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.