Today's TOTALLY 1880s post marks the end of something--Robert Louis Stevenson's time in Saranac Lake! Stevenson arrived in Saranac Lake in October of 1887, and by April of 1888, he had departed for warmer climes. Stevenson, who most likely had tuberculosis, had been on his way to seek treatment in Colorado Springs. He decided to change his destination based on Dr. Trudeau's reputation for treating the disease. Stevenson rented the Baker Cottage along the Saranac River (now known as the Stevenson Cottage), and arranged for treatment under Dr. Trudeau's care. They became close friends, and developed a respect for one another despite their sometimes heated disagreements. Much to Dr. Trudeau's chagrin, Stevenson was a chain smoker; Trudeau told him this was not the "cure" he had in mind.
Stevenson was a celebrity at that time, and his time in Saranac Lake attracted great attention, both locally and around the world. This played a great part in increasing the the village's reputation for health-seekers. He left Saranac Lake and headed to Samoa, where he spent six years before dying of his illness.
Learn more about Stevenson's time in Saranac Lake and the works he produced while curing on our wiki. And be sure to check out the Stevenson Cottage to see the place where he stayed and immerse yourself in Stevensoniana!
Today's TOTALLY 1880s highlight might be a bit of "bull," date-wise, but the first telephone exchange in Saranac Lake went into service sometime between 1885 and 1887. This simple switchboard was housed in F. M. Bull's Drugstore on Main Street and offered a primitive connection between "Paul Smith's, Bloomingdale, Lee's and Trudeau's Camps, Big Clear Pond (Joe Baker's), Ehrick's, Martin's, Miner's (the taxidermist), Alexander's, the Sanitarium, Lake Placid, and perhaps other points," according to the Plattsburgh Sentinel in 1885. Apparently calls were met with a response of, "Hello, Bull!" This phone service was taken over by Joseph Merkel and Frank M. Jackson, who moved it to 91 Main Street. In 1897, they sold out to the Franklin Telegraph and Telephone Co., which had been organized by local merchants to provide better and more extended service.
Learn more about F. M. Bull on our wiki!
We have three more days left of TOTALLY 1880s features, so don't miss them!
Today's TOTALLY 1880s moment is another important one in the history of tuberculosis research in Saranac Lake! In 1885, Dr. Edward L. Trudeau grew the tubercule bacilli in his home laboratory; this made him the first person to do so in the United States! His work was based on the groundbreaking report on the discovery of the bacterial cause of tuberculosis published by Dr. Robert Koch in Germany in 1882.
Dr. Trudeau is pictured here more than a decade later at work in his office in the Saranac Laboratory. The Saranac Laboratory was built after a fire in Dr. Trudeau's home laboratory burned down the entire house in 1893.
Learn more about the important career of Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau on our wiki.
Today’s TOTALLY 1880s moment is a BIG (or little?!) one! Little Red, the first cure cottage at Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium (later renamed Trudeau Sanatorium), was built in 1884! The facility officially opened the next year; this marked the beginning of a 70-year history of patients coming from all over the world to seek a cure for tuberculosis. Little Red has survived as a symbol of the work begun by Dr. E. L. Trudeau and the legacy of the tuberculosis industry in Saranac Lake.
Have you visited Little Red? You can take tours with us in the summer months! Learn more about its history on our wiki.
We’re halfway through our TOTALLY 1880s features and halfway through Winter Carnival! What will the next 5 days bring?
We're going TOTALLY 1880s all week long! Today's highlight is the Spaulding Block, which was the first brick building in Saranac Lake, and was built in 1882! The Spaulding block was located on the corner of Main and River Streets, and its three stories played host to an assortment of stores, offices, and apartments while one of the upstairs halls also served as the Catholic Church prior to the building of St. Bernard's. The Spaulding block was torn down in 1955 for the expansion of a gas station at the intersection.
Learn more about the Spaulding Block, including several tragic events, on our wiki.
Stick around to hear about an 1883 birthday tomorrow!
Time for another TOTALLY 1880s Saranac Lake history moment! The Linwood Cottage was built in 1881. It was built for Arvilla Blood, the only sister of Orlando Blood. Orlando owned Blood's Hotel, later known as the Riverside Inn. Linwood Cottage was later used as a boarding cottage, but was unfortunately torn down in 1953. It originally stood on the site of the current-day Main Street parking lot.
Is everyone having a great Winter Carnival? Tomorrow we've got another blast from the past--that is, 1882!
Learn more about Linwood Cottage on our wiki.
Winter Carnival kicks off today, so we're going Totally '80s... TOTALLY 1880s, that is!!!
The Franklin County Library on Main Street was built in 1880! The plot was purchased from Milo Miller for $25, and the library held 400 books. It was the predecessor of the Saranac Lake Free Library, and the building later became Gibney's Market, and even later Post Office Pharmacy.
Stay tuned, we'll be sharing a different person, place, or event for every year of the 1880s for all 10 days of Carnival! Tomorrow... TOTALLY 1881! Happy 125th Winter Carnival, everyone!
IWe're trying to cool off from the August heat by looking at historic Winter Carnival photographs! This hand-colored image shows an ice pyramid in the intersection of Main Street and Broadway in 1920. The Berkeley House is visible behind the pyramid, decorated for Winter Carnival. The hotel would be heavily damaged by fire just 5 years later, and burned down a final time in 1981.
Stay cool -- we feel better already!
[Historic Saranac Lake Collection, TCR 273, Courtesy of Audrey Vanderhoof.]
Stay up to date on all the news and happenings from Historic Saranac Lake at the Saranac Laboratory Museum!