Historic Hotels in Upstate NY

The Gideon Putnam bears the name of Gideon Putnam, the visionary who created a spa resort in the midst of Upstate New York’s wilderness and in the process founded Saratoga Springs.

Nostalgic photo of woman relaxing in a tub.

Mineral water, for drinking and bathing, provided rich natural resources tapped by local residents for centuries. Saratoga Springs’ names comes from the Iroquois word "Sarachtaque," which means “place of swift water.”

When Putnam settled near High Rock Spring in 1795, he saw the area's potential and purchased land near Congress Spring to build Putnam's Tavern and Boarding House. With entrepreneurial zeal, he quickly expanded the guesthouse to accommodate demand for access to the springs and pursued his plans for a village–calling it Saratoga Springs.

In 1929, Governor Franklin Roosevelt appointed a commission to develop a health treatment facility here, and construction of Saratoga’s spa began. In tribute to the profound and lasting effect of his early efforts, the state funded the project in the 1930's to build the Saratoga Spa State Park including the Gideon Putnam Resort.

The artist James Reynolds created the murals in the dining room, depicting scenes from Saratoga society and the Adirondacks. Dorothy Tuckerman Draper, one of the most successful interior designers of the 1930's and '40s and designer of West Virginia’s Greenbrier Resort, was commissioned to decorate the interior of the hotel. The bright vivid colors of her designs were intended to relax and invigorate visitors to the spa resort.The Gideon Putnam was completed and opened in 1935. The rest is, well, history.

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