Excerpt from the
The town of
Milton has derived much of its past fame, wealth, and probably its
name (a contraction of Mill-town) from the vast array of industries
that developed and flourished from before its establishment to the
1950s. Because these industries were so important to the town itself
and Saratoga County as a whole, they are a featured component of
this book. The almost complete loss of industry in the late
twentieth century is another reason for preserving its history
within these pages.
comprising the Town of Milton was part of the Kayaderosseras Patent
granted by the English Crown in 1708. Settlement could not begin
until claims of the Mohawks were settled in 1767 and the track
surveyed and divided among its owners. Originally part of the Ball’s
Town district of Albany County, Milton was not set out as a town by
the state legislature until 1792. It is centrally located within
Saratoga County bounded principally by the towns of Greenfield,
Ballston, Galway, and the City of Saratoga Springs. It contains
22,000 acres of moderately fertile farm land and forests in the
southwest, gravelly hill country to the west and extreme north, and
a giant sand plain on the remaining eastern portion.
most important factor in the initial settlement and subsequent
growth of the town was the Kayaderosseras Creek, a Native American
name meaning “land of the crooked stream.” The Mohawks of the
Iroquois Nation considered the Kayaderosseras valley an important
hunting ground. The rapid fall in elevation of the creek within the
town’s borders created the perfect conditions for situating water
wheels to power machinery. Other suitable streams for water power
included the Gordon, Glowegee, and Rowland’s Hollow Creeks.
settlers arrived in 1772 and purchased land along the Middle Line of
Ballston’s “Five Mile Square” (present day Middle Line Road).
However, local conflict with the British and their Native American
allies prevented the growth of substantial communities until the
Revolutionary War ended.
only incorporated village, Ballston Spa, was first settled around
1787. One of the land speculators selling farm lots from his
holdings retained 100 acres, including a rare mineral spring.
Nicholas Low, a wealthy merchant from New York City, invested some
of his fortune to develop a spa located near the Iron Railing
Spring. His most prominent venture was the Sans Souci Hotel,
considered one of the grandest of the era when it was built in 1804.
Others erected hotels and boarding houses, and for about 20 years
the village was a popular tourist destination. Some of the most
prominent people of the day traveled to Ballston to “take the
waters” and be entertained.