New York History May 06, 2017
Not Many People Know The Story Behind New York’s Forgotten Bath Town
When the topic of abandoned towns gets brought up, most of the time people’s natural instinct is to visualize western ghost towns. But as history will tell us, the Empire State is home to quite a few forgotten villages. Some of which have even been
sunken under water! Just an hour west of Albany in Schoharie County, there’s a small town that for quite some time appeared to be on its way to becoming our next deserted destination that would be lost with time. Ready to hear about the bath town that once gave Saratoga Springs a run for its money? Then keep scrolling to find out about a fascinating piece of New York’s history!
Nestled in the hills out near Central New York is the small village of Sharon Springs.
Around the mid-1800s, the village of Sharon Springs began to attract visitors from all over the state. The charming town featured four mineral springs that were known for their healing powers. If any of this sounds familiar, it's most likely because you recently read about New York's
fountains of youth
up in Saratoga. During the era of these town's developments, their similar natural attractions had them competing against each other for the attention of visitors.
Even though Sharon Springs was known for having better quality water, ultimately Saratoga Springs became the more popular destination. Saratoga's closer proximity to the Capital Region was seen as being more ideal, alongside the fact that the New York State Thruway was eventually built. The Thruway's route lead travelers away from Sharon Springs, making it nearly impossible to stumble upon unless you knew to look for it. Now the city of Saratoga has become a booming area, still attracting people from all over to come and bottle up this magical water.
Long considered to be one of the Empire State's best spa and resort towns, today those passing through Sharon Springs often think the area has been completely abandoned.
Today the village has a population of roughly 600 residents, an area that's always maintained a small-town feel. Besides being known for its abandoned structures, Sharon Springs gathers groups of friendly faces all throughout the year with festivals like their Victorian Holiday Celebration, Harvest Festival and upcoming
festival that's this month.
Drawing in famous guests like Oscar Wilde and the Vanderbilt family, neglected buildings like Hotel Adler use to be desirable weekend getaways.
During the mid-1800s, a series of hotels were built in town, set out to accommodate those who were interested in seeking out the mineral springs for medical treatment. Just like our springs in Saratoga, the water here in town has been said to have healing powers and medical benefits. Sadly after World War I, using the water for treatment became a less enticing idea. It was around this time when Sharon Springs would begin its steady decline, slowly becoming more abandoned by the minute.
In its prime, Sharon Springs featured elegant temples that surrounded the mineral springs in town.
Now left to rust away, the cast iron work of art known as the Magnesia Temple use to be one of the town's main attractions. The water at this temple was said to be beneficial, acting as an antacid when consumed in smaller amounts. Today the mineral spring sits inactive in town, just one of the many forgotten pieces of local history.
Right about now you're probably wishing someone would come along and save this abandoned treasure. Well luckily restorations throughout town are currently in the works!
Back in 2004 a Korean company by the name of Sharon Springs, Inc. purchased the Imperial Bath house, Hotel Adler and Hotel Columbia in town. Over ten years later, plans for renovations have
finally been finalized.
Built in 1927 on Main Street, Imperial Bath is the first of the three purchased properties that will undergo renovations.
Devoting over $9 million dollars into renovating the bath house, construction on this historic location has finally begun. Once the old Imperial Bath spa is completed, renovations on Hotel Adler and Hotel Columbia will begin! Hotel Adler has been left to fight against time since 2004, becoming a popular place for curious urban explorers to come and peak inside. The hotel looks eerily similar to how it did when it was up and running, with phones still hooked up in its 150 hotel rooms and bedding still set up like the place is expecting guests to arrive any minute.
With investors and enthusiastic residents that are determined to bring the town's history back to life, Sharon Springs is well on its way to becoming a sought after destination once again.
Today in Sharon Springs you'll find shops and businesses run by people who are in love with the town, constantly working to maintain its history and inviting character. Places like the
have already been renovated in recent years, bringing out-of-town visitors to the area once again. With no specific details on when we should expect the renovations on the Imperial Bath to be completed, all we can do is anxiously sit back and watch the revival of this abandoned town unfold before our eyes. To find out more about what the town has to offer today,
Have you ever visited the town of Sharon Springs in your lifetime? If you’re fascinated by locations that have been left behind, you’ll want to take an adventure to
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