VIS History

Since 1910, the Village Improvement Society has owned and cared for local parks. We also sponsor the beautiful hanging baskets that grace downtown Saranac Lake in the summer season, and tend other Village flowerbeds and plantings including The Welcome Circle and Prospect Corner. We are a volunteer group with a long and proud history.

The Saranac Lake park system was developed by the Olmsted Brothers, the famous landscape architects who designed Central Park in New York City.

In 1907, the Village Board of Trade hired the Olmsted Brothers to draw up a plan for the village, but the plan was rejected by the Village Board because it was costly and it would take commercial property off the Village tax roles. In 1910, a group of local women banded together to form the Village Improvement Society, with the goal of fulfilling the Olmsted Brothers’ vision. The Certificate of Incorporation was signed on October 10, 1910 by ten directors : Mary Ives Baldwin, Margaret V. N. Duryee, Alice M. Vosburgh, Lillian C. Wicker, Ida M. Minshull, Marie S. Haase, Mary Sill Palmer, Mabel M. Trowbridge, Adah J. Hallock, and Rosamond P. Roberts.

Learn more about the Village Improvement Society’s efforts to bring the Olmsted plan to fruition and to ensure that its vision will continue to guide community development.

Read this editorial by the Adirondack Daily Enterprise about the work of the Village Improvement Society.

The Historic Saranac Lake Wiki has reprinted several other articles about the Village Improvement Society.