Keeping track of Saranac Lake’s History

It isn’t just nature, hikes and water activities that keep me active. It is an overwhelming interest in its vast history. Every summer I try to schedule in one of Historic Saranac Lake’s walking tours. Each Thursday a different section of the Saranac Lake story is unfolded. My daughter joined me last week for a tour around the American Management Association (AMA) property. 

During school she’s learned about the contribution Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau made to the community and was interested to learn more about his influence.

There is always so much more information given on these tours and not enough space to write about it. I learned from Margaret, our wonderful volunteer guide, that the AMA space was originally the Trudeau Sanatorium. Sanatoriums were institutions geared toward those that couldn’t afford the private cure cottages in town.   
Established by Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau and first named the Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium, the Trudeau Sanatorium property originally housed 54 buildings, each dedicated toward a certain function whether for housing staff, patients, a chapel or workhouse. Trudeau managed to find patrons to contribute to erecting various cottages that are still situated around the 84-acre property. Of the original 54 buildings, only 24 remain. I hadn’t remembered that “Little Red,” the first Trudeau cure cottage, had been moved four times before its finally resting place at the Trudeau Institute on Lower Saranac.  

Tours are offered every Thursday at 10:30 am until Columbus Day with a $5/general admission, free/members and children. Call Historic Saranac Lake at 518-891-4606 for more information.

Enjoy 33 easy hikes, 19 swimming holes
as well as numerous seasonal activities
1st Thursday: Little Red and the Trudeau Statue
2nd Thursday: Walking Tour of Historic Downtown to the Laboratory Museum  
3rd Thursday: AMA Tour (former Trudeau Sanitorium)
4th Thursday: Cure Cottage Museum
Bartók Cabin Tours: Tours of the Béla Bartók Cabin (Hungarian composer) are by appointment.

A free garden tour is being added to the roster for Saturday, July 26 from 10-11:30 am to visit three of the seven Village Improvement Society (VIS)parks. The VIS parks are preserved based on a 1907 open space protection plan recommended and designed by the Olmsted Brothers (the firm run by the sons of the landscape architect of NYC’s Central Park). Implementing the plan was deemed too expensive so the VIS was formed in 1910 and these parks are now a part of Saranac Lake’s history.  Reservations are recommended by calling 891-4606.  Enjoy history! 

© Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities™ guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time™, which is available online or bookstores/museums/sporting good stores. Diane is currently working on the third guidebook in the four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities™.


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