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Sixth Annual Report




State Reservation at Saratoga Springs







Sixth Annual Report




State Reservation at Saratoga Springs






D. Of D*
UN 24 19 5

State of New York

1^0. 9


January 6, 1915

Annual Report of the Commissioners of the State
Reservation at Saratoga Springs

To the Honorable the Legislature:' ; .

The Commissioners of the State Reservation at Saratoga
Springs respectfully make report of their proceedings since
January, 1914.

In their report of that date they made urgent request for the
appropriation of the sum of $350,000 to provide funds for the
acquisition of additional properties then known to be needed and
to provide for the deficit in the original appropriation caused by
the accumulation of interest and expenses incident to acquisition,
amounting to more than $100,000. They also made urgent request
for the appropriation of the sum of $100,000 to carry forward
vigorously " the further investigation and expert study of the
various aspects of the problem committed to this Commission and
for the proper maintenance, administration and protection of the
properties taken and the supplying of free service to the public."

Of the $100,000 requested, only $10,000 was provided by the
passage of an emergency act. The remainder of $90,000 was re-
duced in the Legislature to $50,000, an appropriation bill for
which sum passed both houses but was vetoed by the Governor. In
place of the $350,000 requested to provide for the deficit as above


4 State Eeseevation at Sakatoga Spkings

stated and the acquisition of further property, $235,000 of bonds
were appropriated fo^r the general purposes of tJie Eeservation as
set forth in the request for $100,000 above referred to and for the
acquisition of property and for the deficit.

This reduction of $205,000, or nearly half of the necessary
amount requested by the Commission, has seriously imi^eded the
work of the Commission during the past year. They were, in con-
sequence, unable to make acquisition of certain properties of the
first importance to the proper development of the Reservation, nor
were they free to plan for such vigorous prosecution of the work
of development as W'as desirable because they thought it necessary
to hold in reserve funds to meet any unexpected emergency.

This emergency actually arose when the European war so sud-
denly developed conditions that will, it is believed, hasten and
greatly increase the demand for the fuller and more varied use of
the mineral waters of Saratoga Springs. The provision of ad-
ditional facilities for baths then became the most urgent claim
upon the Commission.

_ The improvements in the one small bath house owned by the
State, formerly known as " The Magnetic Bath House," were made
as proposed in the last annual report, so that the limited facilities
offered there were brought in line with the better modem practice
which our investigations disclosed. This is now called " The High
Rock Bath House," as more in accord with the facts of the case,
and also as having a proper historic relation to its location and to
the source of the mineral water used in these baths. The bath
business during the last summer showed an increase of 40 per cent
over the previous season, which was very satisfactory in view of
the moderate equipment. This plant was leased to Mr. Oscar R.
Stenstrom, who is technically well equipped and has given much
satisfaction as a practical bath director.

Mr. Stenstrom also leased the " Saratoga Baths " from the
owner, Mr. Harry M. Levengston, with an agreement to utilize
therein the State waters under the supervision of the director and
the engineer of the Reservation. This agreement gave opportunity
for acquiring valuable additional knowledge of the conditions and
enabled the Commission to make necessary experiments and obser-
vations. The knowledge thus acquired will bo of the utmost serv-

Report of the Commissioners 5

ice and advantage in preparing plans for the construction of the
new bath house. The Commission are now convinced that it is of
immediate importance to the State that this property known as the
" Saratoga Baths " should be acquired as a part of the ReservatioiL
It is so situated with reference to the mineral springs and the
property where the principal bath house should be constructed as
to make it most necessary to the completion of the State's purpose
in developing these waters. They believe the State fortunate in
that the Commission have secured from Mr. Levengston an offer
to sell this property to the State for an amount which is consider-
ably less than half the sum it cost him to build it. The acceptance
of this offer will also settle the claim of Mr. Levengston against
the State for mineral water rights taken in 1911. The engineer
of the Commission finds it practicable to bring this plant up-to-date
in its equipment for giving mineral water baths by a moderate
expenditure for the necessary improvements. The Commission
respectfully urges that at a very early date funds be provided to
take advantage of the option to purchase this property, so that the
improvements required to put it in proper condition may be com-
pleted by the month of May. The amount necessary to improve
this property is included in the request of the Commission for the
appropriation of $75,000 for maintenance, improvement and de-
velopment. This amount is an increase beyond the $59,000 named
in the budget submitted in ISTovember to the Comptroller, because
the option from Mr. Levengston was secured after the date when
it was necessary to file the budget with the Comptroller.

Very many indications have convinced your Commission that
there will be a great number of people desirous of taking the min-
eral water cures in Saratoga Springs during the season of 1915,
provided there are the necessary facilities. These people have
heretofore been in the habit of taking such cures in the European
resorts, and will be unable for various reasons to visit such spas in
1915, whether the war shall continue or not. This probable de-
mand seemed to your Commission of such imperative character
that they deemed it obligatory upon them to utilize for additional
facilities the building of the Lincoln Spring Company, which was
acquired when that property was taken by the State as necessary
to the control of the mineral water basin and to stopping the pump-

6 State Reservation at Saratoga Springs

ing of the waters for the separation of the gas from them. The

building is a good wooden structure, being 205 feet in length, with

steam boilers and smoke-stack already installed, so that it offered

an opportunity to develop, at a minimum expense, facilities for

accommodating several hundred patients a day with mineral baths.

The construction will, of course, be simple and economical ; but it

will be good and of the most approved type as regards the hygienic

and therapeutic efficiency of the equipment. It is the judgment

of the Commission that this utilization of the building and the

mineral waters in the ground around it would in any case have

been desirable at an early date in order to provide accommodations

at the lowest prices possible for the great population of farmers,

artisans and others, who would not be able to avail themselves of

the luxurious facilities necessary to be provided for those who are

accustomed to take the cures in Europe, A fine quality of pure

non-mineral water is also available in the upper strata of the land

surrounding this building. The equipment therefore will include

swimming pools and full use of the fresh water as well as the

mineral waters. The building is situated in what is knowm as

Lincoln Park, of the State Reservation, about sixty acres in extent,

including some six acres covered with a mature growth of pine

trees which provide the very desirable adjunct of groves, carpeted

with pine needles, where patients can take the Oertel exercises,

which are an important factor in the bath treatment for arterial

and heart affections. The preparation of the necessary roads and

paths and the planting to make this park a proper environment of

the bath house have been pushed as rapidly as possible during the

fall, and the results warrant the assurance that during the coming

season there will be an attractive surrounding to an excellent bath

house, which will enable those who may come to receive in comfort

the benefit of the healing waters the State has acquired. The whole

outlay for this equipment, including the fresh water plant and

pumping station, and two swimming pools, one for men and one

for women, will be within the sum of $25,000. During the fall

the bulk of the land in this park has been forested, and paths and

roads lined with larger trees. In one portion of the tract alfalfa

will be planted next spring, it being the judgment of certain

practical farmers that the soil is promising for such a crop and

Report of the Commissionees 7

that its utilization at this point may become an important object
lesson to the citizens of the State in connection with the nearby
Nursery of the State Forestry Department located in Geyser Park
of this Reservation, which annually provides some millions of
pine and spruce transplants for farmers and others.

The reasons given above for the immediate equipment of this
building add emphasis to the urgent recommendation of the Com-
mission in the report of last year that the State appropriate a
sufficient fund to build a first-class modern bath house that shall
be thoroughly up-to-date in every particular and in all respects
able to compete with the attractions offered in foreign resorts. The
Commission has placed in their budget a request for the sum of
$350,000 to construct now a portion of such a bath house, to be of
one-half the size of that which in their judgment it will be neces-
sary for the State to have in due time. The Commission did not
have funds to acquire the entire block which they deem to be
necessary for such a bath house, but were able to acquire at a low
figure one-half of the block, located immediately opposite the
beautiful village park (Congi-ess Park) ; and it is on this half-
block that it is proposed to construct a portion of the new bath
house. The Commission were without sufficient funds to pre-
pare the plans and model of the bath house needed, as was recom-
mended in last year's report. The engineer of the Commission
has, however, prepared preliminary plans for the portion of the
building now proposed, and the State Architect will it is hoped
prepare a perspective drawing of said building, so that the Legis-
lature may be able to appreciate the more readily what is sug-
gested. It is not recommended that the Commission shall be
confined to this preliminary suggestion, but that they shall be
free to take advantage of the fuller study of this problem which
will be given by the architect, who shall later be chosen by the
State Architect. They cannot too strenuously urge that there be
no delay in making the appropriation for this construction, as
they deem it important that the foundations and walls of this new
structure should be under process of erection during the summer
of 1915.

There has been acquired during the year only a small part of
the additional 2>roperty needed by the State because of the lack of

8 State Resekvation at Saratoga Springs

available funds. It is due to Miss C. L. Huston, of Philadelphia,
that this formal acknowledgment should be made by the Commis-
sion, of her noble public interest in making purchase at her own
risk, in the fall of 1913, of the half-block of ground now held by
the State for the proposed bath house. The Commission was-
without fund's at that time to acquire the property, which was
then obtainable at a low valuation, and feared the purchase by in-
terests that might begin the construction of buildings that would
result in largely increased cost to the State at a later date. This-
property is so manifestly a part of the proper site for the bath
house, that it was a notable gain to have this risk eliminated. Miss-
Huston made no profit whatever, but was at considerable incon-
venience during the many months of ownership, before the prop-
erty was talcen over and finally paid for by the State.

Other small properties acquired enabled the completion of the-
connection between the Lincoln Park and the Geyser Park tracts,
by the construction of a promenade sixty feet in width, extending,
one mile in a straight line. This promenade has been planted with
four rows of white pine trees and is to be reserved for pedestrians
and for occupants of wheel-chairs, where the necessary exercise
and open air may be obtained, away from the usual dust of road
travel. A property of about six acres, needed for the above and to-
complete the Geyser Park entrance and to enable the closing of a
second grade crossing of the four railroad tracks through the park
was acquired. The cost of these properties and some ten acres,
completing the Lincoln Park, will be moderate, as the values are

A small tract adjoining the Geyser crossing of the Delaware &
Hudson R. R. tracks has been acquired as the location of the
necessary storage house for bottled waters to which the R. R. side
tracks can have direct access for loading. This is convenient for
both the Geyser Central Bottling Works and the Soft Sweet
Spring Bottling Plant. Also several parcels of farm lands neces-
saiy properly to protect the water supply of important springs
will be acquired shortly. These aggregate some fifty acres of
moderate value.

The Stat-e also acquired the property adjoining the Favorite
Spring on Broadway and adjacent to the Hudson Valley Trolley

Report of the Commissioners 9

Terminal. This property was necessary for the proper develop-
ment of the park and terminal to be constructed and maintained
by the Hudson Valley Company in connection with a lease negoti-
ated by the Commission with said company, which lease is con-
ditional upon proper track connections being authorized by the vil-
lage. In the judgment of the Commission this use of the property
is the best for the interests of the State ; but, if it should be pre-
vented by the failure of the village authorities to give the neces-
sary consents, it would be the only property owmed by the State
at all available for the construction of the Drink Hall, which is
essential to complete development. Its present size is not large
enough for the Drink Hall, but it could be enlarged if no other
site w^ere obtainable. The property is also of undoubted commer-
cial value if the special public use above suggested should not

The remaining small property acquired is that containing the
United States and Pavilion Springs which, under the control of
the State authorities, ^are already showing improvement in their
mineral contents as a result of the restoration and protection by
the State of the mineral water basin. The mineral water rights of
the small property adjoining, knowm as the Royal Spring, have
also been acquired.

There are other properties now known to be important to the
future develojmient of this Reservation, which, in the judgment
of your Commission, should be acquired at an early date in order
to protect properly the mineral water basin and to make improve-
ments which it is now clear are essential to establish permanently
the full use of these waters and a suitable health resort. The
budget submitted asks for $350,000 to cover these and the pur-
chase of the property known as the Saratoga Baths, above
referred to.

This report has already grown to a length greater than the Com-
mission like to inflict upon the Legislature and they, therefore,
briefly report that the properties of the State have been maintained
at as small an expenditure as possible. All the various springs
have received attention and some few have been retubed, as shown
in the accompanying report of the engineer. The Hathorn ISTo. 2
and Coesa Springs, which are at the southernmost end of the

10 State Reservation at Saratoga Springs

Reservation, have been connected with the Geyser Building by
means of wooden pipes. The Orend'a Spring is also connected
with this building, in which the Geyser and Minnonebe Spring
waters were already being bottled, so that the handling of the State
mineral waters is concentrated here. This building is close to the
side track of the Delaware & Hudson Company; and this will
assure the bottling of these waters at a point where the expense of
cartage of bottles and materials and of the cases of bottled water
to the railroad will be considerably lessened.

Having thus concentrated the bottling of these naturally car-
bonated waters, the Commissioners are now able to determine that
the State will have a considerable supply of surplus carbonic acid
gas, which it will be able to dispose of after the bottling of these
waters. It is probable that there may be an income of several
thousand dollars per year from this source, increasing as the sur-
plus of gas from other wells is collected. Anticipating such an
opportunity for profit the Commission, in removing the structures
in Geyser Park, retained one gasometer and one gas compressing
plant. jSTegotiations are now under way, and it is hoped that
within a few weeks a contract may be made for the collection and
disposition of this surplus gas on satisfactory terms.

In order to recover the waters of the original Congress Spring,
a new bore is now being drilled under the direction of our engi-
neer. Professor Anthony, who found the old bore out of the verti-
cal and closed by pipes fastened in it. It is believed that this diffi-
culty may prove a blessing in disguise as better and more reliable
access will be secured to the vein from which this most famous
mineral water was taken. It is hoped that by the early part of the
new year the drill will reach that vein and that we may then
report the recovery of the Congress Spring. In view of the ex-
perience of the slow return to their original strength of the
Hathorn and other waters, it is assumed that when first recovered
this spring will perhaps be only half its ordinary strength, but we
have no doubt that in time the Congress water will regain its full
strength and become one of the most widely distributed of the
State's waters and again prove of very gTcat value and profit.

The lease to Hathorn & Company has been continued on the
same terms. Although terminable on ninety days' notice, which

Report of the Commissioneks 11

precluded much advertising, the results during the past year show
a fair increase in sales, and profits increased 50 per cent. One-
half of the profits, reserved for the State, sufficed to cover the cost
of the free service to the public provided bj Hathorn & Company
under the terms of the lease and also improvements on the State
property authorized by the Commission. The Commission have
continued the bottling and sale of the mineralized table waters
from the Geyser and Minnonebe Springs, with constant study of
the problems connected with the maintenance of the proper equili-
brium between the gas and mineral contents, which it is hoped are
now solved.

The proper marketing of the waters requires large capital, with
ample funds provided for advertising. It had been the expectation
of the Commission that the summer of 1914 would prove the
proper time to advertise both in Europe and in the United States
for bids to lease for a long period the privileges of bottling and
selling these waters. The European war, however, altered the
situation completely, and no steps have as yet been taken in that
direction. It now proves well for the State that there was delay
because during the fall months, the Engineer and Chemist were
able to develop several exceptional springs of pure non-mineralized
water, without gas, which should be put on the market. The
analyses made of this water demonstrate that it ranks with the
purest drinking waters known and the practical use which has been
made by many families and by physicians proves that it makes
strong appeal to the taste ; in fact, all who have used it are most en-
thusiastic as to its qualities and the desirability of having it prop-
erly marketed. The demand for such water is universal, some of
the well known still waters that are marketed being shipped to both
Europe and Asia, besides being widely distributed throughout
hotels and private residences in the United States. It is believed
that the proper handling of this water should prove in its way as
great a benefit to the public as will the restoration and wide dis-
tribution of the mineral waters. It seems clear that there should
accrue a very large profit from the proper development of
this additional business, as the gross sales of such waters aggre-
gate millions of dollars each year. With the seal of the State
of I*J"ew York on the label, and the guarantee of the regular

12 State Reservation at Saratoga Springs

analysis by the State Chemist iii the Laboratory of the Com-
mission showing its purity, it should easily take first place
among such waters. It has been named " The Saratoga Soft Sweet
Spring Water." These springs are located in the Geyser Park
where the purity of their waters will be thoroughly protected. The
Commission have begun the construction of a bottling plant of the
most approved style, which should provide for such demand as may
develop during the next two years, and enlargement of the plant
can readily be made. The group of springs will be developed in
th-e most attractive manner for proper observation, as it is located
close beside one of the paths in the Geyser Park which will be fre-
quented by great numbers of visitors throughout the year. There
is every reason to believe it will, in this way, advertise itself

The current business of the Commission in the maintenance of
the State property and the care and development of the same and
the organization of the engineering staff, with the necessary office
force to further the limited advertising propaganda, has been one
of much variety and вАҐcontinual pressure. It has called for un-
remitting attention at all hours from a staff quite too limited in
numbers, because of the very strict economy, even called by some
parsimony, which the Commissioners deem necessary to be prac-
tised. The Commission think it proper, therefore, to make refer-
ence to the great devotion to the interest of the State sho\\Ti by all
who have been associated in this work.

During the year the chemical laboratory has been organized, to
take charge of which we secured Mr. Herbert Ant, an experienced
chemist, who was in the Department of Health at Albany for sev-
eral years. The work of this laboratory will become continually of
more interest and importance.

The Engineering Department will have, for some time to come,
a great amount of detail to handle in connection with the varied
work which the Commission must undertake, and especially in
connection with the studying out of possible improvements upon
the plans of other State and municipal establishments of like char-
acter. Each new development confirms the Commission in their
realization of the good fortune of the State to secure at the proper
time an engineer of such experience and facility in mechanics as

Report of the Commissioners 13

also in engineering as Professor Charles G. Anthonj, who has de-
voted to this work a considerable amount of his time as consulting
expert, doing much supervisory work as well.

A year's further experience has made it clear that it would have
been difficult for the Commission to have proceeded eifectively with
their work had it not secured the services of one so variously
equipped by special experience as Dr. Albert Warren Ferris, the
director, has proved himself to be. It was of vital importance to
have constantly at hand some one upon whose ability, experience
and character they could unquestionably rely.

We record with utmost emphasis the inestimable value to the
State of the services rendered by the Hon. C. C. Lester during the
past year, not merely in his capacity of legal adviser but because

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