House Haunting and Hunting in Saranac Lake

I follow local real estate, and I follow local ghost stories. You’d be surprised how frequently the two meet in the middle.

I got on a good sip-snortin’ ghost bender yesterday, and spent a good deal of time paging through tons of nonsense concerning “a ghost with the body of a man, and the head of a raccoon,” another one about a ghost lady with a panther head, and all told, quite a number of beast/human combos. One would think that Saranac Lake’s ghost population were recruited entirely from its taxidermists.

But, I had been told otherwise. “There’s that big house up on the hill. The Colonial.”

The Prescott House (originally known as the Mary Prescott Reception Hospital) was a Tuberculosis hospital, built in 1905 at the request of Dr. Trudeau by a formed TB patient named Mary R. Prescott, to serve patients who were too ill to be admitted to Trudeau’s Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium (which only accepted incipient cases). The Colonial revival building still stands on Franklin Avenue. After the hospital closed in 1949, the building was home to the Saranac Lake Study and Craft Guild, and later did service as a North Country Community College dorm.

The hospital is rumored to have been busting with ghosts during it’s tenure as a dorm, especially in the basement kitchen area – originally the morgue. Can’t quite find any first-hand tales, but as my original informant mentioned, “Oh, that place is haunted. Everybody knows that.”

Haunted or not, it’s certainly gorgeous. Prescott House has been most recently operating as a Bed & Breakfast. (Twenty-two bedrooms and 19,500 square feet!) Judging from the few mentions I’ve seen, Mary Prescott’s kindness is firmly in place – The review(s) are quite good. As for the ghosts, the jury is still out. I didn’t find much. But don’t take my word for it. You can find out for yourself for a cool $975k – It’s for sale! Check out those neat old sinks in what looks like the basement in the listing photos. Shudder.

As always, thanks to Bunk and his excellent Saranac Lake history website for photos. Love local history? Then you have to see this. And this. Stayed tuned for more on the awesome Mary Prescott. You rock, Mary.



Filed under adirondacks

12 responses to “House Haunting and Hunting in Saranac Lake

  1. A little big for me,…. even if I had the moola to buy such a thing. But those cure porches are lovely.

  2. Irish45

    I spent the first 28yrs. of my life traveling among the old Cure Cottages of Saranac Lake. I lived across the street from one where I carried trays up three floors to patients – I was 14. I met the most wonderful collection of people you’d ever hope to meet and many went on to be lifetime friends even after they were cured. Saranac was a Godsend to them and they were a gift to us. IRISH45

  3. Corky

    Oh my! I love it!
    if I could just buy a lottery ticket and then win……

  4. Andrew Guerard

    I lived in that house for 1 year and all i can say is if you don’t believe in spirits and the supernatural you will after a visit here…i promise

  5. bren

    what a place- haunted hotel would be wonderful- hope someone buys it who appreciates it-

  6. mj

    I lived there for two years while going to college back in the early 70’s and I would have to say that there were no signs of ghosts or spirits there. During those two years the house occupied by 50 girls and there were never any incidences of seeing or hearing any spirits.

  7. mj

    was occupied* correction on the above comment

  8. Some of the folks that lived there had a very different experience! =)

    There is actually a Facebook page about the supposed haunted house subtitled “The haunted house for NCCC students,” created by some of the girls that lived there –

  9. mj

    Young people can let their imaginations get away from them.

  10. bren

    the cure cottages are so much part of the history of saranac lake and its patients- i believe there are alot of restless souls still trying to cross over and be at peace-the 14 yr old that carried trays to patients – what an experience-and what an education— we are so blessed to have such an area steeped in medicine and history—you always learn something new when looking into the history-god bless all the folks that own the cottages- may they enjoy their history and beauty-

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