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Ed Bartholomew Remembered As "Mr. Glens Falls"

Ed Bartholomew
EDC Warren County

Ed Bartholomew, the former mayor of Glens Falls who may be best known for bringing pro hockey to the Warren County city, has died. He was 70.

Bartholomew was a familiar face in Glens Falls. The Republican was 28 when he was elected mayor in 1977 and served until 1985. In 2010, Bartholomew returned to city hall as the city’s economic development director, and took an another role as President of EDC Warren County in 2013.

Bartholomew legacy is tied to the Glens Falls Civic Center – now called the Cool Insuring Arena – built in 1979 and the home of AHL affiliate Adirondack Red Wings hockey team until 1999.  

A decade later, Bartholomew helped bring hockey back, with the Adirondack Phantoms, and in 2014, welcomed the AHL Adirondack Flames to the hometown arena.

“Welcome to the three-peat AHL city, Glens Falls, New York!”

At that press conference, State Senator Betty Little – an avid hockey fan herself – recognized Bartholomew’s dedication to the success of the arena.

“Hockey began in Glens Falls in 1979 with the Red Wings, and the mayor at that time was the guy right behind, Ed Bartholomew. So he’s been with hockey since the beginning.”

After Bartholomew died overnight, Little spoke with WAMC about her friend on Wednesday.

“I’m saddened, certainly to learn of his passing. He was just such a great guy. He was Mr. Glens Falls. I think I love Glens Falls. I’ll admit, he may have loved it more than I did.”

Little reflected on her fellow Republican’s positivity and can-do spirit.

Mayor Dan Hall, a Democrat, called Bartholomew one of his mentors, who would always take his call. He said in a statement:

“With Ed’s passing, there is a huge void in our community. To say that he will be missed is a great understatement. His shoes will be impossible to fill. Our prayers go out to his family. It is a terribly sad day in Glens Falls.”

Hall said Bartholomew’s stories of working as an aide in the New York State Senate led to some entertaining car rides.

In addition to opening the Civic Center, Bartholomew brought minor league baseball to East Field, helped re-establish bus service with the Greater Glens Falls Transit System, and helped spur development in the city.

Dan Burke, a former regional president of NBT Bank and president of the Adirondack Civic Center Coalition, which today owns the Cool Insuring Arena and the Adirondack Thunder ECHL hockey team, said Bartholomew knew how to navigate the world of politics.

“You know, Ed was that guy that because of all his background and experience, he knew where to go to talk to. I mean, the reality is that there’s a lot of layers of government and you’ve got to navigate through them. And Ed knew them all the way from the local municipalities right through to the state.”

And up to the federal government, too. U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said he lost a great friend and the Glens Falls region an “irreplaceable public servant.”

Schumer said:

“It was Ed who pushed me to fund the South Street project, and lobby the Phantoms to bring hockey back, and get federal money for the Lake George wastewater treatment plant, and dozens of other projects over the years.”

Bartholomew worked to secure a $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative Fund state grant for the city, targeted toward the redevelopment of South Street.  

EDC Warren County said at the time of his death, Bartholomew was “leading the effort to help local businesses and industries recover from the COVID-19 shutdown and had been working on these challenges virtually around the clock.”

A cause of death was not disclosed.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.