Your Lake, Your Newspaper

The Mirror: 1907

Believing that the Mirror was too important to the community to be allowed to fold, the paper was purchased in 1902 by Edwin J. Worden, the owner of the Worden Hotel.

He retained a number of editors, including John L. Tubbs, a former owner, and in 1907 sold the paper and its printing plant to Edward A. Knight. For the next sixty years, the Mirror was owned and edited by members of the Knight family.

According to his son, Art Knight, “My father had, in partnership with a Mr. Lansing, been successful in starting a new weekly paper, the Essex County News, in Port Henry, just before coming to Lake George. He brought with him a wide experience in the printing and publishing field which he put to good use on the Mirror. That year, for the first time, the paper was published with a color cover, something which had not been seen in these parts on a small weekly magazine! Ed Knight, as he was known by all of the business people of the area, with his paper, was among the leaders in all movements for the betterment and promotion of Lake George. He operated the Mirror and the printing plant which published it until his death in 1921 after nearly a year’s illness. He was only 52.”

After his father’s death, Art Knight dropped out of Columbia University to come home and take over the paper.

While it chronicled the changes on Lake George – the rise and fall of the great resort hotels, the destruction of the mansions along Lake Shore Drive, and the proliferation of motels and tourist cabins – the Mirror itself changed little. For the families who returned each summer, the Mirror was the newspaper of record. It announced the arrivals and departures of their neighbors, publicized their activities, and performed all the offices of a country paper: heralding births, celebrating weddings, saying a few final words over the deceased in the editorial and obituary columns. The Mirror did not, however, neglect the year round residents – the homefolks. It championed projects that would enhance daily life in the villages and towns, such as the road over Tongue Mountain, the Million Dollar Beach and the expansion of Shepard Park. As Art Knight recalled in 1970, “Many of the improvements we have advocated over the years have become realities and we like to think that perhaps in some small way we have been responsible for their ultimate adoption.”

Except on rare occasions, the Mirror had little interest in political controversy. It was, however, a fierce advocate for the protection of Lake George. During World War II, for instance, Art Knight editorialized: “There is one battle in which there can be no armistice …the battle of Lake George. The enemy are those thoughtless and selfish people who, with only their immediate profit in view, will take advantage of any laxity in our guards in order to save themselves a dollar.” Art Knight recognized that the lake’s shores would continue to be developed. But he also recognized that care would have to be taken if the development was to enhance and not detract from the lake’s beauty. “If we fail, then our detractions from the natural beauties… will earn for all of us the antipathy of future generations.”

Art Knight not only carried on his father’s newspaper work, he founded Adirondack Resorts Press, which became the premier publisher of Lake George brochures, guides, maps and post cards. The company even developed its own distinctive method of printing four-color images, which it called Colorgraph. After the 1934 fire at the printing plant, Knight built a concrete block building behind the office, where a barn once stood, and installed his presses there. At one point, Adirondack Resorts Press was the largest year-round employer in Lake George Village. The building still stands on Iroquois Street and is owned by contractor Dean Howland.

By 1969, Art Knight was ready to retire. He sold his interests in Adirondack Resorts Press, the publisher of the Mirror, to his partner of twenty-five years, Cody Kirkwood. Kirkwood, however, was finding it increasingly difficult to recruit printers capable of operating the linotype and letterpress equipment which Adirondack Resorts Press continued to employ long after most publishers had switched to offset presses. He could fulfill his printing contracts, or publish the Mirror, but not both. Kirkwood chose to sell the Mirror, or permit it to fold if no buyer could be found. “At the last minute,” Knight recalled, “Bob Hall came to the rescue and purchased the Mirror from the corporation.”