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Downtown Details: Let’s Take A ‘Virtual’ Stroll Through Downtown Saratoga

Cooped up at home, you say? 'Saratoga Living' wants to take you on a walk, pointing out all of the city’s signature oddities.  

The Batcheller Mansion Inn. (Dori Fitzpatrick)

You’re probably stuck in your home or apartment, daydreaming about the last time you were able to take a carefree stroll around Downtown Saratoga Springs. Let’s face it: It’s been awhile since you were able to really enjoy being outside—you know, not worrying about whether you were properly social distancing and such.

So, Saratoga Living would like to take you on a nostalgic, “virtual” walkabout of sorts—one you may’ve taken last April, when the world was a slightly different place. Back then, it would’ve been the perfect time to admire the exquisite and quirky details of the fabulous historic buildings of Saratoga Springs. 

We’ve made this guided walk down memory lane a breeze by pre-snapping photos of just a few of these architectural doodads. All you have to do is follow our lead. 

(Dori Fitzpatrick)

This unusual weathervane is shaped like a bee, a sacred insect in ancient Egypt, and soars above the Batcheller Mansion Inn, the spectacular and oh-so-romantic Victorian on Circular Street. George Batcheller, who spent many years in government service in Egypt, called his home Kaser-al-Nouzha, Arabic for “palace of pleasure.”

(Dori Fitzpatrick)

A ferocious lion bares its teeth at the New York State Military Museum. The terra-cotta sculpture has been guarding the former New York State Armory for 131 years. The fort-like structure was designed by Isaac G. Perry, one of the architects who worked on the magnificent New York State Capitol in Albany.

(Dori Fitzpatrick)

Gleaming white and reminiscent of ancient Greece, the Adirondack Trust Company building is a Saratoga treasure. The next time you’re waiting for the light to change on Broadway, check out the glittering gold eagles that have perched above the front doors since 1916. 

(Dori Fitzpatrick)

The classy stained-glass sign at Menges & Curtis Apothecary, Saratoga’s old-fashioned drugstore, dates from 1870.

(Dori Fitzpatrick)

In November 1901, the first Saratoga YMCA building was dedicated at 439 Broadway. The building is now home to Piper Boutique, Homessence and Union Hall Supply Co.

(Dori Fitzpatrick)

Look across Broadway from the Adelphi Hotel, and you’ll spy the words “Saratoga National Bank” on a 1902 Art Deco-style building. To read all about the curious remnants of the old bank’s interior, head to impressionssaratoga.com.

(Dori Fitzpatrick)
(Dori Fitzpatrick)

Can you identify the men in the decorative murals on the Saratoga Springs Visitor Center? On the left, there’s British General John Burgoyne surrendering to General Horatio Gates after the Battle of Saratoga (top). On the other side of the building is Sir William Johnson, an English baronet, who became the first non-native to ever drink from Saratoga’s mineral springs (bottom)

(Dori Fitzpatrick)

 

Is it a gargoyle? A space alien? And how did it land on the roof at Broadway and Caroline Street? According to Mark Straus, co-owner of the building, it’s a four-foot-tall ceramic figure of a saxophone player created by Dr. Brian McCandless. Mark and Brian put the sculpture up there about 10 years ago.

(Dori Fitzpatrick)

The Algonquin and its posh apartments are architectural icons here in Saratoga. Don’t you just love the white-on-black sign? It’s an original that dates back to 1893.

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Karen Bjornland

An award-winning writer, Contributing Editor Karen Bjornland has been contributing to saratoga living for 12 years. Her work has also appeared in Adirondack Life, the Albany Times Union and Schenectady's Daily Gazette, among many other publications. She lives outside of Saratoga Springs in Greenfield Center.

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