“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Sharon Springs in Schoharie County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

The Magnesia Temple and Baths

The Historic Main Street Tour

The Magnesia Temple and Baths Marker image. Click for full size.
By Steve Stoessel, March 9, 2019
1. The Magnesia Temple and Baths Marker
Inscription. The most unique of the Sharon Springs temples, the elaborate, ornamental and domed Magnesia Temple was an exquisite example of the iron work construction of engineer D.D. Badger of Architectural Iron Works of New York City. It was built in a Renaissance Revival style in 1863 by H.J. Bang, who also owned the Tango Bath Houses and the Congress Hall Hotel. The Magnesia Temple was built at a time when iron buildings were gaining popularity. Badger was a pioneer in the use of prefabricated construction and many of his works, the most notable in New York are Vanderbilt's Central Station Depot, the Singer Sewing Machine Co. Building, Hudson River Railroad Depot, Kemp Building, Gilsey House, E.V. Haughwost Building, and the Watervliet Arsenal built in 1859. Most likely, the temple's prefabricated parts were shipped up the Hudson, as was the Watervliet Arsenel, and delivered to Sharon Springs by rail where it was then constructed by Badger's team. The carved inscription on the back of the stone lion head fountain identifies the architect as L. Berger "who is listed in New York City directories from 1851-1871 as L. Burgee" The sculptor was M. Kilb. The Temple was once part of Congress Hall property which was proclaimed to have the most beautiful bathhouses and grounds in the village.

Henry Joseph Bang was born in Darmstadt, Germany about 1800 and arrived in the United States by 1855. he was a brewer and a New York restaurateur. After purchasing the land surrounding the magnesia springs in 1860, he began building Congress Hall Hotel. He also built a wood plane factory behind his Fango and Magnesia baths. Unfortunately for Mr. Bang, despite the splendor of his bathhouses and temple, the magnesia spring could not compete with the potency of the Pavilion Hotel's white sulphur spring, and he was unable to to attract many bathers away from the Pavilion's wooden bath sheds. In 1875, in the midst of a great depression, Congress Hotel was totally destroyed by fire. The loss was devastating for him and his family, and Bang died around 1879.

The Magnesia property was sold to the Schaefer Brewing Company family after the Congress Hall fire. From 1883-1920, hops were a major agricultural crop in the area. Max Schaefer moved his family to this summer home in the village. He had a major investment in hops here, which were used to brew the famous Schaefer beer. The property remained in the Schaefer family, through the Vom Saal's, until the late 1980's. in 1999, the property was being restored by newcomers, Glen Goldfarb and Denise Kelly.
Erected 1999 by Sharon Historic Society.
Location. 42° 47.86′ N, 74° 36.983′ W. Marker is in Sharon Springs, New York, in Schoharie County. Marker is on Main Street (New York State Route 10), on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Sharon Springs NY 13459, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The White Sulphur Spring (within shouting distance of this marker); Chestnut Street Schoolhouse (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Historic Main Street Tour (about 500 feet away); a different marker also named Historic Main Street Tour (about 500 feet away); a different marker also named Historic Main Street Tour (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Historic Main Street Tour (approx. ¼ mile away); The Lehman Block (approx. 0.6 miles away); Rockville (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sharon Springs.
Categories. ArchitectureParks & Recreational AreasScience & MedicineSettlements & Settlers
Credits. This page was last revised on March 13, 2019. This page originally submitted on March 12, 2019, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. This page has been viewed 40 times since then. Photo   1. submitted on March 12, 2019, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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