Saratoga's Pompeia

saratoga pompeiaThe vintage photo blog Shorpy featured a 1901 photo today from a home on Broadway in Saratoga Springs -- a building that included a replica of a home from ancient Pompeii. It's a beautiful scene (be sure to click through for a larger view).

Blogging Pompeii -- a Pompeii blog -- dug into the history of the building last year (and found a bunch of photos):

The Pompeia was built in 1889 by Boston hardware merchant and architect, Franklin Webster Smith, once dubbed 'Reconstruction Smith'. He had already built the Villa Zorayda in St Augustine, Florida (a Moorish Palace) and the Casa Monica Hotel, also in St. Augustine (another Moorish castle but on what seems a far larger scale; the website contains historical images of the hotel, which are amazing). Smith was described as 'a man of vision and foresight' who wanted both to enhance Saratoga's prosperity and her cultural and intellectual standing. Apparently he had a personal distaste for horse-racing and gambling, for which Saratoga was famous.

According to Blogging Pompei, the building has had a string of different owners and mishaps over its lifetime (apparently there was an incident involving smoldering mummies). The building still stands today -- though not as a house. It's now the offices of Palio, an advertising firm.

(Thanks, CJ!)

photo: Shorpy

Comments

"Smoldering mummies..."

Now that sounds intriguing!

After a long hard day - this was fascinating! Thanks!

I have one of Franklin Webster Smith's books containing his vast plans for a national history and world cultural museum in Washington DC. The best part is his "Plans and Suggestions for the Aggrandizement of Washington"- it called for a new Executive Mansion bigger than the Library of Congress (and designed by the same architects) and generally rebuilding the whole city to look like Paris, but much bigger and fancier.

This is what I love about AOA. Never knew about this place, but it sounds fascinating.

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