Saratoga Trunks

Saratoga_Trunk.jpg

Try getting this through airport security.

By Mike Hare

Before the rich and famous sported Louis Vuitton luggage, they packed up their Saratoga Trunks for their summers at The Spa.

Back in Saratoga's Victorian heyday, people didn't just come to the Spa City for a weekend, they came for "the season." An entire summer away from home meant hauling a whole summer wardrobe. And in the days before shorts and slip dresses, 19th century vacationers needed some serious luggage. Ladies were hauling countless hats and gowns. Never mind the myriad of undergarments required.

Around that time a huge iron-bound trunk with a curved top and handles emerged. Nobody knows who designed the it, but before long people were calling them Saratoga Trunks -- after the place so many of them were headed.

The Saratoga Trunk made its mark instantly because of its durability, unique design, and size. They came to Saratoga strictly by train, because they were too huge for stagecoaches. By the mid-1850s, the Saratoga Trunk was so well-known that it became the butt of cartoonists' jokes, along the lines of, "it would also make a fine portable dining room."

By the early 1900s, folks were taking cars to the Spa City. And when they didn't have porters to carry the trunks, they weren't as much fun to haul around. The Saratoga Trunk became burdensome, heavy, and obsolete.

Still, the idea of the trunks suggested romance and nostalgia. Pulitzer-prize winning author Edna Ferber's 1941 novel, Saratoga Trunk, was a best-seller. Four years later, Ingrid Bergman and Gary Cooper starred in a movie version. Part of it was filmed in front of the United States Hotel, where Borders is today.

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

Comments

I have this exact same truck in my living room. My wife and I have had it for about 9 years now. Visitors ask about it often. Now I know more facts to share.

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