The focal point of Saratoga Springs’ Congress Park is the fountain featuring two mermen using marble conch shells as water guns.
The fountain was commissioned for the Canfield Casino in 1903, when Saratoga Springs was branded as the “American Monte Carlo,” a city for gambling and relaxation. An Italian sculptor built the romantic fountain, which was brought to Saratoga two years later.
The sculptures depict two Tritons, or mermen, shooting streams of water from puffed cheeks. This led townspeople to nickname them “Spit and Spat,” a moniker which sticks to this very day. They were the focus of the Italian sculpture garden, which featured satyrs, bacchantes, and other figures of classical myth.
The casino folded when gambling was outlawed in 1911, but the sculpture garden was too beautiful to be torn down. The city purchased it, and after much refurbishment, opened it to the city as part of Congress Park. The sculptures are beloved enough that when the city closed the park in 2005 for restorations, not a day went by without someone wondering aloud about how Spit and Spat were doing.