A Shot of Prohibition History: Schroon's The Silverspruce Inn

The 2017 Schroon-North Hudson Historical Society's  Victorian Tea this year promises to be full of fun and surprises. The high Tea, will take place in one of the area’s most famous and history rich bed and breakfasts: The Silver Spruce Inn.

In the 1920a, during prohibition, the Inn was owned by Sallie Miller Smith, well known to enjoy a tipple or three with her sister Margaret.

The tea will feature a talk and book signing by author Maureen Werther who recently completed her novel called "Them that has" .. based on the time when the famous sisters operated the Innand made it something special.

Guests we will be able to tour the wonderful old Inn and see firsthand some of the amazing additions that Sallie Miller Smith made to what once was a ramshackle shed, before transforming it into one of the most beautiful and most talked about Inns in the Adirondacks.

Maureen Werther’s book is rich with detail and great yarns about the flamboyant sisters, includinghow seriously they took their drinking.  In fact they had their own secret speakeasy.

From Maureen Werther:

The original home dates back to the 1790′s and is of post-and-beam construction, and now is the innkeeper’s quarters. In 1926 a seventeen-room addition was added to the original country home by Sallie Smith, which now includes the Inn’s guest quarters of six guest rooms, six full private bathrooms, and a prohibition area Speakeasy Bar from the original Waldorf Astoria. The “speakeasy”, which is located in the basement, and was formerly known for many years as The Tavern, is now an inactive museum piece, and is part of the Inn’s activity area.

One of the most intriguing things about Sallie’s “tavern,” constructed on the lower level of the house: you could get to the lower level by descending a long wide staircase that had very low risers – much shorter in height than average staircase risers.

Phyllis Rogers, current owner of Silver Spruce, explained to me that Sallie had a very good reason for keeping the stairs so shallow, instead of building them to more standard specifications.

Because Sallie and her sister, Margaret were big drinkers and partyers, they did not want to injure themselves if they happened to take an intoxicated tumble on the way up or down the stairs!

There are dozens of other stories about the goings on in and around Schroon Lake during Prohibition. The Adirondack region was rife with “rum-runners,” “moonshiners” and bootleggers, and the area offered prime locations for hideouts, transfers of money for alcohol, and mad dashes to the Canadian border to escape “revenuers.”

Victorian Tea on Wednesday, July 19 from 1pm to 3pm at the Silverspruce Inn, located on Rt 9, North of Schroon Lake.  Not only will have a wonderful time attending. To make reserve your tickets today please call the museum at (518) 532-7615 or(518)795-0495