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Really old news

April 14, 2012
By HOWARD RILEY ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

I just love the stuff I find in old newspaper clippings in the Adirondack Room of the Saranac Lake Free Library. What a great facility to have in Our Town.



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"Dealer in ladies' ready made clothing, mackintoshes, shoes, crockery and wall paper. Perhaps no one has entered the business world of Saranac Lake, who has more fully won the confidence and respect of their customers than Mrs. George Ayer.

"As low prices to win trade, and courteous treatment to retain it, have been her motto, it is not surprising that today her store is one of the busiest and most popular establishments in our midst.

"She furnishes another illustration of which we have had so many, in the last ten years, that woman is capable of entering the business arena and successfully competing with man."


September 1901

"Mr. Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) and family vacated their lovely camp on the shores of Saranac Lake last week and returned to their home. Mr. Clemens who came here for his health, goes away greatly improved and invigorated by his stay in the mountains."

(I had never heard that Mark Twain was here for his health.)


"The Riverside Inn is undergoing many improvements. The dining room is being expanded to seat 160. It will overlook Lake Flower and be finished in white oak and containing eight bay windows. An additional 35 rooms will bring the number of guest rooms to 90, most with private baths. The billiard room promises to be exceptionally good, and will contain four tables.

"The proprietors, Messrs E. C. Pine, of AuSable Forks and John Corbett, of Fort Edward, are both practical hotel men, having served long terms with Paul Smith, the pioneer Adirondack hotel man."


"Quite a number of our townfolks are anticipating a pleasant trip to the Malone fair this week. Mrs. Frank Lobdell is visiting her home in Malone and will return after the fair."


May 1925

"Originally built in 1909 for the use of the New York Telephone Company, the three-story brick and tile business block at 68 Main Street (now the Salon Mirage) has been purchased by the Northern New York Telephone Corporation from W. F. Kollecker of Saranac Lake and W. F. Cheesman of Lake Placid, owners of the building.

"The entire second and third floors are occupied by the telephone company, and the first floor is occupied by the store of F. W. Cheeseman & Sons, the law office of F. Ferris Hewitt, and an apartment. The same arrangements for the first floor are to continue.

"According to Alfred L. Donaldson's 'History of the Adirondacks', the distinction of introducing the first telephone services in Saranac Lake belongs to J. M. Bull, who opened the first pharmacy in Saranac Lake in 1881. The 'History' says:

"He installed a primitive switchboard in his store and secured about ten subscribers. The central call was always 'Hellow, Bull.'"


July 1930

Everyone recognizes the Ayres Insurance and Realty Company on Main Street, owned by brothers Rob and Jeff Reyell but what's in a name?

Can there be anyone around today who knows the history of that company, with the many owners since it was founded by Mr. Ayres? Read these excerpts from the Enterprise of July 14, 1930:

"Clinton J. Ayres, leading real estate and insurance broker of Saranac Lake and the Northern Adirondacks, and outstanding citizen of this community, died last evening at 6:20 o'clock of cancer.

"Death came at the Clifton Springs sanatarium at Clifton Springs, N.Y., where he had been under treatment for the past four weeks following illness since the first of the year. He was the founder and head of the C. J. Ayres, Inc., real estate and insurance office. He was 54 years of age. Clinton Joseph Ayres influenced affairs of Saranac Lake and the Adirondacks as did few other men of his time. He established his business when he took over the agency of Edward R. Young in March of 1915."

Here is a portion of his affiliations as listed in his obituary:

Director and vice president of the chamber of commerce, secretary and vice president of the Adirondack Civic Organization, secretary and director of the Saranac Lake Savings and Loan Association, director of the New York State Forest, Fish and Game League, a life member of the Stevenson Society of America and a member of Christian Science Society of Saranac Lake.

He was a school board member and then president of the school board from 1921 to 1924, and a member of the Rotary Club, the Adirondack Mountain Club, the Saranac Boat and Waterways Club, the Saranac Lake Amateur Skating Association, the Saranac Lake Curling Club, and a 33rd-degree Mason and a Shriner.

Ayres is just a name on an office window now, but what contributions Mr. Ayres made to this area in his short life of 54 years.



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