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1 Franklin Square: Architecture and History of Saratoga

1 Franklin Square

Architecture and History of Saratoga blog series

by commercial REALTOR®, Olivia Huffman, and Professor James Kettlewell

Historic Franklin Square in Saratoga, NY is a striking example of classic Greek Revival style

With an impressive Doric porch set against the weathered yellow stone of early Saratoga Springs construction, 1 Franklin Square is one of the most striking examples of classic Greek Revival style in Saratoga.

This distinctive stone Greek Revival is located in the heart of downtown Saratoga Springs. With approximately 5,179 square feet, this beautiful property is in excellent condition and has had many recent improvements including roof, porches, hot water boiler and fencing. Currently set-up with first-floor retail-space and four one-bedroom luxury apartments.

Bower house in Northampton, Massachusetts, considered one of the earliest Greek Revival houses in America

Bower house in Northampton, Massachusetts, considered one of the earliest Greek Revival houses in America. Built by Ithiel Town in 1826.

Professor (and Harvard historian) James Kettlewell notes that Franklin Square is the most architecturally interesting area in all of Saratoga Springs. “Franklin Square is the most remarkable architectural site in Saratoga Springs, with Greek Revival masterpieces including 1 Franklin Square and the Marvin House, as well as beautiful Victorian, Federal and Colonial structures, all within a large city block.”

History of 1 Franklin Square in Saratoga, NY, which has wings extending on both sides of the building

1 Franklin Square has classic “wings” which extend on both sides of the main portion of the building

Originally named Marvin Square, after the Marvin brothers who were prominent businessmen, Franklin Square, was named after Benjamin Franklin. It was adjacent to the imposing Victorian Railroad Station, as well as the rear entrance to the United States Hotel, which was the largest hotel on earth when it was constructed.

Historic 1950's photo of 1 Franklin Square in Saratoga, NY. Photo by Professor James Kettlewell.

1 Franklin Square in circa 1950. Photo by James Kettlewell.

1 Franklin Square remains much in its original condition when built in 1836. The ground floor was modified, probably in the early 1870’s, by the addition of a Victorian double-leaved door and four-paned Victorian windows, which replace the original multi-paned windows of the Greek Revival style.

The architecture of classic Greek buildings, like the Parthenon, helped define the Greek Revival style in America

The architecture of classic Greek buildings, like the Parthenon, helped define the Greek Revival style in America.

Kettlewell explains that the Greek Revival style was called a democratic style, as every American was thought to have the ability to construct a beautiful example of it. “The Greek Revival Style was democratic because if you followed the original Greek proportions, any carpenter could produce a striking piece of architecture, without training or expensive technology.”

The Supreme Court Building in Washington DC is a famous example of the Greek Revival style in the United States.

The Supreme Court Building in Washington DC is a famous example of the Greek Revival style in the United States.

“The most striking part is the dramatic porch, which adds importance to the house, and importance to the occupants, says Kettlewell. “Every home in America became a ‘government building.’ Each person was a citizen. It was a style perfectly suited for the American concept of democracy…for the people, by the people.”

Every home in America became a ‘Government Building.’ Each person was a citizen. It was a style perfectly suited for the American concept of democracy…for the people, by the people

The Greek Revival is the first true expression of American architecture.

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Property for sale: historic 1 Franklin Square

1 Franklin Square – $1,190,000

4 luxury 1 bedroom apartments upstairs with retail space on the main floor. The residential units can be used as extra income for a business who would like to own. View listing


About the Authors

olivia huffman commercial real estate agent saratoga springs ny

Olivia Huffman is a commercial real estate agent at Roohan Realty with an interest in Saratoga’s history. Olivia’s Agent profile | Olivia’s Linkedin

Professor James Kettlewell graduated from Harvard Magna Cum Laude honors in the field of American Architecture. He began teaching at Harvard University and was a professor at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs for many years. He was also the curator at the Hyde Museum in Glens Falls. His book on Saratoga architecture (pictured above) is available at Lyrical Ballad bookstore on Phila Street in downtown Saratoga Springs and on Amazon.  www.jameskettlewell.com | Get his book on Amazon

Stay tuned for another Architecture and History of Saratoga post next month!


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