Asking The Candidates

Our city is fortunate to have such a diverse, extensive collection of historic resources that make our community special, many of which have been highlighted over the years in these articles. Our historic downtown and neighborhoods are the destinations they are today because of the vision, commitment, effort, investment, and oversight of many over decades.  This is not something we can take for granted as we look towards the future.  Preserving our city’s special character will continue to take vision, commitment, effort, investment, and oversight by city officials and residents.

With the election only two days away, the Foundation thought it would be helpful to voters to know how the candidates view historic preservation. Please note that as a not-for-profit 501(c)3, the Foundation cannot endorse any particular candidate for elected office.  Every City Council candidate was contacted.  County Supervisors were not asked to participate.  Below are the verbatim answers that were received from candidates.

What role do you think historic preservation has played in the economic success of our city?  Please explain.

Mark Baker, Mayoral Candidate:

The preservation of our community’s history, legacy and structures has been and is extremely important to the past and continued prosperity and the well-being of our community.  Maintaining the spirit and culture that all Saratogians hold dear is what makes Saratoga not only unique but a vibrant and viable place to call home

 

Meg Kelly, Mayoral Candidate:
The economic impact of historic preservation is extensive and transformative to Saratoga Springs.  The focus is usually on the physical changes resulting from historic preservation – the retention, renovation and rehabilitation of neglected buildings.

One way that we see the economic impact of this preservation is in job creation.  Local labor supports our community.  Historic preservation also has a positive and substantial impact on property values of homes in the city.  Lastly, our tourism business is enhanced by the Saratoga Springs Heritage Area Visitor Center and other organizations that offer tours and immerse visitors in our history, the historic homes along Broadway, and Congress Park.  The city realizes a strong return on the investment in historic property restorations.

Today’s historic preservation activities are a part of smart community development that encompasses charming walkable neighborhoods, open space protection, urban sprawl containment, and sustainable economic activity.  Historic preservation does all this while also ensuring that the legacy of beautiful, historic buildings of the past is preserved for future generations to enjoy.  The preservation of historic resources should be a primary goal for those who seek a healthy economy.

John Franck, Commissioner of Accounts Candidate

Historic preservation plays an important role in the economic success of our community. Our community’s economics are based upon the City’s motto of “Health, History and Horses.” The preservation of our community’s past plays a central role in the beauty of our City and our reputation of excellence. The recognition of our historical architecture in our economic development activities is an asset to folks wanting to visit and invest in our community.

Michele Madigan, Commissioner of Finance Candidate

One of the most outstanding and concentrated efforts of our city leaders over the years has been the concerted effort to educate its residents, as well as its potential residents, and just as importantly, its developers, of the importance of historic preservation.

Reacting to the wholesale destruction of our unique architectural heritage in the late 60’s and early 70’s, in the name of “urban renewal”, the city leaders put in place the legal mechanisms necessary to stop the wrecking ball from destroying what was essentially, the “spirit” of the City in the Country. The stern edifices of some housing created during that phase of history are a stark reminder of how bad architecture can find its way into a community without historic architectural oversight.

If the destruction of all our historic architecture was allowed to continue, the city would certainly be a different place.

The sheer number of different architectural styles is indeed impressive. You can pretty much find it all here in Saratoga Springs.

Making the preservation of our architectural history a veritable plank in our city charter has given individual business owners, as well as homeowners and potential homeowners, the comfort of knowing that their individual efforts to preserve their architectural legacy will not be wasted. Because of historic preservation, the value and unrealized financial equity of real estate holdings has become stable, and real estate values continue to increase.

Perhaps, more importantly, Saratoga Springs has been able to attract the type of homeowners and business’s that celebrate, and buy into, historic preservation. Our citizens trust our city leaders to continue in its efforts to preserve our history, and they act accordingly.

Of course, our city “jewel” the historic racecourse, is for many their first introduction into Saratoga Springs’ preservation efforts. I’m sure many folks are impressed, and its preservation provides the impetus to take a good look at the other examples of historic architecture here, and it keeps them coming back.

Don Braim, Commissioner of Public Safety Candidate

The historical preservation of our buildings, especially in the downtown core is significant. That preservation I believe has given our residents and especially our community visitors another reason to enjoy the beauty of our City and therefore adding to the economic vitality of the Downtown.

Peter Martin, Commissioner of Public Safety Candidate

Many people who choose to locate their businesses or residences in Saratoga Springs do so because of the character of the City. A part of this character is defined by the historic structures that are sprinkled through the downtown and many of our neighborhoods. Many people want to live in a place that has a sense of history. The City and the Preservation Foundation do a great job of both encouraging preservation of buildings and recording the history of these structures. The recorded history of our structures (maintained in the Public Library’s Saratoga Room, the Saratoga Springs History Museum on wayfinding signs in our downtown, on plaques on historic residences and in numerous publications) encourage property owners to spend the extra time and capital to restore historic buildings appropriately. Tourists want to spend time in a place that is visually appealing, and old craftsmanship adds significantly to the visual appeal of our city. I serve on the board of Lakes to Locks Passage, a non-profit organization that promotes historic tourism in the corridor along the Hudson and Champlain Canals and Lake Champlain, extending from Albany to Quebec. I know from this work how important the preservation of historic structures is to attracting tourists, who spend significant amounts on their travels.

What is your favorite historic building in Saratoga Springs and why?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


46 Circular Street. 1832 Dr. John Clarke House
Mark Baker, Mayoral Candidate

46 Circular Street (Elliot and Cathy Masie home).  This property exemplifies the history, culture and style of and years gone-by.  People visit  and live in our dynamic community because of what we still may experience, see and understand about our history; where we came from.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1871 Canfield Casino
Meg Kelly, Mayoral Candidate

In 1975 I attended a family wedding at the Canfield Casino. The building was old and worn and in need of renovation. Today when I walk into the Canfield Casino, I see the many improvements that make this building a city treasure and the historic landmark that it is to our community.

Michele Madigan, Commissioner of Finance Candidate

The Canfield Casino and the surrounding park.  It’s a fine example of the importance people used to have for gorgeous public meeting places.

Don Braim, Commissioner of Public Safety Candidate 

Being a lifelong City resident and owner of a Downtown building built in 1825 you pose a difficult question. However, I choose The Canfield Casino. It is a tremendous draw to the downtown area and especially to Congress Park. For those of us that have lived here for any length of time and have witnessed the reclamation of this structure over the years, (we) can attest to its significance in being a vital contributor to the prosperity of our Downtown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

511 Broadway, Designed by W. Newton Brezee, built 1887
John Franck, Commissioner of Accounts Candidate

511 Broadway! I’m biased. I fell in love with the building when I first saw it and knew I needed to own it. She’s like a best friend for my business and my family activities. I take pride in my restoration efforts and trying to maintain the historical dignity of the building and its place within the community.

 

 

 

 

 

 


45 – 47 Phila Street
Peter Martin, Commissioner of Public Safety Candidate

45-47 Phila St. (Caffè Lena, Hattie’s, Cole’s Woodwind and Sweet Mimi’s). I participated in the rehabilitation of these connected buildings and helped save the historic home of America’s oldest folk coffee house. These buildings now represent the best of melding old to new. The goals of this preservation were: (1) to save buildings that were well over a century old and had suffered from structural neglect; (2) enhance a famous music listening room while maintaining the character of the space that had been a staple of the national arts scene for over 50 years; and, (3) provide modern, code compliant, access to the famous listening room without eating up large amounts of space in the historic buildings. An architect and a contractor who were both experienced in historic rehabilitation allowed Caffè Lena to achieve these goals.

Our city has a large number of carriage buildings and barns/stables that contribute to our architectural heritage that have fallen into disrepair, sometimes because current zoning prevents the property owners from adaptively reusing the structures.  What is your solution to prevent the continued disrepair of these important historic accessory structures?

Mark Baker, Mayoral Candidate

Addressing not only carriage houses and/or out-buildings needs the concerted effort of not only the Preservation Foundation as advocates, but also the Land Use boards, Zoning review but leadership from the Mayor’s office to be a conduit to communication and goal setting.  It may be possible that some of these properties could be fashioned to address  workforce housing/ first homeowner possibilities. We have pride in our community so want to maintain historic properties where possible and to make those properties, tax paying and not fall into disrepair or become eyesores.

Meg Kelly, Mayoral Candidate

I would like the city to partner with the Preservation Foundation to host workshops for residents, and possibly bring them together with designers and builders.  I would explore the availability of grant funding to support restoration projects for these types of structures.  And I would also suggest that the Unified Development Ordinance could include considerations for historic preservation of accessory structures.

John Franck, Commissioner of Accounts Candidate

The City’s carriage buildings and barns and stables represent our architectural heritage. The City stands to benefit from a proactive partnership with City stakeholders to ensure that the uses for these buildings meet the neighborhood’s expectations and the City’s land use policies. The future of these structures lies in our ability to come together as a community to decide what is best for the neighborhood, the City and the integrity of the structure itself. The great thing about Saratoga Springs is our ability to collectively promote public private partnerships that further the goals of historical preservation.

Michele Madigan, Commissioner of Finance Candidate:

I really don’t have a good solution for this well-known problem.  I’m hoping that our recent zombie property grant will help us to map these properties and then move forward with a plan to maintain them. 

Don Braim, Commissioner of Public Safety Candidate

It may be necessary to revisit those Zoning laws to find solutions to this issue while continuing to salvage those properties of concern. In the mean-time the current Code Enforcement Department should be encouraged to be helpful in eliminating or minimizing the further decline and disrepair of those structures you referenced.

Peter Martin, Commissioner of Public Safety Candidate

The Comprehensive Plan that our city council adopted in 2015 provides that the city should continue efforts to establish creative mechanisms to protect historic properties in all areas of the community. That plan also provides that we should ensure consistency among various local governmental policies that affect the community’s historic resources. The city will be amending our zoning and land use codes to comply with this Comprehensive Plan in the near future. The codes should allow the conversion of carriage houses and stables in certain neighborhoods, where appropriate, to be used for housing – particularly affordable work force housing. Perhaps a density bonus could be granted if the owners agreed to standards of affordability and preservation. 

Recently, concerns have been expressed about the design, mass and scale of infill development in and around the city’s core historic district.  Do you share those concerns?  If you do, what steps should the city take to improve the design of new development projects?

Mark Baker, Mayoral Candidate

We are experiencing the challenges of our own successes; high-density infill of the central business core, creating more residential units in the center city. I have some concerns and personal opinions on the recent in-fill development; not worth more than anyone else’s thoughts. But these projects have been vetted through the Land Use Boards–legitimate, legal process. To address future development/re-development and the issue of scope, mass and scale of the future will need to be orchestrated by all vested partners in a unified conversation–Community, Mayor, Land Use Board, Zoning, Preservation and interested neighborhood members in the affected areas.  When working in unison great things can be accomplished; not end in litigation.

Meg Kelly, Mayoral Candidate:

Currently we have land use boards that oversee the design, mass and scale of projects.  These boards are comprised of professionals who sit on the Design Review, Planning, and Zoning Boards.  The appointments to these boards are made by the Mayor.  Maximizing economic development in the downtown core is vital to maintaining its success.  I believe that the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) is the approach to address transition zones from commercial to residential, and to improve the overall design of new projects in and around the city’s historic district.

John Franck, Commissioner of Accounts Candidate

There needs to be a balance of infill development in and around the City’s core historic district. Development and preservation need to be balanced, but receptive to the overall goal of economic sustainability. We all need to be open to discussion and positive discourse in promoting community economic stability while preserving those historical districts that form the basis of our community livelihood.

Michele Madigan, Commissioner of Finance Candidate

I am in favor of developing vacant parcels with buildings and architecture that reflects the surrounding neighborhood. Infill is an efficient method of strengthening communities, and it is particularly effective at making use of public infrastructures already in place such as sewer, water, and gas.  Of course, infill may lead to over-development of individual parcels, a natural consequence of the drive for profits. Increasing the population of a given area without addressing the ability of that area to absorb it is a major concern.

So, to this potential problem, neighborhood revitalization, such as modern sidewalks and streetscaping may also be a part of community infill projects. In some cases, redevelopment may be called for, and repurposing existing properties to meet a current need is always a possibility. Preserving the historic flavor of a given neighborhood slated for an infill project is of paramount importance. Redevelopment should always be as unobtrusive as practicable, and the surrounding communities’ concerns should be addressed and acted upon.

Don Braim, Commissioner of Public Safety Candidate

The city should encourage, through its approval process boards, the necessity to design projects that are respectful of the architectural décor of any particular area. New projects need to easily transition themselves into the local architecture of the proposed project site.

Peter Martin, Commissioner of Public Safety Candidate

In 2001, the city developed “A Working Plan for Historic Preservation in Saratoga Springs.” The vision statement of this plan states: The community desires to protect its attractiveness for the long term by marrying historic preservation to development in a way that allows the buildings of the past to be carefully maintained and fully utilized. These irreplaceable assets provide the visual benchmarks by which new additions to the community will be judged. The expectation is that new buildings will contribute to the beauty and integrity of the city and complement those built in the past. I agree with this vision.

The city should never allow the structural integrity of historic buildings to be compromised for new construction. Recently in Schenectady, a historic building was lost because a neighbor compromised its foundation during the construction of a new building. Our building department should be sensitive to threats of this type.

Many areas of the city have buildings that detract from their neighborhoods because they are not being properly maintained by their owners.  What measures do you think the city should take to address this situation?

Mark Baker, Mayoral Candidate

Property management and up-keep is a simple effort of direct, candid communication with property owners, consistent enforcement and the specific immediate follow-up on fees/fines.
Process is not to be punitive but a productive effort in getting the effected properties cleaned-up, attractive and back to being a positive part of this award winning city. 

Meg Kelly, Mayoral Candidate

Vacant and unmaintained properties are addressed through Code Enforcement in the Department of Public Safety.  For low-moderate income homeowners, there are funding sources in place through city grant and loan programs repairs and renovations, and federal funds available through block grant funds, which are administered by the city’s Community Development planner in the Planning Department.  

John Franck, Commissioner of Accounts Candidate

The City continues to make a concerted outreach effort to dialogue with property owners that may be absent or unrealistic about the maintenance of their property form a community perspective. A great deal of communication is occurring between the City Attorney’s Office, Building and Zoning Department, Fire Department and Code Enforcement. City Council continues to provide resources as requested to address the maintenance issues in a positive proactive framework. Sometimes, it takes more time than we might like, but it is important to understand that each of us as homeowners and community members have life issues that may preclude us from doing what needs to be done for property management. Assisting community members in compliance is a positive way of trying to remediate the situation before harsher measures are taken.

Michele Madigan, Commissioner of Finance Candidate

The main measure the city can take is through the code enforcement under the Department of Public Safety.  They do have the ability to issue citations if an owner is allowing their property to fall into complete disrepair.

Don Braim, Commissioner of Public Safety Candidate

It starts with enhanced Code Enforcement. Every effort should be made to encourage property owners to maintain their respective property to a satisfactory level. Reports of non-compliance should be met with a timely response from the Office of Code Enforcement.

Peter Martin, Commissioner of Public Safety Candidate

Our city’s Code Enforcement Office (a part of the Public Safety Department) should be given the staffing and the tools to deal with this problem. In some neighborhoods, derelict buildings create a fire hazard for themselves and for neighbors. They are also subject to infestation and can be a threat to public health. During the last year, our city took advantage of a grant made available through the NYS Attorney General’s office to create a program and registry of abandoned “Zombie Properties”. The City should vigorously follow up on these great efforts to further control these dangerous buildings. As we amend our codes, in conformance with the Comprehensive Plan, we should consider empowering Code Enforcement to discourage demolition of historic structures by neglect.

The Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation believes that preserving our unique historic downtown and residential neighborhoods plays a critical role in attracting new residents, visitors, and businesses to our community, which directly contributes to the overall high quality of life and economic success of Saratoga Springs.  The candidates were asked additional questions so if you are interested in learning more about the candidates and their views please visit our website www.saratogapreservation.org.  Hope you find this information helpful when you vote.

Founded in 1977, the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation is a private, not-for-profit organization that promotes preservation and enhancement of the architectural, cultural and landscaped heritage of Saratoga Springs.  To learn more or to join, please visit www.saratogapreservation.org.

Posted in Press/Media | Leave a comment

Historic Preservation:  Asking the Candidates

Our city is fortunate to have such a diverse, extensive collection of historic resources that make our community special, many of which have been highlighted over the years in these articles. Our historic downtown and neighborhoods are the destinations they are today because of the vision, commitment, effort, investment, and oversight of many over decades.  This is not something we can take for granted as we look towards the future.  Preserving our city’s special character will continue to take vision, commitment, effort, investment, and oversight by city officials and residents.

With the election only two days away, the Foundation thought it would be helpful to voters to know how the candidates view historic preservation. Please note that as a not-for-profit 501(c)3, the Foundation cannot endorse any particular candidate for elected office.  Every City Council candidate was contacted.  County Supervisors were not asked to participate.  Below are the verbatim answers that were received from candidates.

What role do you think historic preservation has played in the economic success of our city?  Please explain.

Mark Baker, Mayoral Candidate:

The preservation of our community’s history, legacy and structures has been and is extremely important to the past and continued prosperity and the well-being of our community.  Maintaining the spirit and culture that all Saratogians hold dear is what makes Saratoga not only unique but a vibrant and viable place to call home

 

Meg Kelly, Mayoral Candidate:
The economic impact of historic preservation is extensive and transformative to Saratoga Springs.  The focus is usually on the physical changes resulting from historic preservation – the retention, renovation and rehabilitation of neglected buildings.

One way that we see the economic impact of this preservation is in job creation.  Local labor supports our community.  Historic preservation also has a positive and substantial impact on property values of homes in the city.  Lastly, our tourism business is enhanced by the Saratoga Springs Heritage Area Visitor Center and other organizations that offer tours and immerse visitors in our history, the historic homes along Broadway, and Congress Park.  The city realizes a strong return on the investment in historic property restorations.

Today’s historic preservation activities are a part of smart community development that encompasses charming walkable neighborhoods, open space protection, urban sprawl containment, and sustainable economic activity.  Historic preservation does all this while also ensuring that the legacy of beautiful, historic buildings of the past is preserved for future generations to enjoy.  The preservation of historic resources should be a primary goal for those who seek a healthy economy.

John Franck, Commissioner of Accounts Candidate

Historic preservation plays an important role in the economic success of our community. Our community’s economics are based upon the City’s motto of “Health, History and Horses.” The preservation of our community’s past plays a central role in the beauty of our City and our reputation of excellence. The recognition of our historical architecture in our economic development activities is an asset to folks wanting to visit and invest in our community.

Michele Madigan, Commissioner of Finance Candidate

One of the most outstanding and concentrated efforts of our city leaders over the years has been the concerted effort to educate its residents, as well as its potential residents, and just as importantly, its developers, of the importance of historic preservation.

Reacting to the wholesale destruction of our unique architectural heritage in the late 60’s and early 70’s, in the name of “urban renewal”, the city leaders put in place the legal mechanisms necessary to stop the wrecking ball from destroying what was essentially, the “spirit” of the City in the Country. The stern edifices of some housing created during that phase of history are a stark reminder of how bad architecture can find its way into a community without historic architectural oversight.

If the destruction of all our historic architecture was allowed to continue, the city would certainly be a different place.

The sheer number of different architectural styles is indeed impressive. You can pretty much find it all here in Saratoga Springs.

Making the preservation of our architectural history a veritable plank in our city charter has given individual business owners, as well as homeowners and potential homeowners, the comfort of knowing that their individual efforts to preserve their architectural legacy will not be wasted. Because of historic preservation, the value and unrealized financial equity of real estate holdings has become stable, and real estate values continue to increase.

Perhaps, more importantly, Saratoga Springs has been able to attract the type of homeowners and business’s that celebrate, and buy into, historic preservation. Our citizens trust our city leaders to continue in its efforts to preserve our history, and they act accordingly.

Of course, our city “jewel” the historic racecourse, is for many their first introduction into Saratoga Springs’ preservation efforts. I’m sure many folks are impressed, and its preservation provides the impetus to take a good look at the other examples of historic architecture here, and it keeps them coming back.

Don Braim, Commissioner of Public Safety Candidate

The historical preservation of our buildings, especially in the downtown core is significant. That preservation I believe has given our residents and especially our community visitors another reason to enjoy the beauty of our City and therefore adding to the economic vitality of the Downtown.

Peter Martin, Commissioner of Public Safety Candidate

Many people who choose to locate their businesses or residences in Saratoga Springs do so because of the character of the City. A part of this character is defined by the historic structures that are sprinkled through the downtown and many of our neighborhoods. Many people want to live in a place that has a sense of history. The City and the Preservation Foundation do a great job of both encouraging preservation of buildings and recording the history of these structures. The recorded history of our structures (maintained in the Public Library’s Saratoga Room, the Saratoga Springs History Museum on wayfinding signs in our downtown, on plaques on historic residences and in numerous publications) encourage property owners to spend the extra time and capital to restore historic buildings appropriately. Tourists want to spend time in a place that is visually appealing, and old craftsmanship adds significantly to the visual appeal of our city. I serve on the board of Lakes to Locks Passage, a non-profit organization that promotes historic tourism in the corridor along the Hudson and Champlain Canals and Lake Champlain, extending from Albany to Quebec. I know from this work how important the preservation of historic structures is to attracting tourists, who spend significant amounts on their travels.

What is your favorite historic building in Saratoga Springs and why?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


46 Circular Street. 1832 Dr. John Clarke House
Mark Baker, Mayoral Candidate

46 Circular Street (Elliot and Cathy Masie home).  This property exemplifies the history, culture and style of and years gone-by.  People visit  and live in our dynamic community because of what we still may experience, see and understand about our history; where we came from.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1871 Canfield Casino
Meg Kelly, Mayoral Candidate

In 1975 I attended a family wedding at the Canfield Casino. The building was old and worn and in need of renovation. Today when I walk into the Canfield Casino, I see the many improvements that make this building a city treasure and the historic landmark that it is to our community.

Michele Madigan, Commissioner of Finance Candidate

The Canfield Casino and the surrounding park.  It’s a fine example of the importance people used to have for gorgeous public meeting places.

Don Braim, Commissioner of Public Safety Candidate 

Being a lifelong City resident and owner of a Downtown building built in 1825 you pose a difficult question. However, I choose The Canfield Casino. It is a tremendous draw to the downtown area and especially to Congress Park. For those of us that have lived here for any length of time and have witnessed the reclamation of this structure over the years, (we) can attest to its significance in being a vital contributor to the prosperity of our Downtown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

511 Broadway, Designed by W. Newton Brezee, built 1887
John Franck, Commissioner of Accounts Candidate

511 Broadway! I’m biased. I fell in love with the building when I first saw it and knew I needed to own it. She’s like a best friend for my business and my family activities. I take pride in my restoration efforts and trying to maintain the historical dignity of the building and its place within the community.

 

 

 

 

 

 


45 – 47 Phila Street
Peter Martin, Commissioner of Public Safety Candidate

45-47 Phila St. (Caffè Lena, Hattie’s, Cole’s Woodwind and Sweet Mimi’s). I participated in the rehabilitation of these connected buildings and helped save the historic home of America’s oldest folk coffee house. These buildings now represent the best of melding old to new. The goals of this preservation were: (1) to save buildings that were well over a century old and had suffered from structural neglect; (2) enhance a famous music listening room while maintaining the character of the space that had been a staple of the national arts scene for over 50 years; and, (3) provide modern, code compliant, access to the famous listening room without eating up large amounts of space in the historic buildings. An architect and a contractor who were both experienced in historic rehabilitation allowed Caffè Lena to achieve these goals.

Our city has a large number of carriage buildings and barns/stables that contribute to our architectural heritage that have fallen into disrepair, sometimes because current zoning prevents the property owners from adaptively reusing the structures.  What is your solution to prevent the continued disrepair of these important historic accessory structures?

Mark Baker, Mayoral Candidate

Addressing not only carriage houses and/or out-buildings needs the concerted effort of not only the Preservation Foundation as advocates, but also the Land Use boards, Zoning review but leadership from the Mayor’s office to be a conduit to communication and goal setting.  It may be possible that some of these properties could be fashioned to address  workforce housing/ first homeowner possibilities. We have pride in our community so want to maintain historic properties where possible and to make those properties, tax paying and not fall into disrepair or become eyesores.

Meg Kelly, Mayoral Candidate

I would like the city to partner with the Preservation Foundation to host workshops for residents, and possibly bring them together with designers and builders.  I would explore the availability of grant funding to support restoration projects for these types of structures.  And I would also suggest that the Unified Development Ordinance could include considerations for historic preservation of accessory structures.

John Franck, Commissioner of Accounts Candidate

The City’s carriage buildings and barns and stables represent our architectural heritage. The City stands to benefit from a proactive partnership with City stakeholders to ensure that the uses for these buildings meet the neighborhood’s expectations and the City’s land use policies. The future of these structures lies in our ability to come together as a community to decide what is best for the neighborhood, the City and the integrity of the structure itself. The great thing about Saratoga Springs is our ability to collectively promote public private partnerships that further the goals of historical preservation.

Michele Madigan, Commissioner of Finance Candidate:

I really don’t have a good solution for this well-known problem.  I’m hoping that our recent zombie property grant will help us to map these properties and then move forward with a plan to maintain them. 

Don Braim, Commissioner of Public Safety Candidate

It may be necessary to revisit those Zoning laws to find solutions to this issue while continuing to salvage those properties of concern. In the mean-time the current Code Enforcement Department should be encouraged to be helpful in eliminating or minimizing the further decline and disrepair of those structures you referenced.

Peter Martin, Commissioner of Public Safety Candidate

The Comprehensive Plan that our city council adopted in 2015 provides that the city should continue efforts to establish creative mechanisms to protect historic properties in all areas of the community. That plan also provides that we should ensure consistency among various local governmental policies that affect the community’s historic resources. The city will be amending our zoning and land use codes to comply with this Comprehensive Plan in the near future. The codes should allow the conversion of carriage houses and stables in certain neighborhoods, where appropriate, to be used for housing – particularly affordable work force housing. Perhaps a density bonus could be granted if the owners agreed to standards of affordability and preservation. 

Recently, concerns have been expressed about the design, mass and scale of infill development in and around the city’s core historic district.  Do you share those concerns?  If you do, what steps should the city take to improve the design of new development projects?

Mark Baker, Mayoral Candidate

We are experiencing the challenges of our own successes; high-density infill of the central business core, creating more residential units in the center city. I have some concerns and personal opinions on the recent in-fill development; not worth more than anyone else’s thoughts. But these projects have been vetted through the Land Use Boards–legitimate, legal process. To address future development/re-development and the issue of scope, mass and scale of the future will need to be orchestrated by all vested partners in a unified conversation–Community, Mayor, Land Use Board, Zoning, Preservation and interested neighborhood members in the affected areas.  When working in unison great things can be accomplished; not end in litigation.

Meg Kelly, Mayoral Candidate:

Currently we have land use boards that oversee the design, mass and scale of projects.  These boards are comprised of professionals who sit on the Design Review, Planning, and Zoning Boards.  The appointments to these boards are made by the Mayor.  Maximizing economic development in the downtown core is vital to maintaining its success.  I believe that the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) is the approach to address transition zones from commercial to residential, and to improve the overall design of new projects in and around the city’s historic district.

John Franck, Commissioner of Accounts Candidate

There needs to be a balance of infill development in and around the City’s core historic district. Development and preservation need to be balanced, but receptive to the overall goal of economic sustainability. We all need to be open to discussion and positive discourse in promoting community economic stability while preserving those historical districts that form the basis of our community livelihood.

Michele Madigan, Commissioner of Finance Candidate

I am in favor of developing vacant parcels with buildings and architecture that reflects the surrounding neighborhood. Infill is an efficient method of strengthening communities, and it is particularly effective at making use of public infrastructures already in place such as sewer, water, and gas.  Of course, infill may lead to over-development of individual parcels, a natural consequence of the drive for profits. Increasing the population of a given area without addressing the ability of that area to absorb it is a major concern.

So, to this potential problem, neighborhood revitalization, such as modern sidewalks and streetscaping may also be a part of community infill projects. In some cases, redevelopment may be called for, and repurposing existing properties to meet a current need is always a possibility. Preserving the historic flavor of a given neighborhood slated for an infill project is of paramount importance. Redevelopment should always be as unobtrusive as practicable, and the surrounding communities’ concerns should be addressed and acted upon.

Don Braim, Commissioner of Public Safety Candidate

The city should encourage, through its approval process boards, the necessity to design projects that are respectful of the architectural décor of any particular area. New projects need to easily transition themselves into the local architecture of the proposed project site.

Peter Martin, Commissioner of Public Safety Candidate

In 2001, the city developed “A Working Plan for Historic Preservation in Saratoga Springs.” The vision statement of this plan states: The community desires to protect its attractiveness for the long term by marrying historic preservation to development in a way that allows the buildings of the past to be carefully maintained and fully utilized. These irreplaceable assets provide the visual benchmarks by which new additions to the community will be judged. The expectation is that new buildings will contribute to the beauty and integrity of the city and complement those built in the past. I agree with this vision.

The city should never allow the structural integrity of historic buildings to be compromised for new construction. Recently in Schenectady, a historic building was lost because a neighbor compromised its foundation during the construction of a new building. Our building department should be sensitive to threats of this type.

Many areas of the city have buildings that detract from their neighborhoods because they are not being properly maintained by their owners.  What measures do you think the city should take to address this situation?

Mark Baker, Mayoral Candidate

Property management and up-keep is a simple effort of direct, candid communication with property owners, consistent enforcement and the specific immediate follow-up on fees/fines.
Process is not to be punitive but a productive effort in getting the effected properties cleaned-up, attractive and back to being a positive part of this award winning city. 

Meg Kelly, Mayoral Candidate

Vacant and unmaintained properties are addressed through Code Enforcement in the Department of Public Safety.  For low-moderate income homeowners, there are funding sources in place through city grant and loan programs repairs and renovations, and federal funds available through block grant funds, which are administered by the city’s Community Development planner in the Planning Department.  

John Franck, Commissioner of Accounts Candidate

The City continues to make a concerted outreach effort to dialogue with property owners that may be absent or unrealistic about the maintenance of their property form a community perspective. A great deal of communication is occurring between the City Attorney’s Office, Building and Zoning Department, Fire Department and Code Enforcement. City Council continues to provide resources as requested to address the maintenance issues in a positive proactive framework. Sometimes, it takes more time than we might like, but it is important to understand that each of us as homeowners and community members have life issues that may preclude us from doing what needs to be done for property management. Assisting community members in compliance is a positive way of trying to remediate the situation before harsher measures are taken.

Michele Madigan, Commissioner of Finance Candidate

The main measure the city can take is through the code enforcement under the Department of Public Safety.  They do have the ability to issue citations if an owner is allowing their property to fall into complete disrepair.

Don Braim, Commissioner of Public Safety Candidate

It starts with enhanced Code Enforcement. Every effort should be made to encourage property owners to maintain their respective property to a satisfactory level. Reports of non-compliance should be met with a timely response from the Office of Code Enforcement.

Peter Martin, Commissioner of Public Safety Candidate

Our city’s Code Enforcement Office (a part of the Public Safety Department) should be given the staffing and the tools to deal with this problem. In some neighborhoods, derelict buildings create a fire hazard for themselves and for neighbors. They are also subject to infestation and can be a threat to public health. During the last year, our city took advantage of a grant made available through the NYS Attorney General’s office to create a program and registry of abandoned “Zombie Properties”. The City should vigorously follow up on these great efforts to further control these dangerous buildings. As we amend our codes, in conformance with the Comprehensive Plan, we should consider empowering Code Enforcement to discourage demolition of historic structures by neglect.

The Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation believes that preserving our unique historic downtown and residential neighborhoods plays a critical role in attracting new residents, visitors, and businesses to our community, which directly contributes to the overall high quality of life and economic success of Saratoga Springs.  The candidates were asked additional questions so if you are interested in learning more about the candidates and their views please visit our website www.saratogapreservation.org.  Hope you find this information helpful when you vote.

Founded in 1977, the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation is a private, not-for-profit organization that promotes preservation and enhancement of the architectural, cultural and landscaped heritage of Saratoga Springs.  To learn more or to join, please visit www.saratogapreservation.org.

Posted in Press/Media | Leave a comment

Nominations Needed!

2017 04 04_Nominations Needed

Nominate a Project!

Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation is requesting
nominations for the 2017 Preservation Recognition Awards

To nominate a project, please contact
Nicole Babie, Membership & Programs Coordinator
(518) 587- 5030
nbabie@saratogapreservation.org

Please submit nominations by
Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Know a local project that reflects a commitment to
preserving, promoting, and reusing historic buildings and landscapes?

Projects must be located in the City of Saratoga Springs,
but do NOT have to be located in a historic district.
Projects will consider the exterior of private property
and interior & exteriors of public spaces.

The building or landscape must be 50 years or older, and the award may be given to individuals, organizations, businesses or municipal representatives.

THIS INCLUDES:
Projects Big or Small
From removal of vinyl siding, or restoring original wood windows,
to entire building rehabilitation or adaptive-reuse.
New Construction Projects
Such as, compatible new additions and in-fill construction.

Criteria
Nominations are evaluated by the SSPF Awards Committee:

  • All projects must have been completed within the past year
  • Design sensitivity to historic character and environment of the property
  • Project execution represents appropriate techniques
    and preservation practice
  • Degree of difficulty faced and appropriateness of solutions applied.

Preservation Recognition Awards Ceremony
will take place in conjuction with the
Foundation’s Annual Meeting.

Tuesday, May 30th at 5PM
H. Dutcher Community Room
Saratoga Springs Public Library
49 Henry Street, Saratoga Springs, NY

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Filing Cabinets and Furniture Available

EVERYTHING HAS BEEN CLAIMED!
THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST!

The Foundation needs more space for their property files and has ordered new filing cabinets for their office. They are also ordering a new conference table and chairs. The following gently used items will be available on a first come, first served basis and must be picked up from their office at 112 Spring Street.

50” round wood table CLAIMED
4  side chairs with upholstered backs and seats, 22” w. X 26” d. X 33” h. CLAIMED

2 desk chairs CLAIMED

2 metal and plastic stackable chairs CLAIMED

2  two-drawer legal size file cabinets (beige/tan) 18” w. X 27” d. X 28” h. CLAIMED

1  two-drawer letter size file cabinet (beige/tan) 15” w. X 28” d. X 28” h. CLAIMED

2  two-drawer letter-size file cabinets (black) 15” w. X 25” d. X 28” h. (mfr. HON) CLAIMED

2  two-drawer legal-size file cabinets (beige/tan) 18” w. X 26 ½” d. X 29” h. (mfr. HON) CLAIMED

1  four-drawer legal-size file cabinets (beige/tan) 18” w. X 28” d. X 52” h. CLAIMED

2  four-drawer letter-size file cabinets (black) 15” w. X 28 ½” d. X 52” w. (mfr. Steelcase) CLAIMED

1  four-drawer letter size file cabinet (black) 15” w. X 26 ½” d. X 52” h. (mfr. HON) CLAIMED

Call Nicole Babie, Membership & Programs Coordinator, at (518) 587-5030 or email nbabie@saratogapreservation.org to schedule pick-up.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Unfortunate Loss of 26 Caroline Street

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

26 Caroline Street

 

The Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation is disappointed that the City of Saratoga Springs did not disclose at the City Council meeting that the front façade of 26 Caroline Street could be preserved.  Yesterday the Foundation received a copy of the City’s final structural engineer report from Ryan Biggs |Clark Davis Engineering & Surveying.  The report noted the following:

Observations:

“The front masonry façade does not appear to have been damaged or displaced by the fire; however, there are some pre-existing conditions of minor displacements and bulges in the masonry. However, further collapse of the building framing could compromise this wall.”  Please note that the pre-existing conditions appear in a 1982 photograph.

Conclusions:

“The front masonry façade appears to be stable with no signs of major structural distress; however, with potential additional collapse of the floor and roof framing, this could cause damage and/or movements of the façade with possible collapse of the wall.  With regard to saving the front façade, in my opinion this is structurally feasible (emphasis added).  However, design of a shoring and lateral stabilization system would need to be completed and implemented immediately.”

“The concern with attempting to retain the front façade is time the building would be left in an unstable condition during the design and construction of the stabilization, and the potential high cost to implement the stabilization. In addition, access to the building for demolition or major construction activities can only be made from the front (north side) and the safe demolition of the remaining portions for the building would be more difficult and costly if the façade is to remain.”

“Therefore, costs of the stabilization and shoring of the façade along with increased demolition costs appear to be disproportionally high to the benefit to save the front wall that has current problems.”

“It appears the complete demolition of the building may need to occur to form a safe condition if a stabilization system cannot be installed immediately.”  Note: no cost for preserving the façade was provided by Ryan-Biggs.

“If the City decides to proceed with demolition of the building, it is recommended that each adjacent property owner have their buildings reviewed by their own engineer in advance of demolition to determine if there are any other concerns with the structural stability of their buildings if 26 Caroline Street is demolished.”

“Demolition will most likely need to proceed slowly to access the existing conditions where 26 Caroline Street abuts the adjacent properties to make sure no unstable conditions are formed in the adjacent properties.”  In the interest of full-disclosure, please click here to view the final report provided by Ryan Biggs | Clark Davis Engineering & Surveying and click here to view the letter from the owner’s structural engineer addressing the preservation of the façade.

The observations and conclusions made by Mike Miller of Ryan Biggs | Clark Davis Engineering & Surveying  regarding the preservation of the façade and potential damage to the adjacent structures echo the structural engineer report that the Foundation hired Don Friedman of Old Structures Engineering to prepare. Click here to view the Old Structures Engineering report.

The Foundation is further disappointed that the City of Saratoga Springs chose not to seek a cost benefit analysis regarding the potential to preserve the façade prior to moving forward with approving full demolition and that the Design Review Commission was not given any opportunity to provide an advisory opinion or that several of its members were not informed of its imminent demolition.

The Foundation did its best to fulfill our mission and advocate for the preservation of this structure or, at least, its façade with available resources.

We are saddened by the loss of 26 Caroline Street and will be actively involved in the review of the redevelopment of the site.

Again, thank you to our members for their continued support of our mission and to those who have expressed support and gratitude for our efforts!

 

Help support our mission to promote the preservation and enhancement of the architectural, cultural, and landscaped heritage of Saratoga Springs!

 

Posted in Advocacy | Leave a comment

26 Caroline Street Demolition

26 Caroline Street

26 Caroline Street

The Foundation is pleased that the City of Saratoga Springs took action to declare 26 Caroline Street an emergency to hire an independent structural engineer to evaluate the building to assess its future, especially in light of the differences in the previous structural assessments.  Like the City, the Foundation does not want to jeopardize the public’s safety.  The decision to demolish any historic building in our city that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places should be given full consideration since the preservation of our architectural and cultural heritage contributes to the overall success of our community.  That is why the Foundation hired Don Friedman of Old Structures Engineering to provide an assessment last week despite being denied access by the owner and why the Foundation is willing to contribute up to $2,000 towards the City hiring an independent assessment.

The Foundation was not only concerned with the future of 26 Caroline Street, but also concerned with the immediately adjacent historic structures should partial or complete demolition of 26 Caroline Street be necessary.  We do not want to see any additional damage to those buildings as a result of the removal.

The Foundation is very disappointed to share that at last night’s City Council meeting it was announced that the preliminary report by Mike Miller of Ryan-Biggs indicates that the building posed a public safety risk and needs to be demolished immediately.  The City also said that they plan to move forward with demolition under section 118 (9) (7) of the code.

The Foundation does not know why steps cannot be taken to preserve the façade since we have yet to receive a copy of the owner’s structural report dated November 30 that specifically addresses that topic or a copy of the Ryan-Biggs preliminary report.

Marilyn Rivers, City of Saratoga Springs Director of Risk and Safety, stated at the meeting that as a result of the City’s independent inspection all of the building owners were now in communication and that they each had been encouraged to hire their own structural engineers to protect their buildings as demolition takes place.  While 26 Caroline Street will not be preserved, the inspection did result in increased communication among the owners and increased awareness about the potential impacts demolition may have on the historic adjacent structures.

We believe that the Foundation fulfilled our mission and did all we could to stay involved and advocate for the preservation of this structure or, at least, its façade.  Our Executive Committee met almost daily to develop strategy and make decisions as to our course of action and was kept abreast of developments by the Executive Director.  The full board was kept informed by regular communications from the Executive Director.

The Foundation looks to the future of this site and working with the property owner and the Design Review Commission to ensure that replacement infill is appropriate in scale and design.  The Foundation thanks all those who expressed support of our efforts and to our membership.  Without your continued interest and support we would not have been able to accomplish as much as we did, even if the result is not what we hoped.

Posted in Advocacy | Leave a comment

Caroline Street Fire Update

IMG_4005_edit26-30 Caroline Street

The Foundation continues to work toward preserving the historic 1870’s commercial building located at 26 Caroline Street.  The Foundation reached out to the owner multiple times to provide
assistance, including offering to pay for a structural engineer to evaluate preserving the building or, at the very least, its façade.  Unfortunately, the owner denied access to our structural engineer and to a prospective buyer who had expressed interest in preserving the façade.

Despite not being granted access, the Foundation moved forward with hiring Donald Friedman of Old Structures Engineering PC, a nationally recognized structural engineer of historic buildings, to evaluate the building from the exterior.  His structural report addresses three options: preserving the building, preserving only the façade, and demolition.  He concluded that the same initial steps would need to be taken to preserve the building, preserve the façade, or to safely demolish the structure so that the adjacent buildings are not damaged.  To view Don Friedman’s report, click here.

This morning Samantha Bosshart, Executive Director of the Foundation, attended the City Council pre-agenda meeting. The future of 26 Caroline Street was discussed. The Foundation offered to provide the City of Saratoga Springs up to $2,000 to pay for an independent structural engineer to provide a report in addition to the report that the Foundation has provided and the reports provided by the owner’s engineer, which conflict.

At that meeting, the City agreed to declare the fire damaged 26 Caroline Street an emergency and to hire Ryan-Biggs to do an independent assessment of the building.  The Ryan-Biggs report will help to inform the City as to next steps to take regarding the future of this building.  The Foundation remains hopeful that the Design Review Commission which is charged “to protect and enhance the landmarks and historic districts which it represents” will be engaged in the process.

The Foundation will continue to provide updates as they become available.  Thank you for your support of preserving the unique architecture and cultural heritage of Saratoga Springs.

Posted in Advocacy | Leave a comment

A STROLL THROUGH HISTORY: 30TH ANNUAL VICTORIAN STREET WALK

PUBLISHED FOR EXPLORE SARATOGA ON DECEMBER 1, 2016.

Victorian street walk cover

Bundle up and take a step back in time during the 30th Annual Victorian Streetwalk on Thursday, December 1st from 6:00 to 9:00PM. This is a favorite events among locals. Broadway is closed for the evening and thousands come out to kick off the Christmas season, with carolers, live performances, food and a visit from Santa.

As you are walking around town tonight, enjoying the entertainment and decorations, take a minute to appreciate the stunning architecture and rich history of these buildings. Some of them date back to the 1800s. Here are five we just can’t get enough of.

297 BROADWAY – SARATOGA SPRINGS HERITAGE AREA VISITOR CENTER

Saratoga Springs Heritage Area Visitors Center

Today the three grand arches of this landmark welcomes visitors from near and far much like it did when it was constructed. The Hudson Valley Railroad built this impressive Beaux-Art style trolley station in 1915 to serve as the gateway for those who wanted to taste the natural spring waters at the newly established Saratoga Springs Reservation, today known as the Spa State Park.

The trolley passed by the rear of the Lincoln Baths to allow passengers to disembark to enjoy the baths and then continued on to Ballston Spa and Schenectady. With the increased popularity of the automobile, trolley service ceased. In 1941, the building was purchased by New York State and rededicated as the Drink Hall, a place to buy the state-owned bottled mineral waters. Drink Hall closed in 1965 and was deeded to the City. After serving many uses, the building once again welcomed visitors when it was designated the Visitor Center in 1987.

As you walk up to this great building, be sure to check out the two exterior bas-relief murals – right, Sir William Johnson visiting the High Rock Spring and left, the surrender of British General Burgoyne at the Battle of Saratoga in 1977.

25 WASHINGTON STREET – UNIVERSAL PRESERVATION HALL

Universal Preservation Hall
Many of you have seen this steeple from afar, as it is one of the tallest in Saratoga Springs standing at 129’ tall. On the night of the Victorian Streetwalk, this beautiful High Victorian Gothic building will serve as a community gathering space much like it did historically.

In 1871, the Methodist Church constructed this church for its local congregation as well as to host Annual Methodist Convention. Over 1,000 people traveled  from near and far to attend the convention to hear various famous people speak – William Jennings Bryan, Frederick Douglas, and Theodore Roosevelt, just to name a few.

In 1976, the Methodist Church constructed a new church and the Universal Baptist Church purchased the building the following year. With a dwindling congregation, the building fell into disrepair. The roof started to collapse and the City condemned the building.

In the late 1990s, the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation took initial steps to stabilize the building to prevent its demolition. Out of this effort, the non-profit Universal Preservation Hall was formed to adapt this majestic church to serve as a community performing arts center, a special events space, and the sanctuary of the Universal Baptist Church.

Before you leave this space be sure to check out the amazing auditorium with 44’ ceiling and beautiful abstract, non-denominational stained glassed windows.

472 BROADWAY – FALLON WELLNESS

Fallon Wellness

Did you know that this space has been a pharmacy in the Ainsworth Building since 1871, when the building was constructed? Menges & Curtis Apothecary, established in 1860, is one of the oldest pharmacies in the country. Today we know it as Fallon Wellness Pharmacy, but we are still reminded of its origins from the nearly unchanged storefront to the Menges & Curtis sign above the awning.

Architect Gilbert B. Croft designed this handsome Italianate commercial block building with shops on the first floor and offices and apartments on the floors above for community leader Seymour Ainsworth.

Don’t forget to look up otherwise you might miss the date of construction in the pediment above as well as the beautiful ornate tall narrow windows with their decorative hoods.

473 BROADWAY – THE ADIRONDACK TRUST COMPANY

Adirondack Trust Company

It is hard to not feel as sense of strength and stability when you walk up the white marble stairs of this impressive structure, which was exactly the intent of its architect Alfred Hopkins. Hopkins designed this impressive structure for the Adirondack Trust Company in 1916, replacing the previous building on the site that they had outgrown.

The Adirondack theme is carried throughout the building inside and out. The crowning ornament of the primary façade is a large shield with a stag’s head, signifying the name Adirondack, flanked on each side by horns of plenty and the American eagle. The bronze front doors that grace the building depict an Adirondack mountain scene with stags, considered a noble animal of the Adirondacks that symbolize strength, in the foreground. Inside, the chandeliers also feature stag heads, clusters of acorns of the Adirondacks that symbolize the storing of wealth, and the zodiac signs.

Perhaps learn a lesson or two about the virtues of honesty, industry and thrift while inside by reading the sayings highlighted in gold Roman lettering.

475 BROADWAY – UNITED STATES POST OFFICE

Downtown Saratoga Springs Post Office
There is much more to this building than being just a convenient place to send a letter. It has impressive decorative bronze doors that open into a lovely space that is lit by natural light from the skylight.

James Knox Taylor designed this 1910 building in the popular Beaux-Art style. In 1977, the federal government attempted to close the post office. Then Mayor Raymond Watkins personally sued to stop the closer and was successful. A second attempt was made in 1993 and was again thwarted by citizens of Saratoga Springs who devised a plan to divide the space to allow for a commercial tenant to provide a source of revenue to fund the maintenance of this historic building.

Don’t miss the wonderful murals of the Saratoga Racing Season by Guy Pene du Bois that grace the interior. Trained in Paris, Du Bois focused on scenes of the fashionable life so it was only appropriate that the painted scenes of Saratoga Race Course. The murals were created during the Depression under the Treasury Relief Art Project, a program that awarded commissions to fine artist to create works of art to enhance federal buildings.

Samantha Bossart is the executive director of the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation which promotes and preserves the architectural, cultural and landscaped heritage of Saratoga Springs, NY.

 

explore-saratoga-logo

 

 

 

 

Explore Saratoga is the best way to find Things to Do, Places to Eat and Places to Stay in Saratoga Springs, New York. Find information about events, nightlife, shopping, restaurants, hotels, spas, promotions, etc in Saratoga Springs.

Posted in Explore Saratoga | Leave a comment

Update: Caroline Street Fire

26-30 Caroline Street

26-30 Caroline Street

As many of you know there was a terrible fire on Caroline Street in the early morning hours of Thanksgiving Day. The Foundation thanks the City of Saratoga Springs Fire Department and area fire departments for their efforts in containing the fire, as well as the Saratoga Springs Police Department for keeping everyone in the area safe. In keeping with our mission to preserve the historic architecture of Saratoga Springs, the Foundation has been working since the fire to see if the building at 26-30 Caroline Street or, at the very least, its façade can be preserved.

The day of the fire the Foundation immediately reached out to the City of Saratoga Springs to express our interest in preserving the building. In addition, we contacted the owner to offer the services of a structural engineer. We are hopeful that he will take advantage of this offer. Should it be determined that the building or its façade cannot be saved, the City will need to take the necessary steps for its demolition.

The Italianate two-story commercial building was constructed circa 1870 as a tannery for Charles H. Sturges and has similar distinctive brick work as the Adelphi Hotel. The large service bays were converted into storefronts after 1908. The building also housed the Palmetto Fruit Company for many years, Coronet Press, the Clubhouse Bar, and, most recently, the Living Room Bar/Restaurant. The building is a “contributing building” to the Broadway Historic District listed on the National Register of Historic Places and located in an Architectural Review District.

The Foundation will continue to stay in contact with the City regarding the process surrounding the potential demolition of this building and will keep you informed as to any developments. We appreciate your interest and dedication to the preservation of the architectural history of Saratoga Springs.

Posted in Advocacy | 2 Comments

A Turkey Trot Through History

A TURKEY TROT THROUGH HISTORY

Published for Explore Saratoga on November 20, 2016.

2016-11-17_turkey_trot_cover_facebook
Turkey trot cover (Image Credit: Facebook)

 

Planning to burn off some calories during the 15th Annual Christopher Dailey Turkey Trot in Saratoga Springs this year? Don’t forget to check out the scenery while racing your way up North Broadway and back.

 

474 BROADWAY: CITY HALL
2016-11-17_474_broadway_city_hall_explore_saratoga

 

 

 

 

 

 
Image Credit: Explore Saratoga

The City of Saratoga Springs was not incorporated until 1915, so what we know as City Hall was originally built as Town Hall in 1871.

This handsome Italianate building was designed by architects Cummings and Burt who were paid a mere $300 for their design. The structure cost $109,999.46 to construct and originally was topped by a bell and clock towers. These were removed in 1936 due to safety reasons. Be sure to wave hello to “Nobility” and “Magnanimity,” the two lion statues next to the front steps.

 

510 BROADWAY: ALGONQUIN BUILDING
2015-10-08_algonquin_510-broadway_bosshart-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Credit: SSPF

We’ve all been watching the multi-million dollar award-winning rehabilitation of the Algonquin this past year, but it was just as costly to build it. According to the Daily Saratogian, the cost to construct the luxury Romanesque influenced apartment building in 1892 was approximately $129,000, a significant amount for the day.

James H. Pardue, an owner of a china, crockery and glassware shop China Hall, hired prominent local architect S. Gifford Slocum to design the building. Known then as the Pardue Building, it was constructed in phases with the center section built first. Pardue resided in the southern portion of the building in an apartment that had ornate woodwork, wainscoting, built-ins and fireplaces – much of which still exists today.

 

563 NORTH BROADWAY: DR. ADELBERT HEWITT HOUSE
2016-11-17_563_north-broadway_explore_saratoga

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Credit: Explore Saratoga

We recognize this beautiful Queen Anne as the office of Witt Construction, but it was originally built in 1884 for well-known physician and surgeon Dr. Adelbert Hewitt, for his home and office.

Later it was home and office of Dr. Arthur Leonard, who in 1952 was serving as the Commissioner of Public Safety and was charged with conspiracy and bribery as part of the Kefauver investigation of illegal gambling in Saratoga Springs. He was believed to be allowing gambling to go on rather than putting an end to it, but the charges were dismissed.

In 1964, the Salvation Army purchased the house and many alterations were made during this time, including the removal of the front porch and cladding it in aluminum siding.

In 1999, John Witt of Witt Construction and Jim Sasko of Teakwood Builders purchased the building and restored it to the original grandeur based on historic photographs.

605 NORTH BROADWAY – SENATOR EDGAR T. BRACKETT HOUSE
2016-11-17_605_north-broadway_explore_saratoga

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Credit: Explore Saratoga

Many of us recognize the name Edgar T. Brackett as the principal founder of the Adirondack Trust Company, but he is also known for being a prominent local attorney, New York State Senator, and for crafting the legislation with Spencer Trask to save Saratoga’s spring waters and creating the Saratoga State Reservation, which is known today as the Spa State Park.

Brackett had this half-timbered with brick Queen Anne home built for him and his family – his two sons, Edgar and Charles. Edgar died at the age of 9 and Charles went to gain fame in film, working with Billy Wilder on 13 films. In addition to receiving an Honorary Academy Award for outstanding service, he won Academy Awards for his screen writing of The Lost Weekend, Sunset Boulevard, and Titanic.

655 NORTH BROADWAY – W. STONE SMITH COTTAGE
2016-11-17_655_north-broadway_explore_saratoga

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Credit: Explore Saratoga

There is a long-standing tradition of homes on North Broadway being used only during the summer. W. Smith Stone, a principal of a well-known stove manufacturer in Troy, built this beautiful Shingle style house to serve as his summer residence.

The house later became the home of John K. Walbridge, the president and manager of The Saratogian. John collapsed at the desk in his office and was brought to the house where he died. Upon his death, the entire first page of the Saratogian was his obituary. Today, you can see the typeset for that edition in Greenridge Cemetery as it was incorporated into his gravestone.

In 1954, the house was turned into five apartments. It was returned to single-family residence in 2008.

658 NORTH BROADWAY – MARY S. WAYLAND HOUSE
2016-11-17_658_north-broadway_explore_saratoga

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Credit: Explore Saratoga

Today we see this graceful white Colonial Revival with double-gallery porches that face the expansive south lawn, but this was not the first house constructed at this site.

In 1876, Mary S. Wayland demolished the original 1856 house and built a new house on the site. A year later she passed away and Eugene O’ Connor acquired the property. In 1888, he hired prominent local architect S. Gifford Slocum to do extensive renovations.

In 1918, the Queen Anne with wrap-around porch was purchased by the Van Duesens. That same year, architect Alfred Hopkins, who also designed the Adirondack Trust Company Bank on Broadway, was hired to transform it into what you see today.

688 NORTH BROADWAY – SOUTHGATE-BRESLIN- GREEN COTTAGE
2016-11-17_688_north-broadway_explore_saratoga

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Credit: Explore Saratoga

Ever wonder why some houses in Saratoga Springs have a unique looking roof? The character-defining feature of the Second Empire style is the mansard roof, which was named after 17th century French architect, Francois Mansart, and was designed to gain usable attic space.

This beautiful house was built on speculation in 1877 and served as the summer residence for a number of wealthy residents. In 1915, the house became a year-round residence for Colonel Edward Green and his family. The Green family sold the house in 1931 and for periods of time throughout the 1930s and 1940s the house was vacant. In 1946, the house was turned into a boarding house, the Pines Tourist House.

In 1975, it was returned to a single-family residence.

719 NORTH BROADWAY – KING- FULLER-JEFFORDS COTTAGE
2016-11-17_719_north-broadway_explore_saratoga

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Credit: Explore Saratoga

We all know that there is a high price tag for the homes on North Broadway, but this was even true back in 1875 when Dr. Benjamin W. King of Fort Edward built this Italianate style summer residence in 1875 at a reported cost of $30,000, the equivalent of $630,000 today.

In 1882, the King family sold the house to Joseph W. Fuller of Troy who also used it as a summer residence. Fuller was president of the Fuller and Warren stove manufacturing firm, which produced up to 60,000 stoves, ranges, and furnaces annually and had sales buildings in New York, Boston, Baltimore, San Francisco and other cities across the country.

In 1946, Walter and Kay Jeffords, a successful racing family with two Belmont Stakes champions, acquired the house and it served as a summer residence for over 50 years. Ironically, a heating system was never installed in this house since it always served as a summer residence.

740 NORTH BROADWAY – HENRY HATHORN HOUSE
2016-11-17_740_north-broadway_explore_saratoga

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Credit: Explore Saratoga

Henry Hathorn, part owner of the United States Hotel, built this handsome Queen Anne in 1884 and was the home of three generations of the Hathorn family, until 1970. At some point the original front porch was removed. This year the current owners restored the beautifully ornate porch based on historic photographs.

Why else do you recognize Hathorn’s name? He sold his interest in the United States Hotel to become part owner of the Congress Hotel, which burned in 1866, the night before opening for the season. While excavating to construct the new hotel the Hathorn Spring was discovered.

791 NORTH BROADWAY – LUCY SKIDMORE SCRIBNER HOUSE
2016-11-17_791_north-broadway_explore_saratoga

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Credit: Explore Saratoga

You probably know this home as the official residence of the president of Skidmore College, but that wasn’t always the case. The gambrel roof Queen Anne was purchased in 1897 by Lucy Skidmore Scribner, who was the widow of J. Blair Scribner of the Scribner Publishing Company. In 1903, she founded of the Young Women’s Industrial Club of Saratoga, which was chartered as a four year liberal arts college in 1922.

During her ownership the porte-cochere over the driveway and the upper sun porch, referred to as “the nest” in her diaries, were added. Upon her death in 1931, Skidmore College acquired the house. In 1937, the college exchanged the house for another house closer to the original Union Avenue campus, located at 46 Circular Street. The college reacquired the house in 1964 and in 1987 it became the official residence of the president.

For race details visit the Christopher Daily Foundation website.

Samantha Bossart is the Executive Director of the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation which promotes and preserves the architectural, cultural and landscaped heritage of Saratoga Springs, NY.

 

explore-saratoga-logo

 

 

 

 

Explore Saratoga is the best way to find Things to Do, Places to Eat and Places to Stay in Saratoga Springs, New York. Find information about events, nightlife, shopping, restaurants, hotels, spas, promotions, etc in Saratoga Springs.

Posted in Explore Saratoga | Leave a comment