Sharon Springs, NY, was once a bustling resort town built upon a natural mineral spring. It was thought that the high levels of sulphur, magnesium, and iron in the water provided a variety of health benefits, the exact specifications of which varied widely over the years. By the end of the 19th century, it was a highly fashionable escape from New York; patrons included the Vanderbilts and Oscar Wilde. By the time of the Depression, there were more than a dozen resort hotels operating out of the town, alongside a highly regarded golf course, a number of bath houses, and other amenities common to resorts of the era.
Among the last of these built was the Adler, which first opened its doors in 1927. Already the town was fading; Saratoga Springs was competing for, and for the most part winning, the patronage of the prestigious. Add to this the economic hardships of the Depression, which happened only a few years after the hotel was built, and the hotel was economically troubled from the beginning.
But after World War 2, the town again came into prominence, now as a getaway spot for wealthy German Jews, who were not welcomed easily at Saratoga. In 1946, Ed Koch, future mayor of New York, bussed tables at the Adler. The town was again booming, and the kitchens in all of the old resort hotels were made Kosher; in a phenomenon not unlike the Borscht Belt of lower New York, Sharon Springs became a major Jewish escape.
But the decline of resorts in general, as well as the building of the New York State Thruway, which bypassed Sharon Springs, took their toll. One by one, the resort hotels and bath houses closed; the Adler was among the last to shut its doors, in 2004. Since then, little has changed there - the occasional vandal has sadly snuck in, and there is graffiti vandalism throughout various areas of the hotel, including the grand dining room. But things are looking up for the hotel - unlike other notable Sharon Springs hotels, such as the Pavilion and the Washington, it was not demolished; now it has been purchased by a group which plans to restore it (as well as the Imperial Baths and the Columbia Hotel) and remake Sharon Springs into a resort community once again. Hopefully, this grand five-story Spanish Revival building will once again see life.
The grand lobby of the hotel, showing some original architectural flourishes.
A bedroom, with furniture still intact. The majority of the rooms in the Adler still have beds and dressers; in some cases, ancient TVs or old telephones add another glimpse into its past.
The third floor elevator.
A pile of old mattresses. Several rooms had clearly been disused longer than the majority of the hotel; many were used to warehouse surplus items such as these.
The grand stairwell running up the center of the building.
A fifth-floor room; note the tin still intact along the sloped ceiling.
A tiny bathroom, lacking a sink, inside a closet-sized room with a skylight on the top floor.
A private dining room on the first floor.