe I should let ‘Doc’ Hodgkins, Enterprise ‘Sportswriter’ tell the story. A big, 72-point boldface headline at the top of page one read — “HUGE CROWD GREETS N.Y. GIANTS”.

Edited excerpts:

“An estimated 1,500 local residents, headed by Mayor Alton B. Anderson and the village board, were on hand to greet the New York Football Giants as they arrived at Saranac Lake depot this morning.

“The Municipal Band was also present, and even though the train was nearly an hour late, no one left to go to business until the squad of some 50 players was greeted.

“Depot street has seldom, if ever, been so clogged with cars as it was this morning when the entire community turned out to welcome the finest looking group of football talent to ever step off a train in Saranac Lake. Young, big and all fine specimens with past records of greatness on the gridiron, were royally received.

“As the train arrived bearing Head Coach Steve Owen’s 1949 edition of football greats, nothing had been overlooked to make the greeting a great one. The band raised the tempo of enthusiasm of the vast crowd that seemed to stretch the entire length of the platform.

“Buses were provided to transport the players to ‘The Nest’ [so named when it was previously quarters for the Philadelphia Eagles] on Lake Street, and village trucks took care of the baggage.”

‘Doc’ went on and on about the condition of the players; an interview with the coach and the guys inspection of the football field on Petrova Avenue.

The reporter, however, must have been so taken with getting a chance to write about a famous sports team he never said one word about the mayor’s greeting or anything else about what transpired at the depot.

He did include this: “At 6:30 tonight the Giants’ squad will receive their second barrel of greetings when they will be entertained at an Adirondack Flapjack dinner at the Fish and Game Club on the Bloomingdale Road.”

Back then there was seldom any local news on page one and even fewer local photos. The process to transform the photo from the camera to the page was a long one.

Let’s stick with sports news

“The Saranac Lake Fireman softball team handed the New York Tel team its first Municipal League loss last night, 9-7, when they combined three hits with two bases on balls and two errors to push across five runs in the sixth inning. The Tel team was short-handed, playing but with nine men with ‘Rube’ Skeels and other regulars absent.

“Bill Goetz scored for the Tel team in the first inning on a line drive that was well tagged. There was no scoring in the second inning but the league leaders pushed over five in the top of the third on a hit by Hoyt and four errors. Hank Homburger scored in the top of the fourth, Bill Goetz singled but was erased at second as the run came in.”

The above excerpt was to get a feel of how much fun and entertainment was provided to the public by the local adult sports teams.

Also mentioned on the Tel team — usually only last names mentioned or an initial, so I am filling in the first names where I recognize them — were Devine, Peter Farrell, LaHart, Trushaw, Hoyt, Dandrow and Ed Goetz. Golly, I didn’t know my pal Ed, all-around athlete and former colleague on the town board, was that old; or maybe it was a relative of his?

The Firemen mentioned Howard Ellithorpe, Nat Pratt, ‘Pappy’ Dukett, Dick Toohey, Morgan, Saumier, ‘Monk’ Flagg, Mclaughlin and Waterstraat.

The Ray Brook Ramblers were set to meet the Lake Placid Majestics on Friday evening while the Brighton Blues were playing the House of David team under the lights at the Blues field in Gabriels.


A former event that was always high on the entertainment list for the summer was canceled.

“The Saranac lake Boat and Waterways Club decided to drop all plans for a local regatta this summer at a meeting held in Hotel Saranac’s Oak room last night.

“The decision was made after 170 letters sent to local boat owners inviting their participation in the regatta netted only 30 answers.

“While we are grateful to the 30 for their interest Commodore Charles Keough said, the number is not enough to make a regatta worthwhile.

“The Club members leaned that the marking of Lower Saranac Lake has been completed by Gordon Vosburgh, Sr., and Gordon Vosburgh, Jr. The men also reported progress in marking the Saranac River.”


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