Your Lake, Your Newspaper

The Mirror: 1880

The History of a Newspaper, The Story of a Community

When the Lake George Mirror was established in 1880, it was not intended to be the lake-wide summer newspaper that it became but, rather, a year-round community newspaper for the hamlet of Lake George. It did have an editorial philosophy, but one unlikely to prove popular in a nascent resort town: prohibition.

The founder and first editor was Alfred Merrick, who achieved greater celebrity later as Lake George’s oldest living resident and liveliest raconteur.

Merrick began his career in the newspaper business in 1871, walking every day to Glens Falls wherehe worked as a printer’s devil for the Glens Falls Republican. Having been told that it was necessary to be a good speller if he was to become a good printer, Merrick spent his nights reading a dictionary. It was, he said, the only education he ever had.

By 1880, Merrick felt that Lake George was big enough to support its own newspaper. He rented offices on the second floor of the old stone store on Canada Street and called his paper the Lake George Mirror. “We sold the paper for 75 cents a year,” Merrick told the Mirror in 1948. “Most of our circulation reached rich people in distant cities who wanted to keep posted on the condition of their cottages. The usual news item was that ‘Mrs. So and So’s cottage is in good shape with most of the snow off the roof’ or ‘Jim Smith had better see about fixing his roof before the spring rains start.'”

Later that decade, Merrick traded the newspaper for an interest in a bowling alley.