This week on “The Historians” podcast Dan Weaver tells the story of how some Montgomery County men made it possible for Ulysses S. Grant to spend the last days of his life writing his memoirs at Mount McGregor in Saratoga County. Weaver owns Amsterdam’s Bookhound bookstore and writes a column for the Amsterdam Recorder. You can listen to the podcast here. Continue reading
This week on “The Historians” podcast Timothy Starr talks about his book, Around Milton (Arcadia, 2015).
The town of Milton’s only village, Ballston Spa, once attracted many tourists to its mineral springs. Later it was home to a manufacturer known as “the paper bag king.” Starr has written 15 books on Saratoga County and Capital Region topics, focusing on railroads, inventions, and industries. You can listen to the entire podcast here. Continue reading
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) has announced that Grant Cottage State Historic Site, formerly part of the now closed Mount McGregor State Correctional Facility, will be part of a 750-acre parcel being transferred to Moreau Lake State Park.
Grant Cottage State Historic Site is the site where President Ulysses S. Grant died in July 1885. Continue reading
“The Ballston Spa Trial of Solomon Northup’s Kidnappers”, a presentation by David Fiske, biographer of Solomon Northup, will be one of four featured presentations at the Saratoga County History Faire at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Library, in Clifton Park, New York, on May 16, 2015. David Fiske will be the first speaker at 10:30 am.
Solomon Northup, the subject of the Oscar-winning film 12 Years a Slave, was lured away from Saratoga Springs in 1841 and sold into slavery. After being a slave for years, he was rescued and returned to New York State, and authored a book about his experiences. Continue reading
A man who started in the knitting business in Amsterdam built the lavish structure now known as Villa Balsamo restaurant off Route 50 between Ballston Spa and Saratoga Springs.
According to historian David Fiske, Floyd J. Shutts was stymied by Amsterdam officials in 1918 when he tried to add on to his factory on Wall Street. Turned down in Amsterdam, Shutts bought property on Saratoga Avenue in Ballston Spa and opened the Ballston Knitting Company in 1920. Continue reading
John W. Fowler’s law school, called the State and National Law School, was ahead of its time in the field of legal education in the 19th Century. He founded the school in Cherry Valley, New York, in 1847, and moved it to Ballston Spa a few years later, where it was housed in the former Sans Souci Hotel.
Contrary to the normal practice, at that time, of lawyers being trained by “reading law,” Fowler’s school offered courses in extemporaneous speaking and debating, and utilized mock trials to allow students to hone their courtroom skills. The school received much positive attention from the legal community, including South Carolina’s John C. Calhoun. Continue reading
Once upon a time many years ago, there was no tourism in America. And then there was. And the place where tourism began was here in New York State especially along the Hudson Valley.
The tourist explosion combined the artistic explosion generated by people like Irving, Cooper, and Cole along with technological developments like the steamship all New York State developments…and peace with England helped too!
Saratoga helped create this tourist boom. Continue reading
Saratoga National Historical Park (the Saratoga Battlefield), located on Routes 4 and 32 in Stillwater, will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2013 and is looking for photographs showing people enjoying or working in the park from the 1900s to today.
This is a special one-time opportunity to share your nostalgic memories of the park for its 75th anniversary exhibit and to preserve your battlefield photos for current and future generations. In appreciation for sharing your images (up to 20 per family or individual), trained park volunteers will scan your hard copy photos and put them onto a compact disc for you to keep. Continue reading
I was disappointed to hear the recent news that Schenectady County officials have chosen to cut funding for their county historian. This decision appears to have less to do with the historian than it did with the county’s fiscal problems.
Many of us are familiar with the state law that requires municipalities to appoint historians, and as Gerry Smith has pointed out, NYS County Law, section 400, also requires counties to make similar appointments. Many counties and many municipalities comply with these laws. Many don’t. But that’s not what’s at stake here. Continue reading