What does the average person know about Albert Einstein? His hair was pretty untamed. He was born in Germany. He developed the Theory of Relativity, and E = mc² formula. But did you know Einstein had a soft spot for the Adirondacks, and visited Saranac Lake frequently?

Adirondack Mountain News via Facebook
Adirondack Mountain News via Facebook

Einstein first experienced the beauty of the lake in the summers of 1936 and 1937, and would return throughout the '40s. Sightings of Einstein on the lake were not uncommon, although the famous physicist himself could not swim. In 1941, he was rescued by 10-year-old Don Duso after his boat capsized. Recounting the incident, Duso said:

He was down for the count. If I had not been nearby, he probably would have drown.



Mwanner via Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 3.0
Mwanner via Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 3.0

Einstein's lodgings of choice were at the Knollwood Club on Lower Saranac Lake. Knollwood is rich with history in its own right. Built in 1899-1900, it sits along the Shingle Bay portion of the lake and consists of a boathouse, casino and six cottages.

Already a frequent summer visitor, Einstein was in cabin six at Knollwood on August 6th, 1945 when the radio first broadcast news of the atomic bomb exploding over Hiroshima. Einstein -- who was not directly involved in the atomic bomb but did write to Franklin D. Roosevelt about the importance of beating Germany to the punch in developing one -- gave his first interview at Knollwood to the Albany Times Union after the bombing on August 11th.

Einstein told the Union:

In developing atomic or nuclear energy, science did not draw upon supernatural strength, but merely imitated the reaction of the sun's rays. Atomic power is no more unnatural than when I sail my boat on Saranac Lake.

Just further evidence that the beauty of the Adirondacks has captivated countless humans throughout history, world-renowned physicists included.

Photo of Knollwood Club on Lower Saranac Lake by Mwanner/CC BY-SA 3.0 (No Changes Made)

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