Yesterday I dropped my father off at Yaddo, an artist’s colony in Saratoga Springs, NY. In addition to being located on a beautiful green estate, the place has some pretty great history. It was originally a mansion owned by Spencer Trask in the late 19th century. He was one of Thomas Edison’s financial backers, so the mansion is pretty incredible in terms of furnishings. What’s really intriguing, however, is the Trask family’s history. Spencer and his wife Katrina had four children. At one point, Katrina had tuberculosis, and it was thought she would not survive. The children were brought in to see her on her death bed. Two of them caught TB and subsequently died. Katrina made a full recovery. Another of their children drowned in the pond, and the fourth perished in some other tragic manner, the nature of which I’m not quite certain. Katrina and Spencer were left childless, and on New Year’s Eve in 1909, Spencer was shaving with a straight razor on a train to New York, when the train was rear-ended by another train, causing him to cut his own throat with the razor. Katrina later suffered several heart attacks, but survived. She then had some sort of vision or premonition that she should turn the estate into an artists’ colony, which she did.
I took a bunch if photos while I was there, of the mansion, and of my father’s living/working space. Gallery to follow.