Happily, as part of my day job, I get to stop by and visit the beautiful Universal Preservation Hall on a weekly basis. This has become one of my favorite parts of my week. Not only do I get to pop my head in the office and say hello to Teddy Foster (President, UPH) and Mary Beth McGarrahan (Operations Manager), but I also have the opportunity to walk around and appreciate all that is beautiful in that magnificent and historic building.
And it is truly MAGNIFICENT!
I first became familiar with the entirety of the interior of UPH last year when, during a photo contest, they opened up the entire building to photo enthusiasts and allowed us to explore every available corner. I took several hundred photos and explored every possible area; climbed cool, curvy staircases and ladders, and looked for every angle and photo op I could find.
It was glorious. I spent at least a couple of hours there. I was enchanted.
But my favorite part? I have the biggest obsession with the windows! Stunning is a weak description of their beauty. Every week when I am in there, I am either snapping away with my phone, or I run back out to my car and return with my camera in hand. I just can’t get past them without taking a few photos. And they always have subtle differences from week to week, depending on the time of day I am there and the weather outside.
As a little bit of background to the building, I will once again take a quote from their website to share with you (http://www.universalpreservationhall.org/). It’s kind of a long quote, but there was nothing I wanted to leave out!
“The Hall was built in 1871 by Elbridge Boyden and is one of the earliest and finest examples of High Victorian Gothic architecture anywhere in the country. Borrowing heavily from German and Italian Gothic styles, Boyden created a remarkable structure. He contrasted the rose colored brick with light Ohio sandstone to define the pointed Gothic arches that frame the doors and windows and he used horizontal bands of this sandstone to unify the entire building. Inside, two walnut and ash staircases lead upstairs to the main theatre. The ceiling of this awe-inspiring room is forty-five feet above the floor. The balcony, which when in use, can seat two hundred, wraps around three sides of the auditorium. All of the supports that define the balcony and the ceiling beams feature Gothic arches that echo those in the tall, abstract, Tiffany-inspired, stained-glass windows which dominate the room. The majestic bell tower, which is the tallest structure in Saratoga Springs, houses a 3,000 pound Meneely bell cast in nearby Troy, New York.”
Universal Preservation Hall is currently being restored as a performance venue, and hosts a rich and varied schedule of performances and events throughout the year.
And I remain obsessed with those windows!!