Wednesday, August 19, 2009

On Saranac Lake

This photo shows the First Baptist Church in Saranac Lake, the church in which I believe my great grandfather Jesse Halsey met my great grandmother Helen Isham. According to one account, between 1907-1909 Jesse made trips to Saranac Lake to attend to his sister Lizzie who was taking the cure, and to speak about the mission work in Labrador. He gave such a talk in a Lake Placid church, in which Great Grandmother Helen played the organ.

From "Historic Saranac Lake and Rachel Bliven, New York State Historic Preservation Office," by Mary Hotaling,
  • The hilly open pastures which lay east of Church Street, between the riverside core of the village and the Old Military Road (Pine Street), were next divided to create the first large residential subdivision in the village. In 1892 Frederick A. Isham, a Lake Placid attorney, formed a partnership with the Orlando Bloods to divide 21 acres of sheep pasture into 174 "Villa Sites." This became Helen Hill, named for its central artery, Helen Street, which climbed straight up the steep slope. Soon the hill was covered with houses, many of them private homes for prominent local citizens and/or wealthy health seekers. Over the next twenty years, as the original owners died or moved away, many of the houses were converted into commercial private sanatoria, growing and changing to suit their new use, a pattern repeated along Church Street below.

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