A Centennial Reception featuring a video screening premiere of Saratoga Springs At 100 Years, and celebrating events held during Saratoga Springs’ 100-year anniversary will take place 2 p.m. Sunday (or, mid-way through the NY Giants vs. NY Jets game) at Gannett Auditorium, on the campus of Skidmore College. It’s unclear whether this is a public event; you may want to announce your pending attendance with Deputy Mayor Gayle LaSalle (firstname.lastname@example.org) before crashing the party. One Caveat: haven’t seen the video, nor is it known who made it, so can’t vouch for its quality. These things can be pretty lifeless (cough, cough, Saratoga 150), so here’s hoping the visual depiction does justice to the city’s unique vitality, vibrancy, and its’ promise of a bright future.
SARATOGA 100: it happened in December
1936 – In December, the bullet riddled-body of Adam Parillo is discovered on the steps of Saratoga Hospital, the victim of a suspected mob hit. The case remains one of the city’s unsolved mysteries.
1975 – George McCode, a 32-year-old U.S. Navy Man living at the Gaslight Apartments fires four shots from his living room window into a playground filled with children at St. Peter’s Elementary School. Two girls are wounded, but survive. One of the girls, Moira D’Andrea, recovers from a foot wound and became a three-time Olympian speed skater in the 1980s and ‘90s (December) .
1987 – Frances Steloff, who was born in Saratoga Springs and founded the Gotham Book Mart in 1920 in Manhattan is honored in a ceremony on her 100th birthday, during which Steloff is presented with a key to the city by Mayor Ellsworth Jones (Dec. 31). As a child, young Frances sold flowers to tourists staying at the Grand Union Hotel, a few blocks east of her residence. Steloff’s bookstore was a literary institution through the 20th century, supporting the careers of James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, William Carlos Williams, Gertrude Stein, and Henry Miller as well as many other major writers when they were unknown or not publicly accepted.
1992 – Cornelius Vanderbilt “Sonny” Whitney dies on Dec. 13. Whitney was born in 1899 and involved in financing the film “Gone with the Wind,” and Pan Am Airways. The Whitney Handicap was named in honor of his family in 1928 and in 1950 he founded the National Museum of Racing. In 1958, he married Marie Louise Schroeder, who became known as Marylou Whitney.
2001 – The Olympic Torch passes through Saratoga Springs en route to the 2002 Games at Salt Lake City (Dec. 30).
2010 - Nicholas Naumkin, a 12-year-old Maple Avenue Middle School student is killed while visiting a classmate when a handgun belonging to the classmates’ father accidentally goes off. The incident initiates a region-wide conversation regarding gun safety (Dec. 22).