Since 1887: Saratoga’s Police Department

1887 Saratoga Police Force

The first chief of police, George W. Blodgett, (center, with straw hat and light colored pants) with his police force.

By 1887, Saratoga Springs had grown to a point where a police department was needed to ensure law and order.  An act of the State Legislature created the Saratoga Springs police department on April 26th of that year, and on June 1st, eight men marked their first official work day in the new department. Come hear Saratoga Springs’ Police Chief Greg Veitch talk about this unique part of our city’s history.

The Brown Bag Lunch Lecture Series is a monthly, hour-long program presented in partnership by the Saratoga Springs Heritage Area visitor Center and the Saratoga Springs Public Library. This event is conducted in Dutcher Community Room located on the main floor of the library. This program is free and open to the public and begins promptly at noon. Tea and coffee are provided.

Congress Park Concerts!~Fun for All!

Johana “Joey” Anderson delights the crowd at the opening concert of the August series.

Concerts in Congress Park…a Saratoga tradition dating back to the Gilded Age!  Every Tuesday evening in August heralds in Dark Days Starry Nights,  a concert series  featuring talent from our region.  Bring a blanket, pack a picnic and head to Congress Park to revel in the sounds of summer. This is fun for the entire family!

We kicked off the August series with the Classics with Wayne and Joey, a feel-good celebration of golden oldies and dancing in the park.  No one wanted the fun to end when the couple closed with their signature torch song “When Something is Wrong with My Baby.”  It was a night to remember.

The next concert on August 12th will feature Party of Three, the light-hearted contemporary sounds and compositions of Vince Arpey and Kelly Hurley.  And August 19th will welcome back  R&B funk band Jacamo bringing down the house with music for the rhythmically challenged — you won’t be able to miss the beat.  Well-loved Betsy and the Byegons will end the Dark Days Starry Nights concert series on August 26th.

Concerts are held on the great lawn of Congress Park opposite the War Memorial from 7:00-8:30 PM – weather permitting.  In the case of inclement weather forecasts, please call the Visitor Center after 5:00 PM at (518) 587-3241 on the evening of the concert to make sure that the show will go on!




Free Concert Series in Congress Park

Jazz in July every Sunday evening in July from 7:00-8:30 at the War Memorial!  Relax with the cool sounds of jazz on a summer’s night!

The Terry Gordon Quintet will perform standard jazz repertoire and original compositions on July 20th and C.C. Vagabonds brings the sound of Django Reinhardt-style traditional music on July 27th.


Congress Park Walking Tour

What:  History, Legends, Lore & More

Where: Departing from the Visitor Center @ 297 Broadway

When: 10:30am – 12:00pm daily from July 7th – September 1st

Cost: $5.00 per person, children under 12 FREE


200 years of History in 90 minutes!  Join our knowledgeable guide & taste the world famous mineral waters in Congress Park just as society’s elite did in the 1800′s.  No reservations required.


The Saratoga Trunk Tour – a Saratoga love story!  Based on the novel by Edna Ferber

Follow your guide Kathy Totten as she takes you on a walking journey through Saratoga Springs circa 1885 and unfolds the romantic tale of Clio & Clint (played by Ingrid Bergman & Gary Cooper in the 1945 film version).  Tours begin at the Visitor Center (corner of Broadway & Congress St.) and are approximately an hour in length.

This tour is being offered Saturday, June 28th at 11a.m. and Thursday, August 14th at 11a.m.  Reservations are accepted however not required.  Call (518)587-3241 ext 15 for reservations .  Admission is $5 per person and children 12 and under are free.

June 12 Brown Bag Lunch Lecture

The backbone of the racing industry is the community of workers who work within the backstretch of thoroughbred racetracks: its trainers, assistant trainers, grooms, hot walkers, and exercise riders. Ellen McHale, Executive director of the New York Folklore society, will share some of the “stories” of this community which is present during the racing season at Saratoga Springs. Based upon field research, she will talk about the unique occupational world found within thoroughbred racing.

Photo courtesy of Ellen McHale

The Brown Bag Lunch Lecture Series is a monthly, hour-long program presented in partnership by the Saratoga Springs Heritage Area Visitor Center and the Saratoga Springs Public Library. This event is conducted in the Dutcher Community room located on the main floor of the library. This program is free and open to the public and begins promptly at noon. Tea and coffee are provided.

Down in the Valley: Exploring the Gut

Saratoga Springs was made up of many ethnic districts. One of the most interesting is known as “The Gut” or “The Valley”, an area east of Broadway. This was home to many multi-ethnic working-class family businesses and was also important in the evolution of the Jewish community for many years. Learn about this unique neighborhood through the stories about the people who lived and worked there for more than two centuries. This delightful armchair tour is presented by local tour  guide, Ellen Steinberger on May 8, 2014.

This event takes place at noon in the Dutcher Community room of the Saratoga Springs Public Library. Coffee and tea are provided. The Brown Bag Lunch Lecture Series is made possible by a partnership of the Saratoga Springs Heritage Area Visitor Center and the Saratoga Springs Public Library.


Patterson Spring photo courtesy of the Saratoga Springs History Museum

Walking Tours slated to begin July 7th

The Saratoga Springs Visitor Center will kickoff their walking tour season Monday, July 7th through Labor Day with a tour of Congress Park entitled “History, Legends, Lore & More”. Tours begin daily at 10:30a.m. rain or shine departing from the Visitor Center.
Tickets are $5 for adults and children under 12 are free. The Visitor Center located at 297 Broadway, directly across from Congress Park. Please call 587-3241 for questions about our tours or if you are interested in becoming a volunteer Tour Guide or email .



12 Years A Slave Makes Its Mark Again!


In 1853 history was made when Solomon Northup’s story, Twelve Years a Slave was first published.  It is considered by many to be the most detailed account of the institution of slavery on record .  Over 150 years later, once again,  this story has made history — winning the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Oscar for the best motion picture of 2014.

Our Heritage Area is proud to have as part of  its vast historical significance, the story of Solomon Northup.    Mr. Northup came to Saratoga Springs from nearby Washington County because of the possibility of a more lucrative lifestyle working in our already-famous resort industry.   Although it is of no source of pride to have had the deception occur here, pride may be taken in the fact that Cephas Parker, a Saratoga Springs businessman took the steps necessary to help in Solomon’s return.

For nearly two decades, local resident Renee Moore and the staff of our visitor center have worked to preserve and promote the importance of  Solomon Northup’s story as a freeman, a local citizen and the heroic survivor of slavery.

Chewitel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup, with his wife, Anne Hampton portrayed by Kelsey Scott, and children Margaret and Alonzo portrayed by Quvenzhane Wallis and Cameron Zeigler shown in a Saratoga Springs scene from the film.





March 13th Brown Bag Lunch Lecture

Join librarian Dan Hubs and Irish fiddler Frank Orsini for a biographical survey of the life of John Morrissey. Born in poverty in Ireland, Morrissey transcended his humble beginnings to become a champion boxer, congressman and partial owner of the Saratoga Race Course. In honor of St. Patrick’s day, traditional Irish music will accompany the presentation.

Photo courtesy of the Saratoga Springs History Museum