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Saratoga Spa State Park

Saratoga Spa State Park
The Hall of Springs, 2008
Saratoga Spa State Park is located in New York
Location Saratoga Springs, New York
Built 1835
Architect Multiple
Architectural style Colonial Revival, Beaux Arts, Other
Governing body State
NRHP Reference # 85002357
Significant dates
Added to NRHP September 12, 1985[1]
Designated NHL February 27, 1987[2]
Towering trees line the Avenue of the Pines in Saratoga Spa State Park.

Saratoga Spa State Park is a state park located in Saratoga County, New York in the USA. The park is in the City of Saratoga Springs, near US 9 and NY 50.


  • History 1
  • Springs in operation 2
  • Recreation 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


The area, part of which became the park, drew interest from Mohawk and Iroquois Native American tribes for its hunting and mineral springs. The Native American name for the area was "Kayaderosseras." The first recorded use of the springs was by Sir William Johnson during the French and Indian War; brought to Saratoga to recover from wounds.

The Saratoga Springs area has the only active spouting geysers east of the Mississippi River in the United States. The mineral springs for which the area is famous arise from fissures in the Saratoga Fault, which runs 65 miles (105 km) from Whitehall to Albany. The carbonated water which vents in springs and geysers is rich in minerals and salts.

Two of the most visited springs today are Island Spouter and Orenda Spring, along Geyser Creek. Island Spouter, which sends a narrow plume of water 10 to 15 feet (3 to 5 m) into the air, first emerged in the early 1900s. Since that time, it has deposited minerals which grow a tufa deposit at the rate of two inches per year. Orenda Spring has created a massive tufa dome, which continues to fossilize leaves and other debris as it grows.

In the nineteenth century, the area became much visited for its purported medicinal effects. Entrepreneurs dug wells and bottled the mineral water for sale and gas companies sold the carbonation to soda fountains, reported spa park employee Ed Murphy.[3] In 1907, the stage was set to protect the springs in a lawsuit Frank Hathorn vs Dr Strong's Sanitarium, which proved that pumping on one well decreased the flow of water in wells across the city. The court certified the relationship between wells and when Dr Strong stopped pumping the flow of water in Mr Hathorn's well resumed its natural flow. In 1908, as the springs were being depleted, the New York Assembly passed an injunction against pumping water. The injunction was ignored; in 1909, governor Charles Evans Hughes signed into law a bill which made the springs of Saratoga a state Reservation. In the 1930s Reconstruction Finance Corporation funds were used to develop bath houses, research facilities and a drink hall. The Saratoga Reservation was designed with graded walkways intended to help rehabilitate those with heart conditions. After World War II veterans were welcomed as part of their readjustment and Holocaust survivors began using the baths as part of their healing process. The spa was named a State Park in 1962. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987.[2][4]

The park hosts numerous theater and other events. The Saratoga Performing Arts Center, located on the state park grounds, has been the summer home of the Philadelphia Orchestra and New York City Ballet since 1966. Jazz and dance are featured at SPAC. The SPAC Amphitheater itself is 110 feet (34 m) high, sits in a natural, curved bowl that is bordered by large pine trees and a large lawn space, but is afflicted by the roar of nearby Geyser Creek, which creates serious acoustical problems. Inside the amphitheater is seating for 5,100, and the lawn can easily hold an additional 20,000 people. The park is also home to the National Museum of Dance and Hall of Fame, the Saratoga Automobile Museum, the Lincoln Mineral Baths and Spa, and the Gideon Putnam Resort & Spa.

In 2007, it was confirmed by state officials that the reportedly "pure" mineral water used in the public baths at the state park was actually mixed with tap water from a nearby source.[5]

Admission to the baths at the park is $20.

Springs in operation

  • Hathorne
  • Orenda
  • Hayes
  • Charlie
  • Geyser
  • State Seal
  • Polaris
  • Lincoln (Baths)


The entrance gates for the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.
View of Saratoga Spa State Park's perimeter.

Saratoga Spa State Park is offers a variety of recreational opportunities. Some areas require small admission fees.

Several pools are available at the park. The "Peerless Pool" is a complex of three pools, including a kiddie pool, water slides and a zero depth entry Olympic-sized swimming pool. The "Victoria Pool" is a smaller pool located near the golf course and surrounded by covered arcades. This pool was built when the original park buildings were constructed, and the bath house was historically on the north end while the golf house was on the south end. Today the former golf house has been converted to a restaurant.

The park hosts the SPAC Amphitheater, home to the Philadelphia Orchestra, the NYC Ballet and site of numerous concerts. The amphitheater can hold approximately 25,000 patrons. The park also contains the Spa Little Theater, which hosts plays throughout the year, although the majority are performed in the summer and spring. The Spa Little Theater is located on the north side of the park office.

The park also features a selection of traditional park facilities, including tennis courts, two golf courses, picnic areas, horseshoe pits, softball fields, and volleyball courts. Several picnic pavilions are equipped with electricity and all are convenient to restrooms.

A stretch of Geyser Creek is located within the park, and offers opportunities for fishing. Trails for hiking and snowshoeing are also found within the park. The park features ice skating in the winter and many interpretive programs throughout the year.

The park hosts a Winterfest and the annual New York State Section 2 Cross Country Championships.

See also


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  2. ^ a b "Saratoga Spa State Park". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. 2007-09-19. 
  3. ^ Murphy, Ed (1977). "The Politics of Hydrotherapy, and the Development of a New York State Policy". available through the Saratoga Springs Public Library's Saratoga Room. a collection of local histories 
  4. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination" (PDF). National Park Service. July 1985.  See also Accompanying photo
  5. ^ "N.Y. mineral water spa mixed with tap". Yahoo! News. March 19, 2007. Archived from the original on March 22, 2007. Retrieved May 31, 2015. 

External links

  • New York State Parks: Saratoga Spa State Park
  • Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) No. NY-6341, "Patrick House, Spa State Park", 27 photos, 17 data pages, 4 photo caption pages
  • Saratoga Performing Arts Center
  • National Museum of Dance & Hall of Fame
  • Saratoga Automobile Museum
  • Geo-Heat Center article
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