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 Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation was one of 25 preservation organizations across the country to receive a grant from The 1772 Foundation. The $35,000 grant is to establish a historic property redevelopment program (HPRP). [Read more…] about 1772 Foundation Supports Preserving Saratoga Springs
The Saratoga Springs Public Library will host “Noble Boys! The 77th New York at the Second Battle of Fredericksburg,” a program featuring stories of the NY 77th Infantry’s participation in the Second Battle of Fredericksburg during the Civil War with author David Handy, set for Thursday, June 23rd. [Read more…] about 77th New York at the Second Battle of Fredericksburg
It is difficult to imagine tame whitetail deer roaming freely through Congress Park in downtown Saratoga Springs, yet in its early years, it was both a common sight and an eagerly anticipated part of experiencing the city for both young and old.
It all began with a gift. [Read more…] about The Whitetail Deer Paddock in Saratoga’s Congress Park: Some History
These days clairvoyant is not a term that is often used in describing a doctor’s ability to diagnose disease. Yet, in the last half of the 1800s it was not uncommon to seek out a “clairvoyant physician” when a person was concerned about changes in their health.
Laura Smith Ellsworth, a self-proclaimed spiritualist, medium and clairvoyant physician who would devote her life to spiritualism, grew up in Charlton, in Saratoga County, NY. The daughter of Henry and Jane Smith, the youngest of their three children, Laura was born in 1862 and baptized in September of the same year at the Charlton Freehold Presbyterian Church. [Read more…] about Laura Smith Ellsworth: Devoted Spiritualist
Saratoga Springs has been gifted with many unique attributes by both nature and the hand of man. The artesian fountains have been an attraction since the dawn of habitation and have endowed the area with an important role in the development of our nation.
It’s admirable that residents and interested visitors combine with a fervent dedication to the history of the community. We have recently witnessed this in the efforts by the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation to secure a historic residence, designed and built in the nineteenth century by Alexander A. Patterson, at 65 Phila Street in the Spa City. [Read more…] about Old Man Patterson’s Spring in Saratoga
Well drilling was common with many recent improvements by the time the Drake well was sunk, although most were drilled for salt brine (a source of salt). Oil was sometimes found in these wells and pumped as an unwanted by-product, but by the late 1800s, several changes made oil more valuable.
Whaling had been the primary source for illuminating oil (lamp oil), but whales had been over-hunted and were becoming scarce, and the cost of harvesting them was increasing. Also, by the 1850s, scientist had discovered the potential for manufacturing kerosene from crude oil which was found to be an ideal replacement. [Read more…] about Russell Ormsbee’s Oil Adventure
Housed in the Saratoga County Historian’s Office is the African American History Index, begun in the early 2000s by former county historian Kristina Saddlemire and continued by longtime volunteer Jane Meader Nye.
This collection includes documents related to people of African descent who were either residents of the county or famous visitors such as Frederick Douglass, and stories of Abolitionists who offered assistance to enslaved people seeking freedom. [Read more…] about Lydia Sherman’s Recollections of Saratoga County’s Abolitionist Movement
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
In January 1920, a successful businessman and three-time president of the village of Saratoga Springs took his own life in the hallways of Saratoga Springs Town Hall. His story exposes the conflicts that arose over gambling in the resort town at the turn of the 20th century.
Caleb W. “Cale” Mitchell was born in 1837 in Troy, NY. He made a fortune as a gambler and businessman in the city of New York and in Washington, D.C. before moving north and taking up residence in Saratoga Springs in the 1870s. He and his brother George Mitchell built the Glen Mitchell, a resort on the site of the Maple Avenue Middle School, which boasted a lovely hotel, three freshwater ponds, a racetrack for trotters, and later a long toboggan slide for winter entertainment. [Read more…] about Saratoga Corruption & The Destruction of Cale Mitchell