Historic Hanmer

To the editor:

Hanmer officials, in an effort to recreate the past, have discovered wonderful memories and fun facts in addition to race results and other memorabilia that will become a record of the race that would have otherwise become lost.

A letter sent to Diana Mason Fortune in 1970 from then-Chamber President Reggie Perras congratulated her on being a contestant in the race, reporting her time at 41 minutes, 59 seconds.

A 1965 press clipping from the Enterprise featured famous actor and local camp director Buster Crabbe crediting him with donating his camp war canoes for the race. Crabbe, a 1932 Olympic gold medalist in the 400 meter swim competition went from Olympic fame to Hollywood, starring in early action films as Tarzan, Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers. He had close ties to the area, some will remember his camp Meenahga Boys Camp located in Onchiota. The camp attracted youth residents ages 6-15 worldwide. Crabbe died in 1983 with the camp and its contents falling to the auction hammer in 1985 causing the camp to pass into history.

Another Enterprise photo gem, date unknown, showed the motley crew of Peter Frenette, Dean Neagle, Fred Roedel and John Muldowney entered in the Rub-a-Dub class. The caption reads: “There are many benefits to living in the Adirondack Park. It is breathtakingly beautiful. Recreational opportunities are abundant. Small-town life can be enriching. But the climate is harsh.” Rumor has it that a copy of the original photograph is located at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake and will be displayed at the Boat Show in the Hotel Saranac. A more intriguing rumor is that this Rub-a-Dub entry will be making another run in the July 3 Hanmer race.

Howard Riley’s Enterprise column recently featured a vintage cartoon by Saranac Lake’s syndicated columnist Bill McLaughlin. A photo in the June 4, 2022 Riley column shows Mayor Howard Riley and Micky Luce as they entered the 1964 race.

Hanmer officials are enjoying and recording participants’ scrapbooks, photos and trophies won. Any and all additional information is sought for a repository of the race and community that honored the boats that opened up the Adirondacks.

Please direct any questions to Sue Dyer at 505-739-9953 or greensideofthebigapple@gmail.com.

Sue Dyer

Saranac Lake


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