Restoring an historic building takes more than paint and muscle power. It takes a specialized knowledge that’s hard to come by.
At OSR, we have spent decades acquiring the skills that allow owners and historic preservation organizations to trust that their precious buildings are in good hands with Old Saratoga Restorations. Now the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Delaware North, a global hospitality and food service company, is providing us a perfect opportunity to share that experience with young adults and veterans who hope to fan out across the country to protect our architectural heritage.
We are sharing our expertise with the “HOPE Crew” (for “Hands-On Preservation Experience”) on a window and facade restoration project at the Gideon Putnam Hotel in the Saratoga Spa State Park in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. The National Trust is collaborating with Delaware North’s TradePath® program, which provides job training and education in the building trades to help meet unmet maintenance needs at national and state parks.
The effort is modeled after a pilot project that Delaware North helped complete last year to rehabilitate the historic Skyland Resort Stables at Shenandoah National Park, where the company operates lodging, food and retail services. Since that project, more than 30 historic cultural sites on public lands have benefitted from the collaboration.
Delaware North worked with the Trust’s HOPE Crew over several months to guide a group of young adults to repair the 1930s-era stables at Shenandoah, enlisting a professional carpenter and historic restoration expert to oversee the work. The group was housed and supported at Shenandoah by Delaware North.
“The program will be a lot like the Civilian Conservation Corps, which was part of the New Deal of the 1930s, with the participants living in the park while they are working,” said Jeremy Jacobs Jr., co-CEO of Delaware North. “They will also have a chance to experience the recreational opportunities and beauty of our parks and share that with their friends and families.”
Spa Park was a precursor of the New Deal, initiated in 1929 by then-Governor Franklin Roosevelt as a health treatment facility. In tribute to the profound and lasting effect of his early efforts, the state funded the project in the 1930’s to build the Saratoga Spa State Park, including the Gideon Putnam Resort. The privately-operated Gideon Putnam was erected in the Georgian Colonial style by the Saratoga Springs Authority. Designed by architect Marcus T. Reynolds, the red brick structure welcomes visitors with a front loggia with six Corinthian columns rising three stories to support a roof terrace.
See also: Old Saratoga Restorations’ window restoration work on another historic Saratoga Springs building in Congress Park, the Canfield Casino.