Title: Surprenant releases book on Paul Smith’s Hotel and College
Author: Jon Hochschartner
Publisher: The Adirondack Daily Enterprise
Area resident Neil Surprenant has recently added another volume to Arcadia Publishing's "Images of America" series with "Paul Smith's Adirondack Hotel and College"-a book that is filled with archival photographs and facts which detail a too-often-neglected piece of local history.
Surprenant, who serves as Director of Library and Educational Resources at Paul Smith's College, said his research into the subject spans several decades.
"It took me a little over a year to put [the book] all together, but I've been studying the history of Paul Smith's and the Adirondacks for 30 years. I started at Paul Smith's College in 1976. In the library they had this archive of old photos where most of the people were unidentified. So I started taking pictures to the Brighton senior citizen's luncheons to see if they could identify people. They could," Surprenant said. "Once they started identifying people, then they started telling stories. That was the beginning for me."
In selecting which photos to use in his book, from the 500 to 600 he reviewed, Surprenant's criteria was two-fold.
"I wanted to do a good job of telling the story of Paul Smith's Hotel and College in a visual way," Surprenant said. "Plus, I was looking for interesting pictures people hadn't seen before. I was trying to be as unique as possible."
Surprenant recommended his book to anyone interested in Adirondack history.
"The hospitality and tourism industry is the backbone of the economy in the Adirondacks today," Surprenant said. "The Paul Smith's hotel was one of the oldest, largest and most exclusive hotels ever in the Adirondacks. So the story of [its] rise and fall is really a microcosm of the history of the hospitality and tourism industry in the park."
Surprenant said he was pleased with his work's economic performance so far.
"I've been gratified at how positively it has been received. It's selling really well. I probably signed forty books over graduation weekend."
Copies of the book can be found in local bookstores or online at www.arcadiapublishing.com.
Title: New Book on Paul Smiths: the Hotel, College and People
Author: Mary Thill
Publisher: Adirondack Almanack
Appollos Austin “Paul” Smith was born on this date in Milton, Vermont, in 1825. A new book from Arcadia Publishing's "Images of America" series provides a pictorial history of Paul Smiths, the place, which is also largely the history of Paul Smith, the man.
Smith came to the Adirondacks in his early 20s to pursue a love of hunting and fishing and to work as a guide. He convinced his family to move to Loon Lake and start a guest house. A wealthy visitor was so impressed with his managerial and guiding talents he financed Smith’s purchase of land on Lower St. Regis Lake to establish a new resort for the enjoyment of families, not just hunters.
As author Neil Surprenant details, Paul Smith’s Hotel was a huge success, and the charismatic owner became famous for his hospitality, entrepreneurism and bonhomie. Surprenant, who is also library director at Paul Smith’s College (on the site of the former hotel), has assembled a well-chosen, well-captioned collection of more than 200 photographs showing the opening of the hotel in 1859 through its heyday and expansion in the late 19th and early 20th century, to fire and hard times during the 1930s, to its conversion into a college specializing in resort management and forestry in 1946, to the present-day four-year institution offering a variety of related degrees.
Surprenant also shows less-historical moments of life in Paul Smiths, including how big lawns were mowed before motors (see page 61 for the answer) and how students pass time in their dorm rooms.
The 127-page book costs $21.99 and is available at local stores, online bookstores and through Arcadia Publishing at www.arcadiapublishing.com or (888) 313-2665.