Displaying items by tag: saratoga springs

Thursday, 18 July 2019 13:03

History of Saratoga - High Rock Spring

Most new residents and visitors to the city probably better know the location of the High Rock Spring as the area near the Farmers’ Market, or the area near the 9/11 Memorial “Tempered by Memory” on High Rock Avenue in Saratoga Springs. In the 1800’s the area was all about the popular High Rock Spring and history has shown that it was the founding location of the city.

The Mohawk were the indigenous tribe of Native Americans for hundreds of years in the area of today’s Saratoga Springs. They spent summers fishing. hunting and growing crops to provide a food supply to get their tribe through the harsh winters of upstate New York. While in the area they discovered the natural mineral springs, used them extensively and guarded their location.

Sir William Johnson is thought to be the first European to visit the High Rock spring in 1771, when in poor health, was brought to the spring for a four-day visit. Johnson was the Superintendent for Indian Affairs in North America for the British Crown. Sir William lived among the Mohawk and had even married the chief’s sister, Molly Brant. Because of this strong bond with the tribe, when Johnson showed signs of declining health the Mohawk carried him on a litter to reveal the location of their deeply guarded secret spring at High Rock. After a brief four-day stay he found bathing and drinking the water made for a positive change in his health, as he was able to walk most of the way back to his home in the Mohawk Valley.  After his visit, Sir William sent letters to many friends describing the healing effects of the waters and soon settlers demanded access to this guarded location. Soon a deal was brokered with the Mohawk and the area was opened for settlement by Europeans. 

  After a few early short-term settlers, Alexander Bryan became the village’s first permanent settler when he began operating a tavern and boarding house in the High Rock area near what today is the Olde Bryan Inn. The area around the High Rock and Alexander Bryan’s Tavern saw the construction of the first cluster of structures built in the early village and was known as the Upper Village. Soon another area began to develop a short distant to the south in the area near the present-day Congress Spring. In 1802 Gideon Putnam and his wife Doanda, constructed and operated the first hotel in the village on the northwest corner of Broadway and Congress Street. This new area became known as the Lower Village. Soon Saratoga Springs began to grow, and the two villages grew into one Saratoga Springs.

As Saratoga Springs flourished in the 1800’s the number of mineral springs grew from four that were original and naturally occurring, to 203 mostly drilled springs. By 1908, overuse of most of the many springs by mechanical pumping left the High Rock Spring dry. The High Rock Spring had stopped flowing and the founding spot of the village would stay dry until it was re-drilled in 2015.

In celebration of the centennial of the village becoming a city in 1915, a committee worked to re-drill and bring back to life the very important High Rock Spring. Two big players helped to complete the project. First was the very talented well drillers of Hawk Drilling who donated many hours of labor and materials to reach water at 442 feet below the surface. Then the talents of the Saratoga Springs Department of Public Works under the direction of Commissioner Skip Scirocco provided the site work and plumbing for the new fountain. This allowed the water to exit the ground in two spots, the fountain and the original mineral “cone” that had provided water for use for hundreds of years. 

This summer, plan to visit the High Rock Spring to further learn about the early history of Saratoga Springs as well as to enjoy the water from that spring and nearby springs Peerless and Governor. Our city slogan has it right when it states; “Health, History and Horses.”  It all began with Health and the mineral springs, especially the High Rock.

Published in History
Thursday, 11 July 2019 00:00

History of Saratoga - Canfield Casino

In the year 2019, the silhouette of the many grand hotels and some of the Victorian architecture that was the trademark of the city in the 1800’s is missing. We are fortunate to still have a wonderful example of the architectural style offered in those magical years in the form of the Canfield Casino, located in Congress Park. 

What is known today as the Canfield Casino opened in the summer of 1870 at a construction cost of $190,000, known originally as the “Saratoga Clubhouse” under the management of John Morrissey. It was always Morrissey’s intent to use the beautiful venue as a gambling casino, but since gambling was illegal in the city at the time, Morrissey presented the space as a men’s club. In order to ensure that the wealthy would be impressed with the building, Morrissey used the top interior designers of the time, the Herter Brothers of NYC and Mitchell Vance was asked to do the lighting. In 1870 as the top design company, the Herter Brothers also did the White House and many of the homes of the wealthy in America. Today the Canfield Casino is one of only three remaining commercial structures in the country designed by the Herter Brothers. 

Admission to the building was to members who paid a seasonal membership fee of $200 per person. Gambling was always limited to men that were non-residents of Saratoga Springs. In that era women of high social status generally did not wish to be seen in gambling spaces, and the exclusion of locals prevented anyone from losing money that might return to protest the operation. A truce was made with local religious leaders by suspending gambling on Sundays. Morrissey also returned money to the community at the end of each summer season by donating some of his profits to churches and non-profits in the city.

At the conclusion of the first summer the experiment proved to be a monetary success as well as a hit with locals, so plans were made to build additional gaming space in the form of a parlor that would be available for the summer of 1871. In May of 1878 John Morrissey died of illness on the second floor of the Adelphi Hotel, and partners Reid and Spencer operated the venue until it was purchased by New York City gambler Richard Canfield in 1894 for $250,000. Canfield raised the elegance of the building by adding the ballroom, which operated as a restaurant, and the Italian Gardens in the park for about $800,000.

Anti-gambling sentiments both locally and nationally started to pressure the closure of the Canfield Casino in the early 1900’s. Under intense pressure Richard Canfield finally put the Casino up for sale. Finally, with no purchase offers, the City of Saratoga Springs bought the building and surrounding land in the park for a bargain price of $150,000 in 1911. This iconic building is still owned by the city today and is continually updated and repaired by the Saratoga Springs Department of Public Works with great care and understanding of its importance in the history of the city.

In the summer of 2020, the Canfield Casino will be celebrating its 150th anniversary of being a notable location and jewel of the city. Today, daily tours of the building are offered by the staff of the Saratoga Springs History Museum that provide additional facts on the structure as well as a glimpse into the famed history of Saratoga. In 2010 another twist was added when the Canfield Casino was investigated by the TV show “Ghost Hunters” to explain frequent observed paranormal activity. Since that time, ghost tours have been offered on Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the summer at 11 a.m.

As you plan your summer activities, put a stop at the Canfield Casino on your list to enjoy the true feel of Saratoga Springs history.

Published in History

BALLSTON SPA – Patty Morrison, an elected Saratoga Springs School District Board Trustee, defeated sitting City Council member Michele Madigan in the city’s Democratic Primary race, which was decided this week.

Primary Elections were held June 25 but resulted in a too-close-to-call verdict, with Morrison holding a slight lead. The counting of absentee ballots at the Saratoga County Board of Elections on July 2 resulted in a 59-47 margin in favor of Morrison, and an overall lead of 765-733, unofficially.

“I’m honored and humbled to reach this point in the process,” Morrison said, in a statement released Tuesday, thanking supporters and volunteers. “This was a huge grassroots effort with my team knocking on over 3,300 doors and spending a small fraction of what my opponent did.”

The race between Morrison and Madigan is for the position of Saratoga Springs Commissioner of Finance – one of five City Council seats. All five council seats, as well as both City Supervisor positions, will be up for vote in November. 

Madigan issued a statement Tuesday and said she was “saddened and disappointed to have lost the Democratic primary for Commissioner of Finance, due to low voter turn-out.  I wish to thank my many friends and supporters for their hard work in the face of a very difficult and at times an ugly primary campaign.”

Total voter turnout for the Primary Election represents approximately 22 percent of all registered Democrats in Saratoga Springs.  

Prior to the Primary Election, Madigan received the endorsement of the Saratoga Springs City Democratic Committee, as well as the backing of the the Independence Party and Working Families Party lines. Despite the loss in the Primary, Madigan – who is a registered Democrat – appears poised to run for re-election under those lines in the November General Election.   

“I hope to serve another term and would be grateful for the support of all city voters, regardless of political persuasion, come November 5th,” Madigan said.

Given the city Democratic Committee’s endorsement of Madigan in the Primary, Morrison’s victory among Democrat voters nudges the Committee into unchartered territory: The candidate they had endorsed, and who is a registered Democrat, will potentially be running for re-election on a different party line in a race against the candidate chosen by city Democrat voters.

“We’ll be having an executive (meeting) to figure this out, because this is a unique position,” said Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee Chairwoman Courtney DeLeonardis. While the full Democratic Committee is not scheduled to meet until September, DeLeonardis said the seven-member executive committee may meet as soon as early next week to decide how to proceed moving forward.

Candidate statements, in their entirety, may be viewed below.  

Patty Morrison: I’m honored and humbled to reach this point in the process.  I want to thank all my supporters and volunteers.  This was a huge grassroots effort with my team knocking on over 3,300 doors and spending a small fraction of what my opponent did.

Our goal now is to listen and represent all voters in this city, despite their political affiliation.  I look forward to working with the City Democratic Committee to advance our Democratic principles such as quality of life issues for the residents of Saratoga Springs.  Issues such as open government, implementing transparent, ethical processes and exercising balanced development that aligns with the fragile historic character we all cherish.

I pledge to bring long term, prudent fiscal planning as your next Commissioner of Finance and look forward to meeting thousands more residents to discuss their thoughts and concerns.

I’m focused on running a positive and inclusive campaign.  

Michele Madigan: I am saddened and disappointed to have lost the Democratic primary for Commissioner of Finance, due to low voter turn-out.  I wish to thank my many friends and supporters for their hard work in the face of a very difficult and at times an ugly primary campaign.

 I am still on the general ballot in November on the Independence Party and Working Families Party lines, and while I would very much like to continue to serve all city voters - of all political parties - for another term, at this time the budget needs of the city are my priority.

 I must present the 2020 budget by the end of the summer, and get it adopted in November. Additionally, the city has several multi-million dollar matters I must continue to plan for: repairing and reopening city hall, the Loughberry Dam upgrade mandates, Fire/EMS needs of the Eastern Plateau, finding a permanent solution to code-blue and our homeless issues, cybersecurity threats that plague cities daily - for starters.  I owe it to the taxpayers to focus on this city business.

 I hope to serve another term and would be grateful for the support of all city voters, regardless of political persuasion, come November 5th. This election is not about partisan politics or any particular issue; it is about prudently managing our city’s finances through challenging times.

Published in News
Friday, 28 June 2019 10:16

2019 NYRA Giveaways

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) announced its lineup of four premium giveaways for the 2019 meet at Saratoga Race Course. All giveaways are free with paid admission, while supplies last. Additionally, NYRA will offer an exclusive giveaway for season pass and season ticket holders who are in attendance on Opening Day, Thursday, July 11: a white cooling towel featuring the red Saratoga logo, available while supplies last. Gates open at 11 a.m. each day, including weekends, with the exception of Travers Day, Saturday, August 24.

Sunday, July 14
The first giveaway of the 2019 season will provide fans with an easy and convenient way to tote their food and beverage spread: a collapsible, red picnic cooler featuring the Saratoga logo emblazoned in white, presented by NYRA Bets. In addition to the Saratoga picnic cooler giveaway, the day's festivities will include the 28th annual Hat Contest, presented by Moet & Chandon and Hat Sationa! By DEI.

Wednesday, August 7
Guests will take home the second giveaway of the 2019 meet: the Saratoga baseball cap, presented by Saratoga Casino Hotel. This season's edition of the annual giveaway item features the Saratoga logo against the backdrop of a red, black and gray camouflage print. The giveaway corresponds with First Responders Day at Saratoga, during which all first responders will receive free Grandstand admission with proper ID. 

Wednesday, August 21
The season's third premium giveaway - a Saratoga beach towel, presented by Upstate Ford Dealers - will kick off the countdown to the 150th running of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers. The circular beach towel is a colorful rendering of a thoroughbred and jockey charging down the main track with the iconic Saratoga grandstand in the background. 

Sunday, September 1                 
Fans will celebrate closing weekend of the 2019 Saratoga meet with the final giveaway of the season - a Saratoga sweatshirt, presented by Lia Infiniti. The gray hooded, zip-up sweatshirt is adorned with the red Saratoga logo. 

Season pass and season ticket holders are guaranteed a Saratoga premium giveaway on the day of the giveaway so long as they are present at Saratoga Race Course and redeem the giveaway by the designated time.

Season admission passes may be purchased online at NYRA.com/Saratoga and in-person at nearly 150 Stewart's Shops locations throughout the Capital Region. A season pass provides fans with admission to all 40 days of world-class thoroughbred racing at Saratoga Race Course. The cost for a 2019 Grandstand season pass is $50. A Clubhouse season pass is $75. Season passes do not include reserved seating.

Following Opening Weekend, Thursday, July 11 through Sunday, July 14, racing at Saratoga will be conducted five days a week, Wednesdays through Sundays. Closing week will run Wednesday, August 28 through Labor Day, Monday, September 2. 



Published in News
Thursday, 27 June 2019 16:44

12th Annual All-American Celebration

Fireside Chat with General Burgoyne:
The public can have a fireside chat with General Burgoyne at 7 p.m. at the Holiday Inn. Attendees get s’mores and a chance to take a photo with the General. Free admission.


Firecracker 4 Road Race:
Starting at 9 a.m. approximately 4,000 runners will run down Broadway and through four miles of city streets. Additionally, there is a half-mile Sparkler Kid’s Fun Race at 10:50 a.m. going from the Saratoga Springs City Center to Congress Park.

US Citizenship Ceremony:
At 10 a.m. 20 people will participate in the annual US Citizenship Ceremony at Saratoga National Historical Park. Anyone who cannot be at the park will be able to view the ceremony via a giant television screen at Saratoga Springs City Center and via live broadcast on the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page. The ceremony will also include a speech by Vitaliy Volpov, an Associate of Whiteman Osterman and Hanna LLP who’s family immigrated to the Capital Region when he was 12-years-old. 

Party in the Parking Lot with the Audiostars: 
Live music performance at 6:30 p.m. in the evening outside of Congress Park in the Spring St. parking lot.

Live Reading of the Declaration of Independence: 
Benjamin Franklin will read the Declaration on stage in the Spring Street parking lot at 9:15 p.m., followed by fireworks and patriotic music.

Throughout July 4, local retailers will be inviting people into their shops to support local independent store owners, and restaurants will be offering a range of “All American” meal deals. 
Before the celebrations and until July 5, the Chamber of Commerce is urging people to buy official Saratoga All-American Celebration t-shirts at Impressions of Saratoga and Dark Horse Saratoga, both on Broadway. Proceeds help to fund fireworks and entertainment for the Celebration. 


Saratoga Casino Events:
Starting Wednesday, July 3 at 5 p.m.at the Casino’s Jefferson Street location, attendees can view and participate in various events, including fireworks, live music, prize drawings and more.

Saratoga Casino Hotel will welcome American Idol finalist Madison VanDenburg on Wednesday, July 3 during their annual fireworks show. The Colonie native will perform a rendition of ‘God Bless America’ during the casino’s ‘All-American Celebration’ festivities. 

VanDenburg, who finished third place in the most recent season of American Idol, will hold an autograph session for fans from 5 – 5:45 p.m. in a tent along the apron of the casino’s harness track. At 6 p.m., Madison will perform ‘God Bless America’ in the winner’s circle of the track. 

“We couldn’t be more excited to add Madison to our entertainment lineup as we kick-off our All-American Celebration,” said Kathleen Anderson, Senior Director of Entertainment and Guest Experiences at Saratoga Casino Hotel. “Madison captivated the nation with her talent, and this is a great opportunity for her countless Capital Region fans to see her perform live.”

Following VanDenburg’s performance, local party band Ten Most Wanted will hold a special trackside performance at 6 p.m. At approximately 9:15 p.m., the fireworks show will begin on the harness track. The fireworks are being carried out by Santore’s World Famous Fireworks of Schaghticoke and are co-sponsored by the Saratoga Harness Horseperson’s Association. 

Guests of all ages are welcome to enjoy the evening of live harness racing, music and fireworks. Parking and admission are free. Food vendors from Dom’s Fried Dough & Pizza of Schenectady, and Ben & Jerry’s will be serving guests along the harness track throughout the evening. 

The fireworks show kicks off the casino’s ‘All-American Celebration’ which features an exciting lineup of Independence Day-themed promotions from July 3 to July 6. Over $75,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded on the casino floor, including a variety of backyard equipment from Alpin Haus. Immediately after fireworks, $5,000 will be up for grabs via hot seat drawings on the casino floor, and 80’s rock band Aquanett will take the stage for a live performance in Vapor. 

Published in News
Page 14 of 43


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