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#TBT: All Hail the 1959 Prom Queen

Remembering the Saratoga Springs High School prom nights of the late 1950s.

Linda Stiles (right) tells Cathy Adinolfi (center) that she is the 1959 prom queen.

The year was 1959, and an ecstatic Cathy Adinolfi had just received the news that she won the coveted Saratoga Springs High School prom queen crown. “I was very happy that Cathy got it,” says Kathy Tyger Totten, who was a junior at the time. “You always wondered who it was going to be.” Though never on the court herself, Totten is somewhat of the prom expert of her era, having attended the event four consecutive years from 1958-61. (Since her moment in the limelight more than 60 years ago, Adinolfi has chosen to live a life of privacy; she declined to comment on her big win.)

“Prom was at the Canfield Casino and we always had a live band—no records or anything like that,” Totten says. “Usually, you’d go with another couple. First, you’d have pictures taken. Then, a lot of times we went over to Dublin.” (Saratoga’s West Side is known as “Dublin,” because of the Irish immigrants who lived there; in the early 20th century, many Italians settled and opened restaurants in the neighborhood as well.) “You had a white gown on, and you’re eating spaghetti,” Totten continues. “And then the next day, every year, we went to Hearthstone Park at Lake George. But I didn’t stay out all night.”

As for the selection process of the queen herself, Totten says that it was only the boys who voted for the queen. The king? No voting necessary! Whoever happened to be the queen’s date was crowned king. Of course, the male student body selecting the queen would be unimaginable today, and the high school actually discontinued the naming of a queen/king/court altogether sometime after 1998. But while Saratoga prom queens may be a thing of the past, the select few who were crowned all those years ago will never have to give up their titles. Once a prom queen, always a prom queen. 

Natalie Moore

Natalie Moore is the director of content at Saratoga Living and Capital Region Living.

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