Downtown Troy developed rapidly throughout the 19th century. The bustling river city saw a devastating fire that ripped through River and First Streets and the surrounding area in 1820. Troy’s business community quickly rebuilt, this time with many more brick buildings. As the century progressed, River Street and the downtown blocks that connected to it saw vast growth and development. [Read more…] about Troy’s Nathan Dauchy Centerpiece Harmony Hall Still Stands Tall
The Fitzgerald Brewery: A Short History
Let us raise a glass to beer, the drink that has fueled America since its beginnings. Beer was such a popular drink that most cities during parts of the nineteenth century there were almost as many breweries as houses of worship.
One source lists 34 breweries in Troy at one point. Some only lasted a couple of years, while others endured, even beyond Prohibition. One of the oldest and largest of Troy’s breweries was the Fitzgerald Brewery. [Read more…] about The Fitzgerald Brewery: A Short History
The Gasholder House: A Troy Landmark
There are only eleven gasholder houses left in the United States. Troy has the largest, and one of the finest examples of this type of 19th century utility storage facility. [Read more…] about The Gasholder House: A Troy Landmark
The Hudson River’s Fortress of Shoddy in Troy
Driving north on I-787 approaching Troy you can see an iconic building – a tall red brick building with turrets that looks like a fortress.
It’s at 1 Jackson Street. What I like to call the Fortress of Shoddy. [Read more…] about The Hudson River’s Fortress of Shoddy in Troy
Troy’s Gurley Company: A Short History
The W. and L.E. Gurley Company was founded in Troy in 1845. William Gurley, and his younger brother Lewis E., were both engineering graduates of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, (RPI) in Troy.
The brothers would have been looked at as techno-geeks of their time, specializing in the invention and manufacture of precision instruments. [Read more…] about Troy’s Gurley Company: A Short History
Women’s Labor History: Detachable Fashions & Laundry Work
Hannah Lord came from a family of doers. Her father, William A. Lord, was a Revolutionary War officer and author of Lord’s Military Tactics.
In 1817, Hannah married Orlando Montague, a blacksmith. Keeping in mind that most people back then didn’t have a lot of clothing, hand washing was tedious and time consuming, especially with everything else a young wife was supposed to take care of.
Throughout most of the 19th century, the attire of most men included a white shirt with starched collar and a knotted tie or cravat. Styles changed, but the need for a good white shirt did not.
[Read more…] about Women’s Labor History: Detachable Fashions & Laundry Work
Nursing Uniforms: A Short History
Nursing uniforms can trace their origins back to the healer nuns of Medieval Europe. Up until recently, British nurses were still referred to as “sisters,” a reminder of their origins.
The nurse’s cap, which was a de rigeur part of the nurse’s uniforms up until the end of the 20th century, evolved from a nun’s wimple, the traditional head covering. The larger caps had a practical purpose in keeping the hair in place, but by the First World War, the caps had shrunk to almost decorative purposes. By mid-century they were more a symbol of accomplishment and nursing pride. Capping ceremonies were held to commemorate the completion of a nurse’s studies. By the 1970s, they were almost totally out of favor, and largely not required. Today, bouffant caps or surgeon’s caps have replaced them, when needed. [Read more…] about Nursing Uniforms: A Short History
Medical Scrubs: A Short History
Beginning in the 1940s, medical wear began the journey towards what we know and easily recognize today.
What we call “scrubs” originated as the white gowns and drapes that were worn by surgeons and operating staff. At first, everything was white – the doctor’s coats, the operating gowns and the nurse’s uniforms. Operating rooms were also a gleaming sanitary white, with bright task lighting. [Read more…] about Medical Scrubs: A Short History
The Burden Iron Works of Troy: A Short History
H. Burden & Sons, also known as the Burden Iron Works, was a marvel of nineteenth century industrial ingenuity. From its foundries and assembly lines in South Troy, the company produced horseshoes that shod the Union Army, railroad spikes for tracks that crossed the continental United States, and rivets, for, well, just about everything.
The inventor of the Ferris Wheel, George Washington Gale Ferris Jr., was an 1881 graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). He was no doubt influenced by one of Troy’s most impressive industrial monuments – the Burden Water Wheel. [Read more…] about The Burden Iron Works of Troy: A Short History
Garnet Douglass Baltimore: Troy’s Landscape Master
By the middle of the 19th century, Americans realized that parks provided a spot of nature and greenery amidst an increasingly busy and industrialized world. Many men, women and children worked six days a week, and never had the time or resources to get away.
Yes, parks were beautiful, but they were also very important for mental and physical health. Cities that wanted to thrive began looking for space and funding for public parks. [Read more…] about Garnet Douglass Baltimore: Troy’s Landscape Master