Louis Mackay at the Eagles Nest, 1930s The Eagles Nest, 51 Lake Street The 1948 Olympic Bobsled team in front of the Eagles Nest. Tuffy Latour is front row, right. Courtesy of Tuffield P. Latour. Address: 110 Lake Street

Old Address: 51 Lake Street

Other names: Garnhart Cottage (1911), Steele Cottage (1911), Keegan Cottage (1916), Tubbs Cottage (1928), Hopewell Cottage (1928), Wallace Cottage (1928), Witherbee (1929-1930); DIS. One of the photos below also shows it as the Kernohan Cottage, likely a typographical error for Kernochan.

Year built:

Other information: The Eagles Nest belonged to Alexis Thompson, who was a major bobsledder among his other interests. The house had an elevator, so that bobsleds could be lowered into the basement for summer storage. Between 1949 and 1953, the building was taken over by the New York Football Giants as their training quarters. For several winters, the New York Rangers hockey team also camped there. In the 1950s, the house was rented to the Philadelphia Eagles football team, whose pre-season training was held in Saranac Lake. 1

According to the 1916 TB Directory, the Keegan Cottage, run by a Miss Keegan, had room for 16 patients, had 8 cure porches and charged $15-25 per week.


Adirondack Daily Enterprise Weekender, June 2, 1978

SARANAC LAKE — In the late 1940s, New York sportsman Alexis Thompson owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, a professional football club, set up summer training camp for his gridiron organization in Saranac Lake.

Thompson, heir to a reported $5 million steel fortune, housed the Eagles in his renovated structure on Lake Street. Although the building has since been converted to an apartment style dwelling, it still bears its original name—The Eagles Nest.

"Alex was well-known internationally" recalls ex-bobsledder Donald "Ducker" Dupree, who along with his brother, Paul, "Stubby" Martin and Thompson were members of the Saranac Lake Red Devils Bobsled Club. In 1948 we called ourselves the "Dream Team" he mentioned.

Thompson was a gung-ho sliding enthusiast, whether it be piloting a bobsled here in the Adirondacks or steering a cresta through the icy curves at St. Moritz, Switzerland. So much so, in fact, that he had a bobrun start, graded downward at both ends, built in the backyard behind the Eagles Nest.

The idea for such a unique creation was suggested by the Duprees, who also helped remodel the Eagles Nest into an all-purpose facility that fit the needs of football players and bob-sledders alike.

"We built an elevator that lowered bobsleds into the basement," said Paul Dupree, a Lake Placid town board member for 25 years, who along with driver Tuffy Latour captured many 2-man championships in the 1940s.

Once in the lower level, bobsleds were moved about by way of an overhead chain and pulley system, which was dismantled when the Eagles needed the area for a meeting room.

The area was bustling with sports activity during the post-war years. Professional football in Saranac Lake, if only by nature of a summer camp, was matched by bobsledding, a sport in which local athletes attained a high level of success.

Newspapers carried extensive accounts of the bobsled races at Mt. Van Hoevenberg, The exploits of, Tuffy Latour, Jim Bickford, Lucien Miron, Dick Morse, Charles Keough and the Duprees seldom went by unnoticed.

And included in that group of distinguished bobsledders was Alex Thompson, the sportsman responsible for bringing the Riggs-Tilden-Budge-Perry tennis tour to the people and the Philadelphia Eagles to Saranac Lake. — By Steve Cohen

 

 

Looking toward Petrova Avenue from behind 51 Lake Street, 1921 Looking toward Petrova Avenue from behind 51 Lake Street, 1928

 

 

The Eagles Nest, 1930 The Eagles Nest, 2009

 

Footnotes

1. Tissot, Caperton, History between the lines : women's lives and Saranac Lake customs, Jay, New York : Graphics North, 2007, p. 340. ISBN 978-0-9643542-9-4.

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