Whiteface Highway’s birthday

A page one headline on the Adirondack Daily Enterprise of July 20, 1960, read: “Today’s 25th Birthday of Whiteface Highway.”

“Twenty-five years ago today, on July 20, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the Whiteface Mountain Memorial Highway with the exuberant cry: ‘See the Adirondacks for a dollar.’

“This afternoon, following a press luncheon at the Sportsmen’s Inn in Wilmington, the Color Guard of the Plattsburgh Air Force Base was scheduled to be at the Toll House where the highway starts and to fire a volley in memory of the veterans in whose name the Whiteface memorial Highway was dedicated 25 years ago.

“Among the radio and television stations expected to be on hand for today’s ceremonies are WGY and WRGB in Schenectady, WEAV in Plattsburgh, WSET, Glens Falls and WNBZ of Saranac Lake.

“At the luncheon will be Arthur Draper, General Manager of the Adirondack Mountain Authority; Mike Muiry, assistant general manager; Carroll Yard, President of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce and James Loeb, Enterprise publisher and member of the Whiteface Authority.

“Eight life-time passes will be given away in honor of the occasion, as follows: to the first couple and to the first family to come to the toll gate at the time of the ceremonies; to the first New York couple and family; to the first Canadian couple and family and to the first out-of-state couple and family.

“Whiteface is one of the so-called natural attractions of the Adirondacks. Its contribution is scenery — mountains, lakes, ponds, rivers and what appears to be limitless acres of forest land. It’s a vast awe-inspiring panorama that brings visitors back year after year. Last summer 40,000 cars made the ascent with more than 100,000 passengers.

“The first recorded foot-ascent of Whiteface was made back in 1814. In the field notes, John Richards, a surveyor, stated that ‘no vegetation grows on the top of this remarkable hill.’ At this time ‘the remarkable hill’ was thought to be only 2,600 feet high. Perhaps after trudging up the steep, rough, pathless mountain-side, Richards was only too eager to correct the gross error. [Whiteface elevation is 4,867 feet.] “Franklin D. Roosevelt, the New York State Governor, turned over the first symbolic spade full of earth in September, 1929, thereby starting the construction of the Whiteface Memorial Highway. It was not until six years later, that then President Roosevelt returned to dedicate the highway to the Veterans of World War I.”

Bids on Big Tupper

“A special meeting of the town board was held Monday afternoon for the purpose of acting on the recommendations of the town engineer in regard to bids on the Big Tupper Ski Development.

“It was the recommendation that the bid of Bureau Brothers, Newcomb, for $75,156.85 on the Road and Parking Lot be rejected and re-advertised. The town will also re-advertise on the chairlift contract. There were no bids on the chairlift contract at the first opening of bids.

“The only change in specifications is in the Road and Parking lot area contract which has been changed to state that a corduroy road is to be built across the swamp instead of digging out the muck as stated in the first bid.

“The Board accepted the bids of the Upstate Logging Company on Contracts 2 and 3, clearing and grading of the T-Bar and Chairlift areas. The contracts were for $22,975.00 and $38,800. The bid for the hall Ski Lift Company of Syracuse for installation of the T-Bar lift was accepted by the board for $49,900.

“Bids on contracts 2, 3 and 5 were accepted tentatively pending new bids on items 1 and 4, Road and Parking area and chairlift.

“Supervisor Jack Vaillancourt was given authority to make formal application to the village for electric power at the ski development amounting to 500 horsepower.

“The board discussed preliminary plans on the proposed ski lodge.”

Will Rogers honors employee

“The patients of Will Rogers Hospital honored Mrs. Marie Southard on her 25th Anniversary of continued service recently with gifts and a special dinner at Cimbrec’s in Bloomingdale (the original Brookside Hotel).

“Mrs. Southard received the plaudits of both patients and staff for her unselfish devotion to the hospital since she came to work there in the mid-thirties.

“Among the patients who were present at the dinner were Frank Kaplan, Benton Ressler, Marion McLaughlin, Leonard Berard, Claudette Bassett, Mildred Farquhar and Arthur Jackson Slattery (who was also an Enterprise columnist).”

The rigors of mortis

Bill McLaughlin’s column — “Merely Local” — in this Enterprise of 63 years ago carried the sub-head printed above. I could not resist this piece that leads off a full column about the event.

“A dog died on Upper Broadway the other day. For the funeral fol-de-rol they dusted off ex-undertaker Tuff Latour. The whole ceremony was a tear jerker from the word Go.

“The central figure was Dew drop Morgan’s old Dalmatian, ‘Checkers’, who had run his course and while never distinguishing himself in any particular way, had made the kids of the neighborhood happy.

“Tuff had to do the honors and his services would have run pretty high except that ‘Checker’s neighborhood is Tuff’s neighborhood too. He took the job out of pure neighborliness.

“So you see, even local pets often make newspaper headlines. People get so attached to their animals that it is not unusual to leave their pile of gold or incoming dividend checks to insure Fido a full dinner pail even after the owner pop off.”

When Bill Doolittle bought the Enterprise, he invited me to lunch and said: “Imagine that you just bought the newspaper and tell me what changes you would make.”

I replied that the very first thing I would do is hire Bill McLaughlin back, as he had left the paper about a year before … and that is exactly what Bill Doolittle did.


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