I heard this story from Eileen Black, who has lived in the house for many years and raised her family there. A ghost visited their home several times a year for decades. He would show up at the back walkway, walking towards the house, glancing in the windows. Well-dressed, in an elegant, old fashioned coat and fedora, he looked a bit like Fred Astaire, so the family named him, “Fred.” Eileen, her husband, and children all got used to Fred sightings. He would appear and then be gone, before they could get a good look at him. Guests at the house would see him too. They were never afraid of him; he felt like a friend. [Read more…] about Humble Spirits of History Haunt Saranac Lake Laboratory
One of the things I am missing this summer is the theater. From Broadway in the city of New York to Pendragon Theatre in the Adirondacks and everywhere in between, stages have gone dark.
Actors are a lively, irrepressible bunch, and so it’s a testament to the seriousness of the ongoing pandemic that theaters are closed. [Read more…] about Eddie Cantor, Will Rogers, William Morris and Saranac Lake
Saranac Lake, NY’s history is full of professionals in medicine and science who had a passion for learning and an intense curiosity about the natural world. [Read more…] about Doctors in the Garden of Science
Here in the Adirondacks, where there are more trees than people, it can get lonely. Mail carriers keep us connected, and post offices in rural hamlets serve as social hubs. [Read more…] about Beyond Philately: In Praise of the Postal Carrier
During the era of TB in New York State the fresh air cure wasn’t all a bed of roses.
First-hand accounts left behind in letters, photographs, diaries, and memoirs paint a picture of life in Saranac Lake during the TB years. It’s an incomplete record that can lead us to believe curing was an overwhelmingly positive experience. It takes energy, time, and a degree of mental and physical well being to leave behind a personal record. People who were very ill, illiterate, or struggling with poverty did not have the same opportunity to create, or later preserve, accounts of their experiences. [Read more…] about Sad Side of TB Treatment History Has Echoes Today
As autumn approaches, schools are thinking about ways to keep students safe by maximizing time outdoors. The concept of outside instruction is not new.
Leading up to the Second World War, open air schools were built in the United States and Europe to protect children from tuberculosis.
In Saranac Lake, in the heart of the Adirondacks, where temperatures in the winter tend to stay well below freezing, some children attended unheated, open air classrooms. [Read more…] about Fresh Air Schools: Teaching Outdoors For Public Health
“The great tragedy of life is not that men perish, but that they cease to love.” — W. Somerset Maugham.
Before antibiotics, one of the more powerful medicines against tuberculosis was love. Happy patients tended to be more successful in overcoming the disease, so health care providers took every step to improve patients’ state of mind.
Patients stayed busy with occupational therapy and social activities. In the Adirondacks around Saranac Lake, cure porches were oriented toward the best views to boost patients’ sprits with natural beauty. And then there was cousining — a term for informal romances that developed between patients. [Read more…] about Cure Porch Cousining: Love In A Time of TB
Long after people die, the buildings where they made their lives often remain. Many visitors to the Saranac Laboratory Museum follow the footsteps of a family member who came to Saranac Lake with tuberculosis.
Often the only trace that remains is the address of a cure cottage and a porch where their relative once took the fresh air. [Read more…] about Saranac Lake’s Famous Cure Porches Have Stories To Tell
Graveyards are for the living. It’s something I think about every autumn, when my local Pine Ridge Cemetery in Saranac Lake in the Adirondacks comes alive with children on our annual fifth grade field trip.
Ahead of time, the students research a person buried there. As we walk down to the graveyard from school, excitement builds. Upon arrival the kids race around, looking excitedly for their person. It’s like a bizarre version of an Easter egg hunt. [Read more…] about Life in the Graveyard
Since we first opened the Saranac Laboratory Museum doors in 2009, thousands have come to learn about Saranac Lake’s history as a center for tuberculosis research and treatment.
Visitors often ask about the cost of care and who was able to afford it. Was Saranac Lake’s fresh air treatment just for rich people? Did people of different ethnic groups and social classes have access to the cure? [Read more…] about Poverty, Tuberculosis, COVID-19 and the Luxury of Health