The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Saratoga Springs

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The Encyclopedia Americana
Saratoga Springs
Edition of 1920. See also Saratoga Springs, New York on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

SARATOGA SPRINGS (from an Indian word meaning “Hillside of the Great River”), N. Y., city in Saratoga County, on the Delaware and Hudson, the Boston and Maine and the Adirondack railroads, 38 miles north of Albany and 185 miles north of New York. It is easily accessible to many of the large Eastern cities, the “Saratoga Special” making the run from New York in four hours; Boston may be reached in six hours; Albany and Troy one hour; from Buffalo, Rochester, the Adirondacks, the Green Mountains, the White Mountains and many other places fast trains are run, especially in the summer season. It is a remarkably healthful place and all precautions known are used to keep the water pure and the sewerage system free from defects. The missionaries were the first known white men to visit this region. In 1684 the land now constituting Saratoga Springs and adjacent counties was ceded to the Dutch by the Indians. The first white owner of the now celebrated “Springs” was Rip van Dam, and Sir William Johnson (q.v.) was the first who had the efficacy of the waters tested. In 1774 the first hotel was erected. The ‘Springs’ have made for the place a world-wide reputation. Thousands come to this city each year to use the waters, making the city one of the most popular health resorts in the country. Since 1826 the waters have been bottled and sent to various parts of the world. The Saratoga battlefield, the scene of the surrender of Burgoyne to Gates, 17 Oct. 1777, is 12 miles east of the city.

Saratoga Springs is situated on the southern-most spur of the Adirondacks, at an elevation of more than 300 feet above tide-water. The region around has practically no swamps nor marshes; the rainfall is moderate and the winters cold, the summers mild and pleasant. There are but few manufacturing establishments and the region around is composed largely of productive farms. The mineral springs are about 50 in number, 40 of which are well known. The most frequently visited and the waters of which are most extensively used are the Congress, Vichy, High Rock, Arondack, Hathorn, Patterson, Re-Mo-Ho, Red, Magnetic, Columbian, Geyser and Excelsior. The waters are cathartic, tonic, alterative and diuretic. The springs are in three groups: one about a mile south of the city, one a mile north of the city and the largest number within the corporate limits. The Saratoga Racing Park is a mile from the centre of the city. A paved sidewalk leads to the entrance gates. Polo Park, the golf links ground and other grounds furnish opportunity for outdoor sports. Saratoga Lake (q.v.) is about four miles distant.

The principal public buildings are Convention Hall, which seats 5,000 and which cost $100,000; the town-hall containing the theatre, a State armory and the hotels. The hotels of the city have on several occasions accommodated 40,000 guests. On account of its spacious hotels and its convention halls, it is a favorite place for conventions. There are 18 church buildings, representing eight different denominations. The educational institutions are the Skidmore School of Arts, a high school, public and parish elementary schools, several private schools, a public school library, the McMillan Reading Circle Library and the Athenæum. The charitable institutions are the Saratoga, Saint Faith and Saratoga Cure hospitals, Home of the Good Shepherd, Saint Christina Home and the Children's Home. The State of New York has established a reservation about the mineral springs. It was established in 1909 and is maintained and operated by the State Conservation Commission. Approximately 550 acres of land are included within it. Upon this property are 122 natural springs and wells, including practically every naturally mineralized and naturally carbonated water in the Saratoga region. The purpose of the State in assuming control over the Saratoga springs was to stop their commercial exploitation for carbon dioxide gas and to ensure the flow of their curative waters continuously for the benefit of the public. There are three parks upon the State Reservation, Geyser Park, High Rock Park and Lincoln Park. At three different places upon the State Reservation bath houses are conducted for administering various courses of treatment. They are run in accordance with the highest standards of the medical profession and many of the baths are given only under physicians' prescriptions. At the Lincoln Park bath house are two large, outdoor, fresh-water swimming pools which are well patronized in the summer months. The Saratoga bath house, in the centre of the city, is operated throughout the year, and every treatment may be obtained here. The Lincoln and Washington bath houses are operated all summer and as late into the fall as the demand for them continues. The Washington bath house, erected in 1919, is the largest and most completely equipped mineral-water bath house in the United States, with facilities for every important hydrotherapeutic treatment.

The two banks have a combined capital of $225,000 and a surplus of $200,000. The annual receipts and expenditures are each about $125,000. The hotels expend during the summer season about $40,000 for orchestral music. The city expends a large amount on the streets, keeping them clean and in good repair. Since 1915 the commission form of government has been in operation. In that year a city charter was granted. Pop. 15,000.