The Centennial Logo is primarily comprised of a silhouette of the “Spirit of Life” bronze statue located in the Spencer Trask Memorial found in Congress Park, in the City of Saratoga Springs. In many ways, the winged female figure (“Spirit of Life” statue) embodies the health and history of our community which draws residents and visitors to the park.
In 1913, Katrina Trask and George Foster Peabody commissioned a memorial in honor of Spencer Trask’s work in preserving and protecting the healing waters of Saratoga Springs. Mr. Trask (1844-1909) was an American financier, philanthropist, and venture capitalist who spent summers at his 400 acre estate “Yaddo” (now an artists’ community since 1926) in Saratoga Springs.
Artist Daniel Chester French, along with architect Henry Bacon, creators of the Lincoln Memorial, designed the monument for placement in Congress Park, featuring the triumphant winged figure known as the “Spirit of Life.” The statue is a figure of a winged woman, hands poised high above her head. The figure represents Hygieia, the giver of health, who usually appeared in Greek and Roman art accompanying her father, Asklepios, the god of medicine. She is often shown offering nourishment to a serpent entwined on the staff Asklepios carries. In French’s conception, Hygieia holds a shallow bowl aloft and in the other hand clasps a pine bough, a reference to the towering pines on the grounds of Trask’s estate (“Yaddo”). The goddess is poised lightly on a rock, and a stream of water pours from its cleft. The pedestal is a sculptured reproduction of the tufaceous deposits seen about the orifice of many of Saratoga’s famous mineral springs.
The Memorial was first dedicated in 1915, the same year the City of Saratoga Springs was incorporated. The dedication to Spencer Trask reads: To the Memory of Spencer Trask, His One Object in Life was to do Right, and to Serve His Fellow Men, and Gave Himself Abundantly to Hasten the Coming of a New and Better Day.
Today, the Memorial, and more so the sculpture, have become a defining symbol of the City of Saratoga Springs, recognized by residents and visitors alike. The Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation, in partnership with the City of Saratoga Springs, recently completed a four-year conservation project to restore the Spencer Trask Memorial and unveiled the renovated statue at the re-dedication ceremony on Friday, June 26, 2015.
For those interested in the story of the woman who modeled for the Spirit Of Life statue, Audrey Munson… Follow this additional link: http://alloveralbany.com/archive/2015/03/25/audrey-munson-the-model-behind-the-spirit-of-life
If you are interested in purchasing one of the Commemorative Limited Edition Official Saratoga Springs Centennial Flags, exclusively manufactured by Saratoga Flag Company… Click here: http://www.saratogaflag.com/-City-of-Saratoga-Springs-Official-Centennial-Flag2x4ft_p_1069.html