Ballston Spa has many wonderful and interesting buildings. Many date to Victorian times, and some even to Colonial times. We have put together a selection of what can be considered some of the best and most historic locations throughout the Village of Ballston Spa.
DOUBLEDAY HOUSE, Washington Street
Constructed in 1804, it was planned as the laundry house for the Sans Souci Hotel but built as a duplex. House named for Abner Doubleday, Civil War General who popularized baseball. Born June 26, 1819, his family lived in this house while his father was editor of a local newspaper.
MEDBERY HOTEL, 48 Front Street
Built in stages between 1804 and 1847, the Village Hotel was advertised as a “temperance house” and renamed for its new owner, Stephen B. Medbery. The second story veranda was added 1892. In 1972, scenes from “The Way We Were” starring Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand were filmed in front of the building. In the 1990’s, the Medbery was renovated and serves as an Inn and full service day spa.
BALLSTON SPA VILLAGE HALL, 66 Front St
Designed in the commercial Italianate style by Troy architect Marcus Cummings and built in 1873 as the First National Bank, this building has an elegant 16′ ceiling. It is open to the public during business hours.
OLD IRON SPRING PAVILION & PARK, corner Front St. and Fairgrounds Rd.
c. 1874, a new 647 feet deep artesian spring well said to have tapped the same mineral water that fed an earlier spring. The eight sided pavilion is regarded as the oldest existing in the area. Water may be sampled free of charge. Behind the spring are stone railroad abutments. Although rebuilt in the 1880’s, a portion of the original 1832 abutment can be seen on the south side of Front Street.
BROOKSIDE, THE SARATOGA COUNTY MUSEUM, 6 Charlton Street
Built in 1792 by Benjamin Douglas. Its earliest use was a hotel, housing and entertaining visitors to the mineral springs. The Village held its first meeting here in 1807. This structure has been a hotel, school, boarding house, private home, apartment house and an abandoned relic before being renovated in the 1970’s to house the Saratoga County Historical Society.
BALLSTON SPA NATIONAL BANK, 87 Front St.
This building was built c. 1820 in the Late Federal style. Established in 1838 and reorganized in 1865 as a national bank, it is the oldest in Saratoga County. The art nouveau street clock was erected in 1926.
POLICE DEPARTMENT, 30 Bath St.
An 1867 Italianate built originally to house the Eagle Fire Company by the railroad for the Village. The railroad station was directly to the south of the firehouse.
Creative Endeavors, 49 Front St.
One of the earliest homes in the Village, it has been the residence and tavern of John Ball, son of Eliphalet Ball (founder of Ballston Spa) and renovated c. 1830’s as the home of James Cook, first President of Ballston Spa Bank and a comptroller of the currency for New York State.
WISWALL PARK AND GAZEBO, Front St.
Built 1910 and named for the village’s chief executive. The flowers are courtesy of Ballston Spa Business & Professional Assn. The park hosts many BSBPA events during the year, including free summer Concerts in the Park, Farmers’ Market, outdoor movies, and “The Way We Were” Car Show, plus the village tree lighting ceremony following the annual Holiday Parade in December. Additional land was donated in 1969 as a gift from Saul and Helen Balmuth. The Sans Souci spring is piped under Front Street and water flows from a fountain in the park.
WAR MEMORIAL, Front and Low Streets
Erected in 1888, the memorial honors soldiers and sailors from Milton, Ballston and Malta who served in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Mexican War and Civil War.
NATIONAL BOTTLE MUSEUM, 76 Milton Avenue
Built 1901 for Tracy’s Hardware, the building is now home to the National Bottle Museum, preserving the history of America’s bottle making. Glass blowing classes are held at the Glassworks Studio on Washington St.
LINCOLN BUILDING, 100 Milton Ave.
Originally constructed by the Hacketts c. 1892 to serve as the Lincoln Hotel. Early photos show a cupola and a second corner balcony. There had been a hotel on this site since the early 1800’s. Renovated in the 1990’s, the building houses 13 apartments and 6 stores, including Ballston Spa mainstay, Coffee Planet.
WEST MILL COMPLEX (THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY), Kayaderosseras Creek
This remarkable example of late nineteenth century architecture on a four-acre site along the Kayaderosseras Creek became the largest manufacturing enterprise in nineteenth century Saratoga County. English immigrant George West created a square bottom paper bag and product line that replaced cotton bags during the Civil War. He sold his interests in 1899, and the Union Bag and Paper Company operated until 1919. Frederick Bischoff purchased the buildings that produced chocolate until 1945, and the complex is still referred to today as the Chocolate Factory as people say they can still smell the aroma of chocolate emanating from the factory. It then became storage for Ballston Knitting Mills. Today, it has been largely renovated by a local entrepreneur and is home to several offices and businesses,including The Factory Eatery & Spirits.
VERBECK HOUSE, 20 Church Ave
The architect for this neoclassical Queen Anne house was Marcus Cummings of Troy, and builder c. 1889 was Dennis Manogue of Ballston Spa. Attorney James Verbeck paid $7,650 to have it built.
FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, 22 West High St.
Built c. 1835 in Greek Revival style, it is the oldest church built in the village. In 1857 the slender spire was added, and bracket work gave a Victorian flair to the belfry. Stained glass windows include one created by Tiffany’s of NY in 1886 representing “The Resurrection” a famous woodcut by Albert Durer. The window is a memorial to Samuel Ireneaeus Prime, the original pastor.
CHRIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH AND FIELD HOUSE, cor. West High and Milton Ave.
This English Gothic style church completed in 1862 by Contractor Nichols of Albany was designed by architect Richard Upjohn & Co., NYC, featuring a tall spire, extensive rose window and side buttresses. The Federal style Field House, c. early 1800’s, and formerly known as “Peacock House” was renamed for Rev. Robert Field, pastor for 22 years.
THE ARMORY (CHRIST CHURCH OUTREACH CENTER), cor. West High and Milton Ave.
c. 1858 Italianate style, designed to resemble a miniature picturesque castle, is the only armory of Syracuse architect Horatio Nelson White, to survive. Up to 1,000 men of NYS Militia’s 29th Regiment were trained here. The Militia disbanded in 1870, and Christ Church purchased the building.
METHODIST CHURCH AND THE RED BRICK HOUSE (Pastor’s Study), Milton Ave
c. 1892, this Romansque style church has a corner stone which states that it was a Methodist Episcopal Church, replacing an earlier church of 1845. Note the wood framing of the front stained glass window in the shape of the Star of David. George West, founder of the West Mill Complex (Chocolate Factory) contributed half of the building’s cost. The steeple was replaced in 1939 after being struck twice by lightening.
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH, Milton Ave.
In 1896, this Romanesque Revival style church of Esperanza blue marble constructed by A.M. Waite of Round Lake and J.C. Fuller of Stillwater replaced an earlier Baptist church seen in early post cards at the head of Front Street. A major addition was constructed in 1996.
ST. MARY’S CATHOLIC CHURCH, 167 Milton Ave.
Designed by architect Loth of Troy, this Gothic brick church with terra cotta decoration was built c. 1896-97. Stained glass windows were purchased by Mayer of Munich, Germany in the 19th century. The 1922 carved Carrera marble altar was imported from Italy. Beneath the altar table is a carved replica of DaVinci’s “Last Supper.” A 19th century cast iron fence surrounds the property.