Saranac Lake High School history

Saranac Lake Central School Proposed Building Program

The first Saranac Lake High School, erected in 1890, was located where the Hotel Saranac stands today. The last graduating class in that school was in 1924.

The second Saranac Lake High School was built on Petrova Avenue in 1925, and the last graduating class from that school was in 1969. The class of 1969 completed the entire year at Petrova, but the 1969-70 class moved to the new high school in 1970 after the Thanksgiving holiday.

The third Saranac Lake High School was planned in 1964 and completed in 1969.

That first high school was dedicated by the president of the United States, Benjamin Harrison, and how did that happen you ask? Well, Henry D. “Buz” Graves of Trudeau Road told me that his great-grandfather, also Henry D. Graves, bought a camp from Levi P. Morton in 1910. He was President Harrison’s vice president and the camp was located in Gilpin Bay on Upper Saranac Lake.

Of course the president loved to hang out at such a lovely spot and someone must have asked him to dedicate the new high school. How many high schools in the entire United States, you think, were dedicated by POTUS? None, I’ll bet.

I graduated from the Petrova High School, and my oldest son, Keefe, was the first in our family to graduate from the new school.

At that time, my friend Joe Reilly owned the Latour Fuel Company and was also president of the Chamber of Commerce. He said he would rather give them the fuel oil than see them make the mistake of putting in the expensive electric heat but that is the system that was installed.

Well, guess what? A few years later, the school had to tear out the electric heat because it was so expensive and replace it with oil heat.

So, imitating that famous radio broadcaster, Paul Harvey, who was a former king of our Winter Carnival … here is “the rest of the story” — all in a detailed booklet titled, “Saranac Lake Central School Proposed Building Program,” published in 1964, although there is no date on the program.


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