Reception Hospital, 1908 Reception Hospital, 2009 Prescott House medical staff, 1943 on the steps of Reception Hospital. Front row Dr. Francis Berger Trudeau, Dr. Edward Welles, Dr. Warriner Woodruff, Dr. John N. Hayes, Dr. George Wilson, Dr. Henry Leetch; back row Dr. Daniel Brumfiel, Dr. Charles Trembley, Dr. Edward R. Baldwin, Dr. Hugh Kinghorn, Dr. J. Woods Price. Adirondack Daily Enterprise, April 9, 2005 Reception Hospital, 1983 Reception Hospital, 1950s. From collection of Ed Worthington. Courtesy of Janet Dudones.
The Reception Hospital, opened in 1905, was originally intended as a clearing house for seriously ill patients, sending them on to other sanatoria as their conditions and/or finances permitted, hence the name "Reception Hospital". This function was first carried out in a small nursing cottage on Front Street that had been established at the request of Dr. E. L. Trudeau, to deal with patients too ill for admittance to the Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium, which admitted only incipient cases. The need for more beds for patients too ill and poor for existing facilities prompted Mary Prescott, at the urging of Dr. Trudeau, to build the Reception Hospital; Prescott personally subsidized the operating expenses of the hospital to allow for the care of poor patients. It was designed by the new architectural firm of Scopes and Feustmann, who entered and won a competition to design it. The Colonial Revival-style Reception Hospital was located at the north end of Franklin Avenue.
Over time, conditions changed, and it began taking patients for longer periods, and treating fewer per year; in 1943 its name was changed to Prescott House, in honor of its benefactor. By 1949, a shortage of funds led to the closing of the hospital, and the trustees sought another use for the building. The Saranac Lake Study and Craft Guild was in need of additional space, and on March 27, 1950, the building and all other assets of the Hospital were given to the Guild.
The Guild maintained a center there for several years, offering business education, academic and technical subjects, including X-ray technician training in addition to the traditional arts and crafts courses. However, the development of effective antibiotic treatments for tuberculosis led to a gradual reduction in the number of patients interested in the Guild's offerings, and courses were dropped until only the X-ray school was left. On October 9, 1968, Prescott House was given to the newly formed North Country Community College; the X-ray program became part of the curriculum. However, the college decided that, due to the building's need of maintenance and its distance from the campus, it would put the property up for public auction.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, March 23, 1979