This week Mary Anne Fantauzzi explores the unique healing properties of the mineral water found in Saratoga Springs and treatments offered at the Washington Baths in her series about the history of our building.
You may be wondering, “What was the allure of the mineral spring water that caused the Washington Bath House to survive for sixty years?” The secret can be found in an article titled “Saratoga Mineral Springs Legend & History”.
If we step back in time, the earliest evidence of the water’s healing powers lies with Native Americans who drank and bathed in the springs. “Local lore says that the Mohawks called the area ‘Serachtuague’ to refer to it as a ‘place of fast-moving water’.” It was believed the name ‘Saratoga’ was a version of this original moniker.
Once the bath houses were built in the early twentieth century, doctors would prescribe patients to visit them for relief from a wide variety of ailments including heart or circulatory trouble, kidney and liver complaints, rheumatism, stomach or intestinal issues, nervous conditions, or skin diseases.
Saratoga’s spring water is not only rich in a wide variety of essential minerals, it is also naturally carbonated. This allowed the bath houses to offer unique natural treatments for irritating and painful ailments. Each bath house offered a different concentration of minerals, therefore each had a “menu” featuring specialized treatments. The most basic treatment was to drink the spring water which is still prevalent today and is given a nod in our city’s slogan, “Health, History, and Horses.”