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Winter Carnival 100 years ago

February 5, 2011
By HOWARD RILEY, hjriley@adelphia.net

Thanks to Ruth Neubauer and Cathy Moore, of Enterprise fame, right here in front of me is a mint-condition program for the 1911 Saranac Lake Winter Carnival. It ran for three days: Jan. 24, 25 and 26.

L.B. Magill, chairman of the Parade Committee, arranged for the American Vitagraph Company to take pictures of the various events. Hhere is a quote about that:

"These will be shown on moving picture screens all over the country, and the Saranac Lake Carnival - the unique Winter Festival of the North - will become as familiar to millions of people as the spectacular Mardi Gras at New Orleans. The value of this publicity to Saranac Lake is inestimable."

Article Photos

Native son Ed Lamy was the star of the 1911 Carnival
(Image provided)

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The events

The first day of Carnival was a Tuesday, Jan. 24:

-2 p.m. Grand parade of decorated sleighs, autos and floats

-3 p.m. Skating races for local amateurs

-Exhibition of fancy skating by Miss Pope and others

-Children's fancy dress skating Carnival

-7:30 p.m. Exhibition of figure skating

-Hockey match, Pontiacs vs. Empires, Valleyfield, P.Q.

-Fireworks and illumination of Ice Palace

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Wednesday, Jan. 25:

-2:30 p.m. National Outdoor Championship Skating Races

-Exhibition of figure skating

-8 p.m. Fancy dress skating carnival

-Exhibition of figure skating

-Fireworks and illumination of Ice Palace

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Thursday, Jan. 26:

-2:30 p.m. Final events of National Outdoor Championship

-Skating races

-Hockey match, Pontiacs vs. Outremonts, Montreal

-8 p.m. Exhibition of figure skating

-Grand finale, including magnificent display of fire

-Works and storming of the Ice Palace

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Stories in the program

There was quite a guy or gal back then writing the publicity for Saranac Lake. Here is an excerpt from a story headlined "Saranac Lake Sports and Pastimes":

"To many carnival visitors, the climate of Saranac Lake is a revelation. They had never dreamed that cold had in it so much of pure enjoyment, while its enlivening, strengthening influence is in marked contrast to the enervating (to sap your mental and moral strength are you readers happy I looked that up for you?) effects of southern climates.

"There is snow and ice in abundance, lots of sunshine, and pine-scented air which stimulates and thrills but never chills."

The story goes on to list the winter pastime clubs in Saranac Lake: the Adirondack Guides Association, the Coasting Club, the Mountain Side Gun Club and the Pontiac Club.

Summer activities were organized through the Country Club, (the golf course was listed separately); the Motor Boat Club held the Venetian Carnival every July 4 on Lake Flower.

In a Winter Carnival program in 1957, at the bottom of the Sled Derby schedule, was this quote on the cold temperatures:

"It isn't cold here for human beings when it is 20 degrees below zero. Everything else is, of course, frozen stiff. Icicles are our popular household pets. I am cultivating one that is already four feet long - I am training it outside, you understand, on a North gable. I feel that all this is giving you a false idea of our surroundings, which are beautiful as a dream. Every window frames a picture of bewildering and capricious loveliness." (Thomas Bailey Aldrich, 1901)

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Carnival officers

John Harding was chairman of the sports committee, first vice president of the International Skating Union of America and president of the Saranac Amateur Skating Association. Chairs of the various committees were: Executive, F.E. Kendall; Finance, W.R. Trowbridge; Parade, L.B. Magill; Decorations, Mrs. E.R. Baldwin; Fireworks, J.R. Hogan; Advertising, F. Musselman and Rink, J.H. Vincent.

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The advertising story

I wish there was space to publish every ad in the 1911 program, but there is not, so savor this merger sampling:

The New York Central and Delaware and Hudson Railroads rates included 15 cents to Lake Clear, $5.20 to Albany, $3.20 to Montreal, $1.20 to Malone, $18.15 to Chicago, $9 to Boston and $3.30 to Utica. The ad read: "During the summer nearly fifty trains arrive and depart daily from Saranac Lake."

Paul Smith's Electric Light and Power and Railroad Company advertised "Electric Flatirons can be connected to any socket, cheaper than coal and ready when you want them."

Ford "Model T Touring Cars, 5 passenger, 4 cylinder, 20 horse power, $780; Unlimited Guarantee goes with every car."

I.R. Feinberg's ad read: "Clean Clothes Clean, Suits Pressed 50c, Trousers, 15c and Skirts, 50c," located at 18 Main St.

Kern's Restaurant at 4 and 6 Broadway had "regular dinner 35c" and "regular supper 35c" with no increase during carnival week; Red Cross Pharmacy had quick deliveries of pure oxygen in all size tanks; Many livery companies advertised: G.A. Bombard and H.L. Fridman; Latour Livery with "New, Stylish Sleighs and the Best Horses"; Lynch's Livery and Ed LaBounty Livery at 112 Main St.

An abundance of grocery stores were advertising: Munn Brothers at 76 Main St.; W. F. Straight at 43 Broadway; Vosburg and Walton, The Cash Grocers, no address listed; The Public Market at 32 Broadway, A. Fortune Jr., proprietor and Charles A. Neubauer, manager. The Saranac Lake Butter Company, R.T. Costello, prop., was located at 48 Broadway, claiming that it was formerly Duffy Brothers Market.

 
 

 

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