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The Paik at Congiess bpriuj
















Entered according to act of Congress, in tlie year 1867,


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the
Southern District of New York.

Little, Rennie & Co.,




Topography 9

History 11

Routes to Saratoga 1*7

Nomenclature 20

Hotels 21

Union Hotel . . . . , 23

The OW and New Congress Hall 24

The Clarendon Hotel 25

Temple Grove Hotel 26

The American Hotel 26

The Manrin House 26

The Columbian Hotel 26

The Old United States Hotel 27

The Water Cures 27

The Saratoga Hop 28

The Leland Opera House 31

The Mineral Waters 33

The Congress Spring 35

The High Rock Spring 37

The Empire Spring 41



The Columbian Spring 43

The Washington Spring 44

The Pavilion Spring 45

The Hamilton Spring 47

The Putnam Spring 48

The Star Spring .' 49

The Excelsior Spring 50

The "A" Spring 51

The Ten Springs 51

The EUis Spring 51

Reed's Spring 52

The White Sulphur Spring 52

The Indian Encampment 53

The Railway Station 54

Broadway 55

The Park 57

The Churches 58

Country-Seats 59

The Saratoga Races 60

Saratoga Lake 63

The Cemetery 65

Wagman's Hill 67

Chapman's HUl 68

Barhydt's Lake 69

Lake Lovely 69

SchuylervUle 70

Ballston Springs 71

Luzerne 72



Styles' Hill "^S

Waring Hill 74

Haggerty Hill T4

Corinth Falls T5

The Saratoga Battle-Ground 76

Baker's Falls 80

Glen's Falls 80

Lake George — , 82

Dome Island 84

Bolton 84

The Tongue Mountain 85

Shelving Eock 85

The Narrows 85

The Black Mountain v 86

Sabhath-Day Point 87

Prisoners' Island 88

Ticonderoga 89



The little village of Saratoga, where dwells the benign
goddess Hygeia in the midst of her far-famed waters of
life and health, is most pleasantly hidden within the heart
of a broad stretch of varied table-land, in the upper part
and near the eastern boundaiy of the great State of New
York. The location is not remarkable for natural beauty,
yet its immediate surroundings are by no means without
attractions, while within easy reach, all about, may be
found many of those beautiful landscape scenes for which
the Empire State is so justly renowned.

The village, while most agreeably secluded from, is yet
within the easiest and speediest reach of the busy world
around. It is large enough to boast of a fixed population
of some seven thousand, which may be trebled in summer-
time by foreign incursion ; and it possesses in abundance
all the many ways and means of convenient and pleasur-
able life, in a liberal furniture of churches, schools, stores,


shops, and all other appointments of home and social ease
and comfort ; with all of which it still retains that quiet
countiy aspect, so grateful always to the eye and heart of
the wearied format escaping from the galleys of Fashion
and of Trade, and seeking the recuperating quiet and repose
of country life. Even the most thronged portions of the
village, where stand the great summer hotels, the flaring
emporiums of the city modes, and all the transient glare
and glitter of congregated fashion, are gratefully tempered
by the screening and cooling shade of verdant trees :
while reaching far around this more busy region, stretch
long avenues of picturesque cottages, interspersed agree-
ably with more stately villas and manorial homes.

It is a healthful region, within the reach and influence
of mountain airs, and is desirable, in this respect, as a
summer abode, even apart from the great resom-ce in its
exhaustless mineral fountains. Pleasant roads also lead
outward in all directions to still pleasanter resorts, as we
shall see in other divisions of our story — roads not so fault-
less to be sure as the well-graded and hardened di-ives of
the Central Park ; for the soil is sandy, and has, at best, its
ups and downs : as, indeed, country roads should have, to
maintain their proper rural spirit. It may be all veiy well
for the professional tourist to reach the summit of Mount
Washington or the icy crest of Mont Blanc by the time-
table and the rail ; but where in that case is the old
traditional and natural romance and adventm'e of countiy
life and travel ? In the near neighborhood of Saratoga are
the upper waters of the beautiful Hudson, yet fresh and
bright from their mountain cradles, not far away. Hard
by, in another direction, flows the gentle Mohawk, through


placid and fniitful meadows and plains. Many other pic-
turesque streams dance amidst tlie region, and numerous
sweet lakes and lakelets lie around. Within the range of
a pleasant excursion are the great waters of Champlain,
and equally accessible are the smaller but more lovely
floods of Lake George, while yet beyond stretches the
great wilderness of the Adirondack, with its w^eird lakes
and its rock-ribbed hills, — to this day, a terra incognita,
scarcely invaded by human habitation, and abounding in
all its ancient stores of game, in beast, and bird, and fish,
from the wary trout to the lordly moose — profuse even to
the disgust of the scientific Walton or Nimrod, who needs
the intervention of difliculty to give zest to his sport.

With so many, so varied, and so pleasant surroundings,
the summer resident at Saratoga will be at no loss, when
the dust of fashion gathers too thickly about him, to shake
it off* at intervals, in more quiet and secluded haunts :
returning from a day's, or even a few hours' excursion,
with renewed life and invigorated spirits.


There is veiy little doubt that the mineral waters of
Saratoga were well known to the aboriginal inhabitants,
long before they were visited by the white men, and that
they employed them as remedial agents, with the same
intuition which they have ever displayed in their discern-
ment of the virtues of the herbs and trees of their native
wilds. To be sure they subjected the brooks to no scientific
analysis, and knew nothing of a sodand sodium, of lime,


or magnesia, of hydrogen or oxygen, or of the thousand
and one unpronounceable diseases to which the waters
gave relief: but they nevertheless always adapted the cure
to the complaint as effectually as the most learned Escu-
lapius of our own wise age. We may imagine the unctuous
" ugh " of content or of disgust, — according to taste, — with
which some antediluvian " Hole-in-the-Day " bent down in
the primeval woods, and, pushing aside the weeds and
snakes, won an appetite for breakfast from the stimulus
of the bubbling brook. The scene must have been more
picturesque, though maj^-be less comfortable, than that
now presented of the beaux and belles daintily touching
the crystal goblet with gloved fingers, or guarding their
silken robes, as they diink, from the dampness of the tes-
sellated marble floors.*

The Springs fii-st became known to the European set-
tlers in the latter part of the last century, when they were
visited by Sir William Johnson, then in the service of the
British government. This was in the year 1767. Sir
William, who held at that period a major-general's com-
mission under his majesty George III., had two years
before defeated the French forces under the Baron Dies-
kau, at the battle of Lake George. In this engagement
he received a severe wound, from which, at inteiTals, he
was ever afterwards a great sufferer. It was to alleviate
the pain of these attacks that he followed the counsels
of some friendly Mohawks, and detemiined to visit the
Springs. His worthy name was thus that of the first Euro-

* The author, in the " Kuickerbocker Magazine," October, 1859.


pean ever entered upon the visitors' record at Saratoga.
Of course he did not travel by rail, as we do to-day, or by
post, as did our great-grandmothers, but through the bush
and brake of the wild Indian trail, as best he could ; neither
did he find shelter under the broad and hospitable roof of
any Union or Congress Hall, but rested his weary limbs
beneath the shelter of his simple forest tent only. Unhap-
pily, he did not benefit himself by his visit so much as he
did the thousands who have since followed his valuable

In Mr. Wilham L. Stone's admirable "Life and Times
of Sir William Johnson " we are told the valiant baronet,
*' accompanied by his Indian guides, set out on his journey
on the 22d of August, and, passing down the Mohawk in
a boat, soon reached Schenectady. At this place, being too
feeble either to walk or ride, he was placed on a litter and
borne upon the stalwart shoulders of his Indian attendants
through the woods to Ballston Lake. Tariying overnight
at the log-cabin of Michael McDonald, an Irishman who
had recently begun a clearing on the shores of the lake, the
party plunged again into the forest, and following the
trail of Indian hunters, along the shores of Lake Saratoga
and its chief tributary, the Kayaderosscras, reached their

The particular spring of which Sir William drank, was
that very remarkable one now known among the numer-
ous group as the High Rock ; and which must therefore
receive the honors of, and be duly respected as the vener-
able father of this mighty family of magic waters.

The period of Su* William's visit to the High Rock, it
will be seen, was that of the famous war in this region


between the French in Canada and the English below the
St. Lawrence, and their Indian allies on either side. Forts
had been erected, and settlements made at various points
through the region, as far north as Lake George, but the
troublous state of the country forbade any veiy rapid or
permanent colonization, until the tomahawk was finally
buried and the pipe of peace was smoked.

It was not rmtil the year 1773, six years after Sir Wil-
liam Johnson's initial visit, that the first clearing was made
and the first cabin erected at the Springs. The hardy
adventurer who accomplished this brave feat was Derick
Scowton. He commenced business in the double capacity
of hotel-keeper and Indian trader. Unluckily, matters did
not thrive between bold Derick and his red neighbors, who
made his new home so unpleasantly hot that he found it
wise to abdicate, leading his hotel incomplete.

Derick was followed a year later, and with better suc-
cess, by George Arnold, an adventurer from Rhode Island.
Arnold took possession of the vacated Scowton House, and
" ran " it, as we say at this day, with tdlerable success, for
about two years. How many daily arrivals he had is not
upon the record, neither does history enlighten us in respect
to his bill of fare, or his per diem. Still, it is clear that
neither one nor the other in any way approached the
Leland " ideas " of our day.

The third Saratoga landlord was one Samuel Norton,
who squatted on the Scowton estate soon after the exit
of George Aniold. Norton made various improvements,
clearing and cultivating the land around him. He might
have made a " good thing " of his enterprise, but, as ill-
luck would have it, the first mutterings of the great storm of


the Revolution just then began to greet his terrified ears^,
causing him to decamp, and thus leave the Hotel Scowtoni
again without a landlord. Norton was at length,, in the-
year 1783, succeeded by his son, who, takihg possession of
the old property, still further improved it, until 1787,. whert
he sold out to Gideon Morgan, who in his turn and within
the same year made it over to Alexander Biyan..

Bryan became the first permanent settler at the Spiings
after the close of the war. He enriched the estate with a
blacksmith's shop and an additional log-house..

The days of the Scowtons, the Arnolds, the ISTortons,.
the Morgans, and the Bryans. were the primitive days of
very small things ; indeed the first or exploratoiy epoch
in the settlement of the spring. regix)n. They were followed
in 1789 by a new and more brilliant era, under the reign
of the Putnams — an era and reign which steadily advanced
from that hour, and has continued, ever expanding, down
to our own days of full fruition.

Gideon Putnam is deservedly remembered as the father,
of Saratoga, by virtue of the many and. varied contribu-
tions which he made to the growth and prosperity of the
village, from his first settlement in it, in his early youth,, to
his death, twenty-three years later. He was a Massachu-
setts man, who set out in quest of fortune in the sphit of
indomitable energy which he never afterwards failed to-
display in all his many undertakings.

He reached Saratoga, or rather the site of the present vil-
lage — for the region was then still a wilderaess in the year
1789. Before reaching this his pemianent and final abode,,
as it afterwards proved to be, he wandered far through,
the wilderness, making various unsatisfactory attempts to


^enshrine his household gods. He fii*st pitched Ws tent
and built a hut in Vermont, on the spot now occupied by
Middlebuiy, Later he established himself in Rutland.
From Rutland he moved on to the "Five Nations," or
*' Bemis Flats ; " and from thence he made his final journey
to the forest land, now traversed by the streets of Saratoga.
The first occupation of the hardy pioneer in his new home
was of course to erect a cabin to shelter himself and his
family, for the locality boasted no furnished houses to let
at that period. He next leased some three hundi'ed acres
of land, which he set about clearing and cultivating. Soon
after he erected a mill, by means of which he sawed lum-
ber, which he sold in New York — realizing from it the
means of gtill further advancing his improvements at home.
Step by step he laid the foundations of his village, and step
by step saw it grow and thrive, until in the year 1802, only
thirteen years after his first sight of the spot as a wilder-
ness, he commenced the erection of the building since so
familiarly known as " Union Hall," and now one of the
most spacious and popular hotels in the land.

It .is -said that Putnam's ambition, from early youth,
was to build himself a "great house;" and though that
portion of the Union Hotel which he erected — some seventy
feet in extent — was but a small part of the present edifice,
still it was a mammoth stracture for its day and location.
Putnam afterwards commenced the buildiug of that other
spacious structure opposite the Union, the late Congress
Hall. While the masons were at work on the piazza of
the Congress, he was walking upon the scafiblding, which
gave way, and precipitated him and others on to the rocka
and timbers beneath, breaking some of his ribs and other-


"wise so injuring him that lie never fully recoyei'ed from
the effects.

It is to the enterprise and industry of this hardy founder
that Saratoga is indebted, more than to all others put to-
gether, not only for her general improvement at this stage
of her histoiy, but for the development and utilization of
her mineral waters. One after the other, he excavated and
tubed the principal fountains, and put them in that condi-
tion which has in due time won for them their world-wide
renown. He died on the first day of December, 1812, and
was the first person buried in the cemetery which he had
himself presented to the village.

The famous hotel of Union Hall, erected by Gideon
Putnam, was conducted by himself and his descendants,
almost to the present day. The period of its history — from
the early time when it displayed the sign of " Put and the
Wolf," to the recent day when it passed out of the conduct
of the family, and had grown too stately to bear any sign
at all — is the period of the growth and maturity of the
village and its present enviable fame. The further histoiy
of Saratoga may be better read in our proposed glance at
the various scenes and objects of interest, as we may meet
with them in our rambles over the village and its viciaage.


Sir "William Johnson, the first white visitor at Saratoga,

had, as we have already said in our brief historical chapter,

considerable difficulty in finding his tedious way thither,

through forest and dell, with no better guidance than a



blind Indian trail. Happily for us, tlie roads have been
somewhat improved within the hundi'ed years that have
gone by since the valiant baronet made his fashionable

Now-a-days, instead of blazing the forest-trees as we go,
we blaze along, thirty miles per horn*, upon the endless,
irresistible rail, and in the interval between breakfast and
dinner reach our destination from points hundreds of miles
removed. Our journey, too, from whatever du-ection, may
be as pleasant as it will be speedy, cai-rying us, as it
will, through some of the most pictm'esque scenery in the

From New York we reach Saratoga via the charming
passage of the lordly Hudson, which we may follow by
rail along its banks or on the decks of one or other of the
sumptuous steamers which ply the broad waters by day
and by night. The hours of travel in this direction will
fly fast enough, in the contemplation of the varied and
sti-iking scenes which will arrest the eye at eveiy step —
the rugged flanks of the Palisade, the great Tappan Sea, the
cliffs and crags of the Highlands at West Point, the beau-
tiful Bay of Newburgh, the long ranges of the Catskills,
and the endless succession of cities, towms, and villas which
everywhere bedeck the shores. Rightly to enjoy this part
of the trip, the tourist should provide himself with Miller's
" Illustrated Guide to the Hudson," recently published in
a style uniform with our present volume.

On reaching Albany or Troy, the tourist will continue
and complete his journey by rail. The whole distance from
New York to the Springs is about two hundi'ed miles, the
time six hom's, and the fare about three dollars and a half.


The readiest route is by Troy, where the change from one
railway to another is made without trouble in the same
depot. The crossing of the river at Albany involves some
care, and, perchance, confusion to the uninitiated.

Before this volume is published it is most likely that
the new railway route, via Athens, on the Hudson, will be
opened. This will be a better way from New York to
the Springs than any other. Passengei*s may leave the
Metropolis in the night-boats, and landing at Athens, some
thu'ty miles below Albany, take the cars, and be at Sara-
toga in good season for breakfast.

From Boston the route is direct, two hundred miles, via
the Western Railway to Albany, and thence as from New
York. The journey, though rather long for one day's
work, is an interesting one. It leads through the entire
length of Massachusetts, calling at Wooster and Spiingfield
and Pittsfield, and traversing much of the beautiful moun-
tain region in the northwestern part of the old Bay State.
Taken in instalments it would be pleasant enough ; but
the old saying, " too much of a good thing," etc., is always
painfully verified in railway travel, no matter how pic-
turesque may be the region through which one is passing.

Another and perhaps better route from Boston, is via,
Fitchburg and Bellows Falls.

From Buffalo and the West, Saratoga is quickly reached,
by the route of the Central Railrc-ad to Schenectady, and
thence via Ballston Springs. It 's a pleasant though a
long journey, and affords a peep at many important cities
and towns and at much picturesque landscape.

From Montreal and other northern points, the traveller
may reach the Springs via Lake Champlain to Whitehall,,


and thence by rail ; or he may leave the lake at Burling-
ton, and make the rest of his way by the Vermont rail-


Saratoga is an Indian word of the dialect of the Iroquois.
The inflection oga at the end is said to mean place, while
the Sa-ra, or, as it is otherwise written, 8ar-at, and again
8ar-agh, is supposed to be equivalent to salt, — making the
original designation, Saraghtoga, to mean the place of salt
spiings. Again, it is by other Indian scholars supposed
that Saragh means heri'ings — and thus the Tfvhole word,
"the place where herrings are caught;" referring to the
shoals of that fish which foi-merly made their way up the
Hudson and through Fish Creek into Saratoga Lake.

The writings of the early French explorei-s in the
" Jesuit Relations " seem to point definitely to the latter
interpretation in preference to the former. The whole
question, however, is so obscure as to make it scarcely
worth consideration, except as a matter of curious specu-
lation, for the employment of the idle hours of some
ennuied visitor, or for the mystification of the nascent intel-
lects of some youthful debating club. Should the Jesuit
interpretation be the tiTie one, it would seem that the
dignity of godfather belongs to the lake in its relation to
the Adllage, instead of, as it is generally supposed, to the
village in respect to the lake.



From the time when the old pioneer, Gideon Putnam,
built the first seventy feet of the present Union Hotel in
the year 1802, Saratoga has been amply furnished with
accommodations for man and beast. The late Congress
Hall, which stood opposite Putnam's " Great House,"
almost rivalling it in extent, was commenced in 1811 ; also
under the dii-ection of the worthy founder of the village.
It was opened to the public in 1815, and was destroyed by
fire in 1866. The third of the grand hotels of Saratoga, the
late United States, was commenced by John Ford in 1833,
and extended in 1825. It afterwards passed into the hands
of Marvin & Co., under whose management it gained the
reputation of being one of the most excellent and most
fashionable, as it was one of the most capacious establish-
ments of the kind in the country. It was unfortunately
burned to the ground in the summer of 1864.

This trio of grand hotels, the Union, the Congress, and
the United States, became famous all the country through,
and for many years continued to divide between them the
patronage of the ever-increasing throngs of visitors to the
Springs, and year by year they added new lam-els to the
reputation of the village as a place of convenient and pleas-
ant resort.

Many other smaller, though scarcely less excellent
establishments have grown up, from time to time, and
have been well sustained, in the manner and degree of
their respective characters and capacities. "

Since the destruction of the old buildings of the United



States Hotel, and more recently of the Congress and tlie
Columbian, the pubhc accommodations of Saratoga, though
still sufficient on a pinch, are of course not so ample as
they were, and as they soon will be again.


For the present the traveller may make himself at home
in the almost limitless halls of the Union, or within the

Uniou Hotel.


narrower, yet still ample boundaries of other hostelries,
which will be introduced to his notice in the following
glance at the various establishments.


Union Hotel, at present the largest and most fashion-
able hotel in the land, was the first considerable house of
the kind erected in the village. It was commenced in the
year 1802, while the place was still only a wild forest
region, by Gideon Putnam, one of the earliest settlers and
founders. At this time the edifice was about seventy feet
in length. It has at diff"erent periods been rebuilt and
enlarged, until it now covers, with its buildings, cottages,
and courts, the broad area of seven acres. The main edi-
fices have a front of five hundred and fifty feet and a
depth of seven hundred feet, with almost a mile of colonnade
and piazza. The entu'e accommodation of the place is
sufficient for the comfort of fifteen hundred guests. The
noble dining-hall of the Union, which has been added by
the present proprietors, is probably the largest in the
United States. It is two hundred and fifty feet long, fifty-
three feet wide, and twenty feet high, and will comfortably
seat twelve hundred people.

The Union came under the management of Major
W. W. Leland, of the Metropolitan Hotel in New York,

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Online LibraryT. Addison (Thomas Addison) RichardsMiller's guide to Saratoga Springs and vicinity (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 5)