NEB&W Guide to Saratoga Springs, NY
- 1 Overview & Introduction
- 2 The Outskirts
- 3 The United States Hotel
- 4 General
- 5 Downtown
- 6 Baptist Church
- 7 The Depot Area
- 8 First Depot
- 9 Second Depot
- 10 Temporary Depot
- 11 Third Depot
- 12 Crossing Tender Shanty
- 13 Greek Revival Store
- 14 Diner 1
- 15 Ornate Stores
- 16 Diner 2
- 17 Colonial Beacon Gas Station
- 18 County Office Building
- 19 Armour Meat-Packing
- 20 Elevated Gate Tower
- 21 Church & Woodlawn
- 22 Paramount Hotel
- 23 Railroad Buildings Opposite The Depot
- 24 Saratoga Coal
- 25 Woodlawn Crossing Shanty
- 26 Saratoga - Not Modeled
- See this section.
- See this section.
- See this section.
- Map of the area around the depot.
- D&H 1951 Traffic Report
- Next to the U.S. Hotel was the Worden Hotel. It, too, was a massive affair (although not as big as the U.S.) with the characteristic multi-story columns.
- Just down the street on Broadway was the equally giant Grand Union hotel and Gideon Putnam. Only the Gideon Putnam still stands today.
- The Congress Hall Hotel on Broadway was yet another colossus with multi-storied porch posts and towering elms.
- Looking down Division Street, with the U.S. Hotel on the left and the edge of the depot in the distance.
- Looking up Division toward Broadway, with the U.S. Hotel on the right and the Worden on the left.
- The United States was in the block between Division and Washington. In this c. 1931 photo from our D&H Collection, we are looking down Washington toward the tracks. The courthouse-looking structure is a church (the Baptist Church), with the U.S. Hotel's "clubhouse" just beyond the "Rummage Sale" sign. The elevated crossing tower is in the background.
- From the Valuation process, there is a photo of the crossing tender shanty just around the corner. The U.S. Hotel is in the background on the left. The entire facility was enclosed with a brick wall. The mansard roof building, I believe, was the "clubhouse", with the servants house to the right. Note the shanty has had its overhang on the track side removed for clearance.
The Depot Area
- On our layout, we rotated the station and adjacent scene so it sits on the west side of our tracks. The compass directions given below relate to the model. Hope this doesn't confuse you.
- The first depot was a small Greek Revival building, looking more like a courthouse than a depot, built c. 1830's.
Same photo as above, only bigger but cropped tigher. The loco was the Rensselaer & Saratoga no. 34, the Gov. Page, which wasn't built until 1868 and was renumbered into the D&H system shorty after the R&S was absorbed in, in 1871, which narrows the date of the photo to just a few years. Photo from the Joseph A. Smith Collection.
- The second was a mansard roofed affair. It was built in 1871 and lasted until c. 1900. (It looks like this structure was the inspiration for Disney.)
- It seems they put up a temporary wood depot before they built the third and final depot on this spot.
- The third depot was built c. 1900 and lasted until about 1958, when the tracks were rerouted from downtown to around the city. A new "Amshack" type depot is still used today, in the outskirts (meaning if you don't have a car and therefore really need to use train, you can't easily get there). See this section for more info.
Crossing Tender Shanty
- Thanks to the Valuation process c. WWI, posterity is blessed with photos of such mundane structures as this crossing tender shanty across from the depot. The person who staffed this was responsible for cranking down the manual crossing gates when a train was approaching. Notice the wineglass profile of the elms in the background.
- Downtown Saratoga, looking north.
Greek Revival Store
- Just behind the depot was a sort of Greek Revival store.
- On the end of the depot near the U.S. Hotel, there was a simple peaked-roof diner.
- Across Railroad Avenue from the depot (and just beyond the diner) was this set of ornate buildings, c. 1931. (The depot overhang is visible in the upper left.) Like most of the buildings in this scene, they have long since been torn down. Notice that one is a hotel, nowhere as grandiose as the U.S. Hotel. Yet looking at the Sanborn map, it seems as if every other building here was a hotel, no matter how tiny.
- Looks like a former passenger car. From the one end, it looks like the diner is right up against the county office building but the Sanborn shows it quite far away.
Colonial Beacon Gas Station
- Colonial Beacon gas station, in its unique lighthouse design, sat behind the station. Later they were taken over by Esso. ("Es-so" = S.O., Standard Oil, get it?) The Art Deco County office building is behind and to the left, one of the few buildings in our scene still standing today.
County Office Building
- The County Office building is a great example of an Art Deco building. (The pilaster columns stop short of the eaves.) This is one of the few building still standing today (2008).
- On the far side of the County office building (Woodland Avenue), this street scene, c. 1930's.
- A meat packing plant is one of the most odoriferous industries, and we never would have imagined one located across the tracks from one of the most elegant train depots in the country. Yes, this Armour plant probably didn't butcher animals, but just received cold shanks of meats in refrigerator cars, and thus was no more smelly than your home fridge, but also the first zoning laws did not get enacted until WWI. Armour received 79 carloads of meat, butter and produce during 1951, about one or two every week on average.
- Looking up past the depot with the United States Hotel towering in the distance, and the County Office building to the left, with a small clerestory diner in front. The candle-snuffer tower on the REA building and half timbering in the gable are touches of the Queen Anne. This building was built a few years before the rest of the depot.
- For more info, see this section.
Elevated Gate Tower
- Standard D&H design.
Church & Woodlawn
- Looking up Church Street toward the tracks and Woodlawn, with Broadway way off in the distance. The station is just to the right.
- Looking down Woodlawn past the Church Street intersection, with the tracks in the distance. The station and Colonial Beacon gas station is just to the right. The stucco building on the corner is the Paramount Hotel. Note the c. 1910 grab iron fire escape on the just to the right of the hotel.
- Looking down Church Street from the other direction. The Paramount Hotel is on the left.
- A c. 1931 street scene with the railroad in the distance.
- The Paramount was on the corner of Church and Woodland, a stucco building in a sort of Spanish Mission/Georgian Revival mode. The cornice was "wavy" but later modified to a more sedate pattern. Don't have any good photos of just the hotel, so here are the same views above only collected in one spot.
Railroad Buildings Opposite The Depot
- Across from the station were a number of railroad structures (which unfortunately we don't have room to model).
- Saratoga Coal was originally built with giant sized silos. Shortly thereafter (1921?), this facility burned, and the bins replaced with fireproof concrete block structures. Precision Lasercraft made a kit for the coal dealer, now available from Bollinger Edgerly Scale Trains
Woodlawn Crossing Shanty
- View across the tracks, from the intersection of Church and Woodlawn. Note the small grade crossing shanty on the right. There is a shanty still standing in this spot today, but I'm not sure if it a recreation or the actual shanty.
- See this section.