Gideon who?

GideonPutnamHotel.jpg

Saratoga's Gideon Putnam Hotel

By Mike Hare

Gideon Putnam? Sure, he's the guy they named that swanky hotel for. But who is he? And what exactly did he do to get a swanky Saratoga hotel named for him anyway?

Nothing much. He just designed the streets, established tourism and made sure the springs in Saratoga would always belong to the people.

Gideon Putnam was a visionary alright. Who would have thought that the, umm, tasty mineral water in Saratoga Springs would have made it the tourist mecca that it's become?

For some reason, Gideon Putnam did.

Shortly after the Revolutionary War, Putnam settled in Saratoga with his family. When Nicholas Gilman practically tripped on Congress Spring, Putnam was the guy who understood what he'd found. He leased nearby property and as the springs became popular, he became the town's first innkeeper.

He established "Putnam's Tavern and Boarding House" across from the spring, on property that eventually became the site of The Grand Union Hotel. Today it houses The Gap and Banana Republic.

Putnam also drew up the street plans for what was then called the "Lower Village."
The streets included Broad Street, which later became Broadway, and Phila, which
most people assume is short for Philadelphia. It's not. It's named for Phila Putnam,
one of Gideon Putnam's nine children.

As Putnam designed the town, more and more springs were discovered. His designs
ensured that all of these springs would always be on public land. The decision helped
protect the springs and the tourist trade.

Putnam's hotel became extremely popular, so he set to work on a larger one called
Congress Hall. But during its construction he fell from scaffolding, and died from his wounds.

In the 1930s when a hotel was opened in what is now Spa State Park, it was named for Gideon Putnam, the innkeeper, visionary and the father of Saratoga Springs.


Mike Hare is the author of Saratoga Lives and a Spa City tour guide.

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

What's All Over Albany?

All Over Albany is for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. In other words, it's for you. It's kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who can help you find out what's up. Oh, and our friends call us AOA.

Search

Recently on All Over Albany

Stuff to do this weekend

It's Memorial Day weekend. The official unofficial kickoff to the summer season. There are plenty of picnics, barbecues, and just general hanging out to do,... (more)

Working out the design of the Albany Skyway

The Albany Skyway project is continuing to move forward, and this week the engineering team heading up the design work presented a few potential concepts... (more)

First house on the street

History + houses + maps = this chronicle of house building in Niskayuna by Guy Spiers. It's remarkable to see how house were clustered in... (more)

Collar City Candle Craft + Draft BBQ at Lansing Farm

This is something a little different and summery: Collar City Candle is hosting a Craft + Draft BBQ event at Lansing Farm in Colonie Sunday,... (more)

There's another rail trail public art project this summer, and the call for artists is open

We mentioned this in the rail trail post this week, but it's worth highlighting: The call for artists is currently open for the next public... (more)

Recent Comments

I frequently find myself along this trail on Sunday mornings, hungry, & very little is open. There's a lot of talk about special mowers & building bathrooms & that's nice, yes, let's do that, certainly. But *right now* people using this trail are hungry & want to buy food & drink (& use the bathroom, as a paying customer): if the businesses that are already there were OPEN it would go a long way to providing amenities & destinations. ...

The Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail is set to get a new paved section this summer, and a few more bits about its future

...has 11 comments, most recently from Zed F

Recycled robots

...has 1 comment, most recently from Herbert

Working out the design of the Albany Skyway

...has 2 comments, most recently from Jeff D

Civil War walking tour of Albany Rural Cemetery

...has 4 comments, most recently from Amy

What qualifies as the Capital Region?

...has 1 comment, most recently from jsc