Historic Saratoga Spa

Saving the Springs


Gas Company Plant Geyser Park When commercial exploitation threatened Saratoga’s famous mineral waters, New York State took action.

America’s rising demand for carbon dioxide gas almost led to the exhaustion of Saratoga’s mineral springs.  By 1900, private companies had drilled hundreds of wells for the purpose of extracting the gas that was in demand for the nation’s soda fountains and many other uses.

Commercial pumping was withdrawing large amounts of water from the springs’ common reservoir, placing the entire resource in jeopardy. The owners of individual springs were beginning to fight each other over a dwindling water supply.

Leaders in Albany responded to this troubling situation by declaring the springs area a New York State Reservation, and authorizing the state to purchase the springs from their owners.  

From 1909 to 1915 the state was able to purchase 600 acres of land and obtain control of more than 150 separate springs, capping most of them. 

The spring waters had been saved.

Selling the Spa


Postcard Promenade From the day it opened, the Saratoga Spa pursued an energetic marketing campaign.

Advertisements, brochures, postcards, and other promotional materials targeted both vacationing pleasure seekers and potential Spa patrons.

Mr. Roosevelt Builds a Spa


Construction of Spa Park Building The creation of a new spa on the grounds of the Saratoga Reservation owes much to Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

When FDR took office in 1929 as New York’s Governor, the Saratoga Reservation parcel along Route 50 boasted two recently constructed bath houses - the Washington and the Lincoln.  But Roosevelt had even bigger plans for Saratoga: the creation of a world-class European-style Spa on the grounds of the ”Geyser Park”  Under his leadership, state government earmarked more than $1 million to be spent on design and the first phase of construction for this new facility.

In 1930, Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Saratoga Springs Commission to manage the spa’s development.  Construction began in 1932 - and then the Great Depression struck.

After taking office as President in 1933, FDR came to the rescue by way of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, one of his New Deal agencies, which loaned $5 million to complete the spa’s construction. 

The splendid new Saratoga Spa opened in the summer of 1935.

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"It was a lovely and gracious resort and I wished that I had more time there. It was very convenient to the town of Saratoga Springs and the Victorian street festival was a bonus. I live in an area that has mostly national retailers and it was refreshing to be able to shop in so many unique local retailers."  ”

– Eileen