Saturday, March 2, 2019

Mohawk Valley Living #151 Adk Journal Andy Flynn

Oh, the good old days! Here is a video interview of me from 2008 when I only had four "Adirondack Attic" books published. Thanks to Gary VanRiper, Mohawk Valley Living and The Weekly Adirondack for the support over the past 16 years. This video was shot at the Old Forge Hardware store in the book section. Enjoy!

Friday, March 1, 2019

Adirondack Attic: Saranac Lake cure cottage stone pig

(Here is a blurb about a Saranac Lake cure cottage stone pig, first published in the "Adirondack Attic" newspaper column in 2004 and reprinted in "New York State's Mountain Heritage: Adirondack Attic, Vol. 2.")


In Saranac Lake, taking the wilderness cure for tuberculosis in the late 19th and early 20th centuries meant getting plenty of fresh Adirondack Mountain air in the lungs. Spending time outdoors was an essential part of the curing regimen, and keeping warm in the winter was, as it is now, an ongoing challenge in the frozen “City of the Sick.”

With its peak population at about 8,000 people in 1930, the Franklin County village of Saranac Lake was a bustling health resort catering mostly to TB patients seeking the cure in sanatoriums and privately owned cure cottages. The world-famous Trudeau Sanatorium, founded as the Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium in 1884 by Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau, sprawled over the east side of Mount Pisgah. Trudeau’s work inspired a health revolution in the United States and fed Saranac Lake’s economic engine until the Sanatorium closed in 1954.

The Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium was renamed in 1917 to the Trudeau Sanatorium after Trudeau’s death in 1915, according to the Trudeau Institute, a research facility founded in 1964 by E.L.’s grandson, Francis B. Trudeau Jr.

The architecture of Saranac Lake is unique because of its tuberculosis-curing past. Many buildings were constructed specifically as cure cottages, and others endured multiple renovations to keep up with the increased demand for wilderness-curing boarding space.

“By the locally evolved, time honored, unwritten definition, it is only the commercial private sanatoria, the big boarding houses bristling with porches, that can legitimately be called cure cottages,” wrote Phil Gallos in his book, "Cure Cottages of Saranac Lake."

TB patients sat in reclining chairs/beds on the cure cottage porches in all types of weather to inhale the balsam-scented air.

Some nurses used ceramic hot water bottles, also known as stone pigs, to warm those outdoor cure beds. The Adirondack Experience museum has several stone pigs in its collection, including the one featured on the cover of "New York State's Mountain Heritage: Adirondack Attic, Vol. 2." It was donated in 1994 by Susan and Glenn Arnold, former owners of the Noyes Cure Cottage on Helen Street in Saranac Lake. The hot water bottle dates to between 1920 and 1940.

(For more about this artifact and others from the Adirondack Experience collection, check out Andy Flynn's six-volume "Adirondack Attic" book series. Call Andy Flynn at 518-891-5559 or email him at and order your copies today; credit cards accepted. Volumes 2-6 are available - $18 retail. Say you are a "History Nerd" and save $3 per book.)

2019 "History Nerds" book sale

Hey, it's Andy. I'm looking forward to connecting with more "Adirondack Attic" readers in 2019 as I hit the road with some "Artifact Night" events around New York state.

As such, I'm offering a sale on all my books for anyone who emails me, texts me or calls me on the phone with the code: "History Nerds." My email is and phone number is (518) 891-5559. We can take care of the order by email or phone. I accept credit cards, checks and cash and offer free delivery to the Tri-Lakes region of the Adirondacks.

All these books are $15 each: "New York's Mountain Heritage: Adirondack Attic" volumes 2-6, "Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Memories" and the "Lake Placid Diet." If you don't say "History Nerds" you don't get the discount. The regular prices are $18.00 for each Attic book, $24.95 for the Winter Carnival book and $17.95 for the "Lake Placid Diet."

So far, I have an "Adirondack Artifact Night" program slated for 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 10 in Wilmington, hopefully at the community center, sponsored by the Wilmington Historical Society. I last presented this program in Wilmington several years ago, and we had a blast!

Here's a description of the program:

Artifact Night is a time to share stories about family and local history with your community. People are invited to bring artifacts from home or work and tell stories about their objects during a show-and-tell session. Beforehand, I give a brief presentation on researching local history, showcasing stories from the Adirondack Attic History Project. The most fun is when people bring in “mystery objects” and the group collectively tries to solve the mystery. You don’t have to be a history nerd to enjoy this program, but it helps.

I hope to see you on the road this year with your artifacts and stories.


Proud history nerd,
Andy Flynn