SARANAC LAKE Local history will be unearthed during History Buried at Pine Ridge, a historic tour of the 154-year-old cemetery on Saturday, Sept. 15, from 1-3 p.m. Bob Seidenstein and Mary Hotaling will tell the stories of the doctors, patients, and community founders who are buried there.
Refreshments will be served in the rarely-seen vault where bodies were held through the winter until the ground was soft enough for burial. Entrance to the cemetery is from Fawn Street at the north end of the grounds near the railroad tracks. The charge is $10. The tour is a benefit for the Pine Ridge Cemetery Association and Historic Saranac Lake.
Pine Ridge Cemetery includes the old St. Bernards Catholic Cemetery, the Old Protestant Cemetery, and the Hebrew Memorial Cemetery, where restoration work has been done this year. Buried in a special area are doctors who cared for tubercular patients during Saranac Lakes heyday as the premier site for treatment of tuberculosis in the Western Hemisphere.
Of special interest is the Ring Family Memorial Stone, which honors relatives of Dr, and Mrs. Bartholomew Ring of Lake Placid who were killed in Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust. The graves of fifteen Norwegian seamen are found in a section where the flag of Norway is flown every year on the Norwegian Memorial Day, May 17. The sailors were at sea when Hitler invaded Norway. They fled to the United States where they were diagnosed with tuberculosis and sent to Saranac Lake for treatment.
Pine Ridge was dubbed Trudeaus Garden by Adelaide Crapsey, a poet who lay in bed for a year at what was then 39 Clinton Avenue, with a window overlooking the cemetery. Her poem, To the Dead In The Graveyard Under My Window, addresses each body and ghost of you . . . that in your graves do therefore lie so still.
The cemetery is operated and maintained by the Pine Ridge Cemetery Association, a nonprofit group overseen by a board of trustees. Funds for maintenance of this historic and beautiful cemetery are derived from private donors, perpetual care investments and the sale of lots which are still available.
Other activities of Historic Saranac Lake include sponsoring speakers, giving tours, assisting researchers, and acquiring artifacts. HSL has published three books: Saranac Lake Pioneer Health Resort, Cure Cottages of Saranac Lake, and Richard H. Rays Saranac 1937-1940: A Memoir of The Cure in the Adirondacks. Two videos have also been produced: This Was Heaven, Really and Unlocking the Wilderness.