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A return to greatness at Yaddo

More than 100 years after the Yaddo Gardens in Saratoga Springs were planted, one of the most prominent features has at long last been restored to its original glory.

A 38-column, 180-foot pergola walkway that stands above the famous rose gardens was recently completely replaced through the Yaddo Gardens Association, which raised the $389,000 needed for an accurate representation through more than 15 years of fundraising.

The original was over 100 years old, and it had started to crumble. It's something the garden association has been working towards for a long time, said association member Barbara Hefter.

Buffalo-based Boston Valley Terra Cotta was contracted to craft the new columns, which were then installed by Western Building Restoration of Albany. Locally owned Bonacio Landscaping handled sprucing up the surrounding area, which features the dozens of rose bushes that are just starting to bloom.

The finished pergola looks just like what Spencer and Katrina Trask originally installed when they founded Yaddo in 1900.

"It's done exactly how it was when the Trask family built it originally," said Hefter.

Just up the hill from the gardens sits the Yaddo mansion, which plays host to artists of various disciplines. Opening the normally off-limits mansion for tours was one way to successfully raise funds for the pergola restoration.

The garden association was founded in 1991, and since has not only maintained the garden's rose bushes but made efforts to restore statues and the ST/KT gate that ushers visitors into the gardens. It's a volunteer-based organization.

The YGA will be thanking donors later this month at an invitation-only reception, but visitors can admire the new pergola now. The gardens are open to the public from 8 a.m. to dusk daily, though the association will start guided tours on June 27 for a $5 charge. See www.yaddo.org/gardens for information.""

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