We are spending the weekend at Saranac Lake with friends.
Years ago, when Ed and I first came to Saranac Lake together, we stayed here, at the Hotel Saranac. The rooms were plain and practical, and one could get a very nice dinner in the dining room.
After Paul Smith's College sold it, it fell on some very hard times and we all feared it might be lost.
Last year a new owner took over and is investing in major restoration and renovation, to the delight of town residents and visitors alike. We very much look forward to seeing the results, and to staying and having a meal there once again.
Now it's the Dew Drop Inn that is in danger of being lost. It is for sale, and it needs lots of stabilization before it even passes code. The sign is classic.
fyi: Paul Smiths, the village, has no apostrophe; Paul Smith's, the college at Paul Smiths, has an apostrophe.
Pavone's Pizza recently removed their old sign to reveal this classic! I remember Conde Toy Shop, though I think we were outclassed and only looked. We rarely made the trip to Syracuse in the 1950s as it was considered a long way from Oneida.
Some Googling revealed the following two items:
from 1921 from Dealers Report on Trade Conditions: Syracuse, N.Y. - Our toys are about 20 per cent more, and stocks are larger. We sell nothing but toys and carry a complete stock the year round. Wheel toys are selling best. There is a call for cheaper merchandise. High priced items do not sell as well as last year. Think sales will total as high as 1920. Very little of our buying is done. We are buying a few imported dolls and musical toys, and they constitute about 10 per cent of our stock. Prices on some lines are still too high. Some have not been reduced at all.-Conde Toy Shops
from 1936: The Conde Toy Shop, Syracuse N. Y., buys white sea sand from New Jersey in carload lots, has it put up in large, stout paper sacks, with the shop's name printed thereon. These sacks each hold about 140 lbs. of white sand, and are retailed for $2.00, delivered at the purchaser's home. During the summer the Conde Shop advertises this sand in the newspapers and sells large quantities of it. Every purchase of sand means the sale of a goodly number of sand toys, among the most profitable of which are the sand boxes, which Mr. Conde has made locally. These boxes run from six to fifteen feet square and are a few inches high. In the centre is fastened a big sun unbrella.
Archimedes Russell's name comes up at least as often as Ward Wellington Ward's name does in a survey of historic buildings here in the city of Syracuse. Ward and Gustauv Stickley are probably more famous and admired. Still Russell and his contemporaries created a legacy of monumental buildings that has endured.
Russell was born in 1840 in Massachusetts and began his career apprenticing to John Stevens in Boston. Schools of architecture were few and expensive. For Russell apprenticing was the only path to learning the art and craft of designing buildings.
By 1862 Russell had moved to Syracuse, home to his wife's family, and began working as an apprentice for Horatio Nelson White, already a well known architect here. Contemporaneous with them was Joseph Lyman Silsbee.
He left White’s office in 1868 to set up his own practice. During that time, post-Civil War Syracuse's population grew and businesses prospered. Russell and his contemporaries were busy. Russell drew up 800 commissions (not all of which were built), and taught architecture at Syracuse University at a time when most architecture was still being taught on the job.
Russell employed Asa L. Merrick from 1870 to 1877, and Charles E. Colton worked for him from 1875 to 1878. They too built their own firms after working for Russell.
Russell hired Melvin L. King in 1889 and made him a partner in 1906 as Russell began to retire. That trajectory leads directly to King + King, a highly respected architectural firm in Syracuse today.
As I look for Russell’s extant buildings, of which there are still many, I’m enjoying the wide range of styles he explored during his career, in an age of architectural diversity.
Here and in past and future posts is a sampler of the built legacy of Archimedes Russell and his cohorts.