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Ballston Spa Village

Ballston Spa Village Hall is located at 66 Front Street, Ballston Spa NY 12020; phone: 518‑885‑5711. The village is the shire town (county seat) of Saratoga County.

Ballston Spa Village Photo

Ballston Spa ca. 1825 [1]

This pleasant village lies in the town of Milton in the county of Saratoga and is situated in a low valley, through the center of which, flows a branch of the Kayaderosseras, with whose waters it mingles at the east end of the village. The natural boundaries of Ballston Spa are well defined by steep and lofty hills of sand on the north and west, and by a ridge of land, which gradually slopes inward, and encircles the village an the south and east. The broad and ample Kayaderosseras, whose stream gives motion to a neighbouring mill, flows on the north east boundary of the village, and furnishes a favourite resort for the sportsman, on the bosom of its waters, or for the loiterer along its verdant banks. The village was incorporated 1807, and is under the direction of three trustees, who are chosen annually. It contains 112 houses and 614 inhabitants. Besides the Court House for the county, and the clerk's office, which are located here, there is an Episcopal and a Baptist Church, an Academy, and a Female Seminary; likewise a Printing Office and a Book Store, with which a Reading Room is connected for the accommodation of visitants.

The Female Seminary is under the superintendence of Mr. Booth, a gentleman who is eminently qualified for the undertaking, having been for a number of years the principal instructor in the female academy at Albany. The site of the institution is on a very pleasant and healthy eminence, commanding a view of the whole village, and the surrounding country for some distance. The building itself is spacious and airy, and occupies with the outgrounds and improvements, upwards of an acre of land. This institution, though of recent establishment, has, from the well known experience and celebrity of its proprietor, commanded a full share of patronage. There were educated here during the last season, about 40 females, from various parts of the state, and some from other states. Among the various branches taught, are natural and moral philosophy, belleslettres, chemistry, geometry and history; and when required, competent teachers instruct in the several branches of musick, drawing and dancing. The terms of tuition and board are quite reasonable; and the general management of the institution is spoken of in the highest terms of commendation.

Ballston Spa principally derives its celebrity from the mineral springs which flow here and at Saratoga in equal abundance. The spring first discovered in the vicinity stands on the flat, nearly opposite the boarding establishment of Mr. Aldridge. It formerly flowed out of a common barrel, sunk around it, without any other protection from the invasion of cattle, who often slacked their thirst in its fountain. Afterwards, the liberality of the citizens was displayed in a marble curb and flagging, and a handsome iron railing. The curb and flagging were finally removed, leaving the railing, which still serves the purposes of ornament and protection. The spring flows now, probably, from the place where it originally issued, some feet below the surrounding surface, which has been elevated by additions of earth, for the purpose of improving the road in which it stands.

Low's Spring is situated at the east end of the village, on the land of Mr. Low, from whom it takes its name, and to whose munificence and liberality, the village is much indebted. Over this fountain, a large and commodious bathing house has been erected; to which, not only the waters of this, but a number of other adjacent springs are tributary, for the purpose of bathing. Between the two springs already mentioned, there was discovered in the summer of 1817, a mineral spring called the Washington fountain. This latter spring rose on the margin of the creek in front of the factory building; it flowed through a curb 28 feet in length, sunk to the depth of 23 feet, and was liberated at the top in the form of a beautiful jet d'eau. This spring disappeared in 1821. Numerous attempts have since been made to recover it, but they have proved fruitless.

The principal ingredients of these waters consist of muriate of soda, carbonate of soda, carbonate of lime, carbonate of magnesia, and carbonate of iron; all of which, in a greater or less degree, enter into the composition of the waters, both here and at Saratoga.

The principal boarding houses are the Sans Souci, Aldridge's, the Village Hotel and Corey's.

The Sans Souci, with its yards of outhouses, occupies an area of some acres in the east part of the village. The plan of the building, with the expensive improvements around it, do much credit to the taste and liberality of its proprietor. The establishment was formerly the property of Mr. Low, of New York; from who it has recently passed into the hands of Mr. Loomis, its present owner, and under whose management the most entire satisfaction is given to its annual visitants. The edifice is constructed of wood, three stories high, 160 feet in length, with two wings extending back 153 feet, and is calculated for the accommodation of 130 boarders. It is surrounded by a beautiful yard, ornamented with a variety of trees and shrubbery, which, with its extensive piazzas and spacious halls, render it a delightful retreat during the oppressive heat of summer.

Aldridge's Boarding House, with which is connected an extensive garden, at the west end of the village, and Corey's, at the south end, are not inferior in point of accommodation, and receive their full share of patronage. Their more retired location, and the profusion of rural scenery around them, as well as the deserved reputation of the establishments, will always determine the choice of a large portion of visitants during their transient residence at the springs.

The Village Hotel is a convenient situation a few rods west of the Sans Souci. It is now kept by the proprietor, Mr. Clark, and is a very agreeable and pleasant boarding place for strangers during the summer months.

Mrs. M'Master's is a private boarding house, situated adjacent to the spring, on the flat, in the west part of the village. Those who are fond of a retired situation, will be much gratified at this place, and withal will find a hospitable hostess, and very excellent accommodations, at a moderate price. Besides these, there are other houses of accommodation; the principal of which is the Mansion House, kept by Mr. Kidd. This house is situated in the central part of the village, is well kept, and every attention is paid which can contribute to the comfort and convenience of its guests. The price of board per week, at the several houses, is as follows: Sans Souci, $10; Aldridge's, $8; Corey's $8; Village Hotel, $5; Mansion House, $5; Mrs. M'Master's, $5.

Mails arrive and depart to and from Ballston Spa every day in the week, Sundays excepted. Besides a post office at the village there is one in the town of Ballston, about three miles distant, to which letters are frequently missent, owing to the neglect of correspondents in making the proper direction.

The reading room of the library may be resorted to at all times, and for a very moderate compensation. Papers are there furnished from all parts of the union. The library, which includes some periodical publications, is small; but valuable selections may be made, either for instruction or amusement.

Six miles from Ballston Spa, in a southerly direction, is Ballston Lake, or as it is sometimes called, the Long Lake. The only accommodations, on an excursion to the lake, are furnished at the farm house, recently owned by a Mr. M'Donald, on its western margin. This gentleman was a native of Ireland, and on his first arrival in America, settled with his brother, in 1763, on this spot, where he continued to reside until his decease, in 1823. It was at this house Sir William Johnson passed some time on his first journey to Saratoga Springs, as early as the year 1767. The lake is a beautiful sheet of water, 5 miles long and 1 broad. The scenery around affords a pleasing landscape of cultivation and woodlands, no less inviting to the sportsman than the soft bosom of the lake and its finny inhabitants to the amateurs of the rod.

  1. The Fashionable Tour in 1825: An Excusion to the Springs, Niagara, Quebec, and Boston, G.M. Davidson, Printer/Publisher, 1825, Saratoga Springs
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