Mary B. Hotaling, age 80, of Saranac Lake, NY died on Friday, September 1, 2023 at her home with her family by her side. “Mary B” was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, and grew up in the Midwest.
She moved to moved the Rittenhouse Square area of Philadelphia with her new husband Jim in the mid-1960s, after touring Europe alone. They moved their young family to Evanston, Illinois; Denver, Colorado; and Saratoga Springs, NY, before finally settling in Saranac Lake in 1977.
After learning about the history of Saranac Lake as a health resort for tuberculosis, Hotaling quickly became a driving force behind promoting that history and local historic preservation, giving what may have been her fist public talk on the subject with Betsy Minehan in December 1878. The two women headed a committee which was gathering data on local buildings for the purpose of having Saranac Lake listed in the National Register as a Pioneer Health Resort.
In 1980 she co-founded Historic Saranac Lake (HSL) with a mission to preserve and present area history and architecture to build a stronger community. She was elected HSL’s first board president and served as its longtime director before retiring in 2009, the same year the rehabilitated 1894 Saranac Laboratory (the first lab in the U.S. for the research of tuberculosis) was opened as a museum and home to Historic Saranac Lake.
Hotaling was particularly devoted to research and writing about the lives of Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau, authoring A Rare Romance in Medicine: The Life and Legacy of Edward Livingston Trudeau, which was published by North Country Books in 2016. She also had a keen interest in architect William Coulter and was a frequent contributor to the Historic Saranac Lake Wiki.
Appointed by New York State Governor Mario Cuomo and confirmed by the NYS Senate, she served on the New York State Board for Historic Preservation from 1993 to 1999. At her first meeting of the Board she moved the nomination of the Adirondack Railroad to the State and National Registers of Historic Places.
During that time, she also earned a Masters in Historian Preservation from from the University of Vermont (1995). In 2004, she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters from Paul Smith’s College.
Hotaling also helped found Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) in 1990 with a mission to promote better public understanding, appreciation, and stewardship of the Adirondacks’ unique and diverse architectural heritage and served as the organization’s first Program Director.
The group was initially headed by Dr. Howard Kirschenbaum, who formed it in an effort to save historic Great Camp Santanoni in Newcomb, NY, from being destroyed by the state when the land it was on was added to the New York State Forest Preserve. The effort was successful, and Santanoni now draws more than fifteen thousand visitors a year.
Hotaling appeared in numerous TV programs about the Adirondacks, including The Forgotten Plague: Tuberculosis in America, part of the PBS American Experience series. She also served as town of Harrietstown Historian for many years.
Mary B. Hotaling is predeceased by her mother and father Evelyn and Charles Baumgart and her brother Tom Baumgart. She is survived by her husband of 57 years, Jim Hotaling, a brother, two daughters; three nieces; and several other family members and close friends.
At celebration of Mary’s life will take place on Saturday September 23, 2023 at Historic Saranac Lake, Church Street, Saranac Lake, NY.
1:00-2:00 Visiting in the John Black Room and under tent behind the museum.
2:00-2:45 Program honoring Mary in the John Black Room. For friends and family unable to join the service, it will be livestreamed on zoom here.
2:45-4:00 Reception outside under tent.
Family and friends wishing to remember Mary may make memorial contributions to Historic Saranac Lake here.