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Carol Godette

{From the 2024 Spring magazine}

Written by Samantha Bosshart, Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation
Photos provided (Unless Noted)

To everyone else, it just looks like an old garage today, but when Carol Godette was growing up it was the center of action, Rowland’s, a neighborhood grocery store where people could get necessities, local gossip, and, more importantly, she and her friends could buy penny candy.  Walking by many years after Rowland’s had closed, Carol felt a sense of sadness.  The place of so many fond memories had returned to a garage without any evidence of how important Rowland’s was to neighborhood.  That sense of lost history inspired her to start researching not only Rowland’s, but many other mom-and-pop businesses that she recalled from her childhood that no longer exist, and begin writing.   Today, Carol’s articles, featured in this magazine, have become important to preserving the history of Saratoga Springs.  

Carol was born and raised in Saratoga Spring. Her parents, Richard and Barbara Stone, moved from Glens Falls to Saratoga in 1947 when her father began to work for the Burke family who operated a funeral home.  Together, they raised three daughters: Carol; her older sister, Pam; and her younger sister, Janet. 

Some of Carol’s first memories of growing up in Saratoga Springs were where her family initially lived, 45 Mitchell Street.  The neighborhood came alive each summer with the arrival of the racing season.  She recalls the action of the horse sales at Fasig-Tipton and din of the music each night from the Spuyten Duyvil, a Black-owned bar/restaurant located at 157 George Street, attracting some of Saratoga’s racing elites, the Whitneys and Vanderbilts, and other celebrities such as Fred Astaire.   In 1964, at the age of nine, her family moved to 308 Nelson Avenue, not far from Rowland’s on North Street. 

Carol’s initial appreciation of Saratoga Springs’ past came from her experience as editor of her high school yearbook.  Her class was the 100th graduating class, which she chose as the yearbook theme.  George Bolster, the official yearbook photographer, invited Carol to search through his now famous exhaustive collection of historical photographs of Saratoga Springs to include in the yearbook.  Her frequent visits to his Phila Street studio transported her back to the heyday of the grand hotels, giving Carol her first appreciation of another era that had been lost.  

Carol with Mr. Rowland and his son Steve Rowland and the garage on North Street that used to be his store.

Following high school, Carol graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh with a BA in education and French.  She met her husband, David Godette, in 1976 at Desperate Annie’s on Caroline Street, one of the few bars that has remained exactly the same over the years.  The following year, they were married outside the Gideon Putnam Hotel.  They left Saratoga Springs to attend the University of Georgia to receive their graduate degrees.  Not long after graduating, they returned to Saratoga Springs.  When Carol’s parents moved to 628 North Broadway to live above William J. Burke & Sons Funeral Home, she and David moved into her former family home, where they raised their two children, Kristy and Brad.  

In 2010, Carol retired after 31 years as an elementary school teacher at Greenfield and Lake Avenue schools.  Not wanting to retire from life, she began her research on Rowland’s and worked for Pearson, a textbook publisher, training teachers in Common Core throughout the northeast. While Carol enjoyed seeing different cities, she often compared them to home and gained a new appreciation of how unique and special Saratoga Springs is.

During the five years she worked with Pearson, Carol continued researching other neighborhood grocery stores, writing only for herself.   With each business she researched, she found each one had its own special story.  In 2016, Carol saw her first article published in the winter edition of Simply Saratoga.  She was surprised by how excited people were to have their businesses featured.  Their appreciation was her reward and motivation to expand her research to other lost mom-and-pop businesses – restaurants and entertainment venues.  She also highlighted businesses that continued to serve community today, The Adirondack Trust Company and William J. Burke and Sons Funeral Home. 

In 2018, Carol gave her first presentation for the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation, “Penny Candy in Paper Sacks: Saratoga Springs’ Mom & Pop Stores.” Carol doubted that anyone would come. Much to her surprise, the event sold out.  That first presentation was particularly special for her because Mr. Rowland attended.  Carol regularly presents, virtually and in-person, for the Foundation.  

More recently, Carol shifted her focus from mom-and-pop businesses, to “On This Spot” articles.  Carol researches how a specific location has changed over time.  She realized that every spot has an amazing story, including her house.  She learned through research that at one time, it was home to Saratoga’s first burial ground.   Carol is incredibly grateful to those who help her with her research and writing – too many to list in this article. 

Often all that remains are the memories and the buildings without evidence of what they once were that stand as a reminder. Carol brings each business back to life by sharing the stories about those who owned them and the memories created by those who frequented them.  In some cases, such as Pepper’s Market, Spuyten Duyvil, and The Hub, the buildings no longer exist, making her articles ever more important to ensuring that those stories are not lost forever.  In 2022, she was deservedly recognized with a Saratoga County History Award for her role in preserving local history.   

On Thursday, April 18, Carol will present “On This Spot: 69 Caroline Street” and on Saturday, May 11 she will present “628 North Broadway” at the Lunch & Learn program, which is part of the Foundation’s annual Historic Homes Tour event.  To learn more, visit or to see Carol’s past presentations, such as the extremely popular “Classic Bars of Yesterday,” featuring the D’Andrea’s, The Hub, and The Rafters, visit the Foundation’s YouTube channel.  Stay tuned - she is working on compiling many of her favorite articles into a book.  

Thank you, Carol, for your time and effort preserving Saratoga Springs’ cultural history!

Carol's first article published in Simply Sarartoga - Winter 2016 issue: "The Original Mom and Pops: Grasso's"

Inside Rowland's Store