- Earliest record of horse and sulky racing on Lower Saranac Lake: 1894 1
- Harness ice races sponsored by the Northern New York Trotting Circuit.
- Lower Saranac Lake races most popular; others held in places such as Tupper Lake, Malone and Ticonderoga.
- Special round-trip race-weekend rates offered by New York Central and the Adirondack and St. Lawrence Railroads from both NYC and Malone to Saranac Lake: 2 cents a mile, 50 cent minimum tickets (1895)
- Lower Saranac Lake spectators estimated at: 3,000 in 1894; 4,000 in 1897.
- In 1895, prizes awarded totaled $600, a whopping $2,000 in 1898.
- Contestants traveled from as far as Plattsburgh, Glens Falls and Vermont.
- First tracks: one-mile long kite shapes beginning and ending at the judges' stand by the Ampersand Hotel.
- Kite shape abandoned few years later for half-mile straight track, allowing spectators to watch the race in its entirety.
- Bicycle sulky introduced in 1895; a sulky with pneumatic bicycle tires which gave the driver a two second advantage over his competition and won him the race.
- Ice provided shortcuts during the winter: faster route to summertime water-access-only locations: easier route than circuitous and lengthy land routes.
- Billy Burns recalls the account of young Thomas H. Peacock 2, who in the early 1870's would get up at 3 a.m. on a winter's morning to set off with his father and drive two teams of horses hauling supplies to lumber camps: hay, 25-30 bushels of potatoes, two or three quarters of beef and the mail. They crossed the ice of Lower Saranac Lake, then crossed Middle Saranac (Round), plowed through the snowy woods to cross Upper Saranac, past Deer Isle, and entered the woods again. They received a hearty welcome when finally arriving at the lumber camps at Big and Little Wolf ponds about 9 p.m.
- Ice accidents were numerous, men, horses, cars and snowmobiles all plunging through the "solid" ice.
- One of the earliest reports is from 1893 when George Cronk and Joseph and Henry Manley fell through the ice while making a trip to Tupper Lake. All managed to crawl out only to later die of exposure.
- Other accounts include the 1948 drowning of Dr. Charles H. Haskins, whose car broke through the ice while driving a shortcut to his camp on Lower Saranac Lake
- Pike and Perch are the most commonly caught fish during the winter on Lower Saranac.
- A tip-up (wooden cross-shaped structure which holds a baited hook at the end of a reel of line) hangs across +/- 8" hole in the ice and springs a red flag when the fish bite, alerting the fishermann to a strike.
- When frigid winds blow, fisherman hunker down inside stove warmed wooden shanties and tents or just retreat to their truck cabs.
- Lower Saranac has plentiful fish and is not a stocked lake.
- 4" of ice supports walkers, 5"-6" will hold snowmobiles, 7"-12" for light cars, and 14"-16" full-sized trucks.
- Harry Duso began harvesting ice on Cresent Bay back in the thirties.
- 5 people worked 3 days to harvest 1,500 blocks, each measuring about 11" x 22" x 10" or more.
- Blocks, stored in Crescent Bay's ice house, were packed in sawdust until summer.
- Until the late 1970s, the Dusos supplied ice for summer people who rented their cabins, owned summer homes or camped at the 300 campsites around the lake.
- The ice, delivered by boat, was used in ice boxes or in covered steel boxes sunk deep in the ground.
- The Saranac Lake Fish and Game Club held ice-out guessing contests for years.
- Contests in later years held by Saranac Lake Boat and Waterway Club.
- Harry Duso and his son, Don, have for many years, recorded ice-out dates on Lower Saranac Lake. The following statistics are courtesy of Don Duso.
- Earliest ice-outs: March 28, 1907 - March 29, 1946 - March 31, 1945
- Average ice-out: April 26
- Latest ice-outs: May 6, 1956 - May 7, 1943 - May 8, 1926
- Earliest ice-outs: April 13, 1998 - April 14, 1999 - April 16, 2005
- Average ice-out: April 24
- Latest ice-outs: April 26, 1996, 1997, 2001
Original text by Caperton Tissot
1. The Adirondack News, January 6, 1894
2. (Adirondack Record, October 6, 1941)