On Thursday, November 9, HSL Executive Director Amy Catania and I (Aurora) ventured out to Bloomingdale, NY, for a meeting about the construction of the Cure Porch on Wheels.
Amy and I met with Don Rumble and his son Joe, along with Melissa Kline. Don and Joe are the heart of Rumble Carpentry, a business that sees them work on a variety of building projects from their large, well-equipped shop in Bloomingdale. Joe and Don frequently work with Melissa, whose business, Maple Lane Design and Drafting, is also based in Bloomingdale. It's thanks to Melissa and her skills that we have the great renderings of the Cure Porch on Wheels, enabling us to share our vision for what the porch will look like.
At this meeting, we discussed a variety of ideas related to the eventual construction of the porch, including how to power the porch for electricity, wood trim, to insulate or not, window trim, the specific type of trailer needed to build the porch on, and many more important details. This is a great collaborative effort to make the Cure Porch on Wheels the best it can be!
Our next step is a big one: purchasing the trailer that we will build the porch on! Once we have the trailer, Melissa will be able to gather precise measurements for the detailed specs she is creating in partnership with engineer Wiley Lavigne. This is an important step in making the Cure Porch on Wheels a reality and I could not be more excited to keep rolling forward!
Stay tuned for more updates and, as always, please consider making a donation to help us reach our goal. Online donations may be made at: https://www.razoo.com/story/Cureporch
It isn't often that our oral history project links to Hollywood, but today it does!
Today marks what would have been the 95th birthday of screen star Veronica Lake. While she is remembered all over the world for her stunning beauty and her roles in classic films noir, for some, Veronica Lake is better remembered as Connie Keane, a local resident of Saranac Lake in the 1930s.
Constance Ockelman, as she was then known, was born on November 14, 1922, in Brooklyn. In the early 1930s, Connie's widowed mother married a man named Anthony Keane and the family eventually settled at 1 Riverside Drive in Saranac Lake, where Keane would receive treatment for tuberculosis.
Among the local families who befriended the Keanes were the Bombards: A. Douglas and his wife, Charlotte Littlejohn Bombard. Young Connie Keane, whom no one realized would one day become a famous actress, babysat the Bombard children. Natalie Bombard Leduc, who was eight years younger than Connie, has vivid memories of her babysitter, and she spoke about Connie in a recent oral history interview: "...she had a lovely mother. Her mother and my mother were very good friends. She was not a pretty little girl, but she was nice and she gave me a doll I still have."
While living in Saranac Lake, Connie attended St. Bernard's School, before being sent to boarding school in Canada. When Connie was sixteen, the family moved to California and it was shortly after that move that Connie became involved in acting, getting the attention of a producer and, like so many other stars from that time, changing her name to something a bit more alluring than Connie Keane.
Veronica Lake starred in twenty-six films, appearing with stars such as Joel McCrea, Alan Ladd, and Claudette Colbert. When Lake died in 1973 at the age of 50, the Los Angeles Times erroneously reported that she had lived in Lake Placid. For those Saranac Lakers who remember Connie Keane, however, that's a mistake that none of them would make!
Happy Birthday, Connie!
I recently returned from a trip to Colorado, where I was able to give a presentation at the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum and tour the museum. I spoke about Saranac Lake's tuberculosis history, as well as our many projects at Historic Saranac Lake, to a group of volunteers and staff from the museum. They were a wonderful, interested audience and it was gratifying to be able to share Saranac Lake's unique story with such a great group of history-minded people. Colorado Springs has its own rich history of tuberculosis research and care, so I learned some new things, as well! Thank you to the staff and volunteers for having me!
Historic Saranac Lake is developing the Cure Porch on Wheels, an exciting mobile exhibit space that will allow HSL to present mini exhibitions and oral history projects to audiences at locations throughout the area.