Today we’re featuring Adrienne Possenti on the Voices of Saranac Lake! Adrienne's parents, Elizabeth and Joseph Glick had recently bought a diner in Glens Falls when Elizabeth began showing symptoms of tuberculosis. The family moved to Saranac Lake with their two children and Elizabeth’s father. Adrienne grew up in Saranac Lake while her mother took the cure. In a 2018 interview, Adrienne shared her memories of Saranac Lake, from her mother’s long struggle with TB, to the poverty in their neighborhood, too hula-hooping in the 50s. Visit our website to read some of Adrienne's memoirs and listen to the interview!
Voices of Saranac Lake: Helen Munn
Today we’re featuring Helen Morgan Munn on the Voices of Saranac Lake! Helen (1931 - 2010) spent most of her life in Saranac Lake, where her mother took the fresh air cure for TB. In an interview with Tammy Morgan, Hellen talked about her mother’s experience with TB at Gabriel's Sanatorium and the State Sanatorium at Ray Brook. She shared about some of the misadventures of her brother Dewdrop Morgan and spoke about the family farm. Helen’s parents ran the Morgan family farm. They had 426 acres and milked 40 cows, by hand and by machine, and delivered to restaurants, cure cottages, and Fish Creek campground. To read the transcript of our interview with Helen visit https://www.hslstories.org/munn-helen.html
The Porch: A retrospective
It's time for our weekly Cure Porch on Wheels retrospective! In many ways, the Cure Porch on Wheels began with this photo. In the fall of 2010, Historic Saranac Lake staff heard about a project by Bryony Graham at Salem Artworks. Bryony had built a model of a Victorian porch on a trailer and traveled rural upstate NY. In 2011 Executive Director Amy Catania (pictured above) had the opportunity to visit Salem Artworks and learn more about the Bryony's traveling porch. And so began the idea for what would become the Cure Porch on Wheels.
Drawing on the American cultural tradition of the front porch as a public and private community space, we wanted to create an intimate venue where residents and tourists alike could celebrate arts and heritage. But this venue wouldn't be just any porch! We wanted to create a model of one of Saranac Lake's defining architectural features and symbols of local history, the cure porch.
Today we are featuring William F. Madden Jr. (1928 - 2013) on the Voices of Saranac Lake! We interviewed Bill for the Oral History Project back in 2010. The conversation, which ranged from bootlegging to tuberculosis, centered around the family business. Bill’s grandfather ran a delivery business that grew into Madden’s Transfer and Storage. Bill spoke about the early days of the business and its expansion when his father bought a Model T Ford in 1914. When Bill was a junior in high school, Madden’s bought the 1931 Curling Rink on River Street for use as a storage facility. In the interview, which takes place in that facility, he describes the dances that used to be held at the curling rink and talks about some of the antiques there at the time of the interview.
To listen to the interview and read the transcript visit https://www.hslstories.org/madden-william-jr.html
The Porch: A Retrospective
We’re approaching the one year birthday of the Cure Porch on Wheels' first outing! Looking back, it’s amazing how far this little mobile museum has come. The dream for the Cure Porch on Wheels started way back in 2010. The original plan was to build the Porch on a flatbed truck. Over the next few weeks we’ll be doing a little retrospective on how the Porch came to be. Today we have an early design sketch and one of the first design mock-ups of the Cure Porch on Wheels!
Introducing: The Voices of Saranac Lake! Historic Saranac Lake’s oral history project works to preserve the voices of our community. Every Saturday we will be featuring a different community member on our facebook page! Read a little about them here and head over to our website www.hslstories.org to listen to their interview!
Today we’re featuring Nancy Howard Heath! We interviewed Nancy in May of this year, as part of our Saranac Lake in the Time of COVID project. Nancy was one of the many volunteers who helped sew personal protective equipment for medical workers Adirondack Health. “I figure that’s the least I can do. … This is how I can help.” She sewed some 88 PPE head covering for Adirondack Health in addition to many masks.
Nancy is also the 2020 Winter Carnival Queen! She has always loved Winter Carnival. When Nancy was 11, she met the Winter Carnival Queen, Miss New York, in the ladies room at the Pontiac Theater. “I couldn’t believe my sisters were talking to the Queen just like she was a regular person.” Of her own experience as Queen, Nancy said, “It’s truly been an honor. I have loved every minute of it. I don’t know if I can say thank you enough. … It will be one of those wonderful memories that will be with me always.”
Listen to Nancy’s interview on our website: https://www.hslstories.org/heath-nancy-howard.html
Talking Points: after the interview
Welcome to our final Talking Points video! In the last video of the series we’re going over what to do after an interview. The project doesn’t end once you turn the recorder off! Think about how you want to preserve and share the information you gathered during the interview. If you are researching family history, maybe share your interview with other family members. Consider donating the audio to a local museum (like Historic Saranac Lake!) where your interview can inform exhibits, be accessed by researchers, and be shared with future generations.
To learn more about Historic Saranac Lake’s oral history project visit our website, www.hslstories.org
Story Saturday: Chris Woodward
It’s Story Saturday again! Today we’re sharing a story from NCPR’s North Country at Work, featuring Saranac Lake local Chris Woodward. Chris owns The Woodward Boat Shop where he is one of very few people who builds and repairs Adirondack Guideboats. In an interview with North Country at Work, Chris shared about the tedium and joy of guideboat repairs, as well as how he first learned his trade. Listen to the interview here: https://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/news/story/40470/20200204/north-country-at-work-an-adirondack-guideboat-builder-on-sweat-shovels-and-sanding-lots-of-sanding
Today’s Talking Points is all about using oral history to capture history as it happens! Oral history is a great tool to preserve primary source accounts. Many organizations (including Historic Saranac Lake!) are currently using oral history as a tool to document the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their communities. Today’s video explores some things to keep in mind when documenting an ongoing event.
Bunk Griffin on Story Saturday
Today’s Story Saturday is in honor of a Saranac Lake legend, Bunk Griffin! Bunk is an expert on local history and shares stories from Saranac Lake’s past through his website (www.bunksplace.com) and his facebook page. This Wednesday was Bunk’s 80th birthday and we wanted to celebrate him by sharing a story he told us during a 2018 interview!
Thank you Bunk for connecting so many people to our local history and reminding us to pay it forward.
From the Porch
We're posting all the latest news, videos, and stories from Historic Saranac Lake's oral history project and Cure Porch on Wheels here. Stay tuned for Talking Points on Sunday, Live from the Porch on Tuesday and Saturdays, and other weekly offerings!