In 2021, the Saratoga County History Center established an annual award to recognize and celebrate the oft-unnoticed, yet deeply important, work done by public historians, writers, teachers, and museum practitioners. [Read more…] about Saratoga County Public History Award Nominations Sought
In 1870 Francois Dieudonné Gingras left his native Canada for Manhattan where he met and married Mary Roohan. By 1896, now with three children and another on the way, this couple had settled in Saratoga Springs where they opened a grocery store.
Their oldest son, Frank, was soon brought into the family business and the store was renamed, F. D. Gingras & Son. Their youngest son, whom they had named Joseph Elzead John Gingras, was looking to pursue a far different life: baseball. [Read more…] about Joe Gingras: A Major League Baseball Career Thwarted By War
Utica, intersected by the Erie and Hudson Canal, is really a beautiful place. Free from the geometric regularity of most of the American cities, its tree-lined streets impart to it the truly American sylvan character, while the size and elegance of its suburban residences show that its people are prosperous to a degree unknown in similar cities in the old country.
But their commercial prosperity is not the only, or even principal, quality on which the Uticans pride themselves, as they rank only second to Boston in their opinion of their culture and appreciation of science and art; and, so far as I have been able to judge, with quite as much, if not more, reason. [Read more…] about A Photographer Visits Utica, Saratoga & Albany in 1878
I was awfully glad when a friend proposed a trip to Saratoga. I had been awfully jolly in New York, but New York had gone out of town, leaving nothing but its streets and its tram-cars behind it. In London we have such a perpetual flow of visitors — over one hundred thousand daily — that a fellow doesn’t so much miss the “big crowd” as here, consequently when Saratoga was decided upon I felt extremely pleased indeed. I had heard much of the palatial river steamers, and expected much. [Read more…] about Aboard the Hudson River Steamer Drew to Saratoga in 1878
In 2018, Saratoga National Historical Park received funding to produce an ethnohistorical study of the Saratoga area. Professor Karim Tiro from Xavier University was chosen to conduct the research and compile the report.
Dr. Tiro specializes in North American history during the colonial, revolutionary, and early national periods with a focus on the history of Native Americans, the War of 1812, and epidemics. [Read more…] about Saratoga Area Ethnohistoric Survey Nears Completion
In the year 1900, York Avenue on Saratoga’s East Side was a quiet working-class neighborhood with a mix of young families, as well as older citizens, all living side by side. Listed on the street in that year’s census were laborers, painters, liverymen, and surprisingly, actors.
The neighborhood folks representing the theatre were Edward “Eddie” Fritz Smith, his wife Kitty Sharpe, and their children, Catherine, Sidney, Eddie, Jeal, and William. This couple was no stranger to the life in the spotlight, for even as they settled into a quiet life in Saratoga Springs they were still known across the globe as international celebrities. [Read more…] about The Smith Family of Acrobats and Clowns & Saratoga Springs
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
Solomon Northup, the free black man who was kidnapped from Saratoga Springs and sold into slavery (as portrayed in the film 12 Years a Slave), was known locally as a good fiddler. Northup probably mostly played at dances, and there is no evidence that he played at any of Saratoga’s posh hotels.
But as a black musician, Northup probably could have found acceptance in such venues, because the way had been paved by Francis “Frank” Johnson. Johnson, a black resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, performed with his band during many summers at the best hotels in Saratoga. [Read more…] about Black Musician Francis Johnson at Saratoga, 1822-1843
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