Biographical / Historical
Establishing a school for young women in Saratoga.
In 1855 the Rev. Luther F. Beecher went into business with Mr. Carter, principal of the Saratoga Female Seminary, to establish a school for young women. They constructed a new building designed to house a boarding school during the winter and a hotel in the summer and called it the Saratoga Female Seminary at Temple Grove. By 1860 Mr. Carter was no longer with the school. Beecher continued as its principal for a few years, changing the name to Temple Grove Institute but the school closed.
Dr. Charles F. Dowd (1825 – 1904), principal 1868 to 1898
Charles F. Dowd Dowd came to Saratoga Springs to purchase and re-open the Temple Grove school in 1868. Dowd improved the Temple Grove building with new plumbing, steam heat (an innovation in its time for the city), a gymnasium and laboratories. Dowd was a graduate of Yale College (1853). He later completed a Ph.D. in theology from the University of New York. He is known for having originated and promoted the System of Standard Time. Dowd was principal from 1868 to 1898 with his wife. Harriet M. Dowd, (Mount Holyoke, class of 1851). The charter was made permanent in 1879.
Dowd retired in 1898. The school continued under his son Franklin D. Dowd until 1900. In 1903 the Seminary building and grounds were purchased by Mrs. Lucy Scribner.
Site of the downtown campus of Skidmore College
Lucy Skidmore Scribner purchased the building and grounds of Temple Grove in April, 1903 for the newly formed Young Women's Industrial Club. In 1911 the Club was re-named the Skidmore School of Arts and in 1922 was chartered as a four-year liberal arts college known from 1922 as Skidmore College. By 1922 the site of Temple Grove had evolved into the center of the downtown campus of Skidmore College. The Temple Grove Seminary building still exists in Saratoga Springs on the corner of Circular and Spring Street.
Temple Grove Alumnae Association
The alumnae association of Temple Grove Seminary adopted a constitution on June 14, 1887 to, “...promote further growth and development and establish friendly relations among the graduates of N.G. L. S. [North Granville Ladies Seminary] and T.G. S. [Temple Grove Seminary] ...” The alumna planned to meet annually during Anniversary Week. The first officers were Mrs. M.J. Francisco, president, Mrs. O.J. Travers, vice-president, Miss. A. Louise Strong, secretary and Miss Bertha N. Dowd, treasurer. The Association published a series of directories listing graduates from both institutions. In honor of their teacher, Helen North, the alumnae raised money for a scholarship and a book fund in her name at Skidmore School of Arts.
(Sources: The Alumnae of Temple Grove, 1887, Quinquennial Catalogue of 1885, Lester Brothers publication titled, Temple Grove, Durkee’s Reminiscences of Saratoga, and The Saratoga Union, Dec. 25, 1889).