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THE ...I 






Cornell University Library 
F 127F8 R26 

Story of Saranac: a chapter in Adirondac 


3 1924 028 853 419 

Cornell University 

The original of tiiis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 


The Ice Palace at Night ^ 


Story of Saranac 

A Chapter in Adirondack 




Publishers New York 


f [uiRAfvY 

Copyright 1909, by 
The Gkaktox Tress 


The Ice Palace at Night Frontispiece 

Peiskaret, War Chief of the Adirondack Indians 14 

View of Lower Saranac from Bluff Island 15 

Off Indian Point; Entrance to Saranac River 19 

Saranac River Above the Village 22 

" Falling Star," The Last of the Abenakis 27 

Oseetah Lake, Saranac River 29 

Eagle Island and the Lakes from "The Algonquin 33 

Bloomingdale Road in Winter 36 

Among the Islands 38 

Along the Saranac River in Winter 43 

Saranac Lake and River in 1890 44 

View of Saranac Lake in 1907 48,49 

Main Street and Riverside Inn in 1892 52 

Martin's Old Hotel 53 

The Baker Cottage, once the home of Stevenson 54 

Saranac Lake and River in 1907 56 

Main Street, Saranac Lake in 1895 58 

The Berkeley, Main Street and Broadway 60 

The Bank in Saranac Lake 61 

Broadway, Saranac Lake 62 

A Residence in Highland Park 63 

The Ice Palace in 1906 64 

Fish Creek 67 

The Smith Camp 68 

The Living Room of the Smith Camp 68 

The Floyd Jones Camp 70 

Interior of the Floyd Jones Camp 70 

Along the Saranac River in Summer 75 


It might be asked why I wrote this little "book. 
I doubt if I could give an answer that would be en- 
tirely satisfactory to the reader. 

Primarily, I suppose it was my affection for, 
and interest in, the region of which it treats, that 
prompted me to study its history and development. 
As I have watched Saranac Lake grow, and change 
from a "wretched hamlet" into a thriving town, 
during the nearly twenty years that it has been my 
summer home, and as questions have been con- 
stantly asked about its origin and early history 
that had to go unanswered, I was anxious to find 
some answer to these questions. 

Perhaps too there was an impulse of gratitude 
toward a locality which gave to me — as it has to 
thousands of others — life and health and strength. 

Possibly there was a feeling that one of the love- 
liest spots in the North Woods should be known as 
something besides a sanatorium — of which much 
has been written by others — and its manifold beau- 

8 Preface 

ties and natural attractions made more familiar to 
the Adirondack visitor. 

The general ignorance as to the Indian occupa- 
tion of, and visitations to, this part of the country, 
may have been another motive, and one vi^hich so 
interested me that I went into it more deeply than 
had been done by any other. 

Probably all these various reasons vi^ere combined 
and resulted in the production of the pages that 
follow, which, expanding beyond the limits of a 
magazine article, have been sent forth in this form 
in the hope that they will interest some of the 
thousands who make an annual pilgrimage to this 
part of the Adirondack wilderness. 

I do not claim originality for what I have writ- 
ten, only so far as pertains to the mode of presenta- 
tion. The facts have been gathered from scores of 
writers and pieced together to serve my purpose. 
No one has done this before and whether it was 
worth the trouble of doing it at all is for the reader 
to say. So far as possible I have endeavored to 
give due credit for what I have borrowed. 

Henry W. Raymond. 

Story of Saranac 

The period of time was somewhere about the 
middle of the Seventeenth Gentry. 

The Pilgrim Fathers had made their settlenlents 
along a part of what is now the New England 
coast, and had perfected treaties with, or success- 
fully waged war against, the crafty Indians, who 
had forcibly opposed the advance into their pos- 
sessions, and had employed all^the wiles and arts 
known to the red man, to impede and stay the re- 
lentless onward march of the civilization brought 
to these shores by the mysterious white strangers 
from the unknown countries of the far East. Of 
Algonquin stock were these denizens of the coast — 
Abenakis, Micmacs, Narragansetts, Delawares and 
Mohegans — ^who shared with the Iroquois and the 
Hurons the hitherto undisputed possession of for- 
ests, mountains, lowlands and prairies, in the great 
continent over which they had roamed and wan- 
dered for centuries; coming from no man can yet 
say where — whose origin is one of those mysteries 
for which science can furnish no satisfactory solu- 
tion. The Micmac chieftain, a century later, voiced 

10 The Story of Saranac 

the complaint of the Indian race, when, with true 
native eloquence, he said to Cornwalhs: "The land 
on which you sleep is mine; I sprung out of it as 
the grass does; I was born on it from sire to 
son; it is mine forever." 

So, too, up in the far North, when the French 
settled in Canada, it was upon lands occupied by the 
Algonquin Indians, or the "Adirondacks," as the 
members of this powerful nation were called by 
their hereditary enemies, the Iroquois. They were 
regarded, Wallace tells us, as "apt and dexterous 
in war and chase and most advanced in art, know- 
ledge and intelligence." Golden speaks of them 
as "excelling all others." 

Schoolcraft says that the term "Algonkins" was 
first employed as a generic word, by the French, 
applying it to the old Nippercinians, Osttawas, 
'Montagnais and their congeners in the valley of 
the St. Lawrence. Their language was essentially 
the same as that of the coast Indians — the Dela- 
wares, and the Indians of the valleys of the Hudson 
and of the Connecticut. 

Between the Algonquins and the Iroquois — the 
latter better known in history perhaps as the Six 
Nations, from the six different tribes embraced in 
its organization, and claiming the southern bank 
of the St. Lawrence, the shores of Lakes Ontario 
and Erie and all western and central New York, 

The Story of Saranac 11 

as their own — a fierce and bitter war had been 
waged for many years before the advent of the 
French emigrants. It is a matter of tradition that 
this war originated in a hunting party undertaken 
jointly by some young warriors of both nations. 
The Iroquois desired to test their skill with the bow 
and arrow first. To this the others objected, say- 
ing that they alone could kill enough for all. They 
were absent three days and returned empty-handed. 
The Iroquois, in their turn, went into the woods 
and came back loaded down with game, whereupon 
the proud Algonquins, stung to anger by their 
success, killed them all while they slept. A surren- 
der of the murderers being refused the Iroquois in- 
augurated a long, bloody war against the Algon- 
quin nation. 

Whatever the immediate cause, through the al- 
liance of the Algonquins with the French, the Iro- 
quois were beaten and driven back from the St. 
Lawrence into what is now the northern part of 
the State of New York, and this region became, 
through constant fighting, the "dark and bloody 
ground" of the old Indian traditions. 

In this new country the Iroquois found the 
Dutch settlers and, obtaining from them by trade 
and barter arms and ammunition, turned fiercely 
on their conquerors, so that in 1670 they completed 
their defeat and dispersion and remained sole and 

12 The Story of Saranac 

undisputed mastei's of this great territory. Syl- 
vester says of them that they "were fierce and 
brave; germs of heroic virtues mingled with sav- 
age vices. They were the. terror of all surrounding 
tribes. The river Indians along the Hudson, fear- 
ing the very name of Mohawk, wilhngly paid them 

Of the remnant of the Algonquin nation, Wal- 
lace says: "The spirit of the few remaining was 
broken, and, in mortal terror, they sought a hiding 
place in the deepest solitudes of the New York wil- 
derness (called by them 'Conchsachrage' or the 
'Dismal Wilderneiss') which had always been their 
favorite hunting ground. Here, goaded by deadly 
famine, and too weak and ambitionless to secure 
game, they subsisted for weeks on bark, buds and 
the roots of trees, even on the thongs of rawhides 
forming the network of their snowshoes. When 
thus reduced, the Iroquois called them in derision, 
'Ha-de-ron-daks' — bark or tree eaters — from 
which the French dropped the 'H'. Thus per- 
ished," he adds, "this mighty nation, by the hand of 
the foe whom they had regarded with perfect con- 

Right here I may add, on the same authority, 
that the highlands of Conchsachrage were first 
called "Peruvian Mountains," by the early white 
settlers, who believed they were rich in mineral 

The Story of Saranac 13 

treasures. Later they were known as Macomb 
Mountains, named after General Macomb. In 
1842 Professor Emmons, then State geologist, 
designated them as "Adirondacks," and this title 
has since been adopted for the whole region, 
which, on early maps, was first called "Aracal" 
and then "Ir-o-coi-sia," or the land of the Iroquois. 

After their crushing defeat and dispersion by the 
Iroquois, the Algonquins no longer figured in his- 
tory as a nation; only as a scattered Canadian 
tribe, called by some the Ottawas. 

Tradition tells us that their great war chief, Pei- 
skaret, after his overwhelming defeat and when he 
realized that his beloved nation was practically an- 
nihilated and permanently expelled from the land it 
loved so well, made a final visit to the forests in 
which they had hunted abundant game and to the 
lakes in which they had been wont to display their 
skill as fishermen. Coming out from the dense 
woods on what is now known as "Indian Point" on 
Lower Saranac Lake, he stood motionless, contem- 
plating with unfeigned admiration the marvellous 
beauty of the scene before him. On the placid 
waters at his feet, he had often seen the frail bark 
canoes of his warriors moving noiselessly about in 
eager pursuit of the speckled beauties ; in the tower- 
ing forests they had displayed their skill with bow 
and arrow, in pursuit of moose, elk and deer; on 

Peiskaret, War Chief of the Adirondack Indians 

The Story of Saranac 


the thickly clustered islands they had kindled their 
peaceful camp fires. And now the end had come. 
Outlaws and fugitives, a small remnant of a proud 
and mighty nation, they were fqrced to abandon to 
a hated foe all that had made life so dear to them 

View of Lower Saranac from Bluff Island 

and to their fathers before them. Peiskaret's heart 
was full of bitterness and grief, but his mien was as 
haughty as when, at the head of his redskins, he 
had seen the Iroquois braves fly before his victorious 
legions. With one mighty throw he cast his blood* 
stained tomahawk into the rippling waters, then 
turned and in a moment was lost to view in the 

16 The Story of Saranac 

dark recesses of the woodland. And in the lake, 
at the spot where his tomahawk fell, rose a tiny- 
islet (Hatchet Island), a monument to a vanishing 
tribe that had once ^roamed here at will, undisputed 
masters of the "Dismal Wilderness." 

Time passed on and we come to the opening years 
of the nineteenth century. 

The Six Nations had been, after their defeat of 
the Algonquins, the dominant Indian race in the 
eastern part of the continent from the Hudson to 
Lake Erie, and of all, the Mohawks, as the oldest 
of the confederated tribes, were leaders in peace and 
war. With power came arrogance and pride. It 
was said that an old Mohawk sachem issued orders 
to tributary nations with the unquestioned authority 
of a Roman dictator, and that a single Mohawk 
warrior was enough to put to flight a hundred of 
the New England Indians. The powerful Dela- 
wares, when conquered by the Iroquois, were con- 
temptuously termed by them "Women," and Sir 
William Johnson in 1756, writes to the Lords of 
the Board of Trade : "I concluded this Treaty with 
taking off the Petticoat, or that invidious name of 
'women,' from the Delaware Nation, which had 
been imposed on them by the Six Nations from the 
time they conquered them." 

In truth he held no sinecure, this English Com- 
missioner of Indian affairs, in maintaining intact 

The Story of Saranac 17 

an alliance with his wards, for they were often un- 
ruly and keenly resentful of the steady progress 
of British dominion. The letters of Sir William 
are filled with accounts of innumerable councils 
held with the redmen and of their unvarying com- 
plaint of being deprived of their lands and their 
hunting grounds. 

At first the Iroquois carried on extensive hos- 
tiUties with the French, in which they met with "dis- 
astrous losses; then they, for a time, allied them- 
selves with the Dutch; finally entering into treaty 
bonds with the English — whom they quickly dis- 
cerned as destined to be the dominant power — and 
served them loyally all through the Revolutionary 

As thej'' had turned on the Algonquins and be- 
come their conquerors, so the victorious American 
colonists turned on their savage foes, who had left 
a trail of massacre, rapine and cruelty to mark 
their share in the struggle for independence. It 
was a final contest for mastery between the white 
man and the red, and the .white man won. In 1779 
their power was broken by General Sullivan; eight- 
een of their most flourishing villages were burned, 
their cornfields and orchards cut down and no 
quarter given to the fighting men. The proud In- 
dian at last sued for peace and by treaties in 1784, 
1789 and in 1796, the Indian title was extinguished 

18 The Story of Saranac 

to the whole regioa between Lake Champlain and 
the St. Lawrence. A few of the Oneidas, Senecas, 
Cayugas, Onondagas and Mohawks remained on 
reservations in the regions that still bear their names, 
but the greater number, according to DeWitt Clin- 
ton, moved into Canada or migrated to the country 
west of the Mississippi, "The Indians," says Syl- 
vester, "left their famous hunting grounds in the 
Conchsachrage with great reluctance, and long 
after the Revolution, singly and in small bands, 
made annual visits to the wilderness, encountering 
at times the white trapper and hunter who also loved 
the woods ; nor did these chance encounters always 
have a peaceful ending." 

Here again tradition connects another great In- 
dian chieftain with Saranac, or, as it is called on the 
early French maps, by its Indian name of "Sa-la- 

Conquered but not subdued, the Mohawk war 
chief had begun his long journey to the home he 
had chosen at the head of Lake Ontario. As mem- 
ories of the happy days spent in the wild hunting 
grounds of his people were constantly with him, he 
determined to once more revisit these forests. With 
two or three companions he penetrated their depths. 
After many days of toilsome wandering they 
emerged from the woodland upon the shore of the 
same beautiful lake, and on the same rocky point, 

The Story of Saranac 


where, a century and a half before, had stood the 
famed Algonquin warrior. In full war paint and 
equipment, as he had led his braves in many a 
hard won fight, stood Ta-yen-da-na-ga-^more 
widely known as Joseph Brant. Defiance of the 

Off Indian Point; Entrance to Saranac River 

victorious paleface was in his bearing, yet was 
there also the recognition of the fact that his people 
were beaten and scattered, and that he himself, an 
exile, must seek a home in what was to him an alien 
country. Did visions of the ruthless massacres at 
Springfield, and Cherry Valley, and Herldmer and 
Minisink in the Wyoming and along the Mohawk 

20 The Story of Saranac 

valley, mirror themselves in the dark, deep waters 
that lay outspread before him? Did the cries of 
the gentle maidens, the innocent children and the 
suffering mothers, whom, with savage cries of fero- 
cious joy he had scalped and left to die in the ruins 
of their burning homes, echo in his ears, in the 
solemn stillness of the forest primeval? Who 
knows, but He, who, in the few remaining years of 
his life, made of this undaunted warrior and cruel 
hard-hearted savage, a missioner of peace and a 
teacher of that Gospel given to us by Him who was 
the Apostle of Peace, of gentleness and of self-sac- 

As Brant turned away from lake and stream and 
woodland, and covering his face with his blanket, 
that his comrades might not see the deep emotion 
of their chief, said farewell to the haunts he loved 
so dearly, he might well have anticipated the 
words of Drake: — 

Where is my home — my forest home? 

The proud land of my Sires? 
Where stands the wigwam of my pride? 

Where gleam the Council fires? 
Where are my fathers' hallowed graves? 

My friends so light and free? 
Gone, gone — forever from, my view! 

Great Spirit, can it he? 

There are scarcely any records of the Indian 

The Story of Saranac 21 

ownership of this vast region and few traces of its 
occupation. Its area is three-quarters of that of 
Switzerland; it nearly approaches Wales in size 
and is considerably larger than the entire state of 
Connecticut. William C. Bryant wrote of it as a 
region "studded with the loveliest lakes in the world, 
where the mountains tower far above the loftiest 
of the Catskills . . . and though none of its peaks 
are as high as some of the White Mountains, their 
general elevation surpasses that of any range east 
of the Rockies." 

In a map of New York in Broadhead's History, 
dated about 1614, the entire region is designated as 
Ho-de-no-san-nee — that is the "Land of the People 
of the Long House." In a later map it is broadly 
marked as Ga-ne-a-ga-o-no-ga, or the "Land of the 
Mohawks." In a map published by Guy Johnson 
for Governor Tryon in 1771, the Adirondack 
country has no marks and a note says: "The Boun- 
dary of New York not being closed this part of the 
country still belongs to the Mohawks." Twenty- 
five years later, in a map showing Macomb's pur- 
chase of 3,600,000 acres (for eight pence an acre) a 
tract six miles square is specified as reserved for the 
St. Regis Indians and an agreement was made that 
if this tract was not applied to the use of the In- 
dians it should be deemed a part of the original con- 
tract of sale. 


The Story of Saranac 

This reservation of the St. Regis Indians, who are 
descendants of the Iroquois, is in Franklin County, 
New York, on the Canadian boundary hne. Grin- 
nell gives their number as 1,154 some ten years ago 
and says that, although they have some good farm- 
ing land, most of them have given up farming and 

Saranac River Above the Village 

support themselves by making and selling baskets. 
It is members of this tribe that generally visit Sar- 
anac Lake and Lake Placid during the summer 

But few of the mountains had, or have preserved, 
Indian names. Mt. Marcy was called "Tahawus" 

The Story of Saranac 23 

—"He splits the sky"; Mclntyre, "Henoga"— 
"Home of the Thunderer"; Seward, "Onkorla"— 
"The Great Eye" ; and Whiteface, which derives its 
modern name from the white appearance of a shde 
caused by an avalanche which swept down its west- 
ern slope in 1804 — " Wahopartenie" ; but Nipple- 
top, Golden, Mt. Emmons, Pharaoh, Adams, Dix, 
Santanoni, Snowy, Rugged and the others of the 
more than five hundred elevations that merit the des- 
ignation of "mountaiins," have lost their Indian 
names — if they ever had any — and are known only 
by their modern appellations. 

So, too, of the many streams and rivers, that find 
their devious ways over rocks, through deep gorges 
and 'neath the shadows of the darkest forests, to the 
St. Lawrence, the Hudson and Lake Champlain, 
only a few — the Secondaga, Saranac, Oswegatchie, 
Chateaugay and possibly the St. Regis — give any 
reminiscent idea of the original navigators, who 
threaded through this country in their birch boats, 
upon their waters. Equally true is this of the hun- 
dreds of lakes and ponds, of which I recall but the 
Saranacs that still retain the names given them by 
the aborigines. 

I am glad to note, however, that there is a grow- 
ing tendency either to restore the Indian names, or 
to give new ones from the picturesque vocabulary 
of the original inhabitants of the North Woods. 

24 The Story of Saranac 

Perhaps Dr. Webb may be regarded as the pioneer 
in this movement, when he re-christened Round 
Lake (not Middle Saranac, which is still known by 
that name) , "Lake Kushaqua," and gave to his own 
vast domain the title, "Ne-ha-sa-ne." Others have 
followed his example and what was so long called 
"Lonesome Pond" is now "Lake Kiwassa" — an In- 
dian God of Love — and "Miller's Pond," has be- 
come "Lake Oseetah." 

In connection with this matter of the re-adoption 
of Indian names, Mr. Alfred L. Donaldson, a stu- 
dent of the Indian legends and of the history of this 
region, says, in an article in The Bohemian, refer- 
ring to the view from the summit of Ampersand 
Mountain : "To look down upon the vast areas of a 
once primeval wilderness spread in panorama at 
one's feet ; to see the glinting sapphire of lakes and 
rivers set deep in the soft chrysophase of undulating 
woodland ; to re-people the far-flung vistas with the 
Indian of yore, cleaving the waterways to the tune 
of rhythmic paddles or tuning the silence of the for- 
est to the muted impact of their feet ; and then to be 
forced to transcribe the vision in terms of a local 
landshark or of the rustic dullard, is to touch fresh 
paint on a nomenclature that should be twined with 
legendary ivy. The Indians with all their faults, 
had the childish imaginativeness of a primitive 
people, the inherent poetrjr of savageness, the super- 

The Story of Saranac 25 

stitions that are rhythmic. In dethroning the king 
of the wilderness it seems a pity that the conquerors 
should have kept so few relics of his gorgeous 

Of settlements we can trace hut two. At what 
is now known as North Elba, was an Indian village, 
which, until the latter part of the eighteenth cen- 
tury, was the summer camping ground of a band 
of Adirondacks. About 1760, Captain Robert 
Rogers, at the head of a company of rangers — who 
were employed by Sir William Johnson, as he says, 
"to scour the woods," and "were promised one shil- 
ling a day with eighteen pence to the sergeant, 
which I regard as reasonable," — attacked and to- 
tally destroyed this village, in the absence of the 
warriors. On their return the latter pursued and 
gave battle on the Boquet River, with disastrous 
results to the attacking party. 

The other village was at what is now called "In- 
dian Carry," between the Raquette River and Up- 
per Saranac Lake, and near the Twin Spectacle 
Ponds. A hundred years ago the Saranac Indians, 
possibly a sub-tribe of the Mohawks, had a settle- 
ment here and on an eminence is a mound-like seat 
where their chief was wont to maintain a vigilant 
outlook for an approaching enemy. In the solid 
rock, not so very long ago, was pointed out the 
alleged imprint of an Indian moccasin, and bits of 

26 The Story of Saranac 

potteiy and arrowheads have been excavated that 
would seem to indicate an Indian burying ground 
at this place. 

The picture of an Indian woman, for which I 
am indebted to, Mr. Harding, is that of "Falling 
Star," the last living descendant, so far as known, 
of the original Algonquin Indians who made this 
section of the Adirondacks their hunting grounds. 
"FalHng Star" is an Abenaki, or, as Brinton spells 
it, Abnaki, one of the many tribes belonging to the 
Algonquin nation, like the Micmacs, Crees, Chip- 
peways, etc., and their last home was near Three 
Rivers, in Canada. In 1780, there were only one 
hundi'ed and fifty members of this tribe left. "Fall- 
ing Star" sold baskets for a time, then went to New 
York where she was a prominent feature in the 
Adirondack Camp at the sportsmen's show a few 
years ago. Since then she has made a living by 
posing as an Indian model for different artists. 

A few, Indian legends have come down to us: 
When the Mohawks occupied, or controlled, the 
Adirondack region, they were at one time ruled 
by a sachem called Ho-ha-do-ra, whose wife was 
named Mo-ne-ta. She had two sons, one of whom 
was taken captive in a contest M'ith the Algonquins. 
The other, unable to resist his mother's plaintive 
appeals, undertook to rescue his brother and set 
out alone on his perilous enterprise. While anx- 

"Falling Star," The Last of the Abenakis 

28 The Story of Saranac 

iously awaiting his return, Mo-ne-ta passed the 
days in ceaseless vigil on the summit of a lofty rock, 
on the border of the lake. At last her devotion vi^as 
rewarded by the safe return of both sons, and her 
tears of joy in welcoming them, falling upon the 
rock, were turned to diamonds, glistening in the 
sunlight on the surface of her elevated watch tower, 
which was thereafter known to the Indians as "Dia- 
mond Rock." 

Another legend pertains to the so-called "Lov- 
ers' Leap" on Lake Canandaigua. The Senecas and 
Algonquins ^>vere relentless enemies and during one 
of their incessant wars, a young chief of the latter 
tribe was taken prisoner. The daughter of the 
Seneca sachem lost her heart to the captured foe, 
brought him food and not only aided him to escape 
but accompanied him on his journey to rejoin his 
tribe. They were at once followed by a band of 
Senecas, headed by the father of the eloping maiden. 
Mistaking the trail the fugitives suddenly found 
themselves on the edge of a high precipice from 
which their pursuers blocked their escape. The 
girl appealed to her father for pardon and for safety, 
but, as that would only be granted on condition 
that she forsake her lover, both plunged from the 
rock and were killed. The place is known as "Lov- 
ers' Leap" to this day. 

In an article in The Bohemian magazine, Mr. 

The Story of Saranac 


A. L. Donaldson has very pleasantly narrated some 
legends connected with Lakes Kiwassa and Oseetah. 
His legend of Oseetah rock, from which the lake 
derives its name, is so charmingly told in verse, that 
I quote it in full: 

Oseetah Lake, Saranac River 

Back from the' wars in the forest, Wayotah, the Sun, is 

To his Lake of the Clustered Stars, where the fires of 
welcome are burning, 

While mutely his moccasined feet the miles of the moun- 
tains are spurning. 

30 The Story of Saranac 

Sweet is the praise and the prattle, the gentle confusion 

of meeting, 
Proud is the Chief of his people and touched by the 

warmth of their greeting. 
Keen is his eye as the eagle's, and nervous and quick in 

its roaming. 
Searches the uplifted faces for one he had wished at his 

homing — 
For one who is standing aloof in the grateful gloom of the 


OsEETAH, called Bird of the Wigwams, watching apart 
frorn the thronging, 

Engirdles the Chieftain she loves with hopeless yet pas- 
sionate longing ; 

Well knowing her love, if returned, his vow to another is 

After the rout and the revel, the hero goes quietly creep- 

Out where the marvellous moonlight in misty mosaics is 
sleeping ; 

Lighting a lane for the lover to gloom where Oseetah is 

Soon all the silences sylvan are stiri-ed with the stress of 

his wooing: 
Prankly he tells of his passion that long has been secretly 

Madly he pleads for this new love, and mocks at the old 

love's undoing. 

T'he Story of Saranac 31 

Firm is the mind of the maiden and steeled to Wayotah's 

entreating — 
Pearing an old love discarded may mean but a new one 

as fleeting. 
"Better the grave and quiescence," whispers her heart thru 

its beating. 

Quickly she turns from her lover, whose passion to anger 
is flaring, 

Darts to the dense of the forest, deft as a doe and un- 

Seeking the shelter of darkness that yields to her swift- 
ness and daring. 

Then, with the spring of the panther, he plunges alert 

to the hounding. 
Trailing the track of her whiteness, that, wraith-like, 

seems winged in its bounding, 
Down thru the woods to the lake-side where plashment 

of waters is sounding. 

Trembling aghast on a rock ledge that gives a sheer 

pause to the trailing. 
Searching the face of the waters, he stands, with pressed 

lips that are paling, 
■Grasping the glimness before him that turns all his 

passion to wailing. 

Back to the village he wanders and tells of Oseetah's sad 

Pacing the anger of men with tears of the womenfolk 


32 The Story of Saranac 

Bowing his head in despair at the thought of his deed 
beyond mending. 

Early next day all the villagers tramp thru the trail to 

the clearing, 
Chanting the dirge for the dead while over the precipice 

They gaze at the merciless water with deep superstition 

and fearing. 

Lo ! a strange wonder confronts them, a miracle sweetly 

For there on the face of the waters beautiful lilies are 

Flowers embossed on the grave that was bare at Oseetah's 


What may this mean.? they inquire of the Medicine-man 

full of learning, 
Who tells them the soul of the maid to earth in these 

forms is returning; 
Lilies of white are her pureness, the lilies of yellow her 


Early each morn they will open, like beautiful thoughts to 

the thinking. 
And bask in the light of the Sun till he dips to his westerly 

And then as he goes they will close, like dreams that are 

dreamt and are shrinking. 

The Story of Saranac 


Another legend that Mr. Donaldson tells may be 
legend or it may be history, it matters not which, as 
the line is not always very sharply drawn between 
the two. As it pertains to Lower Saranac Lake I 
am going to give its substance. He tells us that 

- -r -^^ 

. '-^^ 

" . ' - - "ilia 


1 .4 

'" "; 




W. jM 

Itt iiti^ -iteiiii 





_ 'n 

-■■■ v; „ ..■r . ,- 


Eagle Island and the Lakes from "The Algonquin" 

Upper Saranac — "the Lake of the Silver Sky" — 
was the one on which the Indians first made settle- 
ment. The different tribes around it lived in 
peace and friendly rivalry. A chief of one of 
these tribes or clans, named "The Eagle," mys- 
teriously disappeared and the chief of another divi- 
sion of the tribe named "The Wolf" was for some 

34 The Story of Saranac 

unassigned reason accused of his murder. Angered 
at the charge, yet not strong enough to resent it in 
the usual Indian manner, "The Wolf" moved away 
with his braves and established a settlement on 
Lower Saranac — "The Lake of the Clustered 
Stars." Years after, "The Eagle," now an old 
man, reappeared and told the story of his unac- 
countable disappearance. While out hunting in 
the woods he had mistaken the trail and fallen into 
a ravine and while lying there helpless had been 
captured by some Canadian trappers. From them 
he had finally made his escape and returned to die 
among his own people. He made his abode on the 
largest of the islands in the lake, and to it was given 
his name, and it is still known to all residents and 
visitors as "Eagle Island." 

In some places in the woods the regular beaten 
trails, used by the redmen in their hunting expedi- 
tions, are said still to exist and to be followed by 
hunters to-day, but, with the few exceptions to 
which I have alluded, all traces of the centuries of 
Indian occupation have gone — effaced from the re- 
cesses of the wilderness as effectively as he himself 
has become but a tradition in the hunting grounds 
of his people. A great writer thus sums up his char- 
acteristics : — ' 

"Man, the occupant of the soil, was wild as the savage 
scene, in harmony with the rude nature by which he was 

The Story of Saranac 35 

surrounded; a vagrant over the continent, in constant 
warfare with his fellow-man ; the bark of the birch his 
canoe ; strips of shells his ornaments, his records and his 
coin ; the roots of the forest among his resources for food ; 
his knowledge in architecture surpassed both in strength 
and durability by the skill of the beaver ; verdant saplings 
the beams of his house ; branches and the rind of trees his 
roof ; the drift of forest leaves his couch ; his religion the 
adoration of nature; disputing with the wolves and ibears 
the lordship of the soil and dividing with the squirrel the 
wild fruits with which the universal woodlands abounded." 

The passing of the Indian from the land of the 
great Avilderness was marked by the advent of the 
white hunter and trapper — the hardy baclcwoods- 
man — "clad in hunting shirt and deerskin leggings, 
armed with rifle, powder horn and pouch for shot 
and bullets, a hatchet and a hunting knife," seeking 
new fields in which to gratify his love of outdoor 
life, his passion for sport in woods, rivers and 
lakes and also the maintenance of a precarious ex- 
istence by the barter of furs and pelt for the neces- 
saries of life. There were colonies of beaver in the 
rivers; moose,* bear and deer in the forests, with 
foxes and other game in abundance. A huge red 
fox was the theme of the Indian story of the "Vam- 
pire," the scene of which was laid in the North 

*See note at end. 


The Story of Saranac 

Peter Sabattis, a noted Indian trapper, camped 
on St. Peter's Rock on Lower St. Regis, and was— 
as also the aged half-breed hunter, St. Germain, 
at Lake Clear— famous as a guide for the earliest 
visitors. Dr. Van Dyke speaks of "one-eyed Enos, 

Bloomingdale Koad in Winter 

the last and laziest of the Saranac Indians" as a 
"real Adirondack guide." C. D. Warner cites old 
Orson Phelps as a type of "primitive man," who 
emigrated from Vermont about 1828; a woodsman, 
trapper, fisherman and hunter, with a passionate 
love of forest and mountain, the explorer of Marcy, 
to the summit of which he made a trail that others 

The Story of Saranac 37 

might enjoy the noble view. "Soap is a thing I 
h' ain't no kinder use for," was one of his expres- 
sions in emphasizing his preference for a woods- 
man's hfe. "Bill" Smith, sometimes called the 
"Giant Hermit of the Adirondacks," built his cabin 
six miles from Bloomingdale, fifty-seven years ago, 
and, in his early days, was famous as a hunter. 
"Nat" Foster was another of the first hunters 
and trappers who made the Adirondacks their 

The fascination of an outdoor life was not easily 
overcome. The historian Headley tells of meeting 
an Indian eighty-two years old, once a renowned 
hunter, who refused to accompany his tribe to their 
new home and, with his daughter as his sole com- 
panion, houseless and homeless, carrying on his 
bowed shoulders his bark canoe, lived a wandering 
life in the woods. 

Among these wild scenes of nature roamed the 
French writer Chateaubriand, and, in his "Genie 
du Christianisme," he illustrated the beauties of 
Christianity by the charms of the wild exuberance 
of nature's gifts, among which he had wandered in 
the forests of the new world. The heroine of his 
best romance was Atala, an Indian maiden. It was 
in this inaccessible region that Joseph Bonaparte 
built a beautiful hunting lodge in which, it was 
said, he proposed to entertain his brother, the fallen 


The Story of Saranac 

Emperor, before the allied Powers made him sov- 
ereign of the little island of Elba. 

Men of science had made some investigations of 
these mountains in the first half of the last century. 
Redfield and Emmons had measured Marcy, St. 

Among the Islands ' 

Anthony and other heights, before Professor Far- 
rand Benedict, of the University of Vermont, made 
his barometric observations in 1839. 

Men of wealth — like Gililland on Boquet River, 
Herreshoff on Morse, Arthur Noble on East Can- 
ada Creek and Watson on Independence — had each 

The Story of Saranac 39 

attempted to found great landed estates, but all had 
failed. Perhaps the chief reason for their failure is 
simply given in the "History of the Six Nations" by 
David Cusick, a Tuscarora Indian, when he said : — 
"This country was never inhabited by any kind of 
people in the winter season; the snow fell so deep 
it was supposed that this country would always re- 
main a wilderness." A wintry season that began 
in October and ended in May was not attractive as 
a permanent residence. 

For the instruction of the amateur sportsman, in 
search of venison steaks or antlered heads, I venture 
to interpolate here a prescription given by this same 
Indian writer as essential to success in deer hunting. 
That it will become popular is unhkely ; that it was 
generally followed — Credat Judceus Apella! 

"When a person intends to hunt a deer, he pro- 
cures a medicine and vomits twice daily, for twelve 
days, after which he procures some pine or cedar 
boughs and boils them in a clay kettle and after 
removal from the fire he takes a blanket and covers 
himself over with it to sweat. Then he is ready to 

The probability is that after following out this 
heroic treatment the would-be hunter would have 
httle stomach left for deer. 

There is one element in man's nature that rises 
superior to any and all conditions of climate, and 

40 The Story of Saranac 

that is the commercial instinct. It defies the heat 
of the tropics and the cold of the Arctic zone; it 
carries him into the jungle and over cloud sur- 
mounting peaks ; it pierces mountains with tunnels, 
delves deep into the bowels of the earth and bridges 
raging waters ; calls into action all the resources of 
the scientist and takes no account of the value of 
human life in the attainment of its results. It was 
this desire for gain that led to the early settlements 
in the north woods and although the ironmaster and 
the lumberman faced no great dangers in their 
efforts, both encountered unanticipated hardships 
and had to contend with many difficulties, in their 
pioneer work. 

Mr. Colvin says that "since the first settlement 
of New York there have been constant endeavors 
made to clear and cultivate the Adirondack wilder- 
ness. The crumbling buildings here and there upon 
its margin and along its roadsides, far into its 
depths, are the records of wasted effort, squandered 
capital and ruin." 

The discovery of vast beds of magnetic iron ore 
in different sections of the Adirondacks, was the 
first impulse given to the estabUshment of com- 
munities in this region. In 1803, iron ore was first 
taken from a bed near the Chateaugay River. In 
1810, Mclntyre started the North Elba iron works. 
In 1827, a company of capitalists bought extensive 

The Story of Saranac 41 

tracts of land and established the village of Adiron- 
dack in Macomb County, and started mines and 
iron works at the headwaters of the Hudson, on 
Lake Sandford, and along the outflowing river. 
These plants were many times increased in size and 
when one point was worked out another was built 
up. For some years, however, they have been 
practically abandoned, so that, so far as I know, 
the only active working establishments today are 
those at Lyon Mountain and at Mineville near Port 
Henry. According to the State geologist, the de- 
posits at Mineville, with a. record of twenty-five 
million tons, stand first as regards their richness of 
metal and can be expected to yield at least as great 
a quantity in the future. As to the Macomb County 
mines the report of the State geological survey for 
1908, prepared by D. H. Newland, speaks of these 
deposits as finding few or no parallels in respect 
to magnitude, in the Eastern United States, and 
he adds that "they have recently been acquired by 
capitalists who are preparing to build a railroad 
to the locality and to enter upon extensive mining 
operations." Undoubtedly this industry will re- 
vive again and on an extended scale, for Winchell 
and other geologists tell us that iron ore exists in 
great abundance all through this region. The dif- 
ficulties of transportation and the cost of mining 
among the rugged rocks where iron is found, have, 

42 The Story of Saranac 

so far, deterred monied men from undertaking any 
further similar enterprises. 

The axe of the lumberman was the next agent 
of civilization to penetrate the wooded depths of 
the Adirondack wilderness. The huntsmen were 
not slow to discover that the axe furnished a more 
reliable means of subsistence than the rifle, and in 
the long winter months the sound of falling trees re- 
sounded throughout the woods, and the destruction 
of the forests proceeded with unflagging zeal until 
the strong arm of the State interfered — by the 
Constitution of 1894, in which the cutting of tim- 
ber or the sale or exchange of lands already re- 
served for public uses, was forbidden — and thus 
curbed the ardor of those to whom the monarch of 
the woods meant only so many feet of timber or so 
much material for the pulp mill. Along the lines 
of transportation — railroads, rivers and wagon 
trails — are still seen the evidences of the widespread 
ravages of the destroying lumberman, and it is 
only away from the line of travel and in the heart 
of the north woods, that the tourist, the pleasure 
seeker, the sportsman or the invalid, can enjoy 
the majestic beauty, the solemn grandeur, the awe- 
inspiring quiet of this wonderful combination of 
forest, mountain and of lake. Rev. Dr. Murray 
said that an American artist travehng in Switzer- 
land, wrote home that, "having traveled over all 

The Story of Saranac 


Switzerland arid the Rhine and Rhone regions, he 
had not met any scenery which, judged from a 
purely artistic point of view, combined so many 
beauties in connection with such grandeur, as the 
lakes, mountains and forests of the Adirondack 
region presented to the gazer's eye." 

Along the Saranac River in Winter 

In winter the lumberman lived in the woods, 
hewing down the trees and sledding them to the 
shores of the Saranac or Ausable where the spring 
freshets bore them swiftly onward to the sawmills, 
to Plattsburg and to Lake Champlain. These 
hardy workers became as well versed in the mys- 


The Story of Saranac 

teries of woodcraft as the Indian and acquired the 
varied knowledge essential to independent life in 
the forest far from the haunts of man. In the 
spring and summer they turned the woodlore thus 
acquired to their advantage by acting as guides 

Saranac Lake and River in 1890 

to the amateur sportsmen and pleasure seekers, 
for whom, in fast increasing numbers, the Adiron- 
dacks was becoming a sort of Mecca and an annual 

To the lumbermen, the guides, the seekers after 
nature's choicest offerings in a realm where she 
still held undisputed sway, and later to the invalid, 

The Story of Saranac 45 

to whom the balsamic properties of this region 
meant life and health and strength, is due the found- 
ing and the growth of its one large settlement, 
whose history is but little known, although, in view 
of its location and surroundings, it is today a mar- 
vel of enterprise and a wonder as a city built up in 
the wilderness. 

In 1840, the Adirondack region, that is, the in- 

■ ft 

terior, was almost as unknown as the interior of 
Africa. There were few huts or houses and few 
visitors. All traveling was done by means of boats 
of small size and light build, rowed by a single 
guide and made so slight that the craft could be 
carried on his shoulders from pond to pond and 
stream to stream. Lumbering old-fashioned stages 
ran from Ausable, Plattsburg, Keeseville and one 
or two other points, bringing the traveler to the 
few inns or taverns, where guides were taken and 
embarkation made in boats for further journeyings, 
or to chosen camping points. Paul (Pol) Smith's on 
Lower St. Regis was the termination of one of these 
stage routes ; Hough's on Upper Saranac, and later 
Bartlett's, were objective poipts for the hunters; 
but the best known, perhaps, of these woodland 
hostelries was Martin's on Lower Saranac, or, as 
it is also called, "Lake of the Clustered Stars." 
Before Martin's was built, in 1850, Blood's Hotel, 
in Harrietstown, as the present Saranac Lake vil- 

46 The Story of Saranac 

lage was then called, had a good reputation as a 
stopping place. Martin's was advertised as a point 
of departure for stages "dailj^ and tri-weekly for 
ApoUos (Pol) Smith's, Hough's, North Elba, 
Keene, etc.," and, for the benefit of lady guests 
presumably, it was added, "a fine croquet ground 
is connected with the premises." 

I must acknowledge my indebtedness for many 
of my facts, in connection with the settlement of 
Harrietstown and its development into the flourish- 
ing town of Saranac Lake, to a short historical 
sketch, written by John Harding, the genial and 
enterprising former president of the town and now 
president of its board of trade, in the Northern New 
Yorker, one of the local papers; and to Dr. E. R. 
Baldwin, for many years Dr. Trudeau's leading 
assistant. The whole world owes to Dr. Trudeau 
a debt of gratitude which it never can repay ; of his 
labors and skill the sanatorium is a lasting monu- 
ment, and the flourishing settlement under the pro- 
tecting heights of Pisgah and Baker, his debtor, for 
its marvellous growth and substantial prosperity. 

In 1819, the first permanent settler built his 
home in the eastern end of what is now known as 
"Saranac Lake." His name was Jacob Moody, a 
name, through his descendants, well known through- 
out the North Woods, and here in the year of his 
coming, was born his son Cortez, to whom belongs 

View of Saranac 

in 1907 

The Story of Saranac 51 

the distinction of being the first white child that 
came into the world in this wilderness. Moody's 
occupation was hunting, fishing and guiding, with a 
little farming thrown in as a diversion, but as Hard- 
ing says, "Adirondack farming, then as now, yield- 
ed more mortgages and rocks than hay, grain or 
potatoes." Four or five years later came Captain 
Pliny Miller from Albany, a soldier in the war of 
1812, who bought three hundred acres of land upon 
which the principal part of the village is built. He 
erected the dam and sawmill on the Saranac River, 
and opposite the latter, where now stands the River- 
side Inn, was his residence. The place soon be- 
came the centre of vast lumbering interests, the 
headquarters for the lumbermen of that district, 
and the starting point of the spring drive of logs 
down the stream to Plattsburg. 

Miller's grandson opened the first store, which, 
we are told, was a great convenience to the settlers, 
as they had been obliged to send to Bloomingdale 
and Ausable for all their provisions and even for 
their clothing, of which the rigorous Adirondack 
winters required an abundant supply. The little 
place at this time consisted of the sawmill. Miller's 
store, which contained the postoffice. Blood's Ho- 
tel and the Berkeley — two small structures — and a 
dozen or so huts or rude frame houses belonging 
to the lumbermen and to the guides. 


The Story of Saranac 

In 1849, W. F. Martin leased the home of Cap- 
tain Miller and converted it into a hotel, for the 
better accommodation of the sportsmen. Two 
years later, despite the protests of his fellow towns- 
men, who regarded him as visionary and reckless, 

Main Street and Riverside Inn in 1892 

he erected, at the foot of the beautiful lake, a mile 
or more outside the village, a two-stoiy frame build- 
ing which was the nucleus of the famous "Mar- 
tin's," the headquarters not only for hunters, fish- 
ermen and campers but for the scientists and others 
who were attracted to the lake region by its wild 
grandeur and wondei-ful rock formations. 

The Story of Saranac 53 

V- C. Bartlett and Colonel Milote Baker were 
the next settlers of note, who established themselves 
here in 1851, Bartlett leasing Miller's old home 
in the village, vacated by Martin. lie started a 
stage line direct to Keeseville, then the only en- 

Martin's Old Hotel 

trance to that part of the wilderness, by a long, 
rough road of sixty miles. Here he lived for three 
years, and, in 1855, penetrating into the wilder and 
less known portion of the woods, settled on what 
was then called "Bartlett's Carry," between Round 
Lake and Upper Saranac, and in his somewhat 
primitive quarters, catered principally to the wants 


The Story of Saranac 

of the nomadic sportsman. What was once "Bart- 
lett's," and is still called by that name, by the older 
guides and visitors, is now owned by the Saranac 

Milote Baker built the house still . standing on 

The Baker Cottage, once the home of Stevenson 

the river's bank, on the outskirts of the village, at 
Baker's Bridge, where, several years later (1888), 
lived Robert Louis Stevenson, "railing against the 
climate," says Hamilton Mabie, "and nursing a 
big wood fire with much picturesque and miniatory 

The attractions of the Adirondacks as a resort 

The Story of Saranac 55 

for the pleasure seeker and the tourist were inter- 
estingly portrayed by the Rev. Dr. Murray. He 
first came into the mountains in 1867, and said of 
Martin's that it was, "the best point for starting 
into the woods, and my usual point. Here is found 
some of the sublimest scenery in the world and the 
Saranac guides are surpassed by none." Many of 
the latter, doubtless, would eniunerate their quali- 
fications as did one, of whom was asked the ques- 
tion: "Are you a capable guide?" "Sure," was the 
prompt response, "I'll do the shooting, bring home 
the game and let you say you did — and lick any- 
body that says you didn't do it." 

In 1874, Dr. E. L. Trudeau came to Saranac 
Lake a victim of tuberculosis, and supposedly 
under a death sentence. He made the little hamlet 
famous as a health resort, which is the key to its 
present prosperity. "With a courage as intrepid 
as Ney's," said Hamilton Mabie, in The Outlook, 
of April 28, 1906, "he has accomplished a work 
which puts him in the front rank of scientists in his 
field, and has rendered a sei-vice to his generation 
which places him among the foremost public men 
of America." 

Thirty years ago Saranac Lake was still a primi- 
tive settlement, giving no signs of that rapid de- 
velopment which has marked its history during the 
past fifteen years. 


The Story of Saranac 

In 1877, William Shakespeare, Esq., a lawyer of 
Philadelphia, was led to visit the place and in a 
book called "Exiles in the Adirondacks," pubhshed 
by him for private circulation only, gives his im- 
pressions of Saranac Lake as he saw it. His de- 

Saranac Lake and River in 1907 

scription is picturesque and probably accurate as 
to the conditions at that time, so I may be pardoned 
for quoting it here. 

"The miserable hamlet of Saranac Lake — its 
present name twice changed from that of Baker's 
and Harrietstown — consists of about fifty or sixty 
log and frame houses, and has a population of 

The Story of Saranac 57 

three or four hundred. It is in a deep basin, with 
hills on every side, and on the main branch of the 
Saranac River. It is nearly forty miles from the ter- 
minus of the branch railroad from Plattsburg to 
Ausable and is reached by a daily stage. It is also a 
telegraph station. ... It has two country stores 
with the usual heterogeneous assortment of coarse 
dry-goods, boots and shoes, groceries, hardware 
and quack medicines. An old rickety sawmill sup- 
plies the place and neighborhood with building ma- 
terials and a steam mill occasionally makes shingles 
and clapboards. There is a small grist-mill, and one 
shoemaker, but no tailor. The barber of the place 
is a peripatetic on crutches, going from house to 
house, or room to room, on call, in the discharge of 
his tonsorial duties, and doing the main headwork 
of the community. To the everlasting honor of 
Saranac Lake it must be said that it has ho law- 
yers or newspaper editors. . . . One good doctor of 
medicine Saranac Lake perforce has during the 
winter, the intrepid and heroic Trudeau, who for 
some years has here sought to regain his shattered 
health and has not sought it in vain, despite the 
wretched, lonely environments. . . . Saranac Lake 
has one flourishing tavern, whose landlord, it is 
needless to say, is the richest man in the place, and 
who, publican and sinner that he is, gave us the 
choice of a half acre lot on which to erect our 


The Story of Saranac 

church (Episcopal). A traditional blacksmith 
shop and two large boarding houses complete the 
list of our attractions." I will add to this account 
by saying, what Mr. Shakespeare forgot to men- 
tion, that the first school house was opened in 1838, 

Main Street, Saranac Lake in 1895 

and this was supplemented in 1843 by another, 
when there were twelve pupils in one, and nineteen 
in the other. 

Now note the changes from Mr. Shakespeare's 
picture within the last twenty-seven years. 

In 1880, he fixed the population at "three to four 
hundred." In a decade it reached 768. In 1892, 

The Story of Saranac 59 

when the village was incorporated, the number was 
1,161; in 1900, 2,594; in 1906, 4,000, and in 1908, 
the total exceeds 6,000, of whom perhaps one-sixth 
are invalids, seeking the shelter and comforts of the 
town for the winter months after being scattered 
throughout the region in summer^ 

In 1888, the Chateaugay railroad, the first rail- 
way into the Adirondacks, and built by the Chat- 
eaugay Iron Ore Company, extended its narrow 
gauge to Saranac Lake. A few years later the 
New York Central put in a spur from its Montreal 
line at Lake Clear. Then the Delaware and Hud- 
son railroad purchased the Chateaugay, made it 
standard gauge, and the two roads united in the 
building of a large, handsome and convenient sta- 

The incorporated village occupied an area a mile 
square. Dr. Trudeau was its first president. The 
amount allowed to the village authorities for nec- 
essary expenses, the first year, was $500; in 1907, 
$22,000 was collected in taxes. The real and per- 
sonal estate in 1892 was valued at $136,000; in 1906, 
at $1,542,350. 

In 1893, the board of sewer and water commis- 
sioners put in a complete sewerage system at a cost 
of $75,000. Three and a half miles of iron pipe, re^ 
quiring an expenditure of $150,000, was laid to 
bring water to the village from McKenzie Lake, 


The Story of Saranac 

"fed by springs, in whose watershed there is not a 
human habitation, surrounded by State forest land 
and protected by the stringent rules of the State 
board of health, prohibiting boating on or bathing 
in its waters, or any camping on its shores." 

The Berkeley, Main Street and Broadway 

An appropriation of $75,000 was made last year, 
(1908), for re-paving and re-surfacing the streets. 
The work was begun in September, and it is in- 
tended to have good roads throughout the town — ■ 
an example that might be profitably followed by 
many places much larger in size, wealthier in re- 
sources, and scores of years its senior in age. 

The Story of Saranac 


An extensive electric light plant has taken the 
location on the river formerly occupied by the old 
pioneer sawmill. There are two thriving banks 
and a trust company is talked of. Two newspapers 
give the news of the place and of the other settle- 

The Bank in Saranac Lake 

ments in the woods; several lawyers would compel 
Mr. Shakespeare to withdraw his expressions of 
gratitude for their non-existence; the talent and 
excellent taste of many architects living here has 
been recognized by the wealthy owners of "camps," 
cottages and more pretentious buildings not only in 
this immediate region, but even in distant places. 


The Story of Saranac 

Your mail is delivered at your door, and you can 
talk to your wife or broker, in any part of the 
country, over one telephone system, and get an an- 
swer over another. Trolley wires may at any time 
make the city man feel thoroughly at home, and 

Broadway, Saranac Lake 

not only will he be electrically transported through 
the streets of this "wretched hamlet," but in the 
same manner he may be conveyed to the shores of 
Lake Champlain — if he sits still long enough and 
the plans of the promoters are carried into effect! 
The business streets of Saranac Lake are lined 
with large, handsome stores, of brick and stone, as 

The Story of Saranac 


abundantly supplied with all required commodities 
as are the mercantile establishments in large cities — 
and at about the same figures. Scores of attractive 
and substantial houses will be found all through 
the residence portion of the town, while in the new 

A Residence in Highland Park 

and beautifully located Highland Park, on the 
hillside, off the Bloomingdale road, are fine homes 
that would attract attention anywhere. 

Five churches furnish food for the souls of men, 
and a free public library gives sustenance to the 
mind, while the High school takes care of one 
thousand pupils, and thus meets the present educa- 


The Story of Saranac 

tional requirements of the towns-people. Twenty 
years ago Dr. Trudeau built here the first labora- 
tory in the United States for original researches in 

This little mountain town is one of the healthiest 

The Ice Palace in 1906 

places in the country, the total mortality, according 
to Dr. McClellan, the health ofiicer, being about 
11.82 per 1,000. In ten years there had been 
twenty cases of diphtheria, three of small pox and 
occasional ones of scarlet fever and measles, and 
not a death from any of these diseases. It is of 
course understood that these statistics do not apply 

The Story of Saranac 65 

to those who are brought to Saranac Lake already 
ill, dr to sanatorium patients. 

It is not my purpose to write of the wonderfully 
successful cottage sanatorium, the first of its kind 
in this country, founded in 1885, by Dr. Trudeau, 
on the side of Mt. Pisgah "with Whiteface and 
Marcy and their kindred peaks against the horizon 
and the river flowing through the heart of the land- 
scape." Its wonderful work is well known through- 
out the land. "Stony Wold" on Lake Kushaqua, 
for working girls and children; St. Gabriel's, near 
Paul Smith's, and the State Sanatorium at Ray 
Brook, are more recent institutions, on the same 
general plan as to treatment and for the same pur- 
pose, while the attractive reception hospital in Sara- 
nac Lake is an adjunct to or complement of the 
Adirondack sanatorium. 

It is in the winter months, when "it is all a fairy- 
land of supreme enchantment" that Saranac Lake 
is seen in gayest mood. Beginning in 1898, the Pon- 
tiac club has given an ice carnival every other year, 
which has attracted visitors from different parts 
of the United States and from Canada. In no 
other place in North America, so far as I know, 
since Montreal has given it up, is there built an 
elaborate ice palace, whose walls are sometimes 
found still standing as late as the month of May. 
The most expert skaters in the country come here 

66 The Story of Saranac 

to match their skill and to take part in the ice races ; 
hockey games are open to all comers and fleet horses 
are daily seen on the race course laid out upon the 
frozen waters of the lake. There are parades with 
numerous descriptive floats, extended electric illu- 
minations and elaborate fireworks; the days are 
filled with social entertainments, and innumerable 
sleighs with their heavily fur clad occupants glide 
swiftly in all directions, "on fun and pleasure bent." 
And all this life and animation in the town in the 
heart of the wilderness which but a few years ago 
consisted of "half a dozen houses and a small hotel." 

So, with all its varied attractions — its gaiety 
and life in the cold months and the beauty of its 
surroundings in summer; the enterprise and ac- 
tivity of its citizens and its steady growth and de- 
velopment, together with the peculiar charm of its 
winter social life — ^it is no wonder that the poet, 
Thomas Bailey Aldrich, who lived here for three 
years, in a letter to James Russell Lowell, should 
have said of Saranac Lake: "When all is said there 
is a charm in the place. There is something in the 
air to heal the heart of sorrow." 

The greatest natural attraction of the place and 
the magnet that draws to it a multitude of pleasure 
seekers in the summer months, is the beautiful lake, 
studded with half a hundred romantic islands of 
all shapes and sizes, from Eagle Island to Little 

The Story of Saranac 67 

Gull Rock ; its rugged shores indented by numerous 
bays and distinguished by countless promontories; 
"whose waters quaflf the light of heaven," while the 
in-flowing and out -going river invites the oarsman 
and canoeist to paddle 'neath the shade of its forest 

Fish Creek 

archways. "Fish Creek" winds its tortuous course 
through the sombre woods, "in which the fantastic 
forms of withered limbs that have been blasted and 
riven by lightning, contrast strangely with the ver- 
dant freshness of the younger growth of branches." 
Few tragedies are hidden in the depth of these 
waters — so placid and so beautiful in sunshine, so 

The Smith Camp 

The Living Room of The Smith Camp 

The Story of Saranac 69 

rough and terrible in tempest. To see a storm 
coming up over the lake, the angry clouds reflected 
in the darkened mirror below, flecked with white- 
caps by the driving wind and the glare of the light- 
ning flash, followed by the thunder's roll, echoed 
through the suiTOunding mountains, is a sight of 
appalling grandeur never to be forgotten and 
equalled only by the unrivalled cloud paintings of 
a succeeding sunset. I have often witnessed a sud- 
den wind storm bow low the mighty forest trees 
as though they were so many feathers, rushing over 
the water, its course marked by the foam of angry 
waves, with a roaring accompaniment like a con- 
tinuous discharge of heavy artillery, yet leaving 
behind, as it passed away, a wood and water scene 
of unsurpassing beauty, colored with the richest 
tints of an undimmed sun. 

Around the lower end of this sylvan lake are 
many beautiful "camps" as they are called in the 
language of the woods — a term which gives no idea 
of their durability of construction, picturesque ap- 
pearance and luxurious outfittings. Among the 
most elaborate, as well as the most recent of these 
"camps," are those belonging to Mr. Smith and to 
Mr. Floyd Jones. The latter particularly is a 
model of artistic beauty in perfect harmony with 
its forest surroundings. The late Senator Mark 
Hanna's attractive bungalow and pretty boat 

The Floyd Jones Camp 

Interior of the Floyd Jones Camp 

The Story of Saranac 71 

house was for some time his son's simimer home, 
and near by is the "camp" where Mark Twain 
spent two seasons. The Limburger Camp is built 
of stone and, with its beautiful grounds, seems 
somewhat of an anomaly in the Adirondacks. Fur- 
ther up the lake, on the western shore, "KnoUwood" 
with its six picturesque Swiss chalets and central 
casino and boathouse combined, planted right in 
the midst of and almost hidden by the dense forest, 
is tasteful and original both in its design and in its 
execution. All the "camps," and the two summer 
hotels, are located at the lower end of the lake, while 
the upper end is as wild and practically untouched 
by the hand of man as in the days when the Indian 
skimmed its waters in his bark canoe. 

But a short distance away, at the foot of rocky 
Ampersand, lies Ampersand Pond — "most lovely 
in its isolation, most bewitching in its loveliness." 
Here, where in olden time the magicians of the Sar- 
anac Indians are said to have held their mystic rites 
for raising the spirits of the dead, was built bj^ 
Martin what was known as the "Philosophers' 
Camp" where Emerson, Lowell, Judge Hoar, Dr. 
Howe, Stillman, Binney and Agassiz, sought that 
rest and peace and re-invigoration found in close 
association with the works of nature. 

In The Century for August, 1893, W. J. Still- 
man gives a most interesting history of this brainy 

72 The Story of Saranac 

camping party and its daily life in the woods — a 
story told at length by Emerson in his poem, "The 
Adirondacks," which Stillman calls "the most Ho- 
meric and Hellenic of all nature poems ever writ- 
ten." Their first camp, in 1858, was at FoUanshee 
Pond, a small lake of the Raquette Chain, and was 
called by Lowell "Camp Maple." Of their journey 
to this place, Emerson says: 

"Next morn we swept with oars the Saranac 
With skies of benediction, to Round Lake, 
Where all the sacred mountains drew around us 

Pleased with these grand companions, we glide on, 
Instead of flowers, crowned with a wreath of hills. 
We made our distance wider, boat from boat, 
As each would hear the oracle alone. 
By the bright moon the gay flotilla slid 
Through files of flags that gleamed like bayonets, 

On through the Upper Saranac, and up 
Pere Raquette stream, to a small tortuous pass 
Winding through grassy shallows in and out. 
Two creeping miles of rushes, pads and sponge 
To Follansbee water and the Lake of Loons." 

Here the summer was passed with so much real 
pleasure and happiness that: 

"We planned 
That we should build, hard by, a spacious lodge,; 
And how we should come hither, with our sons 

The Story of Saranac 73 

Mr. Stillman has certainly drawn a most attrac- 
tive picture of these great brainy men enjojdng 
their vacation, like school boys, in their Adiron- 
dack camp. At first the philosophic Emerson, al- 
though he had brought a rifle, could not be persuad- 
ed to join in the hunting, but, after Lowell had 
killed his deer, Emerson caught the fever and tried 
night-hunting. When the guide had brought him 
within easy rifle shot however, he could not decide 
to shoot, and his companion had to secure the cove- 
ted vension. Emerson could not understand why 
he did not seem to be able to see the quarry and 
said: "I must kill a deer before we go, even if 
the guide has to hold him by the tail." He never 
realized the gratification of his desires. In the 
mornings Agassiz and Wyman, aided by Howe and 
Holmes : 

"Dissected the slain deer, weighed the trout's brain, 
Captured the lizard, salamander, shrew, 
Crab, mice, snail, minnow and moth." 

Lowell, Judge Hoar, Stillman and sometimes 
Emerson, hunted and fished: 

"All day we swept the Lake, searched every cove 

Watching when the loud dogs should drive in deer, 
Or whipping its rough surface for a trout; 
Or bathers, diving from the rock at noon. 

74 The Story of Saranac 

At the close of this first summer a permanent 
camp and meeting place was selected at Ampersand 
Pond, which became known throughout the region 
as "Philosophers' Camp," and this was continued 
until the outbreak of the Civil war. 

Referring to the "Philosophers' Camp," or "Ad- 
irondack Club," as he calls it, Dr. Henry Van Dyke 
says: "In 1878, when I spent three, weeks at Am- 
persand, the cabin was in ruins, and surrounded 
by an almost impenetrable growth of bushes. The 
only "philosophers" to be seen were a family of 
what the guides; quaintly call "quill pigs." [Shades 
of Emerson, Agassiz, Lowell, Hoar and the other 
worthies who hallowed this spot, pardon the genial 
Doctor for this descent from the sublime.] The 
roof had fallen to the ground; raspberry bushes 
thrust themselves through the yawning crevices be- 
tween the logs ; and in front of the sunken door-sill 
lay a rusty, broken iron stove, like a dismantled 
altar on which the fire had gone out forever." 

Of the rugged mountain which dominates this 
pond. Dr. Van Dyke says, in his chapter on "Am- 
persand" in "Little Rivers": "It has been my good 
luck to climb many of the peaks of the Adirondacks 
— Dix, The Dial, Hurricane, The Giant of the Val- 
ley, Marcy, and Whiteface — but I do not think the 
outlook from any of them is so wonderful and lovely 
as that from little Ampersand." Dr. W. W. Ely, 

The Story of Saranac 


of Rochester, a sportsman and lover of the Adiron- 
dacks, was the first to blaze a trail up Ampersand 

The glory of the forest is at its height as the 

Along the Saranac River in Summer 

summer passes away. Then comes what Whittier 
•calls : 

"Nature's holocaust 
Burned gold and crimson over all the hills, 
The sacramental mystery of the woods." 

No country can compare with ours in richness of 
its autumn scenery. The mountains of the eastern 
Tvorld are not so thickly wooded and cannot there- 

76 The Story of Saranac 

foi'e exhibit such a mass of foUage. Stand on a 
hill above "Salaranac," overlooking the vast wilder- 
ness, at this season, and marvel at the striking 
beauty of the scene before you. The maples, a 
mass of red, blaze like fire among the evergreens, 
while the j^ellow of the beeches, the purple of the 
black ash and cherry are interspersed throughout 
by the magic touch of Him, revealed in Nature and 
by Nature, as the Great Artist whom man. His 
own creation, can only imitate; never rival. 

So ends my story of the region I love so well ; 
where for nearly a score of years I have found new 
life and renewed my health and strength. And to 
my readers, as my endorsement, I quote the words 
of the poet Longfellow: 

"If thou art worn and hard beset 
With sorrows, that thou wouldst forget; 
If thou wouldst read a lesson that will keep 
Thy heart from fainting and thy soul from sleep, 
Go to the woods and hills ! No tears 
Dim the sweet look that Nature wears." 


Moose in the Adieondacks 

I have heard many times considerable discussion as 
to the game of the North Woods, and as to the existence 
or non-existence, now or at any time, of any numlier of 
moose. I find in The Century for January 1894! an inter- 
esting article, by Madison Grant, on "The Vanishing 
Moose and its Extermination in the Adirondacks." As 
bearing on this matter I will quote a few passages from it. 
Mr. Grant says : — "So complete has been the disappear- 
ance of moose that one actually hears people question the 
fact that they ever lived in the Adirondacks, where forty 
years ago they were well-known. . . . Twenty years ago 
(1874!) the wolves all vanished from the North Woods 
in one season, without any known cause, and the similar 
disappearance of moose from the same region is the 
strangest incident in the natural history of New York. 
Before the advent of the white hunter, the moose are 
believed to have exceeded in number the deer in that beau- 
tiful country. . . . There are • still many Moose rivers, 
creeks, lakes, and ponds. . . . The country south of Mud 
Lake was their headquarters long after they had vanished 
from the surrounding region. . . . The Adirondacks were 
the hunting grounds of the Six Nations and of the Cana- 
dian Indians for their winter supply of moose-meat and 
the bones of many a dusky warrior, slain in the savage 

78 The Story of Saranac 

combats between the rival tribes, lie under the pines and 
spruces by the lakes he loved so well. . . . The year 1861 
appears to have been that of the final disappearance of 
the moose, although Verplanck Colvin asserts that 1863 
is more correct. In the autumn of 1861 a cow moose 
was killed on the east inlet of Raquette Lake (by a guide 
named Palmer) 'the last known native of his race in New 
York State.' The father of Reuben Reynolds, a Saranac 
guide, told of killing a bull moose which was mired in Fish 
Creek on Lower Saranac. In October, 1866, a young bull 
was shot on Long Lake, but he was undoubtedly one of 
several turned loose by a Game Club near Lake Placid. 
. . . There is no doubt but that the moose could be re- 
stored to its former haunts in the Adirondacks with very 
little intelligent outlay."