Petrified Sea Gardens

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Petrified Sea Gardens
Grotto at Petrified Sea Gardens.jpg
Cambrian Period undersea grotto
near park entrance, 2008
Petrified Sea Gardens is located in New York
Petrified Sea Gardens
Petrified Sea Gardens is located in the US
Petrified Sea Gardens
Location Saratoga Springs, New York
Coordinates 43°4′58.97″N 73°50′40.16″W / 43.0830472°N 73.8444889°W / 43.0830472; -73.8444889Coordinates: 43°4′58.97″N 73°50′40.16″W / 43.0830472°N 73.8444889°W / 43.0830472; -73.8444889
Area 25 acres (10 ha)[1]
Built 1825
NRHP reference # 99000631
Significant dates
Added to NRHP January 20, 1999[2]
Designated NHL January 20, 1999 [3]

Petrified Sea Gardens, also known as Ritchie Park, is a National Historic Landmark near Saratoga Springs, New York. It preserves an area of ancient stromatolites in a Cambrian rock layer. Stromatolites "were first recognized, discovered, and interpreted in North America" here, on property owned by Robert F. Ritchie, a stonemason and amateur geologist, who detected them in 1922 and opened a park to show them to the public in 1924.[1]

Stromatolites, which are marine algae growths, were unknown, and it was a puzzle whether these fossils were organic or inorganic products. James Hall (1811–1898), the first State Paleontologist of New York, identified them as being organic and placed stromatolites in a new genus.[4]

Pioneering female paleontologist Winifred Goldring (1888–1971), "who was the fourth State Paleontologist of New York,...wrote the most exhaustive study on these ancient stromatolites."[4]

The site was a childhood inspiration for Stephen Jay Gould who went on to become "one of the most famous paleontologists of the twentieth century".[5]

It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1999,[3] by which date it had already been named a National Natural Landmark.[6]

The site was open as an educational site operated by a non-profit, the Friends of Petrified Sea Gardens[7] until 2006. It is currently closed to the public. It is located at 42 Petrified Sea Gardens Road, about 0.5 miles (0.80 km) north of N.Y. 29, west of Saratoga Springs, New York.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Joanne Kluessendorf (July 14, 1998). "National Historic Landmark Nomination: Petrified Sea Gardens / Ritchie Park" (pdf). National Park Service. and Accompanying 2 exterior photos from 1998, plus image of Winifred Goldring, undated (550 KB)
  2. ^ National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  3. ^ a b "Petrified Sea Gardens". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. 2007-09-18.
  4. ^ a b c Kluessendorf, p.__
  5. ^ Kluessendorf, p.15
  6. ^ NPS NNL Summary Page
  7. ^ NRHP, p. 15

External links[edit]