Daily Archives: July 16, 2013

Wandering Saratoga, 1876

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Congress Hall.pngWe’ll continue with what “Saratoga Illustrated” had to say about the city of springs in 1876:

Saratoga Springs is a village of hotels and dwelling houses. There are few or no manufactories, and its streets seem devoted to elegant leisure or abundant shopping. Its surface is mainly level, except where a shallow valley winds in a general north-easterly direction through the center. Through this runs a little brook, and, by its banks, at the bottom of the valley, may be found most of the more famous mineral springs….

The Town Hall, on the corner of Broadway and Lake Street, marks the center of population. The geographical center is, perhaps, a quarter of a mile to the south-east of this point. Immediately beyond the village, and in nearly every direction, the country becomes broken, so that the outskirts are varied and pleasing, while the village itself is sufficiently level for comfortable walking.

The principal street is Broadway, extending a little east of north through the entire village, and making the grand drive and promenade, where all the life, business, and pleasure of the place may be seen in a five-minutes’ walk. This concentration of the hotels and stores in one street, and in the immediate neighborhood of nearly all of the springs, gives the village a singular aspect; for, away from this center, there is nothing but houses, cottages, and villas, each in prim fashion facing its quiet, shady street – a village of homes.

Broadway is peculiar and original. The hotels, the elegant stores, the fine rows of trees, the broad borders of sod, and the throng of carriages and people that crowd its walks and roads, present a spectacle unlike anything else in the world . . . No other resort can show two such palaces as the Grand Union and Congress Hall, facing each other on one street. Perhaps no other place would lug two such monster buildings into such pronounced rivalry. Be that as it may, here they stand, and the general effect is remarkable, and a trifle oppressive. There is too much of architectural glory; but the American likes grandeur, and here he has it, in a profusion perfectly dazzling. There is a slight bend in the street, in the neighborhood of Congress Hall, and standing here, one may look in either direction, and feel a natural pride in his country, that such monuments to American wealth, skill, and culture, can be taken in at a single glance. Certainly, there is but one Saratoga in the world.