What do you suppose history will say about politicians of current times? Hindsight is often different from what was presumed by contemporaries. But for John Taylor, who became New York’s first Speaker of the House of Representatives, that does not seem to be true. He was always seen as a man of high standards, even if those high standards irked some people in his own political party. [Read more…] about John Taylor: New York’s ‘Only’ Speaker of the House
In the more than two hundred years of its existence, the historic village of Ballston Spa in Saratoga County, NY, has possessed one building which achieved national, perhaps even world-wide, renown.
I refer, of course, to the Sans Souci Hotel, which graced the east end of Front Street near Milton Avenue for some 84 years in the 19th century. To more precisely orient the modern reader, while you are enjoying your favorite beverage in a well-known Ballston tea shop, which is exactly opposite the north end of Low Steet, you are sharing the space previously occupied by the main lobby of the Sans Souci Hotel and metaphorically rubbing shoulders with the likes of Joseph Bonaparte, ex-king of Spain and brother of Napoleon. [Read more…] about The Sans Souci: When Ballston Spa Was Still A Spa
The Nolan Family immigrated from Ireland and settled in Stillwater, Ballston, and after the Civil War, in Waterford, all in Saratoga County. The Nolan’s were a large family, a good many had served in the war, and most enlisted for the rewards of the bounty paid to the volunteers.
Michael Nolan, the father of the Nolan girls, had enlisted in the storied 77th Infantry Regiment based out of Saratoga. The 77th fought in many of the war’s epic battles. Michael had enlisted for three years and served out his full term. Prior to the war he resided in Stillwater and was employed as a farm laborer. [Read more…] about The Nolan Sisters: A Famous Waterford Poisoning Case
2020 was an unusual year for the Saratoga County Fair. Due to the corona virus pandemic, the Saratoga County Agricultural Society, operators of the Fair, felt they had to enact changes. When large public facilities began to close and large public events were canceled, the Society’s Board of Directors unanimously voted to cancel the fair. They did however, open the grounds to the public and some food vendors with no entrance fee.
Another important issue that occurred in 2020 was discussions about the fate of the Fair’s historic grandstand, which was in very poor condition. [Read more…] about Saratoga County Fair: A Tumultuous Two Years
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