Walk of Fame

  • 39 Main Street
    Saranac Lake, NY 12983

Saranac Lake has embraced its own claims to fame with a Walk of Fame. These bronze-colored signs are scattered throughout downtown for locals and visitors to explore!

1. Bill Demong 

Plaque Location: 39 Main Street

Born: March 29, 1980

Vermontville native Bill Demong attended Saranac Lake High School, then went on to become the first American to win an Olympic gold medal in a Nordic event — the 10 km individual large hill — in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Bill learned ski jumping through the New York Ski Educational Foundation and has been competing on the world cup level since since 1997, Demong won his first World Cup gold in 2002 in the 10 km individual large hill, which he repeated in 2009. His athletic career was nearly ended by a swimming accident in 2002 that resulted in a fractured skull.

2. Andrea Kilbourne-Hill

Plaque Location: 39 Main Street

Born: April 19, 1980

Kilbourne-Hill is a Saranac Lake native whose one assist and one goal helped the U.S. hockey team take second place in the 2002 Winter Olympics. In 2004, she also helped the U.S. team take second in the 4 Nations Cup and the Women’s World Ice Hockey Championships.

3. Chris Mazdzer

Plaque Location: 39 Main Street

Born: June 26, 1988

When Saranac Lake resident Chris Mazdzer became the first non-European to win the silver medal in the men’s singles luge in the 2018 Winter Olympics, our entire village cheered. He also finished 13th in the 2010 Winter Olympics and the 2014 Winter Olympics.

4. Béla Bartók

Plaque Location: 43 Main Street

Born: March 25, 1881

Died: September 26, 1945

Mr. Bartok gets my vote for the coolest name on this list. Born in the small town of Nagyszentmiklós, Romania, Bela’s mother said he could play 40 pieces on the piano by the time he was 4. It’s no wonder he went on to become one of the best composers of the 20th century. So what’s the tie in? The composer and pianist wrote some of his last compositions while staying in Saranac Lake. He died in a hospital in New York City from complications of leukemia when he was 64. His funeral was attended by 10 people including his wife, Ditta, and their son, Péter.

5. Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau

Plaque Location: 62 Main Street

Born: October 5, 1848

Died: November 15, 1915

Shortly after his older brother, Edward, died of tuberculosis, Edward Trudeau enrolled in the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. The young doctor was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1873 and moved to Saranac Lake seeking a cure in the fresh mountain air. He went on to organize the Saranac Laboratory for the Study of Tuberculosis in 1894. Later renamed the Trudeau Institute, it was the first laboratory in the United States for the study of tuberculosis. He was quite involved in the community, and even founded and became the first mayor of the Village of Saranac Lake. Trudeau died from tuberculosis about 40 years after contracting the disease.

6. Christy Mathewson

Plaque Location: 81 Main Street

Born: August 12, 1880

Died: October 7, 1925 

Mathewson was one of the famous “First Five” inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936. His list of accomplishments is long and impressive—he still leads the National League in total games won and is tied for third place for all of baseball. He moved to Saranac Lake on July 1, 1920 after being diagnosed with tuberculosis.

7. Herb Clark

Plaque Location: 87 Main Street

Born: July 10, 1870

Died: March 3, 1945

As a lover of the mountains I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Herb Clark, a man who came to Saranac Lake in his early 20s and later climbed the 46 peaks then believed to be higher than 4,000 feet. As such, he’s the first documented 46er. It’s important to note that back then, in the early 1900s, only 12 of those mountains had trails to the summits. Clark possessed a legendary sense of humor that’s necessary for any serious hiker here, something that no doubt led to him coining the phrase “cripplebrush” for the stunted balsam fir forests, which are the bane of any high-elevation traveler.

8. Maurice Kenny

Plaque Location: 109 Main Street

Born: August 26, 1929

Died: April 16, 2016

Novelist and poet Maurice Kenny never met a flower he didn’t like, so it’s no small wonder the two-time Pulitzer nominee lived in Saranac Lake. He identified as Mohawk and was an activist on Native American issues in the 1970s. His poetry often featured women as strong, central figures, and his writings—both poetry and essays—were central to representative discourse for homosexuality within the Mohawk community. After first expressing his identity as a gay man in a poem, "Winkte," and an essay, "Tinselled Bucks: An Historical Study in Indian Homosexuality," Kenny was among the first nationally recognized American Indians to come out publicly. In addition to his writings, Kenny taught literature and poetry at various institutions, including Paul Smith's College, North Country Community College, and SUNY Potsdam.

9. Larry Doyle

Plaque Location: 7 Broadway Street

Born: July 31, 1886

Died: March 1, 1974

Larry Doyle’s stats as a second baseman are too many to list here, so here’s a sample: He had 1,887 total hits, 299 doubles, 123 triples, 2,654 total bases, 496 extra base hits, and 695 double plays. Doyle moved to Saranac Lake to live in Trudeau Sanatorium and was the facility’s last resident. He is buried in St. Bernard’s Cemetery.

10. Robert Louis Stevenson

Plaque Location: 28 Broadway Street

Born: November 13, 1850

Died: November 3, 1894

Was there anything Robert Louis Stevenson couldn’t do? A novelist, poet, essayist, musician, and travel writer, he is perhaps best known for writing Treasure Island and  Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Stevenson wasn’t destined for creative pursuits, though. His family were lighthouse engineers, but his affinity for writing was encouraged by his father, a man who was discouraged from writing by his own father. Stevenson spent the winter of 1887 and 1888 at the Baker Cottage, which overlooks the Saranac River near Moody Pond in Saranac Lake. It was an intensely cold winter that produced some of his best essays, including Pulvis et Umbra and The Lantern Bearers. He also began The Master of Ballantrae during that time.

11. Faye Dunaway

Plaque Location: 56 Woodruff Street

Born: November 13, 1850

Died: November 3, 1894

Broadway and film star Faye Dunaway earned an Oscar nomination for her role opposite Warren Beatty in Bonnie and Clyde, but before she worked on Broadway in NYC she worked on Broadway here, as a waitress at the Dew Drop Inn in the summers of 1960 and 1961. She is the recipient of many accolades, including an Academy Award, an Emmy Award, three Golden Globe Awards, and a BAFTA Award. In 2011, she was designated as the Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters by the government of France.

12. Philadelphia Eagles

Plaque Location: 43 Broadway Street

The Eagles held their training camp on the Petrova school field from 1946-1948, but more importantly they won the Super Bowl in 2017, shortly after being inducted to the Saranac Lake Walk of Fame. Coincidence? We think not!

13. Garry Trudeau

Plaque Location: 54 Broadway Street

Born: July 21, 1948

Garry Trudeau and Saranac Lake go way back. Not only was the Doonesbury comic creator born here, he is the great-grandson of Dr. E. L. Trudeau and his father and grandfather were prominent doctors who practiced here. Trudeau has designed the pin for Saranac Lake’s Winter Carnival each year since 1981.

14. Albert Einstein

Plaque Location: 65 Broadway Street

Born: March 14, 1879

Died: April 18, 1955

The theory of relativity and E=mc2—maybe you’ve heard of them? The 1922 Nobel Prize winner was a frequent summer visitor to Lower Saranac Lake, where he rented cabin six. According to records, the brilliant physicist was also an expert sailboat captain, although neither he nor his sister knew how to swim. Counterintuitive to that, Einstein's love of simplicity took precedence, and he reportedly never had a map, compass, or life preservers on board.

15. William Morris

Plaque Location: 2 Depot Street

Born: May 1, 1873

Died: November 2, 1932

Morris was a theatrical agent and manager with an impressive talent roster that included Will Rogers and Charlie Chaplin. He first came to Saranac Lake in 1902 for his health, and even though he moved back to NYC he kept returning to the area and eventually played an active role in the community’s development.

16. Dr. René Joyeuse

Plaque Location: 202 Broadway Street

Born: January 17, 1920

Died: June 12, 2012

A Swiss-born veteran of WWII, Joyeuse was awarded some of the military’s highest awards for parachuting into Nazi-occupied France prior to D-Day to gather intelligence about the German military. He eventually landed in Saranac Lake, where he served as a medical director for the state prison system.

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