In 1921, she turned the first shovel of dirt at the groundbreaking for a new housing project sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. A quote from the Adirondack Daily Enterprise that day read, "Olga Petrova — the magnificent — turned with her own dainty hands the first clod of earth for the chamber of commerce bungalow on a lot in Lake Street, donated by Walter Jenkins. With her at the time were other stage celebrities, brought here by William Morris, theatrical promoter and benefactor of Saranac Lake, for a performance in aid of the local community house, and the leading citizens of the village."
Petrova School was built in 1925 to replace the original Saranac Lake High School, which originally stood where the Hotel Saranac is now. It housed grades K-12 until 1969, when the current High School was built just up the road. Today it serves grades K-8!
Petrova left the film industry in 1918 but continued to act in Broadway plays and appear on stages across the world. She retired just before the Great Depression and eventually settled in Clearwater, FL, where she lived until her death at the age of 93. She was an early advocate for women's equality and empowerment, so we're happy to feature her for Women's History Month! Thanks for the great question, Katherine!
Learn more about Petrova on our wiki!
Stay up to date on all the news and happenings from Historic Saranac Lake at the Saranac Laboratory Museum!