Talk about a piece of Adirondack history. I have on loan from my friends, Polly and Bengt Ohman a copy of a booklet (9-inch-by-6-inch) with the above title published by "The Adirondack Enterprise Print Shop." The only date in the publication is contained on a fold-out map inside the back page which reads: "Roads under Construction 1914." Many, many old books and other temporary publications from the past do not contain dates and there is no publishing date in this book.
These publications are extremely important as they preserve another piece of regional history as this column goes into the archives of the Adirondack Room of the Saranac Lake Free Library as well as the Enterprise.
In 1914, Americans were taken to the automobile big time as 469,000 cars were produced that year. By 1918, one half of the cars produced in the U.S. were Model T Fords; by 1927 Henry Ford watched the 15 millionth Model T roll off the assembly line at his plant in Highland Park, Michigan. In 1927 the population of the U.S. was slightly over 119,000,000?- the population is now well over 300,000,000.
I’ll eat your spare tire if this fancy garage was not located at 90 Main St. in Lake Placid — the location today of Starbucks and the Milano North Restaurant.
How to write a travel brochure
The following paragraph inside the front cover of the Guide describes its purpose and the material that follows will be taken out of context, from other pages of the Guide.
"Issued by the Associated Adirondack Hotels and Garages giving complete running directions of the more important Adirondack Roads and describing in detail the historic and scenic points of interest
"It is an assumption that every motor tour has some principal objective point, Lake Placid, in the very heart of the mountains, has been selected as such, the different avenues of approach being taken up in there natural order. This selection of 'Peerless Placid' as the objective of the Adirondack motorist is by no means dictatorial
There are three pages within, designating sections of the book. Approach No. 1, No. II and No. III. Just a look at No. I begins with "Lake George to Lake Placid via Elizabethtown - 96 miles - Optional Euba Mills to Keene Center to Lake Placid."
Perhaps it was more of a challenge to write a travel brochure more than 100 years ago but it was easy to reach back into the history of the area "are to be found more historical associations than in any other area of similar size in the United States. Along the identical trails on which the red man lay in waiting for his white foe and on which French and English, and late, the tried troops of England and the raw recruits of the colonies met in mortal conflict, it is now possible for the motorist to pass in swift review the milestones of history's progress that were centuries in the making."
The Appeal to the Motorist
"It is difficult to conceive of a need of the motorist that may not be supplied at Saranac Lake. Hotel accommodations are the equal of any in the Adirondacks, garage facilities compare favorably with those in some of the large cities, agencies of some of the well known makes of cars are established there and as for those other needs which motorists share in common with the rest of the human race, there are great dry goods houses and clothing stores, hardware stores and stores of all descriptions where all manner of supplies may be purchased."
George L. Starks in Saranac Lake advertised tires. "Diamond Squeegee Tread Tires can be used on front and rear wheels at no greater cost than smooth tread tires of other makes. We are the largest dealers in Northern New York in Auto Accessories including a complete line of Ford specialties."
The Gray-Bellows Garage at 122-126 Main St. (the NAPA Store today) was the dealer for Hudson and Franklin Motor Cars and Fisk and Republic Tires and advertising "expert service on Delco starting and ignition systems with a machine shop, electric charging station all in a fireproof building.
We will continue next week with more from this wonderful publication; I'll betcha' it made many a mare bite her colt as she watched all those horseless carriages smoking and belching past the farmlands as they chugged their way into the mountains.