When was the Village of Saranac Lake settled? How old is it?

Although the area in which Saranac Lake resides was home to Native Americans who predominantly were fur traders and trappers, the village of  Saranac Lake was settled in 1819 by Jacob Smith Moody, by 1856 (the year St. Lawrence University was founded) there were only 15 families settled. However, the Village was officially incorporated in 1876 with its first mayor being Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau.[1]

 

 

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Map of the Village of Saranac Lake, from LocalWiki. "Saranac Lake 1876." Digital copy of a printed image. LocalWiki. Accessed: May 2, 2017. 

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Photo of the village center. LocalWiki. "Broadway - Saranac Lake, Adirondack Mountains, New York, Circa 1909. Local Wiki. Accessed: May 2nd, 2017. 

Why was the Village of Saranac Lake settled?

Although the incorporation of Saranac lake in 1876 was followed shortly by a wave of people coming to seek the curing regimen of Dr. Trudeau, who suffered from Tuberculosis until it was cured by his stay in the mountains, it can be assumed that Moody purchased the initial land from the “Old Military Tract,” which was divided land distributed by the U.S. Government to Revolutionary War veterans. built a cabin, and cleared presumably so that he could continue to fur trap.[2]

 

 

Who or what group is given credit for settling the Village of Saranac Lake, and why was it settled?

Moody is credited with settling the Village of Saranac Lake, but through the research, I have done Captain Pliny Miller, who arrived in 1822 and purchased 300 acres of land along Saranac River, built the first dam across the river to power his sawmill which created a large mill pond. It should be noted that most of the Village of Saranac Lake stands on his original purchase. [3] Due to its initially perceived unfruitful terrain, location, and weather, Saranac Lake was not founded as a result of Industry. It was not located near an important waterway or port and didn’t offer (initially) any viable resources that would demand a settlement. However, later, Saranac Lake did prove to be a fruitful logging and milling location, and then in 1876 with the incorporation of the town and a rising popularity in regards to Dr. Trudeau’s treatments, its would grow to include the health and wellness industry.

 

 

What was there before the Village of Saranac Lake, and how is it governed today?

First and foremost this area was home to Saranac Native Americans, and then it was offered up as lots of the “Old Military Tract.” “The Old Military Tract” was bounties for militia men who served in the Revolutionary War. The westernmost line of the tract became the Franklin-Essex County line which still divides the village of Saranac Lake today. Today, the village has elected officials that make up The Village Board. The board is elected by the Village residents and they serve a four-year term. It makes up the legislative and governing body of the Village, consisting of a mayor, deputy mayor and trustee, and three more trustees.[4]
 

 

 

What is the current population of the Village of Saranac Lake, how are they generally employed, and who are the largest employers?

 The population as of 2014 was 5,318, 99% of which was urban,  i.e. living in the main village limits, meanwhile, the population had seen a total change of +5.5% since the year 2000.[6]Many of the jobs posted on websites in the Saranac Lake area are for The Point Resort and Paul Smith College and various miscellaneous employment opportunities, form grounds crew to quality checking at a Frito-Lay factory,  a part-time residence counselor, a social worker, micro brewing, etc.[5] The largest employers are Paul Smiths College and the local resorts and lodges, which is an indication of the fact that most of the employment in the Saranac Lake area hinges on those that come from outside the area, i.e. students, tourists, or seasonal visitors or return annually. The estimated median household income in 2015 was $44,963.[9]

 

 

 

 

In what way has the demographic of the Village of Saranac Lake changed from its founding to now?

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Digital copy of a photo of the Village of Saranac Lake. Local Wiki. Saranac Lake, late 1800s. Local Wiki. Accessed: May 3rd, 2017.

Although initially the settlers were European born, since the first American European descendent was born, Moody’s son, Saranac lake has been consistently predominantly white, being 94.2% the next being two or more races at 2.4%, and then black at 1.3%.[8]
 

 

 

Winter Carnival, a ten day festival with concerts, games, parades and more;  World Snowshoe Championships, which consist of a 10k for adults, and a 5k for kids, both of which are open; Daffest, a spring daffodil blooming festival; Can-Am Rugby Tournament, one of the largest in the world with over 100 teams; Plein Air Festival, an open-air painting festival, Cycle Adirondacks, an award-winning event created by the Wildlife Conservation Society to connect cyclists with nature, and The Adirondack Canoe Classic, a 3 day paddle and camping race that is modeled after European settler trails. [7] Initially the land parceled up from the Old War Tract was deemed unappealing, dangerous, and lacked opportunity. Therefore, in terms of the history of work, Saranac Lake and its residents, since its inception, have worked around their unique environment to produce for themselves.  Whether it was logging and trapping in the early 19th century, or developing microbreweries today in the late 20th and early 21st century to accompany the hospitality industry that has been ever present since the late 19th century. By creating an allure to the mountainous and rugged style, what was once deemed unfruitful is now seen as a desirable vacation spot, and has been that way for decades now. It general, it is famous for being a frequent visit spot of various presidents, socialites, and worldly icons, including Alert Einstein.

 

 

 

What are the annual events that take place in the Village of Saranac Lake and what is its claim to fame?

Initially the land parceled up from the Old War Tract was deemed unappealing, dangerous, and lacked opportunity. Therefore, in terms of the history of work, Saranac Lake and its residents, since its inception, have worked around their unique environment to produce for themselves.  Whether it was logging and trapping in the early 19th century, or developing microbreweries today in the late 20th and early 21st century to accompany the hospitality industry that has been ever present since the late 19th century. By creating an allure to the mountainous and rugged style, what was once deemed unfruitful is now seen as a desirable vacation spot, and has been that way for decades now, and in general, their claim to fame is being a frequent visit spot of various presidents, socialites, and worldly icons, including Alert Einstein.

Endnotes

[1] "Explore Saranac Lake's History." SaranacLake.com. May 08, 2013. Accessed April 7, 2017. http://www.saranaclake.com/activities/history.

[2] "Historic Saranac Lake." A History of Saranac Lake - Historic Saranac Lake - LocalWiki. Accessed April 7, 2017. https://localwiki.org/hsl/A_History_of_Saranac_Lake.

[3] "Historic Saranac Lake." A History of Saranac Lake - Historic Saranac Lake - LocalWiki. Accessed April 7, 2017. https://localwiki.org/hsl/A_History_of_Saranac_Lake.

 

[4] "Saranac Lake, New York." Village Elected Officials - Village of Saranac Lake, New York . Accessed April 7, 2017. http://www.saranaclakeny.gov/index.asp?Type=NONE&SEC=%7BCE0FB704-6DB3-4….

[5] "Hotel Saranac." Jobs. Accessed April 25, 2017. https://www.indeed.com/l-Saranac-Lake,-NY-jobs.html.

[6] "Saranac Lake, New York." Saranac Lake, New York (NY 12983) profile: population, maps, real estate, averages, homes, statistics, relocation, travel, jobs, hospitals, schools, crime, moving, houses, news. Accessed April 25, 2017. http://www.city-data.com/city/Saranac-Lake-New-York.html.

[7] "Saranac Lake Events." SaranacLake.com. February 16, 2012. Accessed April 25, 2017. http://www.saranaclake.com/events.

[8] "Saranac Lake, New York." Saranac Lake, New York (NY 12983) profile: population, maps, real estate, averages, homes, statistics, relocation, travel, jobs, hospitals, schools, crime, moving, houses, news, sex offenders. Accessed April 25, 2017. http://www.city-data.com/city/Saranac-Lake-New-York.html.

[9] "Saranac Lake, New York." Saranac Lake, New York (NY 12983) profile: population, maps, real estate, averages, homes, statistics, relocation, travel, jobs, hospitals, schools, crime, moving, houses, news, sex. Accessed April 25, 2017. http://www.city-data.com/city/Saranac-Lake-New-York.html.

 

Contributor Biography

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John Connor Courtney, 2015.

John Connor Courtney is a sophomore majoring in Economics with a minor in Art History at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York. Hailing from Providence, Rhode Island, and while majoring in Economics, Courtney has a strong passion for history as well as the greater Adirondack area where he has spent a portion of his childhood, in the Keene Valley area in particular. Courtney is a member of the Crew Team as St. Lawrence as well as the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He plans to travel abroad to Rome in the Spring of 2018.