DENNIS YUSKO Staff writer
Section: CAPITAL REGION,  Page: F8

Date: Tuesday, November 4, 2003

Stillwater and the Saratoga Lake Association will work together to refurbish the fractured gazebo that belonged to the former White Sulphur Springs Hotel at Route 9P and Luther Road. The goal is to recreate the Spring Pavilion, which housed the popular freshwater spring that fed the one-time first-class Victorian resort, possibly fix the spring itself and use the gazebo as an anchor for a newly built pocket park.

Supervisor Paul Lilac and Gary Supley of the lake association announced the restoration initiation last week at the site. The 1870s-era hotel was torn down in 1957 and replaced by Route 9P. The gazebo is boarded up. By some time next year, however, the intersection at Saratoga Lake will be a meeting spot once again, Lilac and Supley promised.

``There are no other landmark sites on Saratoga Lake. This is the last one,'' Supley said. ``And it would be a shame for it to go away.''

The town and association are seeking donations, volunteers and grant money to complete the project. Lilac would not estimate a cost.

``We don't plan on using town funds, originally, except for in-kind services from our highway department,'' Lilac said.

The proposed restoration would bring back a long-forgotten time on the lake. Residents and tourists used to stop at the spring for conversation and refreshment during the Depression era.

The hotel's grounds stretched 150 acres and included an elegant bathhouse spring. Horse-drawn omnibuses provided transportation to and from Saratoga Springs. In 1926, heavyweight boxer Jack Dempsey trained for his championship fight with Gene Tunney on the hotel grounds.

But the spring fell into disrepair after the hotel was demolished. It's now a shadow of itself, boarded and flooded.

It still contains its original concrete and turret. The latter was caving in, so it was recently removed to be placed in storage over the winter.

Those doing the restoration want to clear out trees, build a small parking area and walking bridge, add lighting and move some power lines before rehabilitating the Spring Pavilion, Lilac said. Historical signs will be erected near the gazebo.

Craig Farnsworth of Northland Builders made the project possible by donating the land to the town, Lilac said.