Hudson Valley Railway to Kaydeross Park

Amusement parks first appeared in the United States at the end of the 19th century, usually built by railroad companies outside cities to increase ridership on the weekends when commuter travel dropped off.

In the 1920s, when amusement parks were at their "peak point," there were nearly 1,000 of them across the nation. The number of parks dwindled during the Depression and after World War II with the exodus of people from the cities to the suburbs. As the automobile became more popular and later—when the interstates were constructed— the local [railroad sponsored] amusement park disappeared.

In 1900, the Kaydeross Amusement Park was built and a trolley line connected the lakeside park to Saratoga. It was a popular spot as the photos and descriptions below indicate.

The trolley discontinued service in 1925, but the amusement park continued to delight children and adults until 1987; its fine carousel now welcomes riders in Congress Park in downtown Saratoga.

- Fair Use Notice -

  
1900s Historical Topo Current Street Map

d

You can zoom in and follow the route in greater detail using the Open Street Map.

Due to a very steep hill to climb, it is believed that the ROW most likely turned southward to Lake Lonely instead. Originally destined for Lake Lonely, the Kaydeross Park on Saratoga Lake was built nine years later and the northern Lake Lonely route was probably abandoned. The section of the ROW just north of Lake Lonely has been turned into a trail. Further info below.

Lake Lonely Trail

Part One

Historical Photos

The trolley...

Racetrack Entrance Kaydeross Park Street Car
Check out Gino diCarlo's great book Trolleys Of The Capital District by Arcadia Publishing

Kaydeross Park, near Saratoga Lake

Street Railway Journal Volume 12- 1903

"The pleasure grounds extend for a half a mile along the lake shore. In a natural hollow has been arranged a rustic stage and dressing rooms of logs with none of the bark removed. Seats for 1,200 people are placed around three sides of the amphitheater, and at regular intervals are small platforms on which are comfortable wicker chairs these constituting the boxes for this unconventional theater…

...Along the path which lead to the theater... are swings and other outdoor attractions for the children and rustic seats and shady nooks inviting repose… First class musical concerts, comic operas, or select vaudeville performances are provided..."

Kaydeross Park

Kaydeross Park

Kaydeross Park

^ top ^


Part Two

Retracing the ROW

I started my trek in Saratoga, at the corner of Lincoln Ave and although I took a few photos along the way, nothing was worth posting until I got to spot #4. Its a private driveway but it did sync up with the map location and had an aura of an earlier ROW.

Saratoga

The Branch South to Kaydeross Park

The Racetrack and the build up of stables and other horce-racing-related buildings were clearly indicated on the maps so I hadn't expected to find much west of the Northway but once I was east of the Northway...

Crescent Ave Crossing and Poe Street

...the Crescent Avenue Crossing was a different story! The ROW climb up the hill was clearly visible to the south and the embankment northward was as clear as day. A short jaunt back around Poe Road revealed the old trestle across the stream. Private property prevented me from any closeups but the final shot in the series nicely portrays the entire landscape and route.

When warmer weather returns, I may try to mountain bike and/or hike the ROW up the hill - it looks enticing!

Crescent Ave Crossing and Poe Street

Looking Southeastward climb

Looking Northwestward (Uphill)

Poe Road Trestle Remnants Poe Road Trestle

Poe Road Trestle Close Up

Poe Road Trestle

mtbOn Sunday, May 18th, 2014 - I mountain biked the uphill section off Crescent Ave pictured above. Photos and a short video can been seen here >

On to the Park...

The rest of the drive to search for ROW remnants of the Kaydeross Branch proved fruitless. I drove on past Lake Lovely, then drove around the Arrowhead Road area but no definitive signs of the ROW were visible. I concluded this leg of the search by stopping by the spot where the Kaydeross Park used to be. Photos and an interesting discovery are found on this sidebar page.

The Northern Branch

Moving eastward to where the ROW traverses the Saratoga National Golf Course, I hiked into the woods where the road turns. There was a few feet of snow and this strange large foundation/mound I surmounted, hoping the higher elevation could give me a better vantage point to survey the surroundings. I had to wear snowshoes and the climbing up the stairs was a little tricky but once at the higher level, I saw vaguely what looked like the ROW 100 feet or so to the north. Even though it was tough going in semi-mushy snow, it was clearly a marsh that I was gingerly crossing and probably impassable in any other season but winter.

Golf Course Trek

My trek took me to what appeared to be an old railway milepost and what could have been the ROW.

Looking back at the strange foundation I climbed over. Note snowshoe tracks.
Strange Mound

The trek thru the marsh
Spotting A Remnant

Spotting A Remnant

close up

ROW ? looking eastward
ROW?

As I drove back out towards Route 9P, I noticed another one of those cement markers nearer the road, right where it starts the curve. I snapped a photo but didn't post it.

Along Route 9P

Although most of the ROW has long been obliterated by new construction elsewhere along the route, as you see from the aerial photo there is a remnant still visible along Route 9P just north of Lake Lonely. This section is easy to spot and is visible from Route 9P. As mentioned earlier, seeing that ROW was the spark that triggered this "field research."

aerial

ROW by Rt 9P

Here where the bridge was...
Bridge by 9P

On each side of the ROW by the bridge, the evidence of beavers was apparent :-)
Busy Beavers!

A little further east on 9P, behind LongFellows Restaurant, there is a sign and wooden stairway down to the ROW. It is now a nature trail and curves south to Lake Lonely where a viewing platform was built.

Behind LongFellows

It was nice to see the old ROW being utilized in a productive way. Kudos to the Saratoga Open Space Project and Longfellows for their efforts and access provided. Its a good start towards building awareness of passenger travel by rail in the simpler times of yesteryear...

^ top ^


Part Three

More About the Kaydeross Amusement Park

This 1985 Short Movie Promo captures the park's "family fun" features
Giant water tricycles and no extra charge for swimming! :-)

Photos

Recollections

What Happened?

After the amusement park closed, the park morphed into a a popular nightclub but later the entire area was sold and turned into a modern housing development...

About the Carousel

Carousel Migration AnimeDid You Know?

The historic Kaydeross Park carousel was originally carved in 1910. According to Ola Goldfoot, it was a feature attraction in four different local amusement parks before its final location in Saratoga Springs.

When the Saratoga community heard of a real estate developers plans to auction the historic carousel "by the piece", they went into action. With the support of the city, they took control of the carousel and invested money into it via fund raisers and local investment.

Although it was a controversial battle, the carousel has been restored and was reopened as a pavilion in Congress Park in 2002. (other info)

Carousel

Geyser Park | Kaydeross Park
^ top ^