SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — A little piece of history is missing at Congress Park in Saratoga Springs.
Saratoga Springs Police are investigating what happened to the 133-year-old Morrissey Fountain that stands next to the Canfield Casino in Congress Park. Police say the fountain was apparently toppled over, damaged in an act of vandalism.
The cast iron fountain was installed in 1870 by John Morrissey when he built the Saratoga Club House, now known as the Canfield Casino.
James Parillo, the Executive Director of the Saratoga Springs History Museum, says the fountain served an important purpose back in the day. Although gambling was never legal in Saratoga Springs, Parillo claims a red ball floated atop the fountain when gambling was in session at the Casino nearby so the local police would not raid.
“When gambling was going on within the casino there would be a red ball that balanced on top of the water that sprayed out, and that alerted people that the place was open and people could come in, because gambling back then was illegal in Saratoga Springs and he ran this as an illegal operation,” Parillo explains.
Police will review the Public Works Department's surveillance cameras that are set up in the park. They are still waiting for the video. Officials say the manufacturer of the surveillance videos is conducting a forensic audit of the footage.
The fountain is now undergoing repairs.