The history of Saratoga Springs NY has profound local and national significance. From the crucial Battle of Saratoga and the early colonial settlers to the Saratoga Race Track, the Gambling Era, and the significant role played by the USS Saratoga in US naval history, the rich history of Saratoga Springs NY is colorful and wide ranging.
Saratoga Springs has long been celebrated for its splendid natural springs, bubbling with rich mineral water.
Prior to settlement, Saratoga was inhabited by the Iroquois Indians who called the area “Sarachtogue,” which means "hillside of a great river" or "place of the swift water." Native Americans flocked to the valley each summer for healing and peaceful meditation by the natural springs.
Gideon Putnam, an early Saratoga settler, secured the city’s successful future in the early decades of the 1800’s when he erected the Grand Union Hotel and Congress Hall, the first two hotels in the area. Soon after, hotels began appearing all over Saratoga Springs as the area grew rapidly in popularity and population.
By 1826, Saratoga Springs was legally recognized as a village, and the area was frequented by prominent political and cultural figures of that day, including Martin Van Buren and Stephen Douglas.
The 1860’s brought more growth and development to Saratoga with the birth of the Victorian and Gambling Eras.
In 1864, John Hunter and William R. Travers went in on a joint venture to establish a thoroughbred racetrack.The Saratoga Race Course drew in large crowds, marking a new Gambling Era for the Saratoga Springs area and adding yet another reason for its growing popularity.
Morrissey’s Club House (the modern-day Canfield Casino) was built in 1870 by retired politician John Morrissey as a popular gaming establishment. In the early years, neither locals nor women were permitted to enter this exclusive club house, but men were invited to play faro, roulette and other games in the club house’s large gambling room. The establishment changed hands after Morrissey’s death in 1878 to Charles Reed and Albert Spencer who then sold it to Richard Canfield in 1894.
Throughout the latter years of the 19th century, Saratoga Springs’ status continued to rise, and the area was considered one of the most prominent travel destinations in America, booming with natural beauty, culture, gaming and fun.
The Victorian Era from the 1860’s to the1890’s represented a golden age in the history of Saratoga Springs NY. Many luxurious Saratoga resorts and spas accommodated the heavy influx of visitors during this period, fullfilling high society's desire for an extravagant retreat at a luxurious spa. Famous visitors were so common to the city during this era that Saratoga Springs was nicknamed the "Queen of Spas".
Saratoga Springs NY is a region rich in historical significance, growing from a secluded valley with a handful of early settlers to today's resort hot-spot with a population of 28,000 people. Boasting natural mineral springs, the Saratoga Racetrack, historical landmarks and fine hotels and resorts, Saratoga Springs is an ideal place to live and remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in the nation.