The Saratoga County History Center has announce the publication of Off the Northway (Saratoga County History Center, 2022), a compilation of 83 articles written by longtime local journalist Stephen Williams, who retired after a 42-year career at the Daily Gazette in Schenectady, NY. [Read more…] about Off the Northway: A New Book by Journalist Stephen Williams
The nineteenth century in America saw the rapid growth of “patent” medicines, developed and marketed to a populace longing for relief from the many chronic maladies of life. Newspapers of the times were filled with advertising extolling the virtues of these creations as entrepreneurs tried to make their fortune by selling into this need.
The early fall of 1834 found one such man, William Sears, then in his middle fifties, traveling around Saratoga County soliciting testimonials from prominent local citizens as to the benefits of the medicines he had produced that were now being offered to the public. [Read more…] about William Sears’ American Hygiene Vegetable Renovating Pills
One hundred years ago a long-standing citizen of Ballston Spa went missing.
Usually known as Dudley Goodwin, his name was sometimes given as M. Dudley Goodwin (which is what appears on his tombstone). According to information on Find-A-Grave, his first name was Madison. He was born in Fulton County, on the second day of April, 1844. A sister was also born in Fulton County, about 1841, but Dudley’s other siblings were born in Saratoga County. [Read more…] about The Disappearance of Civil War Veteran Dudley Goodwin
Before refrigeration, food had to be eaten in a short time before growing bacteria could cause disease. Drying, smoking and salting were used but each had their limitations. In the ancient world, ice was a luxury available to those with great power.
Prior to the nineteenth century, ice harvesting was a local and small time operation. Ponds were the best source, because still water freezes first, but all sources of water were employed. January or February was considered the best month for harvesting. Often communities or groups of farm families would work cooperatively, dividing the “crop” proportionally. In addition to hard work, the “icing” was a social occasion and opportunity for locals to pass gossip and news. [Read more…] about Ice Harvesting in Saratoga County
Many are aware that one of the first steam railroads in the country was the Saratoga and Schenectady Railroad, which began regular service in 1832. The coming of the railroad provided a great boost to the growth of the resort town of Saratoga Springs.
Fewer may realize that sixty years later the resort and the surrounding communities benefited greatly by another transportation revolution, the electric railway. However, the beginning of the trolley age was not without its birth pains. [Read more…] about The Saratoga Electric Railway’s Battle With The D&H
Standing like a sentinel over it all is a large statue of Christ. On two sides are engraved the names Ella Frances Wood-Mann and her husband Enos Rogers Mann. This monument sits adjacent to Wood family plots, where over the years Ella’s parents and other family members have been laid to rest. [Read more…] about A Saratoga County Cemetery Mystery
This summer Brookside Museum in Ballston Spa, NY, opened an exhibit: “Century of Ice Cream! The Dake Family and Stewart’s.”
One might wonder why this successful business, with almost 350 convenience stores is named “Stewart’s” and not “Dake’s.”
Actually, the original founder of Stewart’s had a strong reputation for high-quality dairy products, long before the Dake family purchased the business. [Read more…] about Donald Stewart: The Man Who Founded The First Stewart’s Shop
Starks Desivigna Dake was born May 9,1852. He died on November 10, 1937, at the family homestead in Middle Grove after a long illness. The Saratogian reported on November 11, 1937 that he was “Courageous to the last, he voted in the November 2 election at a polling place near his home.”
Starks was a member of one of the oldest families to settle in Saratoga County. He was the son of Benjamin C. and Mary Jane Carmen Dake. He attended school in Daketown and, in the winter of 1869-70, attended the prominent Fort Edward Collegiate Institute. In 1870 he won a scholarship to Cornell University, where he studied civil engineering. He left college early to teach school in Eddy’s Corners, South Corinth, Greenfield Center, Middle Grove, and Chatfield Corners in Saratoga County. In 1872 the enterprising Starks took up land surveying while still teaching. He would continue that occupation for the next 60 years. [Read more…] about Stewart’s Shops 19th Century Patriarch Starks Dake’s Saratoga Lake Canal Plan
One Hundred and Fifty Years ago, on July 15th, 1871, a news article appeared in the Saturday edition of the Ballston [Saratoga County] Journal, “Wm Brown and John Parent are preparing the foundations for two fine houses on Bath Street, opposite the Washington Spring.”
Brown’s house would not be the typical gable-roofed residence, But a fashionable French-Gothic Mansard. The post-civil war period was known for unabashed ostentation. Suppliers, manufacturers, and financiers had profited greatly from the government’s need to equip and maintain its armed forces. There was so many nouveau riche showing off their wealth, it was fashionable to do so. [Read more…] about Ballston Spa’s Éclair House: Some History
Hundreds of cars drive down McMaster Street in Ballston Spa on a daily basis, but few may notice the beautiful old bell that sits silently on display in front of Building 1 of the Saratoga County Complex. [Read more…] about Saratoga’s Courthouse Bell Was Saved By Preservationists