banner search whats new site index home

Franklin Square Historic District


The Franklin Square Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [1]

Description

In the heart of the city of Saratoga Springs is the Franklin Square Historic District with its columned tree-shaded mansions and old hotels.

From the square, which forms the focal point of the district, Franklin Street runs southwest, while Clinton Street runs northwards. Division Street forms an east-west axis through the square. The district also includes portions of Church, Clinton, Grand, Walton and West Harrison Streets.

Notable amongst the potpourri of nineteenth century architectural styles are the fine Greek Revival mansions in Franklin Square. Number One Franklin Square is built of cut ashlar blocks with a two-story wood portico with four columns. A one-story wing flanks the structure on either side. The Marvin-Sackett-Todd House (on the National Register) is located at Four Franklin Square and is of exceptional quality.

Number Two Franklin Square illustrates another popular theme, i.e. the Second Empire influence with accompanying mansard roof. The Spa Hotel at One West Harrison also illustrates this influence at its zenith.

Less affluently-constructed structures are found throughout the remainder of the district. These range from the modest little three bay dwelling with eyebrow windows at 47 Franklin to the substantial rural cottage with a fanciful bargeboard at 7 Clinton. The Adirondack Railroad Station, which was built in the 1870's, resembles a mountain chalet more than anything else.

Though the Greek Revival influence predominates in the district, there are also Italianate brackets, shingled gables, iron crests, medieval towers and spoolwork porch screens to be appreciated by the discerning eye.

Significance

The Franklin Square Historic District of Saratoga Springs mirrors the history and economy of the nation's most popular summer resort during its heyday in the nineteenth century.

Called "Queen of the Spas," the history of the area began in 1803 with the building of a guest house by Gideon Putnam to accommodate visitors attracted by the fame of the mineral waters. By the end of the century, gambling, sports and horse racing had been added to the health services originally provided.

Expressive of all this activity is the Franklin Square district, which contains old hotels, privately-owned residences and a passenger station for the Adirondack Railroad which brought visitors to the spa. Today the tracks are gone but the station is in use as a residence.

Architecturally, the district merits attention for the variety and quality of its structures. The earlier buildings in the Greek Revival style range from outstanding examples near Franklin Square to earlier, more modest dwellings and a hotel on Grand Avenue. A later period produced a wealth of Victorian dwellings showing Italian and French Renaissance influence.

Currently, the district is in a period of transition. As the springs declined in popularity, the cure institutes, one hotel and some of the large residences became apartment houses. Now, with the new emphasis on recreation in the area and the proximity of a high speed highway linking it with the rest of the state, the city of Saratoga Springs is making gains which should result in the complete rehabilitation of the Franklin Square District.

References

Durkee, Cornelius, Reminiscences of Saratoga, Saratoga Springs, Saratogian, 1928.

Durkee, Cornelius, Reminiscences of Saratoga, Vol. II, unpublished, in archives of Historical Society of Saratoga Springs.

Wiley, Samuel T. and Grover, W. Scott, History of Saratoga County, New York. Indiana, Gresham Publishing Company, 1893.

Our County and its People, A descriptive and Biographical Record of Saratoga County, New York. Boston History Company, 1899.

  1. Manley, Doris Vanderlipp, New York State Division of Historic Preservation, Franklin Square Historic District, nomination document, 1973, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

Franklin Square Historic District Map

Street Names
Beekman Street • Clinton Street • Franklin Square • Franklin Street • Grand Avenue • Van Dam Street

**Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. You should independently verify any information you use for decision making.
Copyright © 1997-2016 • The Gombach Group • www.gombach.com • 215-295-6555 • 109817 • Privacy