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"Reminiscences of Saratoga"
compiled by Cornelius E. Durkee

Page 20


Augustus Bockes was Justice of the Supreme Court in this year. He served from 1860 to 1888, and held judicial positions a term of 35 years.

March 28, the first steam fire engine called "The Saratoga" was purchased for $3,500. It was located in the house of Engine Co. No. 1, which was situated on Hamilton street.

May 30, The Congress Hall hotel was destroyed by fire. Besides the hotel, the Hamilton Bath house on the east side of Putnam street, opposite the hotel, and the buildings across from it, on the north side of Bath street (now Spring street) were burned. The hotel being placed in readiness for the opening of the season, June 1.

Congress Hall was begun in the year 1801 by Gideon Putnam. It was the mecca for travelers from all parts of the country and had the distinction of being the first hotel to have hops and balls for the entertainment of the younger set. And young and old of the community were frequently seen at these affairs, dancing the "Virginia Reel" or "Money Musk."

July 23, The New Marvin House, was opened, having been built at a cost of $100,000 since its destruction by fire when the United States Hotel burned in 1865. The old Marvin House had been adjoined on the south by Marvin Row, which had been erected on the site of the Saratoga and Schenectady railroad. This depot previously stood on the northwest corner of Division street and Broadway.

August 7th, the Columbian hotel was burned to the ground, and adjoining buildings were also destroyed in another great conflagration. At this time, three of the largest hotels of the community were a mass of ruins. The United States hotel which burned the year before, had not been rebuilt; the Congress Hall had been burned as it was about to open, and now the Columbian was destroyed.

The Troy Times of April 7, 1866 had this in part: "A deep feeling of gloom pervades the village today, at the loss of another fine hotel at this particular time."

The Columbian hotel had been built in 1809, and was located on Broadway, south side of Lake avenue. The fire extended from Lake avenue to the building now occupied by 446 Broadway, present site of Robson and Adee.

September 25, Excelsior Fire Company gave a reception to the village authorities, and their fellow firemen, Companies 1, and 2, and the Hook and Ladder Co., in the engine house on Matilda street, F. W. Fonda was host.

November, The A. M. E. Zion church was destroyed by fire.

November 18, Daniel Davis Benedict, died at the age of 73 years. Many of the items in this early history were furnished me by Mr. Benedict.

November 28, Chancellor Walworth died. He was the last great Chancellor of the State of York, and had entertained many notable personages at his home during his lifetime.


Henry H. Hathorn was supervisor of Saratoga Springs in this year.

John H. White was president of the village.

Captain Edward Porter Howe, at one time postmaster of Saratoga Springs, and one time editor of The Saratogian, married Eliza B., daughter of James M. Ray. Mr. Howe died October 18, 1909.

April 12, the present system of the public schools was organized under the title "Union Free School District of Saratoga Springs."

May 15, the yearly display of the fire department was held. This consisted of

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