When people get together in a new place, one of two things might happen. Each individual might set out as an independent and survive the wilderness alone. In another scenario, those same people might be drawn together by common need and mutual contribution and form a community. As the community forms and matures, it becomes something of a being in itself. It provides a virtual ladder of opportunities for its inhabitants through a network of natural resources, man made social and occupational opportunities, and physical security for its inhabitants. OVERVIEW Continue
Schenect ady, New York, is such a community. Beginning as a fragile stockade and a hand full of brave pioneers, our city overcame a devastating massacre, a world war, and a great depression in order to become
…the small city that it is today. This is the story of a voyage up that ladder, one painstaking rung at a time.
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Journey of Schenectady The Stockade Historic District is one of the oldest and best preserved neighborhoods in the United States, with roots dating back to a 17th century Dutch colonial trading settlement....
On July 27, 1661, the deed for the lands of Schenectady was executed with the Indians, and Arent Van Curler's petition was granted.
1690 On the night of February 8, the settlement of Schenectady was attacked by a force of French and Indians from the north. The histories record it as "The Massacre of Schenectady." and the village burned. The people were slaughtered 60 SETTLERS KILLED 78 HOMES BURNED 27 PRISONERS
The remaining settlers thought about abandoning the settlement. The Mohawk Indians, fearing for their own future, convinced the settlers to rebuild.
Working together, the settlers and their Indian counterparts continued to rebuild and develop this vital frontier settlement into the commercial navigation center which it would become for the next 100 years. MENU
The early settlers of Schenectady being true to the spirit of their ancestors, founded and maintained with great pride the institutions of religion and education.
Union College was born. It received its name from the fact that several religious denominations cooperated in its organization.
An old college like Union, has an unique atmosphere. This atmosphere comes across through the architectural designs of its buildings, its furnishings, its books, and most of all its people. Through these people, one feels the past and gains a perspective on the present. This legacy passed on from generation to generation makes Union College a living legacy.
In keeping with the spirit of the original settlers, Union College continues to carry the principles of quality education as well as community pride and investment into the new millennium. MENU
The opening of the canal was a symbol of progress for NY State as a whole. The Erie Canal influenced businesses to move uptown. Prior to the Canal Schenectady was known as a “sleepy little Dutch town.” ERIE CANAL
In 1825 after eight years of construction, the Canal was finished. The Canal was 340 miles long and connected Lake Erie at Buffalo, with the Hudson River at Troy. Can you imagine how challenging it was to dig a “Big Ditch” straight across the length of NY State, without the luxury of the necessary equipment?
The Canal was planned and constructed by men who had no previous engineering experience, actually engineering as a science was practically unheard of. Many basic engineering principles were discovered as a result of the Erie Canal construction.
This is how one of the locks looked in 1904. There is a general store in the background, which is today the head- quarters of the Schenectady Yacht Club. Also, the lockkeeper’s home is in the right background.
The Canal brought new life and growth to Schenectady. It’s hard to picture going to downtown Schenectady and witnessing a string of canal boats, drawn by mules, passing along a big ditch of water where Erie Boulevard now is! But what happened to the Erie Canal ?
The Canal was filled in with ashes and paved. Did you know that Erie Boulevard was once a canal? Transportation was improved through deepening the Mohawk River, building new modern locks and the steam passenger railroad. Again, Schenectady takes pride in the fact that the first steam- railroad in the country was between Albany and Schenectady! MENU
The Locomotive Era 1851-1968 “ Schenectady is the city that lights and hauls the world.” In 1851 Schenectady Locomotive Works was formed, new orders were arriving quickly from railroads in other parts of the country.
For over 100 years Schenectady produced locomotives. The company, Schenectady Locomotive Works was known around the world. The company produced locomotives that were used in five wars. The company prospered down through the years, suffering through several economic depressions but still providing extensive employment for many citizens.
In the 1850’s John Ellis, pictured here, guided the locomotive works’ fortunes to amazing success. He helped establish the reputation of building a quality, powerful steam engine.
This is an advertisement for the company in 1868.
In 1955 the company changed their name from American Locomotive to Alco Products Incorporated. The company had built 75,000 units. Alco was a large part of Schenectady’s economy until it closed its doors and stopped production in 1968. There are still close to 3,000 locomotives still being used on every continent in the world. MENU
Schenectady “a sleeping giant” Schenectady in 1880, with a population of slightly over 13,000, often was referred by historians as a “sleepy little canal town”. However, in a very few years it would lose that quaint tag for all time. 1880 -1890 A Sleeping Giant
It was in this small upstate city, quite unaware of its destiny, that Thomas Alva Edison transferred his electrical machinery shop from New York City in 1886.
Thomas Alva Edison Edison was looking for a site more suitable for expansion, lower rent, and less trouble with labor bosses. An agent found it for him in two unfinished buildings at the southwest end of Schenectady. The Edison Machine Works started its Schenectady operation in December 1886, and the industrial giant awakened.
The works expanded more quickly than its founder anticipated. The economic climate took on new proportions, as did the population. By 1910, the city’s census figure of 72,826 had more than quadrupled that of 1880!
Edison’s small machine works became the Edison General Electric Company in 1890 and, in 1892, merged with several other electric enterprises to begin more widespread production as the General Electric Company. The Electrical Era had come of age…and so had the “sleepy little canal town” of Schenectady was becoming an industrial “giant”. MENU
As we journey the rungs of the ladder, may the legacy continue. MENU
Bibliography Blankman, Peter. Union College Celebrating Two Centuries. Virginia Beach, Virginia: The Donning Company, 1994 Buryl, Red. “Erie Canal” The Musical Connection. 1995ed. CD-Rom. U.S.A: Silver Burdett Ginn, 1995. Fortenbaugh, Samuel B. Jr. In Order to Form a More Perfect Union:An Inquiry into the Origins of a College. Schenectady, N.Y:Union College Press, 1978. Hart, Larry. Pictures From The Past. Scotia, N.Y: Old Dorp Books, 1992. Hart, Larry. Schenectady A Pictorial History. Scotia, N.Y: Old Dorp Books, 1984. Lubetkin, M. John. Union College’s Class of 1868 The Unique Experiences of Some Average Americans. McLean, Virginia, 1995. Veeder, Millicent Winton. Door to the Mohawk Valley. Albany, N.Y: Cromwell Printery, Inc, 1947. www.dept.usm.edu/~engdept/Jack/gi.htm www.ditto.com/Searching/Search_Results.asp?ss=Indians+and+settlers&last20= www.ge.com www.gorp.com/gorp/location/asia/Kaplan www.magick.net/arborstu/treecircus.html www.nps.gov/hutr/- www.railroad.net/alco/centennial.htm www.schist.org/schdyrr.html www.scpl.org www3.sk.sympatico.ca/sayetd/biota.html www.ThomasEdison.com www.union.edu www.vertebrate.co.uk/overground/writers/kane.htm The Dutch Pipers,”Alma Mater”, Live From Avon Meatland, CD-ROM Red, Buryl, “Erie Canal”,The Music Connection, CD-ROM, SONY Music, 1995 Horner, James, “An Ocean of Memories”, Titanic, CD-ROM, SONY Music, 1997 MENU
Name_____________________ What surprised you? If you were going to teach someone else about Schenectady what would you say? What are you interested in learning more about?
Venn Diagram Directions: Pick any time era from the history of Schenectady and compare to present day Schenectady.
Assignment: Take a trip to Union College. Use this photo to compare what Union College looked like in mid- 1800’s and compare it to Union College 2000. Students should observe buildings, type of dress, look at the people on campus and think about how things used to be. Draw a picture of what you observed and experienced. What did you really enjoy about Union College? Early Union College Graduates Would you recommend this learning experience to a friend? MENU
Ralph A. Ives Cynthia Grau Kerrianne King Maureen Brown Judy Dilallo MENU