Broadway: Saratoga Springs, New York
Laid out in 1805 by Gideon Putnam, an entrepreneur and founder of Saratoga Springs, today you'll find Broadway home to the city's finest examples of Gilded Age opulence, meticulously restored buildings from the 19th century that display High Victorian, Beaux-Arts, and Richardson Romanesque architectural styles. Congress Park, a National Historic Landmark located at the southern end of the Broadway Historic District, was developed in 1826 and redesigned in 1875 by Frederick Law Olmsted. It is home to The Spencer Trask Memorial "Spirit of Life," designed by Daniel Chester French and Henry Bacon, collaborators on the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Nine blocks of Broadway between Van Dam and East Congress Streets.
Today it provides well-utilized public space for residents and visitors alike and a popular destination for art shows, cooking competitions, and architectural tours that take place along Broadway throughout the year.
The beauty of today wasn't there during the 1960s and early '70s, however, when 22 of Broadway's storefronts stood vacant after years of economic decline. In response, residents organized the Plan of Action Committee in 1973 to begin the long process of restoring Broadway to its former glory.
Committee members and residents participated in design meetings, planted trees, and became champions for the street simply by their presence. One of their first major accomplishments was getting the Broadway Historic District added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. Another was creation of the Aesthetic Zoning Board in 1968, later renamed the Design Review Commission, in order to maintain the street's historic architectural facades.
Among the restorations were the late 19th century Adelphi Hotel and the Collamer Building. New construction involved the 1984 City Center, which was originally designed and recently expanded to complement the historic character of the street.
Successive comprehensive plan updates in 1999 and 2001, and the subsequent adoption of "Transect" zoning in 2003, provide further focus on encouraging necessary and complementary economic activity while promoting a safe and efficient public realm. Although Broadway is a state and federal highway, the city has most recently adopted a Complete Streets policy for Broadway to ensure it safely accommodates not only motorists, but also pedestrians and bicyclists.
Defining Characteristics, Features
Planning and Revitalization
- Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation formed in 1977; awarded a $500,000 grant to restore the facades of buildings on Broadway in exchange for 25-year easements
- Special Assessment District formed (1978) to collect proportional funding from approximately 125 properties to fund Broadway's maintenance and improvements
- Broadway Historic District added to National Register of Historic Places in 1979; boundaries expanded in 1983 and 1994
- Pfeil Building (340 Broadway); first private building built on Broadway in 50 years (1997); Design Review Commission helped ensure building's design compatible with historic facades
- Comprehensive plans (1999, 2001) include architectural guidelines, pedestrian-centered strategies; lead to 2003 zoning updates and 2012 Complete Streets policy for Broadway
- Complete Streets Policy encourages planning, development, construction to accommodate bicyclists, pedestrians, transit users, motorists; Planning Board checklist to help with reviews
- Congress Park Centre, former site of majestic Grand Union Hotel; last large lot developed on Broadway (2000); Victorian-inspired windows, cornices; second floor piazza, generous sidewalks
- 2003 City Zoning Ordinance transitioned city from zoning based on use to a form-based code that calls for a mixture of uses, pedestrian orientation to create more sociable street
- Mixed-use, infill construction improves downtown residential use, destination-type commerce
- Broadway includes sidewalk cafes, trees, flowers, benches, information kiosks, trash receptacles
- City Hall at Church Street; High Victorian Italianate style; Broadway's oldest building (1871); in National Register of Historic Places
- Ainsworth Building, three-story High Victorian building anchors Broadway and Lake (1871)
- Adelphi Hotel, last of street's grand hotels (1877); three-story, Italianate with full- length piazza
- Collamer Building (1884); Renaissance Revival building used for offices and retail
- Four-story Algonquin Building (1892); Richardson Romanesque; commercial and apartment use
- Beaux-Arts–style U.S. Post Office (1910); across City Hall; in National Register of Historic Places
- Beaux-Arts–style Visitor's Center has bas-relief murals; originally a trolley station for the Hudson Valley Railway Company; later converted to drinking hall; National Register of Historic Places
- Canfield Casino; originally built as a gambling casino by John Morrissey of professional boxing and Tammany Hall fame; expanded by Richard Canfield; National Historic Landmark
Culture and Heritage
Broadway venue for community events: First Night, largest New Year's Eve celebration in upstate New York ; The Dance Flurry, February; Saratoga ArtsFest, June; Art in the Park, August
- Chowderfest: February event on Broadway features variety of local recipes, food dishes
- Victorian Street Walk, November parade along Broadway highlights city's architectural identity
- More than 50,000 annual flowers planted along Broadway and adjacent streets during citywide beautification campaigns each year
- Dog Friendly Downtown Program encourages dog owners to bring their pets when patronizing more than 30 establishments that are part of the program
- Local Farmer's Market voted best medium-size market in New York State
- Community participation in "lip dub" event to celebrate Broadway as the city's Main Street