Two-Fifths of Capital Region Mistakenly Says, ‘Boston Spa’

By Fred Furnace

Published February 26th, 2017

Downtown Boston Spa, NY (Photo by N-Lange.de)

BALLSTON SPA — A poll conducted by researchers at the University at Albany  shows many Capital Region residents do not know the correct name of the Village of Ballston Spa. 

Joanie Mitchell, a graduate assistant familiar with the poll of 3,000 local residents, said participants were asked the question: “What is the name of the town located north of Clifton Park and south of Saratoga Springs?”

“Only 30 percent correctly answered ‘Ballston Spa,’” Mitchell said. “We also would have accepted ‘Milton’ as a correct answer, but not a single person surveyed had ever even heard of Milton.”

Mitchell said that a majority of area residents – about 40 percent – think “Ballston Spa” is actually called “Boston Spa,” believing it to be named after the city of Boston, Ma.

Other wrong responses popular with participants included: “just more Clifton Park,” “Exit 12,” “Boston Lake,” “Canada,” “the Erie Canal,” "Whitey-ville," and “I have no idea, because I’ve never stepped foot outside Albany County.”

Mitchell said the problem appears to be “a general lack of awareness and intelligence” among the local population.

“We need to do a better job educating people in this area on their local geography,” she said. “Yes, we may get Boston channels as part of our local basic cable packages; but no, Ballston Spa is not, therefore, named after Boston, Massachusetts.”

Mitchell said the results are consistent with her prior fieldwork on the topic. 

For instance, a 2015 study found only 10 percent of area residents could locate the town of Grafton on a map, and that “not one person has ever actually visited the village of Nassau.”


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