History of Triangle Park & the Herb Garden

By Alice Wareham  (Originally published as “Improving the Saranac Riverbank” 0n April 12, 2010. Reprinted with permission from the Adirondack Daily Enterprise )

 In 1972, VIS bought a lot on upper Main Street, with adjacent property on the riverbank, for taxes. VIS leveled the tangled weeds and crumbling foundation on a hillock, which had long been a dangerous visual hazard at the junction of Pine and Main streets, leaving the site a simple plot of grass.

Triangle Park (1 of 1)The site has a significant history. On this triangle stood the first local store and post office, established in 1854 by Col. Milote Baker. Fire destroyed the original building in the 1960s, but Baker replaced it with a second building that stood nearly 100 years. Over the second store were two rooms containing a cobbler’s shop where the colonel’s brother worked, and another room filled with books and magazines which the cobbler maintained, at his own expense, as Saranac Lake’s first circulating library.

 In 1978 subcontractors started bulldozing through the park to lay a new sewer line for the Olympic housing without VIS knowledge or consent. In 1979 Carol Monroe accepted Triangle Park chairmanship and arranged with the Olympic contractor to repair the site.

Mrs. Monroe designed an entirely new park with five wooden planting triangles, benches, trees and other plantings. These were gradually put in place, with VIS planting a blue spruce memorial for VIS member Ruth White. The spruce was vandalized one Christmas but has since regrown.

 In 1985-86 the highway department rebuilt the Pine Street bridge and took one triangle from the design, widening the bridge approach. A sidewalk was laid on Pine Street and a steeper lawn now led to a drainage ditch at the base.

Herb GardenMrs. Monroe continued developing the park across the railroad tracks, establishing two triangular planters. Janet Decker and Anne Tubby created an herb garden in the planters.

Church Street Extension Parklette

 In 1976, with village consent, VIS Chairman D. Mott Chapin created a small riverside park on a strip of property beside its new parking lot. With two benches, a trash can and a cedar hedge screening it from the parking lot, it became a popular spot for nearby workers and others to bring their lunches to relax during the day, gazing at the view of Mount Baker. The village reclaimed the parklette in 2002 for the River Walk.

VIS Park Map