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Displaying items by tag: Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation
SARATOGA SPRINGS — At the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation’s Annual Meeting in September, the Foundation will recognize individuals and organizations who have invested significant time and money to undertake preservation projects in the past year. The Preservation Recognition Awards celebrate the winners’ hard work and commitment to being good stewards of their property with members of the community and friends of the Foundation.
The Foundation seeks nominations for projects that reflect a dedication to preserving, developing, and reusing historic buildings and landscapes. Those nominated may be individuals, organizations, businesses, or community representatives. Nominations will be assessed by the Awards Committee according to the following criteria: project design sensitivity to the historic character and environment of the property; project execution represents appropriate techniques and preservation practice; degree of difficulty faced and appropriateness of solutions were applied.
The nominated project must be located in the City of Saratoga Springs, but does not have to be located in a historic district. Buildings must be 50 years or older and projects can range from small, removal of vinyl siding or restoring original wood windows, to large, an entire building rehabilitation or adaptive-reuse. Additions to historic buildings and new in-fill construction can also be nominated. All projects must have been completed within the past year.
Saratoga Springs — On Friday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. The Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation will host a virtual Holiday Homes Tour. Since this year people will not be able to gather together for holiday parties, the Foundation is providing a unique way for people to get into the holiday spirit. The inspiration for the event is the Candlelight House Tour, a tour of private houses decorated for the holidays that the Foundation hosted for 25 years until 2015.
The virtual Holiday Homes Tour will feature the architecture and history of two private homes on Union Avenue, the George U. Gates House built in 1868 and the Ashabel & Elizabeth Moody House built in 1873. The tour will offer a rare peek into the traditional and mid-century inspired interiors of these two historic homes while enjoying holiday music from local musicians the McKrells courtesy of Caffe Lena and singer/songwriter Cassandra Kubinski.
“We are thrilled to offer cheer during this holiday season by offering an exclusive opportunity to learn about the architecture and history of two beautiful houses while enjoying holiday songs of local musicians. We encourage people to support their favorite local restaurant by ordering take-out while having a festive cocktail in the comfort and warmth of their homes,” said Samantha Bosshart, Executive Director of the Foundation.
The program will feature holiday music by The McKrells who are one of the Capital District’s most well-known Irish and bluegrass acts. Lead singer Kevin McKrell has performed in theaters, clubs and on festival stages across the United States, Canada, Ireland and the U.K. and has been the recipient of songwriter and entertainer of the year awards multiple times by publications throughout the northeast. Saratogian Cassandra Kubinski is a singer/songwriter who has performed internationally and collaborated with artists like Goo Goo Dolls, Chris Botti, and 10,000 Maniacs, among others. Her songs have been highlighted on numerous television shows. The Foundation is honored to be joined by these impressive artists during the Holiday Homes Tour.
This virtual program will be presented through Zoom. Tickets are $20 for Foundation members and $25 for non-members. Tickets must be purchased by 5 p.m. on Dec. 11 to receive a link to the live stream program. Visit www.saratogapreservation.org or call 518-587-5050 to purchase your ticket.
This virtual program is supported, in part, by generous sponsors including Presenting Sponsors: Allerdice Building Supply, Andersen Windows & Doors, Burns Management, Mangino Buick GMC, and Minich MacGregor Wealth Management; and Supporting Sponsor Best Dressed Windows in Town.
Founded in 1977, the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that promotes preservation and enhancement of the architectural, cultural, and landscaped heritage of Saratoga Springs.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Join the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation for the first ever Autumn Strolls & Programs this fall. Following the tremendous success of the Summer Sunday Strolls and virtual programming, the Foundation is thrilled to present autumn programs.
Tour various neighborhoods in Saratoga Springs while remaining safe and socially distanced. On Sept. 20 10:30 a.m. Executive Director Samantha Bosshart will kick-off this series of tours with The Good Life:North Broadway. Learn about the architecture of the grand homes on this prominent street that were built by some of Saratoga Springs’ most notable figures such as Senator Brackett, William B. Gage, Frank Hathorn, and Lucy Skidmore Scribner. The tour meets at the northwest corner of North Broadway and Van Dam Street in front of Witt Construction.
Other tour topics this season highlight the Canfield Casino and Congress Park, Franklin Square, and the historic West Side. All Sunday morning tours last approximately 90 minutes and require walking and standing on varied terrain. Due to current restrictions in New York State, the Autumn Strolls will be limited to twenty guests, which currently is less than the maximum of 50 that is currently allowed, and tickets must be purchased in advance until otherwise noted. Everyone will be required to wear a mask and social distancing will be encouraged when possible. The cost per tour is $15 for SSPF members and $20 for non-members. Members who have received complimentary Stroll passes will have those honored for their value of $10 and will be required to pay the difference of $5.
In addition to the Autumn Strolls & Programs, the Foundation is offering a bike tour of the Saratoga Spa State Park on Sunday, Sept. 29 which has already sold out and two virtual presentations in October. “Hidden Histories” with Carol Godette will take place on Thursday, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. Carol will unearth the history of several properties throughout Saratoga Springs including her own home, the site of Ben & Jerry’s, former Convention Hall, and 395 Broadway, today Fingerpaint Marketing. On Tuesday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. Nancy Brown will present “Women’s Suffrage in Saratoga Springs.” Learn about the pivotal role Saratoga Springs played in the women’s suffrage movement and the history of women’s rights conventions. Both virtual programs will be free and streamed through Zoom and Facebook Live. Mark your calendar for the upcoming Twilight Cemetery Tour “Madness, Murder, Untimely Deaths, and Strange Coincidences,” on Friday, Oct. 30 at 5 p.m. for a rare opportunity to explore Greenridge Cemetery at dusk with tour leader Gloria May.
Spring always brings flowers and the anticipation and excitement of the Historic Homes Tour, the largest fundraising event of the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation. On Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend, May 9, Skidmore College was graciously going to open its doors of the historic Surrey-Williamson Inn to those on the tour and host our Buildings & Breakfast and Lunch & Learn events. Unfortunately, due to the Coronavirus, the event was postponed. However, there is no reason to delay sharing the history of this stucco English style building until the tour can take place!
Skidmore College made the decision to move to its current campus on North Broadway in 1961 when Board of Trustees member Erik Jonsson and his wife Margaret donated the former Henry Hilton estate, Woodlawn. Prior to that, the Skidmore College campus was comprised of nearly 90 buildings located along Union Avenue and adjacent streets. The college was faced with the need to grow and the increased costs of maintaining and operating a variety of historic buildings that included former mansions and associated carriage houses, a sanitarium, small hotels, and a church. The 650 acres of Woodlawn gave the college the opportunity to build a new, larger campus. Construction started in October of 1963. The first buildings, a residential and dining complex and the Lucy Scribner Library, were completed in 1966. Building of the new campus and the transition from the downtown campus continued for several years.
It was the year following the opening of its first buildings that Skidmore College acquired what is today known as the Surrey-Williamson Inn. The building and associated annex were originally part of the estate of E. Clarence Jones. Jones was a prominent New York City banker and stockbroker who was known for his philanthropy. He acquired lands of the former Henry Hilton estate and built his summer estate immediately over the city limit of Saratoga Springs in the town of Greenfield between 1917 and 1919. The compound overlooked Woodlawn and included the Broadview Lodge, Overlook Cottage, Hill Crest Cottage, Pine Tree Cottage, and a stone stable as well as a garage with a chauffeur’s apartment.
The Broadview Lodge, today the Surrey-Williamson Inn, was the main house of the compound that was built by prominent local contractor William J. Case and Son. On June 23, 1918 the New York Herald wrote: “E. Clarence Jones has completed one of the most imposing villas on North Broadway. It is to be known as the Broadview Lodge and is on an eminence of a commanding and extensive view to the east. It is a copy of an old English villa and is very attractive. The cottage is well back from Broadway and to the east the land gently rolls. The gardens about the villa are very attractive.”
The Broadview Lodge with its slate roof had twenty-one rooms, twelve of which were full baths. The first floor had an entrance hall with a double staircase, a living room, dining room, and two reception rooms. The ground level of the house contained a kitchen, butler’s pantry, refrigerator room, servants’ dining room, flower room, and a butler’s bedroom and bath.
In January 1921, Jones, who had been divorced for twenty years, married Marjorie Seely Blossom, an actress and widow of author and playwright Henry Martyn Blossom. At the time, Marjorie was considered one of the most beautiful women of New York City. Jones and his wife would typically spend from June through October at the estate and loved to entertain.
In 1926, Jones passed away. His widow became the sole heir to Jones’ estate and retained ownership of the Broadview Lodge and the other buildings. In 1928, she married Robert Amcotts Wilson, a retired British naval officer. Over time the various buildings of the estate were subdivided. In 1945, the Broadview Lodge was sold to former State Senator Thomas Brown and his wife Hattie. However, the Wilsons continued to summer at the Hill Crest Cottage until 1949.
In 1946, the husband of Senator Thomas Brown’s daughter Elinor, Roy Wright, opened the Brown School for Boys at the Broadview Lodge. It was a boarding and day school that offered one to two years of intensive preparation for college with small classes and much individual attention. Many of the students were World War II veterans in their early twenties who needed preparation to attend four-year colleges. Students, upon graduating, were admitted to prestigious schools including Yale, Colgate, Middlebury, Syracuse, William and Mary, RPI and others. The school was short-lived and closed in the fall of 1948.
The following year, the Brown School for Boys was converted into a 21 room hotel, the Surrey Inn. A June 6, 1949 Saratogian article shared “extensive alterations in dining and room furnishings and decoration are being made. Twin-bed rooms and suites with private bath will be available. Accommodations for personal maids and chauffeurs will be maintained on the property. Dining service will be offered to non-guests by appointment only. While the hotel will be operated principally for guests wishing to spend a week or more in Saratoga, those staying for a shorter period will be accepted as vacancies permit.”
Later the hotel, an eight room annex with garage, and associated furnishings were offered for sale for $65,500. On May 12, 1965, The Surrey Inn Corporation acquired the property and extensively renovated it. Less than two years later on January 18, 1967, Skidmore College President Joseph Palamountain announced that the college had received the controlling interest of The Surrey Inn Corporation in a gift-purchase transaction with Robert Ducas of New York City, the sole stockholder. “Skidmore is very grateful to Mr. Ducas. Not only for his generous gift, but also for his thoughtfulness in making available to the college an attractive property adjacent to the new campus,” said Palamountain, who intended to continue to operate it as a hotel.
The Surrey Inn – later renamed Surrey-Williamson Inn in honor of longtime trustee and benefactor Susan Kettering Williamson – became a popular location for members of the Skidmore community to gather for academic symposia, events, receptions, and meetings. With 10 newly renovated private guest rooms with private baths, onsite catering, beautiful gardens, and access to the college’s facilities, including its hiking trails, the space continues to be used for meetings, conferences, weddings, and other events. “It is one of those special places that sets it apart from anywhere else on campus. It feels as if you are in another era when you step inside and you imagine the splendor and charm that guests over the past century have enjoyed,” shared Wendy LeBlanc, Director of Conferences and Events. She is excited that this beautiful venue is now open to others outside the Skidmore community to experience.
Over time, Skidmore College has acquired the other cottages that were once associated with the E. Clarence Jones Estate – Overlook Cottage (Colton Alumni Welcome Center, 860 North Broadway), Hill Crest Cottage (Waring Admissions Center, 950 North Broadway), Pine Tree Cottage (Van Patten House, 954 North Broadway) – to serve different administrative purposes, bringing back together much of the original estate.
While it is uncertain when the Historic Homes Tour will be rescheduled, please take this time to walk North Broadway to see the former E. Clarence Jones estate and enjoy the peacefulness of the North Woods and campus while appreciating its architecture, history, and landscape. To learn when the Historic Homes Tour; Porch Party that kicks-off the event; Breakfast & Buildings, a presentation about the history of Woodlawn, the main campus of Skidmore College, by Emeritus Skidmore professor Robert Jones; and Lunch & Learn event with Charlie Kuenzel and Dave Patterson presenting “Saratoga’s Big Bang: The Post Civil War Building Boom,” will take place, please periodically visit the Foundation’s website SaratogaPreservation.org.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Traditionally, on the Saturday of Mother’s Day Weekend the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation hosts its Historic Homes Tour, their largest fundraiser of the year, as a way to celebrate the history and architecture of Saratoga Springs. The event always kicks-off with a Porch Party.
However, since the Foundation cannot gather together because of social distancing guidelines, it invites you to join their Virtual Porch Party. The event will feature live music by popular local musician Rich Ortiz 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 9. People are encouraged to gather on your porch or in the comfort of your own home, order food out to support your favorite local restaurant or make your own, and share photos to win giveaways and contest prizes.
Post a picture/video of you toasting preservation during the Virtual Porch Party on Saturday, May 9 to have the opportunity to win gift cards to great local restaurants and stores that were purchased by the Board of Directors of the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation as their way to support locally-owned businesses that over the years have given so much to the Foundation.
The Foundation wants to see your best Saratoga-themed porch decorations and decorations that reflect this moment in history. If you participate, you have the opportunity to win great porch packages from TOGA HERITAGE and Impressions of Saratoga. The Porch Decorating Contests are open to everyone, near and far. The person who participates from the farthest distance will win a prize.
Preserve your moment in history with a “Porch-trait” by Brian V Photography. This local professional photographer will take a family photo of you on your porch to capture this moment and preserve it for the future. For a $50 donation you can reserve one of the limited times available on Friday, May 8 or Saturday, May 9 in Saratoga Springs. Reservations must be secured by Thursday, May 7 at 5 p.m.
To donate, buy a ticket, participate in the porch decorating contest, reserve your “Porch-trait,” and to learn more about the various ways to be eligible for giveaways, please visit www.saratogapreservation.org or follow the event on Facebook.
Founded in 1977, the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation is a private, not-for-profit organization that promotes preservation and enhancement of the architectural, cultural and landscaped heritage of Saratoga Springs. To learn more or to join please visit www.saratogapreservation.org.
Initially fearing the challenge of saving Universal Preservation Hall, Teddy Foster has fallen in love with what she calls "our beautiful old gal." When the $9.4 million renovation will be completed next year, 'the opportunities will be endless,' she says.
Originally built in 1871 as a Methodist Episcopal Church, Universal Preservation Hall (UPH) became a hub for the creative economy of Saratoga Springs and remained so for over a century. The Church was built as not only a place of worship but also as a venue for famous speakers of that era. Presidents William Howard Taft and Theodore Roosevelt have spoken there, as has the abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The congregation, Saratoga residents and summer visitors by the hundreds attended. Almost 100 years later (1976), the Methodists sold the building to the Universal Baptist Church. The building fell into dangerous disrepair and so the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation and the City became involved in 1999 to move the congregation to a safe venue and condemn the building. The situation looked hopeless.
In 2000, a group of concerned citizens led by Jeff Pfeil and Tom Lewis formed a partnership with Reverend Minnie Burns of the Universal Baptist Church to restore the building as well as create a non-profit community cultural center. With a successful $3 million fund-raising campaign to salvage and stabilize the building for seasonal use, Universal Preservation Hall was "born" in 2003.
Teddy Foster entered the picture in 2006. Shortly after moving back to Saratoga Springs after three years in Virginia, where she had been working for Genworth Financial, she joined the UPH board at the request of a friend.
Reluctant at first because preserving and renovating the building seemed to be an overwhelming project, Foster remembers thinking, “Dear God, please don't ask me to be on your board! Please, no. I don't have anything to offer you.”
She tells this story with humor that's infectious. That's one of many qualities that makes her a great fundraiser. Elected president of the UPH Board in 2009, Foster led the group until 2015 when she negotiated an affiliation with Proctors Collaborative in Schenectady. At that time, she stepped down as board president to be hired as the capital campaign director. Wayne Akey followed in her footsteps as board president and in January 2019, Kathleen Fyfe, program director of Leadership Saratoga, for the Saratoga County of Chamber of Commerce, has been named to lead UPH's board.
It was anything but love at first sight for Foster, but she soon fell head over heels for this huge, crumbling structure and became a passionate preservationist. Working as a volunteer for many years driving UPH's preservation and, now, as paid staff (Campaign Director) to raise $5.5 million toward a restoration that will cost in total $9.4 million.
“Back then, UPH had no money to pay me,” she smiles. So, Foster started a health and wellness business she called "Foster Good Health" so that she had some income while she did the important work she wanted to do for UPH.
With a background in sales training from her 12-year career with Genworth Financial, Foster has used the sales skills she used to teach others to obtain donors for UPH's Capital Campaign.
The 'Living Room' of Saratoga
“I’ve always viewed it as a blank canvas,” says Foster, describing the vast array of events for which the new UPH can be used. Both the 700-seat theater in the round upstairs and the 200-seat community room can be rearranged to accommodate virtually any event.
UPH will focus on presenting more than 200 nights a year of music, live theater, Broadway cabaret, and more. The Great Hall that's the main performance space will have excellent acoustics, lighting and sight lines. There will be comfortable seating and a movie screen that can be lowered from the ceiling.
“I think all we are doing is very cool and makes UPH unique,” Foster says, delighted by her vision of the Great Hall. "The opportunities provided by a newly renovated UPH are endless. We'll be the 'community living room' of Saratoga the year round."
For the last several months, Foster and her operations manager, Mary Beth McGarrahan, have been working out of temporary offices at 3 Franklin Square. They'll stay there until early spring 2020, when the building is scheduled to open if all stays on schedule. Foster is confident that will happen, given the team of contractors, and acoustic/theatrical engineers that are working on the building.
"Saratoga does not have a downtown cultural center that's year-round,” she says. “People come here, and they say, 'There's so much culture here.’ No, not all year round. UPH will fill that gap and ensure the long term economic good health of Saratoga Springs and the surrounding region."
”UPH is in the heart of downtown and will be open almost every day of the year," she continues. "We look forward to lots of collaboration with other arts organizations, local and regional. It's going to be a place people can walk to and share wonderful cultural and community experiences," she promises.
A 'Game Changer'
The road for UPH has been long and challenging but all obstacles have been overcome. Thirteen years after her first involvement with UPH, Foster is excited to be under construction on the massive restoration. She's just $300,000 from achieving the project's $5.5 million fund-raising goal.
“The bulk of the financial resources for the restoration have come from generous individuals and businesses who have given their support because they believe in our vision and understand how important UPH will be to a vital and vibrant Saratoga Springs and surrounding region in the future,” Foster notes.
"We call UPH our 'beautiful old gal' and are dedicated to its future as a thriving venue for all to enjoy. We know that Saratogians and visitors will benefit year-round and enjoy their experiences with us for years to come. Please join us!"
A student-driven communications agency, the SMARTACUS Creative Group is dedicated to the economic and cultural development of Upstate New York.
A senior at Saratoga Springs High School, Ben Weatherwax is president of the chamber orchestra and a member of the varsity rowing team. Ben enjoys fishing, skiing, and spending time outdoors.
WILTON – Last June, residents of Wilton and surrounding towns pulled together to raise funds for Clarkie Carroll, a 13-year-old lacrosse player who had been diagnosed in 2013 with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer that only affects 250 people a year.
Nearly 350 people gathered at McGregor Links Country Club in support of Clarkie and participated in “The Clarkie Cup,” raising nearly $40,000 as a community.
Due to those funds and other donations raised in honor of Clarkie, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer-powered and donor-centered charity dedicated to raising money for childhood cancer research, announced this week that a Hero Fund created in honor of Clarkie Carroll will support lifesaving childhood cancer research, specifically a research grant focused on Ewing Sarcoma. About $300,000 was raised, and all of the funds are going toward research. This is the second $100,000 research grant to be awarded out of the funds raised by the Wilton community.
“It sounds cliché, but it definitely takes a village,” said Clarkie’s father, Dave Carroll. “An unfortunate circumstance led to some wonderfully generous folks and an amazing turnout at the fundraiser. We are immensely grateful – there’s so many people to thank. If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be where we are now.”
After struggling with leg pain throughout his 2013 spring lacrosse season, Clarkie’s parents pushed for an MRI. It showed a mass in his upper right femur. Clarkie’s treatment involved 34 weeks of chemotherapy and surgery to remove the top half of his femur and replace it with a titanium prosthesis and donor bone. Clarkie completed treatment in May 2014 and now shows no evidence of disease.
“We stay cautiously optimistic,” said Dave Carroll. “He’s doing well, he has a metal prosthesis in his leg and needs a couple adjustments from a hardware standpoint, but he’s tougher than most. His mindset is he doesn’t feel sorry for himself. He checks the box and keeps on grinding, setting goals for the day, the week, and just goes from there. I have learned a lot from him.”
Dave Carroll added that the disease is so rare and not well known that it is not a priority in national research funding.
“It will take getting the dollars to the folks in the research labs, and on the [micro] scopes, and in the basements of the hospitals to find a cure,” he said. “It’s going to have to come from private dollars. We are humbled by Wilton’s generosity, and hopeful all the hard work does pay off. It’s amazing, but not surprising, that a community like this rallied around one of its own. And now that money is getting to the right folks, those that have the most promising work.”
This year, the “Team Clarkie St. Baldrick’s Research Grant” was awarded to Dr. Eric Sweet-Cordero, Ph.D., at Stanford University. The $100,000 grant will support Dr. Sweet-Cordero’s research project that aims to understand how a DNA mutation causes Ewing Sarcoma. He hopes that understanding this mutation will lead to better therapies for children with this cancer.
The Team Clarkie Fund was started by Dave and Shannan Carroll in honor of their son, Clarkie. Throughout treatment, Clarkie amazed everybody with his strength, positivity, sense of humor and resilience.
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer-powered charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives. Since 2005, St. Baldrick’s has awarded more than $176 million to support lifesaving research, making the Foundation the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants. For more information about the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, call 1.888.899.BALD or visit www.StBaldricks.org.