The town of St. Armand was set off from Wilmington in 1844. According to early settlers it was named by Charles S. Toof for his hometown in Canada.
Toof came to town for lumbering which thrived in the level landscape. Bloomingdale, where the Saranac River heads for Plattsburgh, was a natural crossroads and a bustling early community. The Saranac River provided not only a means of transport for the early lumber business, but also a source of power. As the lumbering industry waned the dairy business grew but, as historian G.H. Smith wrote in 1938, about local business: "What can a town do when 170 lots are owned by the state, out of a total of 228".
St. Armand, was known for its patriotism, and according to county population records, sent the largest percentage of men to the Civil War.
In 1884, Dr. Edward Trudeau, recovering from tuberculosis, looked for a winter house to rent. He looked first in Bloomingdale, but as there was not a place to be had in this booming town, he settled on Main Street in Saranac Lake. His sanitarium, however, is located in St. Armand. The tuberculosis sanitarium now houses the American Management Association.
The tuberculosis industry drew the famous author Robert Louis Stevenson to the village of Saranac Lake and to the town of St. Armand in the winter of 1887-1888 looking for a cure. The cottage where he stayed at the end of Stevenson Lane still attracts visitors today.
In Camp Woodsmoke, situated at the northern end and western shore of Placid Lake, St. Armand can claim one of the oldest and best known children's camps in Essex County. The camp was built in 1879 on the spot where Echo Lodge once stood. Children's summer camps continue to provide seasonal enjoyment in the Adirondacks and introduce many to the joys of the area.
Bloomingdale boasted one of the earliest golf courses in Essex County when, in 1900, Daniel Seckington put in a 9 hole course in connection with his hotel, the Waverly House.
The Pigeon Roost section of St. Armand, which was named for the thousands of Passenger Pigeons which once roosted there during migration, was the scene of such a devastating blowdown in 1950 that the state allowed the removal and sale of the timber from "Forever Wild" lands. Logs from that blowdown were used in the construction of what is now the Atmospheric Sciences Research Station of Whiteface Mountain.
One corner of St. Armand is an extraordinary example of complex Adirondack boundaries. Stepping around the stake in the town's northeast corner one passes through the towns of St. Armand, Wilmington, Black Brook and Franklin in the counties of Essex, Clinton and Franklin.
Despite the decline in the lumbering business that affected all of Essex County, St. Armand held on to associated industries, such as its lumber mills, for many years. Because Bloomingdale is so naturally situated at a crossroads, it has maintained an active community. The village still has its own elementary school, general store, antique shop and restaurant. The Town Hall, a beautiful brick building built in 1904, is the center of government and community activities. True to its roots, the town was represented for many years by a farmer, and the current supervisor was previously in the lumber business.
ADIRONDACK HISTORY MUSEUM
7590 COURT STREET, PO BOX 428
ELIZABETHTOWN, NY 12932
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