Plaques & Dates

Ballston Spa was settled in 1771 and incorporated in 1807, making it one of the oldest continuously incorporated Villages in the United States. Moreover, the story goes that its Old Iron Spring is also the first mineral spring discovered and actively used in the US, some years before those in Saratoga Springs. Since that isn't enough, it appears that the first large scale resort - the Sans Souci - was also built in Ballston Spa, making the Village the first true resort town in the area (indeed, it earned the nickname “America’s First Watering Place”), with people visiting Ballston long before Saratoga Springs rose to prominence.

But it did not stop with the mineral springs for Ballston Spa. By the first Village centennial (1907), Ballston Spa was a thriving center of commerce, a destination for vacationers, and truly, a good place to live and work. A strong mill industry had sprung up along the Kaydeross; the square-bottom paper bag was invented here; and the supposed founder of baseball, Abner Doubleday, was born here (his house is still standing). Ballston Spa residents alone had filed for more patents for inventions than any other upstate village with the exception of Saratoga Springs and Waterford – they were industrious; no question.

This is history reaching down in ways most US Villages cannot. And yet - there are few plaques on Ballston Spa streets to commemorate any of this, and there are no periodic write-ups in newspapers, websites, or elsewhere. To dig up this information we have to go to the historical sources themselves, dating back from the period or nearly so.

We leave that task to historians. But below, we've put together a number of historical dates, facts, and accomplishments - our equivalent of plaques. We hope it will give you some idea of all that's gone on in this wonderful village.