Changing Saranac Lake to Trudeau

The Enterprise, Jan. 26, 1911

It’s incredible that this 112-year-old copy of the Enterprise contains a letter to the editor in praise of Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau from a former patient who knew him personally — suggesting that the village of Saranac Lake change its name to Trudeau.

The letter writer was Michael J. Egan who arrived in Saranac Lake in 1901 on a stretcher, weighing 100 pounds suffering from tuberculosis. He was well known as world handball champion and probably equally as well known as a sparring partner for world champion heavyweight boxers gentleman Jim Corbett and James Jackson Jefferies. Newspapers stories around the country said Egan had only a short time to live.

Egan recovered, married and settled in Saranac Lake. He became a leading resident and businessman and at one time ran for a seat in New York state Senate.

The letter

One Who Regained His Health Tells Why Saranac Lake Should Be Changed to Trudeau

To the Editor

“Dear Sir — Through the courtesy of the Adirondack Enterprise, allow me to say a few words of a personal nature on behalf of Dr. Trudeau. Through his influence I have regained my health, which is beyond millions of dollars to me. The least that I may expect, and which I sincerely hope may come to pass is that the people of Saranac Lake will join with me in advocating the cause of changing the name of Saranac Lake to Trudeau. This is only the small return of an honor that should be heaped upon him. Through his courageous efforts Saranac Lake is what it is today, so therefore we should join and rejoice in this victory of calling Saranac Lake after its universal distinguished citizen, Dr. Trudeau.

“It is significant that nearly always, when the passion of fury of any important conflict has subsided, those who have stoutly fought the idea of changing the name of Saranac Lake to Trudeau will become some of his staunchest friends. His retention in power for so long and continuous is an incontestable proof to the warm regard and favor in which the people of America hold him. He has wonderful power and yet there is no secret of mystery about the way he retains it. The prominent characteristic, in him, which I call our leader, is absolute honesty in dealing with the people, and by honesty, I mean more than the mere sense of obligation of which we sometimes speak of commercial honor.

“I mean more than the mere sense to obey the law and discharge legal obligations. I mean that he is frank, candid, loyal and courageous. To his friends he is true as an object to its shadow, and the promises he makes to them are vigorously kept, irrespective of whether the consequences would harm him or not. His simple straightforward way goes to the heart of all who know him and unites them to him in bonds of affection stronger than steel. His private life is simple and unassuming. He does not pretend to be what he is not. He is a plain old-fashioned citizen who lives modestly and who hates ostentation. He never claims perfection, but in time of moulding his character which will produce one which will merit a high need of praise.

“His kind disposition makes association with him a pleasure and endears him to the hearts of all those that know him. His charities are large and his benefactions are dispensed by ways and means known to no one except himself, but if those who he aids in time of trouble and distress were to tell of his deeds in his direction, his praises would sound with a fervor and sincerity which words are incapable to portray.

“In conclusion, the least that I can hope for after he joins the majority, in that his memory will live and that it may live among the proudest of his oppressors. Thanking you in anticipation for the privilege of your valuable paper, I am,

“Yours very sincerely,


Obviously the name change never happened. The village had been incorporated in 1892 and Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau was its first president, title later changed to mayor.

Dr. Trudeau was born in New York City on Oct. 5, 1848, and died in Saranac Lake on Nov. 15, 1915.

Michael J. Egan was born in County Galway, Ireland in 1880 and died in Saranac Lake on March 15, 1954.

Enterprise special edition

The front page of this special Enterprise has a 60-pt. headline “THE WONDER CITY OF THE WOODS” over a 3,000 word story, covering an entire page with the border of the page made up of photos of the village, the woods and lakes.

Here is the lead paragraph:

“Saranac Lake is the wonder city of the woods. Approach it from any direction you will and in any frame of mind and you will find it so. Whether you enter it by rail or auto, the journey of a hundred miles through wild lands, leading seemingly away from things cultivated leaves you wholly unprepared for the animated scenes that greet you at Saranac Lake. It is not a large city, but it is a wonderful city — wonderful in its development; magnificent in its purpose; remarkable in its attainments.”

The lead paragraphs in other stories all reflect high praise for Saranac Lake in a story with the headline, “Saranac Lake, the Brightest and Best Adirondack Village.”

“An all the year around resort situated in the Adirondack Mountains on the New York Central and Delaware & Hudson Railroads — 368 miles from New York City; 427 miles from Boston; 528 miles from Cleveland and 873 miles from Chicago.

“Located on the shores of Lake Flower and embracing also in its environs Lower Saranac Lake, Middle Saranac Lake, Upper Saranac Lake, Oseetah Lake, Kiwassa Lake and Meagher Lake. The Saranac River drains these lakes.

“No one needs to purchase anything until they reach Saranac Lake. All stocks are complete for sportsmen and invalids.

“The home department stores, sporting goods houses, pharmacies, groceries, cold storage plant, markets, hardware, music, furniture, book stores have it all.”

“Pure drinking water from a mountain lake, no one lives on the slopes of this water supply (Mackenzie Pond) and there is no bacteria in the water. The analysis is very high.

“Every sanitary precaution has been taken by the pioneer town in the fight for the control of tuberculosis.

“Electric lights, gas, paved streets, sewers, cement walks … improved methods are employed to prevent dust and to clean the streets.”


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