Died: July 20, 1940
Married: Mary Disco, 1911
Children: Dr. Henry P. Leis, Jr.; Marie Elizabeth Leis Pearce
Henry P. Leis was the son of a German cabinet/piano maker. He moved to Saranac Lake from New York City in 1896 to cure his TB, staying at first at the Esperance House. In 1899, he and his brother, George, also ill, built an inn, The Governor, at 33 Algonquin Avenue, diagonally across the road from the Esperance, while they cured in tents on the grounds. In 1903, Henry left the hotel business to build the Leis Block on the site of the former Farrell blacksmith shop, where he founded Henry P. Leis Company Pianos. By 1910, the second and third floors were used for apartments. He and his wife lived in the building in the winter, and at the Leis Cottage at 26 Algonquin Avenue during the summers.
Leis had worked for the Hazelton Piano Company before coming to Saranac Lake. 1 Once his TB was quiescent, he arranged to have the company build pianos for him, and also send him parts which he could assemble locally. Marie Leis Pearce reports "hearsay" that two or three hundred Leis-brand pianos were made.
He also sold and rented a range of musical instruments, and his wife operated a Singer sewing machine franchise from the shop. He also repaired musical instruments, and tuned pianos travelling as far as Blue Mountain Lake to tune pianos in camps of the wealthy.
Henry P. Leis: The Man from Saranac Lake by Marie Elizabeth Leis Pearce.
- 1Marie Leis speculates that the dusty conditions of the piano factory may have caused a lung condition that was mistaken for tuberculosis. More likely is that the dust made the brothers more susceptible to TB