Straw boaters were the fashionable hat for men in this undated photo of a busy summer scene on Broadway in Saratoga Springs, New York. Saratoga has been a vacation destination for the well-to-do and those not feeling quite so well since the middle of the 19th century. Whether to place a wager at the horse track or “take the water cure” at the famous mineral spring spa, people from all over the world flocked to this small upstate community well into 20th, and still do.
L to R (above) Cars parked at the track on Aug. 3, 1940, a view of the Congress Theater and Tap Room on Broadway on July 9, 1946, The Colonial Tavern on Broadway on Aug. 25, 1946. Photos courtesy of the Albany Times Union photo archive where you can find many more like them.
Our best guess is that our top shot was made in no earlier than 1932. The looming Depression doesn’t seem to have had much of an effect on either pedestrian or vehicular traffic. The Adelphi Hotel (sign just right of center, top) is still catering to high rollers at the same location today during the racing season, and a very nice auto museum now occupies the former Saratoga Water bottling plant in the Saratoga Spa State Park, just south of town. Photo Courtesy of the AACA Library.