From The Archives

Check in here to find treasures discovered in our local history collection.

Although this post is technically late, we at the library believe that veterans always deserve to be celebrated. Here is a great photograph from our archival collection showing the Army Air Corp’s “Combat Crew of the Week” from sometime in the 1940s. The crew is made up of mostly Tupper Lake boys, including Corporal D.E. Gaff, who is the second from the right. Thank you for your service! Photo originally taken by “US Army Air Forces Photo.”

Everyone in Tupper Lake knows that winter is the longest season of the year. Sub-zero temperatures, never-ending snow, and thick ice are just around the corner. With that in mind, we wanted to share this photo of a lumberjack transporting logs on a horse-drawn sled during a winter storm. Large trees in the background, stable ice, and a coat covered in snow is quintessentially Adirondack. If you know who the man is in the picture, we would love for you to tell us! Photo from approximately 1915-1940.

One of the most enjoyable things that you can do when studying local history is to see an old image of a location that still exists. This is an interior shot of the Community Bank on Park Street in the 1920s-1930s when it was known as the Tupper Lake National Bank. We love the arched ceiling, rays of sun entering through the windows, and the plants extending over the wooden ledge. Imagine this lobby bustling with people, with their footsteps and voices echoing up into the higher parts of the building. We hope that you enjoy this photo, and we encourage you to come to the library and see more images in our collection!

This photo from the early 20th century in Tupper Lake shows a newly married couple in the center surrounded by friends and family. The couple look beautiful and the children on the sidewalk are either having a good time or extremely restless. Either way, the car off to the right is waiting to take the bride and groom off to celebrate their new life. No information on who this couple might be, however. Photo credit: McCormick Studio

The Tupper Lake Library loves small, local businesses! We love to support and celebrate all that you do for our community, both past and present. In this edition of From the Archives, we would like to acknowledge this stunning photograph of presumably a father and daughter who ran a laundry shop in Tupper Lake around the 1920s. Not much is known about the pair, but from this image, we do know that the young woman had a good eye for fashion and that her father loved her very much! Come down to the library and see more great photos from Tupper Lake’s history in our archives!

Look at what we found in the library today! What we thought was just an old desk turned out to have a turntable inside of it! (Pun intended). Upon closer examination of the desk, we noticed a keyhole, as well as speaker jacks on the reverse side. With a little bit of elbow grease, we got the desk open and found this wonderful piece of equipment. The best part about it is that it still works! Pictured on top of the desk is a recording of the Holy Ghost Academy Glee Club performing a chorus concert in the spring of 1964. If you would like to see these pieces, they are on display in the Simmons room here at the library!

If you live in Tupper Lake, then you love Tupper Lake. Tupper Lake always feels like the best place in the world to its residents, and the pride that we feel is something very special to us. Today in the archive, we found a wonderful poem called “Yours and Mine” written by Skip M. Beaty. Although not a very long poem, Beaty’s words are a beautiful love letter to Tupper Lake. The calligraphy by M. Shatz is also very impressive! We have this poem and more written by local Tupper Lake residents, along with numerous other fascinating documents, in the archives Vertical Files!

Everyone who lives in Tupper Lake knows that hunting and fishing are a huge deal. This is also evident to visitors who are in town for only a few days. From buck hangs to ice fishing, Tupper Lake does it all. This undated map provided for free by the Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce shows the land areas where the public were allowed to hunt at the time. The unposted lands open to public hunting are represented by the shaded areas. Our map collection at the library holds this and many other fantastic maps that document the geological and recreational history of Tupper Lake and the rest of the North Country over the years. Come by and check them out!

The weather is getting warmer and it seems as if summer is just around the corner. The change in season might even conjure up beloved Tupper Lake memories of the Woodsmen’s days that took place every summer before our lives were turned upside by the pandemic and quarantine. Hopefully this photograph of the fire department race during the 1982 Woodsmen’s Days brings a smile to your face and gets you excited for the days ahead when this can happen again! We have plenty of other photographs of Woodsmen’s Days from the 1920s through the 1990s here at the library archives! Come check them out and don’t forget to mask up!

Tupper Lake has had its fair share of notable visitors over the years, but Robert Kennedy has to be one of our favorites. This picture shows Bobby posing with Howard Riley & Adam Palmer at Big Tupper Ski slope. He was in town to mark the closing of Sunmount as Veteran’s Hospital in 1965 and decided to have some fun skiing. At the library, we have other photos of notable visitors to the town over the years and we would love for you to come check them out!

Look at this! This drawing of a proposed theater meant to be built at 101 Park Ave stunned us here at the library. Unfortunately we are unable to identify the date at which this was drawn or the full name of the artist due to a tear in the material, but this looks like it could be from anytime between the 1940s and 1960s. How cool would it have been to have this theater right along the main drag of Tupper Lake? With its art deco style and most likely neon lighting, this would have caught the attention of everyone who passed it and made for quite an enjoyable evening at the movies. Let us know if you have any information on the artist or the drawing itself!

Everyone in Tupper Lake knows of the old Oval Wood Dish Company factory located on the main road to the Junction. Everyone also knows that it has been out of operation for a good while now and is succumbing to decay by the moment. Here is a nice aerial view of OWD from approximately the ‘40s or ‘50s to bring the factory back to life! If you didn’t know, the Oval Wood Dish Company was founded in Ohio in 1883, moved to Michigan, and then finally moved to Tupper Lake in 1918 due to the vast amount of lumber in the area. Until it went out of business in 1964, OWD manufactured clothespins, bowling pins, tongue depressors, furniture pieces, commercial veneer, hardwood flooring, ice cream and popsicle sticks, and bowls. This photo, along with many others, is a part of our photograph collection at the library!

Due to COVID, many normal activities may seem like a distant memory, including getting a haircut. Let this great photograph of two men getting some stylish cuts at a local barber shop help you remember the good ol’ days. Unfortunately, we don’t know the exact name of this barber shop or the exact date that the picture was taken, but we date it from approximately 1895-1910. The man on the right is enjoying an issue of the Police Gazette, probably reading about recent incidents or crimes, and the man on the left is staring out the window, while the two barbers stoically pose for the camera. 

The photograph was taken by F.J. McCormick and is housed in our historic photographs collection at the library. We encourage you to come and visit us to see more fantastic photographs from Tupper Lake’s history!

Don’t wait! One night only in Tupper Lake! This promotional flyer from approximately the 1920s showcases the travelling vaudeville show titled “Billroy’s Comedians.” With 15 acts, music, and  “beautiful, exotic” dancers, this event claims to be “The Greatest Show on Earth for the Money.”

From the flyer, it appears that the show came to Tupper Lake annually, and that on Tuesday, July 23rd, women were admitted for free when accompanied by another paying customer.

Packed with text both large and small, bolded and fancy, this shows promises a lot for those who chose to see it. However, despite the mention of children’s tickets going only for 15 cents and the advertisement’s claim that the event is “A 100% clean, modern show,” it is not clear from our perspective that you should bring the kiddos along. 


This week marks the 41st anniversary of the “Miracle on Ice” hockey game that took place on February 22nd during the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. The United States team, composed of mostly amateur players, upset the hardened, experienced, and favored Soviet team by 4-3. Although this was only the first game in the medal round, the win came as a huge surprise all over the world. Two days later, the U.S. team went on to win the gold medal against Finland. The game against the Soviets, however, still stands as one of the most impressive and memorable events of that year, and indeed in Olympic History. 

This edition of the Daily Olympic Digest from February 23rd features the momentous event on the front page. The Olympic Daily Digest, published by the Lake Placid News and Adirondack Daily Enterprise, served as the games’ news outlet at the time. The Digest includes statistics, schedules and highlights from the Olympic events. If you would like to see more of these unique newspapers, the Goff-Nelson Memorial Library holds every single edition of the Daily Olympic Digest from February 12-25, 1980. We encourage you to stop by and take a look!

Scroll to top