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Pieces of history from Saratoga Springs hotel for sale

Pieces of history from Saratoga Springs hotel for sale

The practical purpose for the sale is to liquidate inventory that doesn't fit
Pieces of history from Saratoga Springs hotel for sale
Dominick J. Ranieri looks at paintings available in the Adelphi Hotel estate sale
Photographer: Erica Miller

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A band of fanciful boulevardiers parade down a bustling street in 19th century France.

They don colorful suits with long coattails and boots; French women look on wearing bonnets and gowns.

The scene comes from an antique French painting taken off the wall of the Adelphi Hotel in Saratoga Springs — one of hundreds of similar paintings being sold at an estate sale in a Clifton Park warehouse this weekend.

“That is very much like Saratoga,” said Dominick Ranieri, the architect behind the 1877 Spa City hotel’s renovations, during a preview of the sale Wednesday. 

“Very much like Saratoga in the 1800s,” clarified Michel Ducamp, chief operating officer of Adelphi Hospitality Group.

That painting in particular, priced at $40, won’t be for sale — Ducamp already claimed it. He said it’s a reminder of not only his French heritage — his first language was French and his father called France home — but of the history held within the walls of the hotel that’s become his life during the roughly $30 million restoration project.

“It’s a seven-day, 24-hour business, so it’s nice to have a little something where you can say, ‘Ah, that was from when I was working at the Adelphi Hotel,” he said. 

Ducamp’s company owns the hotel, but he said it really belongs to the community, and he wants others to share in its past. The sale runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday at 16 Fairchild Square.

“It’s a loved hotel — people want pieces of it,” said David Ornstein of New Scotland Antiques in Albany, which is running the sale. 

“We want for the entire community of the Capital Region to have an opportunity to own a little piece,” Ducamp said.

That’s the romantic reason for the sale. The practical purpose is to liquidate the inventory left behind by a hotel that had been stuffed with 80 tiny rooms.

The hotel was built with 150 rooms, but in the 1890s, its operators were forced to make space for then-modern advances like indoor plumbing and electricity.

The renovated hotel will have 32 rooms, each with their own bathroom — an upgrade from the formerly shared bathrooms — about the size of the old rooms. Twelve of those rooms will be 800-square-foot suites, which add a parlor and sitting room to the accommodations. 

“We’ve taken everything that we can fit back into the hotel, and because so much of what’s in the hotel is new, there’s only so much room,” Ducamp said.

Upward of 5,000 items salvaged from the four-story hotel are packed into the 10,000-square-foot warehouse. Ornstein said they include about 400 pieces of framed art, prints and mirrors; 100 chandeliers; 200 table lamps and sconces; 150 pieces of largely Victorian furniture — tables, chairs, sofas, chests and more —  and 125 doors, including two massive ones from the hotel’s main entrance. 

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“They range from maybe as low as $30 to $450 for a pair of the very fancy doors that were in the front,” Ornstein said. 

The porcelain doorknobs have been removed, but they’re also for sale, along with the hardware needed to re-install them. 

Among the mirrors and doors stands an 18-foot artificial Christmas tree that stood outside the hotel during the holidays for the past 20 years.

Then there’s everyday items you might find in any hotel — like light bulbs, kitchen appliances and utensils, and wireless Internet routers.

Atop a printer in the center of the warehouse sits a bright yellow volleyball with a smiley face painted in black. 

Ornstein said he’s run about 300 estate sales in the past 40 years and none have been as big as the Adelphi’s. 

“I’ve had big sales,” he said. “I once did a big mansion in Catskill on the Hudson River, but there’s a lot of stuff here — you’ll see.”

The items are priced fairly for the buyers and the seller, he said. Considering the sale’s short length, there are deals to be found.

“We have to set up a department store and sell everything in three days,” he said. “We can’t give things away — they’re the fairest price we could sell them for.”

The sprawling inventory begs the question: What wasn’t taken out of the hotel?  

“We kept a variety of items,” Ducamp said. “Inside the guest rooms, we kept small objects — books, small little sculptures, little jars, vases, pictures that can fit on shelves, and we kept about a dozen large format pieces of artwork that will go in the common areas.” 

The new Adelphi Hotel’s lobbies will also showcase about a dozen Victorian-era settees and couches that will be refurnished and reupholstered. 

The pieces of history left behind will contribute to a hotel that is “still very much the old Adelphi,” said Ranieri.

“People that remember it from before, when they walk in, they’ll recognize the major components of the hotel still in existence,” he said.

Buried inside the walls, however, are “all the typical modern accouterments you’d find in a four- or five-star hotel,” he said.

Ranieri said that over the past five years, the hotel has been restored “right down to the bones.” 

The first year was spent documenting existing conditions and evaluating the structure; the next two years went into restructuring the entire building from the foundation to the roof and rebuilding the interior — adding steel beams and concrete floors, and working steel through the roof and into the front columns while preserving their woodwork. 

“They were all rotted at the base, and the porch was rotted, so those columns were basically dangling,” Ranieri said. 

The last two years have gone into updating the vast network of mechanical systems and plumbing, and refinishing the walls. 

“This last month, it’s been all finishes — painting, decorating,” said Ranieri.

The hotel will open within weeks, “sometime this summer,” Ducamp said. “There are some fine details we’re still working on.”

The hotel will employ 250 people during the summertime, when thoroughbred racing at Saratoga Race Course brings thousands of visitors to town, and about 125 in the calmer winter months, he said. 

A major change that comes with the renovations, Ranieri said, is that the entire first floor has been “re-energized for Saratoga.” There are outdoor cafes on Broadway, a bar and restaurant  in the lobby that’s open to all and, in the back, two public gardens and a conservatory “to be fully occupied during track season,” he said.

“It was kind of a protected asset,” he said of the Adelphi Hotel of the past. “Only the people who stayed there really got to enjoy it.”

Most of the time, those people were tourists, not Saratogians. 

“We’ve engaged it to the street,” Ranieri said. “As the architect and designer, I can waive my humility and say that I think this is going to be the place that everybody from the track is going to want to go to and be at — everything else will be second.”

For a complete list of items being sold at the estate sale, visit https://www.estatesales.net/NY/Clifton-Park/12065/1558935.

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