Meet the 'Mayor' of Garnet Lake

He bought Richard and Rose Hill's garage on Route 8 in Johnsburg, where he opened a Dodge showroom, repair shop and used-car lot. Over time, he became active in local affairs, serving as president of the Johnsburg Central School board and of the North Creek Rotary Club, member of the Town of Johnsburg Planning Board and Chamber of Commerce. Ellen developed a passion for bridge and led the Cadette Girl Scout troop, holding popular camp-outs on Paradise Mountain behind their cottage.

Soon they acquired a house near the garage where they lived in the winters, moving to the lake each April for the summer season. Just two years after their arrival, they felt firsthand the generosity of Adirondack residents, when the steam boiler in the garage blew up, touching off a fire that damaged the building and the new cars on display.

One after another, neighbors turned up to help, including Beecher Sawyer, a competitor in Wevertown, who offered Scott garage space until he was back on his feet. H. Hudson Barton IV of Barton Mines Co. sent over a repair crew and ordered a new Dodge for his fleet, while Franklin Hewitt of Olmstedville provided a dump truck and men along with it.

"Anybody in town who was able did anything they could for us," says Scott, with gratitude. "The phone rang off the hook that's the North Country for you."

The event also included a kind of automotive miracle. During the fire, they hurriedly backed a car out of the showroom and parked it on Oven Mountain Road. Maybe the brake was not on or it was still in gear, but sometime later it took off on its own: coasting peacefully across Route 8 and down South Johnsburg Road, turning in and stopping on the Methodist Church lot. "That's where we located it four or five days later," says Scott.

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