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"Saratoga Illustrated: The Visitor's Guide to Saratoga Springs"

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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By 1885, when this booklet was written, Saratoga had been one of the country's premiere resorts for more than sixty years. Beginning around 1812, it was created around a set of mineral springs when the first large hotel was built near the country's first tourist resort, nearby Ballston Spa. By 1820, Saratoga had overtaken Ballston with more than 1,500 available lodging rooms. Served by the steamboat and a well-developed set of stage lines, it drew thousands of tourists up the Hudson River. One of the country's first railroads connected it to Schenectady and later, Albany. By the 1850s visitors could ride railroads from New York straight to Saratoga. Its primary attraction was always the medical "treatment" afforded by drinking mineral waters, but in fact most tourists came there to see and be seen. Always in danger of being overtaken by newer, more glamorous attractions, Saratoga successfully reinvented itself in the coming decades. Some of its efforts included gaining an exemption from the legislature to have a gambling casino and later, the creation of the Saratoga Raceway. By the 1880s it was once again a fashionable resort, a status it has gained and lost several times since.


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