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Old phone books as history books

January 15, 2010

I have on loan from my friend Holly Chabbott a 1956-1957 telephone directory from the New York Telephone Company covering the communities of Lake Placid, Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake.

There was a boxed area on the first page explaining how to use a dial phone. "In each case, turn the dial until your finger firmly touches the finger stop. Raise your finger and let the dial return freely until it stops." How did we ever graduate from that high-tech era?

The phone company was promoting long distance calls, so after 6 p.m. and on Sundays one could call (for 3 minutes) to: Albany - 50c, Boston - 60c, Detroit - 95c and Chicago - $1.20.

Article Photos

This is an accurate drawing of the Majestic Restaurant, as I fondly remember it, owned and operated by the family of Eunice Theodore Cox.
(Illustration from the 1956-57 NY Telehone Company Book)


How many dairies?

Have things changed just a little bit in the last 53 years? Holly could not get over how many diaries existed at that time.

For instance, in Tupper Lake there was the Altamont Milk Company, Incorporated at 27 High Street and the Franklin Dairy at 32 Pine Street, Faust.

In Saranac Lake there was the Crystal Spring Dairy (with this tag line - "visit our dairy bar"); Dairy-Dell, 37 Woodruff Street; McMaster Brothers Farm, Forest Home Road; and the Oseetah Farm Dairy in Ray Brook.

In Lake Placid the Peacock family had People's Dairy at 20 Parkside Drive advertising "supplier of dairy products for America's year 'round resort." Greg Peacock today owns that big cow barn at the former Oseetah farm where we farmed for a few years. The Torrance Dairy at 2 Wilmington Road invited residents to "visit our sanitary pasteurization plant."


Taxi companies

The Berkeley Taxi Service at 2 1/2 Broadway in Saranac Lake was owned by William Furlong Jr., night- and-day taxi service and ambulance service. Other Saranac lake taxi companies included Underhill's at 80 Broadway, advertising that every passenger was insured, with private chauffeurs furnished. Brundage Taxi Service was at 55 Main Street; Eight-0-Eight Taxi was located at 70 Broadway; Jim's Tax, 11 Park Avenue; Riordan Taxi Service at 22 1/2 Broadway; Sporck's Taxi at 23 lake Flower Avenue and Ken Hough had Three-Three-0 Taxi on Broadway, "bonded for Canada."

In Tupper Lake there was Brook's Taxi at 83 Wawbeek Avenue; Chalmer's Taxi at 18 Cliff Avenue; Charland's Taxi at 1 High Street; Charley's Taxi Service at 67 Lake Street had a "Cadillac Cab"; Danny's Taxi was also at 1 High Street; Dicks' Taxi was at 44 Broad Street; Dugan's Taxi was at 126 Park; Faust Taxi was at 147 Main Street; LaPierre's Taxi was at 11 Martin Street; Larry's Taxi was at 44 High Street and Moody's Taxi was a 81/2 Hill Street.

In Lake Placid there was Bob's Taxi, Placid Heights; City Taxi, 63 McKinley Street; Diamond Taxi, 117 Main Street; Gene's Taxi Service, 17 Main Street; Larry's Cab Service, 37 Main Street; Lew's Taxi, 2391/2 Main Street and Pelkey's Taxi, 541/2 Saranac Avenue.


What about the Lake Placid Restaurants?

Can one even imagine that the most famous Howard Johnson's Restaurant in the United States has not been there forever? But here is what the advertisement had to say in this old phone book:

"Howard Johnson's - Lake Placid's Newest Dining Place - on Lake Placid/Saranac Lake Road - Just Outside Village Limits - 5 Minutes Walk from Main Street."

Now wait just a minute! When we were kids we used to stand across the street from St. Agnes Church to hitch-hike back to Saranac Lake, and more than once Police Officer J. Bernard Fell used to pile us into the police car and drive us up to the 1000 Animal Farm, kidding and talking with us all the way and let us out at "the village limits" because it was not legal to hitchhike in the village. Was he pulling our leg or what? It's a good thing I called Greg Hayes who dispatches for the LPPD and he confirmed that the Lake Placid Village limits are somewhere just on the village side of Ho-Jo's.

Is it not amazing that the village government receives no taxes from all those big business establishments stretching out past Price Chopper? And isn't it sad that the Charcoal Pit Restaurant is another piece of Lake Placid history that is gone.

How about the Majestic Restaurant that took up most of Main Street across from the speed skating oval? Then there are a few other places that are gone where some of us may have enjoyed a hamburg or a cocktail, such as the Arena Grill at 220 Main; the Bridge Restaurant at 437 Main; D'Amico's Chicken Coop at 157 Main; Freddie's Inn at 3 School Street; the LeBourget Restaurant at 29 Main Street (where my sister Marguerite had her wedding reception); the Spot at 237 Main Street; the Tik-Tok at 81 Saranac Avenue and the Venetian Gardens at 21 Main Street.


Places gone missing in Tupper Lake

In Tupper Lake - The Colonial Hotel, Hector's Dinner, Del's Snack Bar, Roy's and the Elite Restaurant (I didn't know they served food there) in Faust; The Hotel Iroquois, the Hi-Hat Lounge, Ivan's Lounge, Mason's Drive In, the Riverside in Moody, the Normandie Grill at 102 Park and the Santa Clara Restaurant at 12 DeMars Blvd. Then there was the Sunmount Grill on Wawbeek Road, the Village Tavern at 135 Park and the Waukesha Grill on Moody Road - where, when the band got rockin' so did the dance floor! We'll get to the Saranac Lake list next week.



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