Spa State Park

Hall_of_Springs.jpg

The Hall of Springs and the reflecting pool at Spa State Park

So, do people actually drink and bathe in that stuff? It's the most commonly asked question about Saratoga Springs mineral water. And one whiff will tell you why they ask.

The answer is, of course, yes. In fact, the popularity of this odorous (read: stinky), bubbly water put Saratoga Springs on the map, and led to the construction of one of the area's most popular parks. And a former confederate surgeon was behind the whole thing.

In the 1920's a doctor named Simon Baruch was intrigued by the mineral waters in Saratoga Springs. The German born physician was a civil war surgeon for the confederacy. Later he developed an interest in hydrotherapy and bathing for health and wellness. Baruch thought Saratoga's mineral waters could be used in healing. He wanted to build a spa in Saratoga that was akin to the great spas of Europe.

Unfortunately, Dr. Baruch died before he could see his dream fulfilled.
But his son, the well-known financier, Bernard Baruch had the ear of New York's then-governor, Franklin Roosevelt and got the park built with state funds.

By 1932 construction was underway on The Hall of Springs. The reflecting pool, a pair of bath houses and an administrative building followed. Eventually the Victoria pool and the Gideon Putnam Hotel were added.

The spa opened to visitors in 1935. People took mineral baths, strolled through the beautiful archways and visited the Hall of Springs, where they sipped the different mineral waters while listening to chamber music. For two decades it offered world-class treatment in state-of-the-art facilities. Thousands of people stayed there each year and thousands of others visited daily for mineral baths. A research laboratory and adjoining lecture hall (now Spa Little Theater) were bustling with activity as scientists studied the impact of mineral water on patients' cardiovascular and circulatory systems.

But by the mid-1950s, attendance at the spa began to decline. Things had to change if the park was going to sustain itself. The state added 800-acres of undeveloped land and built picnic sites, the Peerless Pool and the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

Today Spa State Park is known for its concerts, swimming pools, golf courses, hiking trails, picnic areas and other attractions. But you can still relax in a mineral bath, stroll the archways, and maybe even take a peek into the Hall of Springs and relive the glory days of Dr. Baruch's great spa.

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

Today's moment of winter

Beige on gray sway along the Indian Pond on the UAlbany campus. There was a rumor that it was something like 70 degrees at some... (more)

Chris Gibson at Bethlehem Public Library

Former Congressman Chris Gibson will be at the Bethlehem Public Library March 3 to talk about his book Rally Point. The talk is free and... (more)

Kirsten Gillibrand on Desus and Mero and The Late Show

More evidence that Kirsten Gillibrand is becoming a national figure: KG appeared on both the Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Viceland's Desus &... (more)

NY Maple Weekend 2018

March is almost here, and that means maple syrup in New York. Maple farms around the state area again participating in two "Maple Weekends" this... (more)

Morning Blend

Guns + The governors of New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Rhode Island say their states are forming a coalition -- States for Gun Safety... (more)

Recent Comments

Definitely needs a mural. Another spot that is begging for one is the Delaware Ave Price Chopper in Albany. The side along Elm St is a huge gray wall that takes up most of the block!

Good places for a large company picnic?

...has 9 comments, most recently from frank

Kirsten Gillibrand on Desus and Mero and The Late Show

...has 1 comment, most recently from Bullwinkle

Dylan Ratigan has jumped into the pool of challengers to Elise Stefanik

...has 6 comments, most recently from ace

Flooding begins to recede along Mohawk, missed fax might have prevented Jay Street fire, Capital Region private college applications rising

...has 1 comment, most recently from Lauren

The Glynn Mansion and the story of Martin Glynn

...has 1 comment, most recently from BS