Saratoga You might think the staff of the Saratoga Springs Visitor Center spend their time giving directions to the track or SPAC, but a stop at their historic building at 297 Broadway would prove otherwise.
“Most people think of (us) as a place to pick up brochures. We do that but we do much more than that. As a designated heritage area, our mission is to promote economic growth of the region,” said Program Coordinator Johnnie Roberts.
That’s accomplished through a variety of programming taking place in the center, in the schools and around town. The Spa City has a long and varied history, as does the Visitor Center.
The building itself was originally part of the Hudson Valley Trolley Company and was built to be a trolley station. In the early 1900s, the railroad was on Railroad Place.
“They wanted to keep the trolleys off of Broadway, so the company said, ‘We’ll build you the most beautiful trolley station in the northeast.’ They kept their promise,” said Roberts.
The building was built in 1915 in the Beaux Arts style, whichw as very much in vogue in that era.
Characteristics of the style include flat roofs, arched windowsand doors, and classical details.
“It also took into consideration the history of the town, specifically the Native American roots, which is a little unusual if you think about it. The chandeliers of our main area have Native American spearheads with an icon of thunder, an icon of power and four beautiful murals of the springs, one of a Native American family which ultimately became the city’s seal,” said Roberts.
Once the trolleys stopped running, the state took over the building in 1941 and renovated it into a drink hall where people would come to drink Saratoga waters. Later, in 1974, the building was placed on the Registerof National Historic Places.