Tag Archives: Saratoga Springs

Solomon Northup Day Planned For Saturday, July 19th


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Solomon Northup in a Sketch from Twelve Years a SlaveThe 16th annual Solomon Northup Day, an afternoon of activities inspired by a powerful memoir of enslavement and eventual freedom, will take place on Saturday, July 19, from 12:30 to 6 pm in Filene Recital Hall at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY.

The story of Solomon Northup, an African-American man abducted into slavery in 1841 and transported to Louisiana, is now known internationally thanks to the acclaimed 2013 film based on Northup’s autobiography, Twelve Years a Slave. But a grassroots effort to raise awareness of this compelling story has been going on for the past 15 years, in particular through Solomon Northup Day, an annual event launched in 1999 by Saratoga Springs resident and Skidmore College alumna Renee Moore. Continue reading

19th Century Saratoga Springs Rooms Refurbished at Brooklyn Museum


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Milligan House Parlor. Courtesy of the Brooklyn MuseumThe Parlor and Library of the Colonel Robert J. Milligan House of Saratoga Springs, New York, have been conserved and refurbished for the first time since the two rooms were installed in the Brooklyn Museum in 1953 as a part of a group of late nineteenth-century American period rooms.

In addition to repainting the rooms and laying bold tartan carpeting on the Library’s previously bare wood floors, the Museum has restored and installed the Parlor’s original chandelier and decorated the rooms with a select group of recently acquired objects and several furnishings original to the rooms but not previously on view in Brooklyn. The two rooms have been on public view throughout their facelift, which was completed on March 28, 2014. Continue reading

Saratoga County:
A Future Black Congressman Faces Discrimination


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langstonportraitJohn 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

Plans For The United Nations in Northern New York


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Ogdensburg UN headline FRDuring the holiday season of 1945, a most unusual conversation was taking place in the Northern New York. It was a pivotal year in the twentieth century―history’s worst war had just ended, and an effort to prevent future wars had resulted in the formation of the United Nations, which officially came into being on October 24. The groundwork had been laid earlier in San Francisco, where delegates from fifty governments joined forces and drafted the original UN Charter.

The next order of business was to find a home for the new alliance, referred to widely then as the UNO (United Nations Organization). Since San Francisco hosted the charter conference, it was considered a favorite in the running. But as the process played out, northern New York was abuzz with the possibility of being chosen as permanent host. Continue reading

Early Black Musicians in New York State


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Early African American FiddlerThe film 12 Years a Slave tells the story of Solomon Northup, a free black man who was lured away from Saratoga Springs, New York in 1841, and sold into slavery. Though he played the fiddle (and the men who tricked him into leaving Saratoga told him they wanted him to fiddle for a circus), the film overstates Northup’s status as a musician. Primarily, he earned his money from other work.

In his 1853 autobiography however, Northup wrote that prior to moving to Saratoga he had performed: “Wherever the young people assembled to dance, I was almost invariably there.” He attained some renown in Washington County, since: “Throughout the surrounding villages my fiddle was notorious.” Continue reading

Saratoga History and Tourism: Opportunities for New York


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Saratoga_Springs_signOnce 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

Twelve Years A Slave:
North Country Native Solomon Northup


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northup45aMinerva in Essex County, primitive and remote in the early 1800s, hardly would have seemed a likely birthplace for a man who would write a book which would attract national attention, make the author a household name, and, to some degree, help start a civil war. But indeed, it was there that Solomon Northup, author of Twelve Years A Slave, was born.

Technically the town of Minerva did not exist at the time of Solomon’s birth on July 10, 1807 (though his book gives 1808 as his year of birth, more official documents have it as 1807); the town of Minerva was not formed until 1817. In 1807 the area, not yet known as Minerva, would have been part of the Town of Schroon. Continue reading

Solomon Northup Day: A Celebration of Freedom


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Solomon Northup in a Sketch from Twelve Years a SlaveThe 15th annual Solomon Northup Day: A Celebration of Freedom will be held on Saturday, July 20th from noon to 4 pm at Filene Hall, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York.

Solomon Northup Day was founded in 1999 by Saratogian Renee Moore to honor and to bring awareness to the life of Solomon Northup, a local free-born Black man who was kidnapped into slavery in 1841.

Northup was born a free man in Minerva, Essex County, NY, in July 1808. He was a literate man who worked on the Champlain Canal. While working as a cabbie and violinist in Saratoga Springs, he was abducted, held in a slave pen in Washington, DC, and sold into slavery in Louisiana for 12 years before regaining his freedom. Continue reading

2012 Horse Racing Hall of Fame Inductees Set


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The National Museum of Racing will induct its 2012 Hall of Fame class Friday at 10:30 a.m. at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion. Jockeys John Velazquez and Anthony Hamilton, trainers Roger Attfield and Robert Wheeler, and racehorses Ghostzapper and Planet will be enshrined. Tom Durkin, the track announcer for the New York Racing Association, will serve as the event’s master of ceremonies.

The ceremony is free and open to the public. The inductions are also available through a live stream on the Museum’s website. Radio coverage will be provided by Horse Racing Radio Network.

Through Monday, Velazquez has won 4,841 races and has earned more than $268 million. He won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in 2004 and 2005 and led all North American riders in earnings during those years. He led all New York jockeys in wins from 2001 through 2004 and set a record with 65 wins at Saratoga in 2004. Velazquez has won 22 riding titles at New York Racing Association tracks and has nine Breeders’ Cup wins. He posted 50 Grade 1 wins from 2006 through 2011. Velazquez won the Kentucky Derby in 2011 with Animal Kingdom and the Belmont Stakes in 2007 with Rags to Riches and 2012 with Union Rags. His other major victories include the Travers, Alabama, Champagne, Sanford, Personal Ensign, Whitney, King’s Bishop, Hollywood Derby, and Kentucky Oaks.

Hamilton was born in Charleston, S.C., in 1866 and won many of the most prestigious races of the 19th century. In 1890, Hamilton rode Potomac to victory in the third edition of the Futurity, which at the time was the richest race in American history with a purse of $67,675. That year, Hamilton led the nation in winning percentage (31.2). In 1891, he boosted his national-best win percentage to 33.8 and won 154 races to place second in the national standings.

In 1895, Hamilton won two of the most prominent races in the country by taking the Brooklyn Handicap on Hornpipe and the Suburban Handicap aboard Lazzarone. The next year, Hamilton added the third major New York handicap event, the Metropolitan Handicap, with Counter Tenor. Hamilton is the only African-American jockey to win all three of New York’s major handicap races. During this era, these races were generally considered to be more important than the likes of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes.

Hamilton’s other major victories included the American Derby (1887), Lawrence Realization Stakes (1891), Monmouth Oaks (1889, 1890), Monmouth Invitational Handicap (1889, 1892), Juvenile Stakes (1890), Gazelle Handicap (1887, 1890), Nursery Stakes (1886), Flatbush Stakes (1889, 1890), Sapling Stakes (1891), Swift Stakes (1892), Toboggan Handicap (1890), Twin City Handicap (1886, 1888, 1889, 1892, 1894), Great Trial Stakes (1892), Tidal Stakes (1891), Hudson Stakes (1889), and St. Louis Derby (1888), among others.

Through Monday, Attfield has saddled the winner of 1,745 races and has purse earnings of more than $90 million. He has won the Sovereign Award for Outstanding Canadian Trainer a record eight times and trained three Canadian Triple Crown winners (Izvestia, With Approval, and Peteski). Attfield has won a record-tying eight runnings of the Queen’s Plate and seven editions of the Canadian Breeders’ Stakes. He won his first Breeders’ Cup race in 2011 when Perfect Shirl took the Filly and Mare Turf. Attfield is a member of the Canadian Racing Hall of Fame. The many other stakes races he has won in the United States include the Wood Memorial, Flower Bowl, Shadwell Turf Mile, Maker’s Mark Mile, Elkhorn, Yellow Ribbon, Orchid, and Carter Handicap.

Wheeler, whose career spanned from 1938 through 1992, won 1,336 races and trained for prominent owners such as C.V. Whitney, J. Rukin Jelks, Greentree Stable, and Nelson Bunker Hunt. He conditioned 56 stakes-winning horses, including 1982 Champion Older Female Track Robbery. The majority of his career predates the grading of races, but from 1976 on he won 18 of the 69 (26 percent) graded stakes his horses ran in and 44 of his 175 (25 percent) overall stakes attempts. In 1959 and 1960, Wheeler’s West Coast-based division included Tompion, winner of the Santa Anita Derby, Blue Grass Stakes, and Malibu, and the distaff pair of Bug Brush and Silver Spoon.

Bug Brush won six stakes at 4 and set a world record the day she beat males Hillsdale and Terrang in the San Antonio Stakes. Silver Spoon, a member of the Hall of Fame, won 10 stakes in two years, including the trainer’s first of back-to-back wins in the Santa Anita Derby, in which she defeated Preakness winner Royal Orbit. He also sent out five winners of the Hollywood Juvenile Championship, which prior to the Breeders’ Cup era was one of the nation’s top races for 2-year-olds. From 1959 through 1969, Wheeler was on the leaders list of the top 30 North American trainers seven times in terms of earnings. His division accounted for more than 60 percent of the earnings of the C.V. Whitney stable when it led all owners in 1960.

Ghostzapper (Awesome Again-Baby Zip, by Relaunch) won 9 of 11 career starts and earned $3,446,120. He was named Horse of the Year and Champion Older Male in 2004 when he posted a 4-for-4 record. Trained by Hall of Fame member Bobby Frankel, Ghostzapper won the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Classic in stakes-record time, covering the 1¼-mile distance in 1:59.02. That year, he also won the Woodward Stakes, Tom Fool Handicap, and Iselin Handicap. At 3, Ghostzapper won the Vosburgh Stakes. He closed out his career with a victory in the Metropolitan Handicap at age 5. Ghostzapper raced for Frank Stronach and is currently a stallion at Stronach’s Adena Springs in Kentucky. Foaled in Virginia at Maj. Thomas W. Doswell’s Bullfield Stable in 1855, Planet was sired by Revenue out of the Boston mare Nina.

Planet was a sensation from the start. He made his debut with a victory over four others in mile heats for a purse of $10,750 in Fairfield, Va., on May 4, 1858, and went on to establish a record for career purse earnings that stood for 20 years. Planet displayed his remarkable skill and versatility by compiling a record of 27-4-0 from 31 starts and earning $69,700. Known as “The Great Red Fox,” Planet was regarded by many turf experts to be second only to the mighty Lexington among the greatest American racehorses prior to the Civil War.

Photo: Anthony Hamilton.

New Contributor, Ellen McHale of the New York Folklore Society


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Please join us here at New York History in welcoming our newest contributor, Ellen McHale. Ellen is Executive Director of the New York Folklore Society (founded in 1944) and has over 25 years of public sector folklore experience, with over eleven years of experience as the Executive Director of a statewide folklore and  folk arts organization.  She holds a Ph.D. in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania and was a Fulbright Scholar to the  Institute for Folklife Studies at the University of Stockholm, Sweden.

Prior to her appointment as Executive Director of the New York Folklore Society, she served as Director of the Schoharie County Historical Society/Old Stone Fort Museum and as the Director of the Shaker Heritage Society.  For over ten years she has served as the folklorist for the National Museum of Racing’s Folk Arts project, documenting the predominantly Latino population in the backstretch/ stable area of the
Saratoga Thoroughbred Racetrack through oral history interviews and photography.

1963: A North Country Racehorse Makes Good


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With the Kentucky Derby fast approaching, here’s an item from 1963, when a horse whose name had North Country ties nearly won the coveted Triple Crown (Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont). The owner was John W. Galbreath, well known nationally and a frequent visitor to the Adirondacks. While his wealth was notable, it was in the world of sports that Galbreath earned his greatest fame.

He owned baseball’s Pittsburgh Pirates from 1946–1985 (one of his partners was Bing Crosby), winning the World Series in 1960, 1971, and 1979. He was also a graduate of Ohio State and a longtime supporter of the school’s athletic program, one of the most successful in the nation.

Galbreath became fabulously wealthy as a real estate developer, owning major properties in Columbus, Los Angeles, New York, and Pittsburgh. In 1986, the family fortune was estimated at $400 million. Despite his substantial fame in baseball and real estate, Galbreath’s favorite subject was horseracing. Perhaps the name of his birthplace (in 1897) was a good omen for a future in the sport: he was born in Derby, Ohio.

Among other things, Galbreath’s great wealth allowed him to indulge his passion. He became involved in horse racing in the 1930s, eventually serving as chairman of Churchill Downs in Louisville (where the Kentucky Derby is run). Near Columbus, Ohio, he developed the famed Darby Dan Farm into a 4000-acre spread, producing many outstanding racehorses.

He had never won the Kentucky Derby, a goal of all major owners, and in 1963, none of Galbreath’s horses seemed particularly promising. Then, shortly before the Derby, one of his colts captured three straight races, including the Bluegrass Stakes. Suddenly, anything was possible.

The horse’s name was Chateaugay, and despite the sudden success, most of the media hype went to several other competitors prior to the Triple Crown races. Never Bend was the leading money-winner, and Candy Spots and No Robbery were the first undefeated horses to face off in the Derby in 88 years.

In front of 120,000 fans at the Kentucky Derby, Galbreath’s favorite horse went off at 9-1 odds. There appeared to be little chance for success. After running at mid-pack for much of the race, Chateaugay moved up to fourth. Near the final stretch, future-hall-of-fame-jockey Braulio Baeza steered his horse through an opening to the inside, and Chateaugay strode to the front, topping all the pre-race stars to win by 1¼ lengths.

In race number two, the Preakness, the same strategy was employed. This time, Chateaugay came roaring to the front but fell just short, finishing 3½ lengths behind winner Candy Spots. In the Belmont, the results were very similar to the Preakness, but this time, Chateaugay’s charge to the lead was successful, overtaking Candy Spots to win by 2½ lengths.

Only a close loss at the Preakness prevented Chateaugay from winning the Triple Crown, but Galbreath’s colt had proven nevertheless to be a great racehorse.

During this time, the excitement in the North Country was fairly palpable, especially in the town of Chateaugay (in the northeast corner of Franklin County). Many residents were fervent supporters of Galbreath and his horse, and the famed owner expressed his appreciation in a letter that appeared in local newspapers:

Dear Mr. Peacock:
It was certainly nice of you to write me a letter about Chateaugay winning the Kentucky Derby. Several people have asked me how we happened to name this horse as we did.

As you perhaps know, we have some interest in Lyon Mountain and Mineville, New York [the iron mines], and while I was up there several years ago, I saw the name Chateaugay. I made the remark at the time that I thought it was a pretty name for a town, and also thought it would be a good name for a horse.

Since Chateaugay’s older sister, Primonetta, was our best filly to date, we naturally hoped this colt would be a good one, and for that reason, we applied the name to him.

It has been very gratifying indeed to have so many nice letters from people of your town, and I hope you will thank the members of the Chamber of Commerce for their nice telegram which they sent under your name last week. I am going to have some pictures made just as soon as we receive the proofs, and I will eventually send you a picture which you can use for publishing in the paper.

Thank you again for your nice letter and wire.
Sincerely yours,
John W. Galbreath

In honor of the victory, Galbreath named one of Darby Dan’s buildings “Gay Chateau” (well before a new meaning for “gay” entered the vernacular).

A few years after winning the Derby, Chateaugay was retired to stud service, first at Darby Dan Farm, and later in Japan after his sale to racing interests there. He died in 1985.

Galbreath died in 1988 at the age of 90. Besides a grand legacy in the sporting world, he left behind the John W. Galbreath Company, America’s third-largest real estate developer. A second Darby Dan horse, Proud Clarion, won the Derby in 1967, but it was Chateaugay who first made Galbreath’s long-held dream a reality.

Photos: Top―Chateaugay after winning the Kentucky Derby (1963). Bottom―Chateaugay after winning the Belmont Stakes (1963).

Lawrence Gooley has authored ten books and dozens of articles on the North Country’s past. He and his partner, Jill McKee, founded Bloated Toe Enterprises in 2004. Expanding their services in 2008, they have produced 20 titles to date, and are now offering web design. For information on book publishing, visit Bloated Toe Publishing.

Book Features Saratoga Race Course History


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In the early 1800s, Saratoga Springs was a destination for its natural mineral waters and their healing powers. But that changed in 1863 with the opening of the Saratoga Race Course. From then on, summers in the Spa City came alive with the excitement of the “sport of kings.” Since the victory of the great horse Kentucky in the introductory Travers Stakes, the racecourse has showcased the sport’s greatest champions. Otherwise seemingly uncatchable thoroughbreds — including Man o’ War and Secretariat — faced unexpected defeat on its turf, earning Saratoga the nickname the “Graveyard of Champions.”

In Saratoga Race Course: The August Place to Be (History Press, 2011), author Kimberly Gatto chronicles the story of the oldest thoroughbred racetrack in the country, with tales of the famous people and horses that contributed to its illustrious history.

Gatto begins the book with a brief history of racing in New York beginning with the old Newmarket track at Belmont, and the Union Course, and moving toward the early expansion of racing across New York state. She offers a look at Saratoga Springs itself, and Irishman John “Old Smoke” Morrissey who built the track and nearby casino which also still stands as a local historical society.

Through the rest of the book, Gatto describes many of the great horses that have competed at Saratoga, including short histories of the major stakes races. She begins with the Travers Stakes, first run in 1864 and America’s first major stakes race.

A chapter is devoted to Man o’War and in later chapters relates the stories of Gallant Fox, Seabiscuit, War Admiral, Whirlaway, Native Dancer, Nashua, Jaipur and Ridan, Kelso. Gatto devotes a chapter to Secretariat and Ruffian. Later chapters cover Timely Writer, Lady’s Secret, Personal Ensign, Fourstardave, Lonesome Glory, Point Given, Commentator, and Rachel Alexandra.

Accompanying the text are recent color and black and white archival photos and illustrations by Allison Pareis. An appendix includes every winner of the Travers, Alabama, and Whitney, with jockey, trainer, owner, and running time.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.

New Book: Sport of Kings, Kings of Crime


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A new book, The Sport of Kings and the Kings of Crime: Horse Racing, Politics, and Organized Crime in New York, 1865-1913 by Steven A. Riess, fills a long-neglected gap in sports history, offering a richly detailed and fascinating chronicle of thoroughbred racing’s heyday and its connections with politics and organized crime.

Thoroughbred racing was one of the first major sports in early America. Horse racing thrived because it was a high-status sport that attracted the interest of both old and new money. It grew because spectators enjoyed the pageantry, the exciting races, and, most of all, the gambling.

As the sport became a national industry, the New York metropolitan area, along with the resort towns of Saratoga Springs (New York) and Long Branch (New Jersey), remained at the center of horse racing with the most outstanding race courses, the largest purses, and the finest thoroughbreds.

Riess narrates the history of horse racing, detailing how and why New York became the national capital of the sport from the mid-1860s until the early twentieth century. The sport’s survival depended upon the racetrack being the nexus between politicians and organized crime.

The powerful alliance between urban machine politics and track owners enabled racing in New York to flourish. Gambling, the heart of racing’s appeal, made the sport morally suspect. Yet democratic politicians protected the sport, helping to establish the State Racing Commission, the first state agency to regulate sport in the United States.

At the same time, racetracks became a key connection between the underworld and Tammany Hall, enabling illegal poolrooms and off-course bookies to operate. Organized crime worked in close cooperation with machine politicians and local police officers to protect these illegal operations.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.

Saratoga: New Exhibit Celebrates Porsche


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The Saratoga Automobile Museum is unveiling an exhibit celebrating 60 years of Porsche in North America on October 1, 2011. The exhibit showcases sixteen significant Porsche sports and racing cars and honors Joe Buzzetta, successful New York Porsche racer and automobile retailer. Now a successful New York State businessman with six auto dealerships on Long Island, Buzzetta was a factory Porsche driver in the 1960s and 1970s. Co-driving with Udo Schultz, Buzzetta won the 1967 Nurburgring 1000 KM race in a Porsche 910, perhaps Porsche’s most sentimental victory – it’s first overall win in Germany’s most prestigious sports car race – as the home team won before the home crowd after a decade of trying. His personal collection includes a Porsche 904, 906, 907, 908 and a 910, all restored.



Marque founder Dr. Ing. Ferdinand Porsche’s son, Ferry, understood that racing was the crucible in which to prove Porsche’s superiority and capture world attention. Imported into America by Max Hoffman, an Austrian expatriate friend of the Porsche family, the low, streamlined little cars attracted great interest. Six decades of popularity in America have established Porsche on the top tier of performance automakers. Accordingly, The Saratoga Automobile Museum is pleased to present “Porsche: 60 Years of Speed and Style in North America,” sponsored by Porsche Cars North America and New Country Porsche of Clifton Park, NY, and Greenwich, CT.

Automotive journalist and Museum consultant, Ken Gross, will be the exhibit Curator. Joe Buzzetta’s Porsche 904 and 906, as well as a 908 engine, will be on display in Saratoga. The Collier Museum in Naples, FL, is loaning Buzzetta’s Nurburgring-winning 910 for the exhibit. Former Porsche/SCCA/ IMSA competitor, Bob Bailey, a Saratoga Automobile Museum trustee, is loaning cars for the exhibit, as is Paul Plugfelder, whose Porsche 959, 914-6GT and 911 RS will be on display. Porsche Cars North America will be bringing the exciting new Porsche 918RSR Race Car for the opening of the exhibit, as well as several cars from the Porsche Museum after Rennsport, a 961 and the LeMans winning GT1.

Joe Buzzetta will be honored at the Saratoga Automobile Museum’s Annual “Drive For Excellence” Gala on October 1, 2011. Among the noted drivers expected to attend will be endurance racing champion, Vic Elford, a winner at Le Mans, the Targa Florio, the Daytona 24 Hours and the Nurburgring andScooter Patrick who co-drove with Joe at LeMans.Invitations have also been extended to several of Joe’s other old Porsche Factory teammates, including Brian Redman, Derek Bell and Hans Herrmann. Positive confirmation has been received from two so far. It will make for a very memorable evening with Joe and his Porsche teammates speaking at the dinner of their memories of the Golden age of motor racing with the Porsche Racing Team.

Also planned on October 1st is an Adirondack Porsche Tour (about an hour & a half), leaving the Saratoga Auto Museum at 10:00 AM, over some spectacular mountain roads, ending at the Sagamore Resort in Bolton Landing on Lake George for lunch on the lake. On Sunday October 2nd the Saratoga Auto Museum’s “Octoberfest German Car Lawn Show,” featuring Porsche, will take place on museum grounds starting at 10:00 AM. The show is open to all German cars. Porsche owners and enthusiasts are invited. Details will be available soon on the museum’s website or by calling the museum.

The Porsche exhibit will open to the public on Oct 1, 2011 at 10:00 AM, and will be occupying the downstairs galleries until January 31, 2012. Members of Porsche clubs are welcome for the run of this exhibit and will be offered a generous Museum discounted admission. Call for details and group rates. Along with the feature exhibition the Museum has on display, “East of Detroit, Cars Made in NY”, and several significant cars that raced in NY. The Saratoga Automobile Museum is located at 110 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga Springs, NY. Hours of operation during the fall and winter months are Tuesday – Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm.

For more information, call Peter Perry at 518-587-1935 ext. 17 or visit the Saratoga Automobile Museum on the web at www.saratogaautomuseum.org.

Photo: An early electric Porche Courtesy Auto History Online.

Museum Gets Auto Racing Trove For Library


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When racing historian and memorabilia collector Ed Biittig Sr. of Sloansville recently decided it was time to pare down his book collection to make more room for other collectibles, the library of the Saratoga Automobile Museum was the beneficiary.

Ed and wife Betty soon had cartons filled with some 350 books ready for delivery to the auto museum, where they are currently being sorted and catalogued by volunteers headed by the library coordinator, longtime museum volunteer Jerry Hart.



“If we find we have duplicates, some of the books will eventually be offered for sale,” said Hart. “But the majority will be cataloged and added to our already extensive collection that will be made available for use by the public every Wednesday beginning in August. Our library is divided into sections on such specific topics as Buick, Ferrari or Chrysler and broader topics such as auto racing. Enthusiasts are always welcome to use the volumes for research or just for enjoyment.”

“This is the fifth major donation we’ve had,” added museum trustee Ron Hedger, who coordinates the museum’s “Racing in New York” gallery. “Along with small donations from countless supporters of the museum, Ed’s books will join major donations from the late volunteer Ed Marks, Bud Lyons, Michigan automotive engineer Don Everett and racing personality John Fitch. I’m sure followers of auto racing will love Ed’s contribution”

The Saratoga Automobile Museum is located on the grounds of Saratoga Spa State Park at 110 Avenue of the Pines. For more information, guests can visit the Museum’s website at www.saratogaautomuseum.org or call (518) 587-1935.

Saratoga Automobile Museum Names New Chair


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Trustees of the Saratoga Automobile Museum (SAM) unanimously elected Gloversville businessman Charles Montano as Board Chairman at their annual election meeting of the trustees in May.

Montano becomes the fourth Board Chair of the Museum, joining the late founder and initial chairman Lewis Golub of Lake George, Bob Bailey of Diamond Point and the most recent chairperson, Jean Hoffman of Clifton Park, as head of the Board of Trustees. Other board officers elected at the meeting included Seth Rosner of Saratoga Springs as Vice-Chairman, Dr. James Hoehn of Menands as Treasurer and Robert Ensign, Jr. of Latham as Secretary. Chairs of the board’s various sub-committees will be announced at a later date.

A Gloversville native, Montano owns and operates a commercial/industrial rental business with divisions specializing in apartments and luxury home development in the downstate area. He is also a well known automobile collector, with a number of “Woodies” from his collection the focus of a recent exhibit in the Museum’s Golub gallery.

“Cars with wooden bodies have always fascinated me,” offered Montano. “But they only represent a segment of my collection and my interests. I truly love all aspects of the automotive world.

“As chairman of the Board of Trustees, my goal is to continue and expand our programs that bring these diverse communities together. Whether your focus is woodies, the brass era, auto racing, classic cars, any of the diverse makes that highlight our lawn shows or our automotive-themed educational programs, the Auto Museum is your place and I want everyone to feel welcome here.”

“Charlie Montano epitomizes the caliber of leadership and automobile enthusiasm the Museum needs to continue advancing the exceptional cultural enrichment we strive to provide for our growing communities,” said Taylor C. Wells, SAM Executive Director.

SAM Board members fulfilling their current terms include Bob Bailey, David Darrin, Wayne Freihofer, Ron Hedger, Jean Hoffman, Tony Ianniello, Eric King, Ed Lewi, Lee Miller, and Alan Rosenblum.

The mission of the Saratoga Automobile Museum is to preserve, interpret and exhibit automobiles and automotive artifacts. We celebrate the automobile and educate the general public, students and enthusiasts regarding the role of the automobile in New York State and in the wider world. In addition to technical and design aspects, our educational focus is on the past, present and future social and economic impact of the automobile

The Museum is chartered by the Board of Regents of the State of New York Department of Education as a not-for-profit institution. Additionally, the Museum is a member of the American Association of Museums (AAM) and the National Association of Automobile Museums (NAAM).

The Saratoga Automobile Museum is located on the grounds of Saratoga Spa State Park at 110 Avenue of the Pines. For more information, guests can visit the Museum’s website at www.saratogaautomuseum.org or call (518) 587-1935.

Antique Car Rally Headed to Saratoga Springs


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The Great Race, America’s premiere old car rally, is coming to Saratoga Springs this Thursday, June 16, and is expected to bring up to 100 antique automobiles to the city. The overnight stop will be marked by a public event at the Saratoga Automobile Museum to mark their arrival in the Spa city, one of America’s premier vacation destinations.

The 2011 event, sponsored by Hemmings Motor News and Coker Tire, starts in Chattanooga, TN and finishes in Bennington, VT. Run from coast to coast from 1983-2007, it is not a speed race, but a time/speed/distance rally. The driver and navigator are given precise instructions each day that detail every move down to the second, then scored at secret check points along the way and penalized one second for each second either early or late. As in golf, the lowest score wins.

Cars start, and hopefully finish, one minute apart if all goes according to plan. The biggest part of the challenge, other than staying on time and following the instructions, is getting an old car to the finish line each day.

The first car is expected to arrive at the Saratoga Automobile Museum, located in the scenic Saratoga Spa State Park, around 5 p.m., with cars continuing to arrive each minute for an hour and a half. The cars will remain parked for two hours to allow spectators to visit with the participants and to look at the cars.

“When the Great Race pulls into a city it becomes an instant festival,” offered Jeff Stumb, from Huntsville, Ala. He and his wife Karen have competed in the Great Race several times in his 1916 Hudson. “We have seen as many as 40,000 people at stops like Huntington Beach, Calif., and Sioux Falls, S.D.

Participating cars range in age from 1911 to 1969, with most having been manufactured before World War II. For the first time, a 100-year-old car, a 1911 Velie owned by Howard and Doug Sharp of Fairport, N.Y, will participate in the race.

The Great Race was started in 1983 by Tom McRae and was sponsored by Interstate Batteries. It takes its name from the 1965 movie, The Great Race, a comedy based on the real life 1908 automobile race from New York to Paris starring Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Natalie Wood and Peter Falk.

The auto museum will not be open to the public during the event, with participants expected to move to their downtown hotel at approximately 8:30 pm.

Saratoga Automobile Museum Offers ‘Forza Italia!’


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On May 7, 2011, the Saratoga Automobile Museum will debut the exhibit “Forza Italia!, Fine Sporting Cars From Italy.” The exhibit will feature several cars from the renowned Oscar Davis Collection in Elizabeth, NJ. Cars from Mr. Davis’ fine collection, housed in an exclusive private Museum, have appeared at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, as well as at Amelia Island, Radnor Hunt, and other significant concours events.

Cars expected on display in Saratoga will include a prewar Alfa Romeo 6C1750, a 6C2300 and an 8C2900, along with a sporty Fiat Balilla Spyder. Postwar examples will include a Ferrari 212 Scaglietti Spyder, a Lancia B24S Nardi Spyder America, a Maserati Ghibli SS, a Bizzarrini 5300 Strada, a Fiat Abarth 750 sports coupe, and a Ferrari F40, to name just a few.

Italian vehicles embody everything that’s exciting about a country where speed, head-turning styling and pure sex appeal are standard equipment in every car. The Italian automobile industry has long been one of its country’s greatest, most visible and innovative assets. A major contributor to Italy’s dramatic postwar industrial rebirth, Italian cars continue to set trends and attract countless enthusiasts.

From FIAT, a pioneer automaker whose tiny Topolino economy car preceded Germany’s Volkswagen and Britain’s MINI; to Lancia, an early motoring innovator and successful racing marque; and Alfa Romeo, a serious technical and race-winning pre-war rival to Bugatti; to the premium postwar European sports car renaissance led by Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati, Italian high-performance cars have long contested and set standards for the world’s best.

With the Fiat and Alfa Romeo marques returning soon to North America, and considering the present-day strengths of Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati, this is a ‘primo’ time for the Saratoga Automobile Museum to present an overview of great vintage Italian Sports and Grand Touring cars.

Open to the public through the Summer Season, the exhibit will end with the acclaimed Second Annual Fall Ferrari Festival, held in cooperation with the Saratoga Performing Arts Center’s acclaimed Wine and Food Festival, scheduled for September 10, 2011.

The Forza Italia! exhibit will open to the public on May 7, 2011 at 10:00 AM, and will be occupying the Museum during the summer months until September 25, 2011 at 5 pm.

Adjacent to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) in the Saratoga Spa Park, The Saratoga Automobile Museum is located at 110 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga Springs, NY. Hours of operation during the summer months are: Open Daily 10 am to 5 pm. †For more information, call 518-587-1935 or visit us on the web at www.saratogaautomuseum.org.

Saratoga Auto Museum 1950s Fundraiser


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On Saturday March 5th, Saratoga Automobile Museum is celebrating their 2nd Beer and Burgers fundraiser from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. The event features micro-brews and local beers, live entertainment, and food by local chef Kim Klopstock served car-hop style by the women of the Albany All Stars Roller Derby.

This year’s featured exhibition includes Right Coast Rods, Historic Roadsters & Coupes from the 1950s in the main gallery of the Museum. The second floor gallery will host vehicles made in New York along with Racing in New York exhibit.

“We have put together a wide variety of Micro Brews that will delight your taste buds,” Richard Selikoff, Development Director for the Museum, said. “You will be able to sample brews from Saratoga Brewing, Goose Island, Redhook, Windmere Bros., Davidson Bros., Ommergang, Kona and Shock Top. Sliders will be once again on tap by master chef Kim Klopstock from Lily and the Rose, she is promising to have a full selection of veggie burgers as well. Burgers are not the only thing on the menu for the evening, there will be a full selection of side dishes to compliment the beer and the burgers.” Two bands from Schenectady, Summer of Doug and The Uncle Bootsy Project will provide entertainment.

The event is a fundraiser for the Saratoga Automobile Museum. Tickets are $35.00 per person and are available at the Museum or on their website. For more information contact Richard Selikoff at 518-587-1935 x 26. The Saratoga Automobile Museum is located at 110 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

Proper ID is required; poodle skirts are optional.

Seminar: American Motorcycle Competition of 1912


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The Saratoga Automobile Museum in Saratoga Springs has announced a historical seminar on motorcycles this February 26, 2011 from 11 am to 2 pm. After the large success of Marty Christopher’s “History of the Motorcycle” in 2010 he has decided that this years theme would be “American Motorcycle Competition of 1912”. Mr. Christopher thought that a seminar about competition motorcycles would be a great tie in with the Museum’s existing exhibit.

The exhibit opened in October of 2010 and will be open until May 1, 2011. There are several bikes on display for visitors to take a look at. From Asphalt to Ice is the title of the exhibit and is the third one that the Museum has put together since they decided to make motorcycles part of their changing exhibit series. Christopher has been instrumental in assisting the Museum in locating motorcycles for each exhibit and he has said that he will use the motorcycles on display as models for his seminar.

The Museum invites everyone to join in on “American Motorcycle Competition of 1912” seminar. Spend the day finding out what motorcycle racing was like in America back in 1912.

Participants will learn about the types, tracks, bikes, and of course the riders. What rules were in 1912, performance tricks, engine configurations, nick names of riders and how the riders earned their names.

“These motorcycles have been stripped of all excess and have no comfort. There are little to no decorations and safety is always in question. The rider is exposed right down to their nerves as they pull back on the throttle on the green and speed forward,” Christopher said when asked to give a brief description about what racing was like in 1912.

The Saratoga Automobile Museum is located at: 110 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. Hours of operation: 7 days a week, 10 am to 5 pm. Admission: Adults – $8.00, seniors and students – $5.00 with children under 6 free. For more information call Tracy Paige (518) 587-1935 x 17 or tracy.paige@saratogaautomuseum.org.