Enterprise is 130 years old

Enterprise Publisher/Advertising Manager Catherine Moore and Managing Editor John Penney turned out an incredible newspaper in the summer of 1994. The Enterprise was owned by Ogden Newspapers Inc., and G. Ogden Nutting said, “We are very proud to be the owners of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.”

I don’t know how many pages it contained because I may not have the entire newspaper in my collection, despite my meticulous filing system, the same one used for the Pentagon papers.

Let me list just a few former reporters, editors and publishers that contributed to that historical publication.

Jim Munn, a local boy, later the Associated Press reporter in Washington, D.C.; Harry Nason, former Enterprise editor, former editor of one of the then seven daily newspapers in New York City (I believe it was the New York World), arrived in Saranac Lake as a tuberculosis patient at Will Rogers Hospital; Jim Loeb, former Enterprise owner/publisher; John J. Duquette, local historian; history from the years of John S. Ridenour, by his daughter, Alice Wareham; Jack Delahant, WNBZ radio newsman and reporter for the Watertown Times; the list goes on.

But I have painted myself into a corner; there are too many to name them all.

Following are excerpts from two stories … more to follow next week.

Legs Diamond


“In its heyday, local sanatoria activity attracted personalities from the most glittering to the most lusterless, but also some off-color individuals of a violent hue. One of these was the brother of the infamous racketeer Legs Diamond.

“Legs’ brother was under the care of Dr. Price in one of the cottages on Shepard Avenue, and it was known that Legs loved his brother very much. However, as the New York City Police Force had an interest in Legs at the time, it was apparent that he was unlikely to show up at the front door bearing flowers and sympathetic wishes.

“He might show up at the back door, though. So, two detectives from the city came to pay their respects to Legs’ brother, and if possible, to Legs himself.

“The job of law enforcement officers was much less complicated in those days, and simple ruses leading to a shoot-out or capture or both were still considered artistically valid. What the detectives wanted to do, was to exchange the lump beneath the sheets in the nursing home for one of their own.

“They tried to assure Dr. Price that Legs’ brother would be just as well off in an adjoining room and that Legs could visit him as soon as the shooting died down if he was still able. But neither the doctor nor the other patients in the building were wild about the idea; they felt that once you started switching bodies around, it would be impossible to tell which room Legs might try first with guns blazing.

“So the whole idea was killed, and whatever other measures the lawmen took to intercept Legs came to naught. Whether in fact he ever came at all has been a subject of debate.

“Some say he once came dressed as a woman, remarkable only for the violin case she carried everywhere, and others say he came disguised as a priest and took up residence at the Riverside Hotel.

“The story which seems to ring truest holds that Legs did visit his brother two or three times but that his ruse consisted of getting off the train in Lake Clear Junction rather than at the Saranac Lake depot. One of the early taxi men around town is said to have been Legs’ official driver in these instances, receiving word beforehand of Legs’ arrival. …”

Saranac Lake flourished


“Saranac Lake enjoyed poor health for many years.

“From about 1880, when Dr. Alfred Loomis sent a few tuberculosis patients to Saranac Lake, where his friend Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau was having success preserving his own life, to the 1950’s when it was found that antibiotics could cure tuberculosis. Saranac Lake was a haven for the tubercular, and the tubercular supported Saranac Lake.

“That it was Saranac Lake that became the famous and friendly little city in the Adirondacks seems to have been a stroke of luck. Dr. Trudeau first stayed at Paul Smith’s and why he left is not clear; the official history of his sanatorium, ‘Fifty Years at Trudeau Sanatorium,’ by Elizabeth Cole, only says, ‘It was not possible to stay at Paul Smith’s.’ It continues, ‘and Trudeau could find no suitable house for his family in Bloomingdale.’

“Bloomingdale at that time was a thriving community on the stage run but Saranac Lake was not much more than a few cottages at the crossroads, a sawmill, a hotel for guides and lumbermen, a schoolhouse and a grocery store. Anyway, when Dr. Trudeau and his family decided to try a winter in the locale where summer had been so beneficial, he rented the Reuben Reynolds house where the Marine Midland Bank now stands [and today that location is next to Origins, housing The Loon Observatory] and Miss Cole says, ‘That was the beginning of what has grown to be the world famous health resort of Saranac Lake.'”

(Observation from last week’s column: It is a mystery to me how the Keet story at the end appeared twice?)


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