There’s a few things that haven’t changed in Amsterdam in over the past hundred years. The Chuctanunda still flows into the Mohawk. The Amsterdam Free Library is still going strong. And if you need a lawyer, you can still find an attorney named Salmon in the Amsterdam phone book. Of course you may not be able to still find an Amsterdam phone book because nobody uses them any more in this age of cloud connected cell phones and contact lists.
Carl Salmon Sr. began his family’s streak of dispensing legal expertise and services in this Rug City of our’s way back in 1911. He was born in Potsdam, NY and went to school to become a teacher originally, then switched to accounting and finally the law. He had a brother Del who was already a lawyer in Schenectady who helped him begin his studies, which he completed at Albany Law and after passing the New York State Bar in 1911 he opened his first office at 31 East Main Street here in Amsterdam on December 1 of that same year.
As it turned out, these were wise professional choices. His career zoomed and he became one of our town’s most prominent and successful citizens of all time, serving three terms as Mayor in the 1920’s and also becoming Montgomery County Surrogate Court Judge. He also became a father. He and his wife Hortense gave birth to a son, today’s Amsterdam Birthday Celebrant, Carl S. Salmon Jr. on September 20, 1920.
Young Carl attended public schools here until high school and then graduated from the Manlius Military Academy. He then went to Cornell Agricultural School in 1941 for his undergraduate degree before following in his dad’s footsteps and attending Albany Law. World War II and service in the Army Air Force interrupted his studies but he returned to complete them and pass the bar and then convert his Dad’s practice into a father & son law firm in 1947.
That same year, Salmon married Lois Ann Frankel. They would raise four sons. Two of the boys would become attorneys and continue to operate the Salmon family law firm in Amsterdam today.
Unlike his father, Salmon would never hold political office or wear the robe of a judge.Instead he focused on building one of the busiest law firms in the area, representing many local businesses and individuals. He also began shifting the firm’s mission by getting it more involved in setting up trusts and estates. Salmon was also heavily involved in the Amsterdam community. He was of the Jewish faith and a longtime member of the Temple of Israel. He was an active member of the Liberty ARC Board and Montgomery Traditional Services for the mentally ill. He also served as chairman of the Civil Service Commission and was a member of the board of directors of the former Farmers National Bank, which was later known as State Bank of Albany.
Salmon’s first wife passed away in 1973 and he would marry a second time in 1975 to Leila Kirshen Newhouse. He and his second wife donated their lovely home on Locust Avenue to Liberty and then later relocated to Oregon, which is where her family was from. Carl Salmon Jr. died there in 2005 at the age of 84.
This former Amsterdam fashion store owner was also born on September 20.