LOCAL HISTORY: Glens Falls businessman, public official, was also the ‘King of Clambake’ | Local
MAURY THOMPSON Special for The Post-Star
“No man knows Glens Falls and his needs better than NR Tarrant, seeking re-election as general counsel,” The post-star editorialized November 2, 1929.
Tarrant, a Democrat, had served in local government since 1906, first on the old village board, then on the city council of health and the common council.
âWhen the plows start after a big storm, ‘Nick’ is usually with them, whether it’s noon or midnight. He realizes that a civil servant has to render a full service to the inhabitants of the city, âthe editorial said.
Tarrant, a grocery store owner who had interests in several other businesses, was also known as “The Clambake King” because of his reputation as a clambake caterer in New York and Canada.
“The mere fact that a pastry had to be made by ‘Nick’ Tarrant was sufficient assurance of its excellence,” The post-star reported on December 9, 1947, at the time of Tarrant’s death.
Here are a dozen stories of baker “Nick” Tarrant Clambake.
â¢ 1913 – Tarrant, with the help of Charlie Minahan, prepared the first annual clambake at Glens Falls Town Hall in Cole’s Woods, The post-star reported on July 18, 1913. âWhen these two former masters of the art take charge of the commissioner’s festivities, it is undoubtedly the greatest satisfaction. About 200 “town family” and guests attended the event, at which the Glens Falls Band performed a concert.
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â¢ 1914 – Tarrant was scheduled to serve the Glens Falls Firemen’s Exempt Association annual clambake on August 9 at Mrs. Houghtaling’s cottage in Glen Lake, The post-star reported August 3, 1914. âFor those who love clams, this is good news. â¦ There will be several guests, including city officials and Fire Chief Yates of Schenectady and Chief O’Connor of the General Electric Company Fire Department.
â¢ 1914 – “Yesterday being half a day for the butchers, 60 of them headed to Glen Lake where Nick Tarrant had made a clambake that was a real Tarrant clambake,” The post-star reported August 28, 1914. “The rain that came in the late afternoon interrupted some of the sport, but not before P. O’Leary had won all the awards.”
â¢ 1922 – The Glens Falls Rotary Club, established in April, will hold their first clambake at Sunnyside Lake at 4:00 p.m. The post-star reported April 17, 1922. “The pastry will be served by ‘Nick’ Tarrant, which ensures that the ‘inner man’ will be well provided for.”
â¢ 1924 – Tarrant was about to make a clambake on August 17th at Bullock’s Grove in Riverside, now known as Riparius, in Johnsburg, The post-star reported August 12, 1924. âSeveral of the town’s societies have made their annual outing on this day and will meet in the grove.
â¢ 1924 – Tarrant made two clambakes on the same day, September 13th. Nick Tarrant was a caterer. Alumni of Union College and Wesleyan University predominated among those present â, The post-star reported September 15, 1924. âTwenty-three members of the Philathea class of the Methodist Church attended a Saturday afternoon clambake at Weaver’s Pavilion, Lake Sunnyside, by Nick Tarrant. After cooking, a ball game was enjoyed.
â¢ 1925 – The New York Police Chiefs Association opened its annual convention at Glens Falls Town Hall on the morning of August 24, 1925, The post-star reported the next morning. In the afternoon, delegates toured Great Meadow Jail in Comstock, then about 150 people attended a clambake at the Idle Hour Club in Fort Edward. “A splendid pastry has been baked by City Councilor ‘Nick’ Tarrant, king of clambake chefs.”
â¢ 1925 – Tarrant served 125 people at the first annual Knights of Columbus Council 194 clambake from Glens Falls to East Lake George, The post-star reported July 20, 1925. Actor John Geary, who was spending the summer in Lake George, entertained. âPerfect weather prevailed and everyone agreed that the council’s first clambake set a high standard for the future.
â¢ 1926 – “Seventy people attended the Exempt Round Pond Firefighters Association’s big annual party yesterday,” The Times of Glens Falls reported September 13, 1926. âThe pastry was made by Nick Tarrant, the king of clambakes, and served in the O’Brien pavilion. The members agreed it was one of the best they have ever attended.
â¢ 1927 – Tarrant, “of clambake fame”, was scheduled to serve Knights of Columbus clambake from Glens Falls at Fort George Park in Lake George at 1:30 pm this afternoon, The Glens Falls Times reported September 17, 1927. Members of the Knights of Columbus from Hudson Falls and Fort Edward would also be present. âA baseball game between married men and single counseling men will be one of the highlights of the outing. There will also be three-legged races, nail contests and various other forms of competition. “
â¢ 1928 – âBoxing contests, putting contests and horseshoe throwing will be among the many attractions added to the Elks’ annual clambakeâ¦ next Sunday afternoon at the Warrensburg Fairgrounds. â¦ ‘Nick’ Tarrant, director of extraordinary clambake, will be in charge of the cooking.
â¢ 1933 – The Glens Falls Country Club’s annual clambake would be served “promptly” at 4:30 pm on September 30, The post-star reported September 28, 1933. “The pastry will be served under the personal direction of Nick Tarrant, the local clamake king, who has assured it will serve hungry golfers a treat that will be remembered for a long time.”
â¢ 1946 – âThe Wesleyan Alumni Association of Northeast New York State ate one of Nick Tarrant’s clambakes yesterday at Round Pond. Glens Falls was represented by 11 members â, The post-star reported September 13, 1946.
Maury Thompson was a Post star reporter for 21 years before retiring in 2017. He is now a freelance writer and documentary maker specializing in the history of politics, labor organization and media in the region.