1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Saratoga Springs

SARATOGA SPRINGS, a village of Saratoga county, New York, U.S.A., about 38 m. N. of Albany, and about 12 m. W. of the Hudson river. Pop. (1900) 12,409, of whom 1684 were foreign-born and 619 were negroes; (1910) 12,693. Saratoga Springs is served by the Delaware & Hudson and the Boston & Maine railways and by several interurban electric lines. The village is in a region of great historic interest, is famous for its medicinal mineral springs, and has long been one of the most popular watering places in America. Its hotels accommodate more than 20,000 guests. Of the hotels, the best known are the United States, Congress Hall, the Grand Union and the American-Adelphi. The springs, of which there are more than forty, were known in colonial times.

The waters, all having the same ingredients but in varying proportions, are heavily charged with carbonic acid gas, and contain considerable quantities of bicarbonates of lime and magnesium, and chloride of sodium. They rise in a stratum of Potsdam sandstone, under laid by Laurentian gneiss, &c., and reach the surface after passing through a bed of blue clay. The most noteworthy springs are Congress, Vichy, Arondack, Hathorn, Patterson, High Rock, Putnam, Star, Red, Lincoln, Victoria, Carlsbad and Geyser. Some of the springs originally rose above the surface by their own force, but with the boring of new springs and the pumping for carbonic acid gas south of the village the pressure was greatly lessened; the courts interfered to stop the pumping and it was prohibited by the state legislature. These measures, however, were not effective, and in May 1909 an act was passed establishing a state reservation at Saratoga, creating a commission of three to select the lands to be taken over by the state, and providing for an issue of bonds for $600,000 to buy the springs. Saratoga Lake, a beautiful body of water 6 m. long and 1 m. wide, 3½ m. south-east of the village, is a favourite resort.

The streets are well-shaded and broad, with side stretches of lawn between the sidewalk and the curb. There is a speedway and a famous race-track, where there are annual running races. In the village are Woodlawn Park (1200 acres), a town-hall, a state armoury, a public library, several theatres and a number of private hospitals and sanatoriums. The Convention Hall has been the meeting place of many conventions; near it is a reproduction of the House of Pansa at Pompeii, built by Franklin W. Smith. The principal business is the bottling and shipping of the mineral waters which are sold in large quantities and exported to many foreign countries. Among the manufactures are patent medicines, druggists' preparations and chemicals, silk gloves, textiles, foundry products and boilers and engines. In 1905 the value of the factory product was $1,709,073, an increase of 28.1% since 1900.

The Saratoga country was a favourite summer camping ground of the Iroquois, particularly the Mohawks, who were attracted thither by the medicinal value of the springs long before Europeans visited the region. The Indian name, “Sa-ragh-to-ga” or “Se-rach-ta-gue,” is said to have meant “hillside country of the great water” or “place of the swift water.” The district became during the colonial wars a theatre of hostilities between the French and English colonists and their Indian allies. In 1693 a French expedition was checked in a sharp conflict near Mt McGregor by an English and colonial force under Governor Benjamin Fletcher and Peter Schuyler. Early in the 18th century the region along the upper Hudson began to be settled, the settlement on the Hudson at the mouth of the Fishkill, directly east of the present Saratoga Springs, being known first as Saratoga (later “Old Saratoga”) and finally as Schuylerville (pop. in 1905, 1529), in honour of the Schuyler family. Upon the settlement the French and Indians descended in 1745, and massacred many of the inhabitants. After the close of the Seven Years' War, there was a new influx of settlers. Near Stillwater (pop. in 1905, 973), about 5 m. south-east of the present village, the battles of Saratoga (q.v.) were fought during the War of Independence. On the site of the present village a small log lodging house for the reception of visitors was built in 1771. After the close of the War of Independence, the fame of the Springs as a health resort spread abroad, and many sought them annually. In 1791 Gideon Putnam (1764-1812), a nephew of Major-General Israel Putnam, bought a large tract of land here; he built the first inn (on the site of the present Grand Union Hotel). Other hotels were erected within the next few years; between 1820 and 1830, by which time the Springs had become one of the most popular of American resorts, several large barn-like wooden hotels were constructed; and Saratoga Springs was incorporated as a village in 1826.