The Board of Directors of Historic Saranac Lake (HSL) has announced a plan to pursue acquisition and redevelopment of the former Trudeau home and medical offices at 118 Main Street, Saranac Lake.
The initial conceptual design include restoration of the building’s exterior. The entry level is expected to host museum exhibits, collections storage, and a museum store that will expand upon HSL’s existing exhibits at the Saranac Laboratory Museum nearby. Additional possibilities for the first floor include public space for arts and cultural events, and office space. The second floor will host unique apartments to complement the historic location.
Historic Saranac Lake is planning to apply for state funding through the Village’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative.
HSL is negotiating a purchase agreement with the owners of the building and is contracting with an architect to refine the plans. In order to leverage state funding, HSL is seeking pledges of support for the project.
Built in 1894 after a fire consumed Dr. E. L. Trudeau’s first home, the over 5,000 square-foot building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Trudeau’s cousin, J. Lawrence Aspinwall, designed the Colonial Revival residence. The Saranac Laboratory, also designed by Aspinwall, was built the same year next door to the residence. Two more generations of Trudeau doctors and their associates continued to use the house for medical offices. Medical Associates closed their practice in the building in December of 2017. Until then, the building was the oldest medical facility in continuous use within the Adirondack blue line.
Since acquiring the neighboring Saranac Laboratory as a donation from the Dorothy and Jay Federman in 1998, Historic Saranac Lake has raised and invested about a half million dollars for the lab’s restoration and reuse. HSL opened the laboratory as a museum in 2007. Reacting to increasing visitorship, HSL began year-round operation, Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 am to 5 pm.
HSL plans to operate the Trudeau house and neighboring lab as an interactive museum campus interpreting Saranac Lake’s history.
Photo: The E. L. Trudeau home and office, 118 Main Street, c. 1900. Courtesy of the Adirondack Room of the Saranac Lake Free Library.