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St. Regian (Paul Smiths, N.Y.) 19??-????, January 01, 1974, Image 14

Image and text provided by Paul Smith's College

Persistent link: http://pscpubs.paulsmiths.edu/lccn/sn89038522/1974-01-01/ed-1/seq-14/

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A polios A. \Paul\ Smith, bom Aug. 20, 1825 — died Dec. 15, 1912. In December, 1858, Apollos A. Smith, a pioneer Adi­ rondack guide and hotel man, who became renowned the world over as simply Paul Smith, initiated plans and began construction on the shore of lower St. Regis Lake for what was to become one of the most notewor­ thy and amazingly popular summer resorts in the United States. On May 16, 1859, he and Mrs. Lydia Smith received their first guests. The natural beauty of the surrounding patriarchal pines combined with the wonderful personalities of the Smiths, contributed to the growth and expansion of their enterprising venture. Apollos A. Smith was born August 20, 1825 in Milton, Vermont. His ancestral strain was salted with rich Yankee and sturdy New England heritage. As a youngster, he and a friend went to work on the canal boats that carried grain and produce through the Northern Canal to the Hudson River. Whenever he couid get enough time, he would leave the boat in Vermont and cross Lake Champlain to go camping in the woods. Penetrating the Adirondack wilderness on numerous hunting and fishing expeditions, he ac­ quired an early intimacy with this virgin country. However, it was not long before other seasonal visitors began making requests for his services as a profession­ al guide and hunter. They also recommended the con­ struction of a building of his own where true lovers of nature might assemble for the finest fishing and hunt­ ing in the country. Considering this proposal, Paul assumed the initial step toward success and fame. Paul Smith organized for himself a power company which he called the Paul Smith’s Electric Light, Pow­ er, and Railroad Company. It was built with power stations at Union Falls on the Saranac River, furnish­ ing continuous service for his hotel establishments, and the neighboring communities and cities. With ample electric power, Paul became a railroad man and built an electric railroad from Lake Clear to Paul Smith’s Hotel for the transportation of people and supplies. It was built over his own land at a cost of $75,000 to connect the New York Central and Hudson Railways. He built roads to bring people to his hotel and he launched pleasure boats supplied with the power of storage batteries charged with electricity generated at his own plant. He built lines of poles to carry telegraph wires and established a telegraph company at the resort area so that the hundreds of vis­ itors and patrons along the shores of the St. Regis could keep in touch with their homes and businesses. Later, he established a telephone company to keep pace with the march of progress. Paul Smith continued to sell camp sites to the wealth­ iest families in the country. As time went on, the hotel register was filled with the most important men of the times. The visiting celebrities of the mo­ ment might be P.T. Barnum, Grover Cleveland, E. H. Harriman, or Theodore Roosevelt. Later, when the summer White House was at nearby Lake Osgood and the President’s executive offices were on the hotel grounds, Calvin Coolidge might share the spotlight with Governor Alfred E. Smith. Yet, it always retained the flavor of its primitive days and the prevailing dom­ inance of Paul’s personality. 10

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