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Universal Preservation Hall

Universal Preservation Hall

25 Washington St, Saratoga Springs (NY), United States

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Description The Universal Preservation Hall, located at 25 Washington Street in Saratoga Springs, NY is a year-round arts and community events venue. It currently has a 300-350 seat performance space, as well as a large, open, community room. It also houses the worship space for the Universal Baptist Church, a historically African-American congregation.The building is currently being restored and re-fitted as a performance hall and rental venue. The Hall, though not yet complete, continues to host a wide range of events from music to theatre, lectures, weddings, conferences, classes, and exhibits.HistoryThe Hall was built in 1871 by architects E. Boyden & Son and is said to be one of the earliest and finest examples of High Victorian Gothic architecture anywhere in the country. Elbridge Boyden, borrowing from German and Italian Gothic Styles, contrasted the rose colored brick with light Ohio sandstone to define the pointed Gothic arches that frame the doors and windows. He used horizontal bands of this sandstone to unify the entire building. Inside, two walnut and ash staircases lead upstairs to the main theatre. The ceiling of this room is forty-five feet above the floor. The balcony, when in use, can seat two hundred and wraps around three sides of the auditorium. All of the supports that define the balcony and the ceiling beams feature gothic arches that echo those in the tall, abstract, Tiffany-inspired, stained-glass windows in the room. The bell tower, which is the tallest structure in Saratoga Springs, houses a 3,000 pound Meneely bell cast in nearby Troy, New York.Originally constructed for the Methodist church to host their annual regional meeting, the Hall has hosted such luminaries as William Jennings Bryan, Henry Ward Beecher, Frederick Douglass, Senator Edgar T. Brackett and President William Howard Taft, amongst others. In 1976 the Methodists sold the building to the Universal Baptist Church, who inhabited it until the building’s deteriorating state made it unsafe
  • 25 Washington St, Saratoga Springs (NY), United States
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