This week on The Historians Podcast, Dana Cudmore is the author of Underground Empires: Two Centuries of Exploration, Adventure and Enterprise in New York’s Cave Country (Black Dome Press, 2021). Cudmore focuses on caves of Schoharie and Albany counties, including the Howe Caverns tourist attraction. [Read more…] about New York’s Cave Country (Podcast)
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The new book Underground Empires: Two Centuries of Exploration, Adventure & Enterprise in New York’s Cave Country (Black Dome Press, 2021), by Dana Cudmore with foreword by Robert & Johanna Titus, explores the history of caves in Albany and Schoharie Counties, and describes the personal and engineering accomplishments that turned some into popular tourist destinations. [Read more…] about Underground Empires: A New History Of New York’s Cave Country
From 1630 until the Anti-Rent Movement of the 1840s, most of what is now Albany and Rensselaer Counties, along with parts of Columbia and Greene Counties, was part of the estate of the van Rensselaer family. They leased the land, but did not generally sell it.
Running north-south through Albany County is the Helderberg Escarpment, a vertical limestone cliff hundreds of feet high (Thatcher Park forms a part of this geologic feature) that separates the Hudson Valley lands in the eastern part of the county from the lands to the west, above the cliffs. Because the land above was difficult to reach, and the soils poorer, that area was settled somewhat later by Europeans. [Read more…] about Early Settlement Above The Helderberg Escarpment
Thurlow Weed was born on November 15, 1797, the son of Joel and Mary (Elis) Weed, in Cairo, Greene County, NY where his grandfather settled after the Revolutionary War. His father was a farmer who was apparently hard working but never prosperous, occasionally spending time in jail for debt.
In 1799, the family moved to Catskill where young Weed received a small amount of schooling. His first job was pumping a blacksmith’s bellows while the blacksmith formed heated iron. He made six cents per day. At nine, he got a job as a cabin boy on a Hudson River sloop. [Read more…] about Thurlow Weed, Stephen Van Rensselaer III and the Disputed Election of 1824
Ira Harris was born at Charleston, Montgomery County, NY on May 31st, 1802 to Fredrick Waterman Harris and Lucy Hamilton. When he was six years old, his family moved to Preble, NY where his father became one of the largest landowners in Cortland County.
Harris attended Homer Academy and graduated from Union College in 1824. He studied law for one year in Homer, New York and then moved to Albany where he assisted one of that city’s most highly regarded jurists, Ambrose Spencer. [Read more…] about Albany’s Ira Harris: From Rights Advocate to Lincoln’s Assassination
Ask someone the name of a three-ring circus and their response would likely be Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey, or a combination of the two. Ringling Brothers World’s Greatest Shows was established in 1884 and P.T. Barnum’s Great Traveling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan, and Hippodrome had opened in 1871. Predating both was the biggest, most successful, though also the least known of the traveling shows, Adam Forepaugh’s Great All-Feature Show and Wild West Combined, established in 1863. [Read more…] about Forepaugh’s Wild West Show & Circus Enthralled Upstate NY
Just before dawn on July 7th, 1944, several thousand Japanese soldiers, sailors and civilians swarmed from their positions along the northwestern corner of the Pacific island of Saipan in the Northern Marianas. The target of what would be the largest attack of the Second World War was the U.S. Army’s 27th Infantry Division, specifically the 1st and 2nd battalions of the 105th Infantry Regiment.
By the end of the day, more than 900 out of the approximately 1,100 soldiers in those two battalions would be casualties. Many of them were from the Albany-Saratoga region. Nearly all the approximately 30,000 Japanese attackers were killed in what was the last major enemy assault on Saipan during 25 days of fighting that left about 15,000 Americans killed, wounded or missing in action. Another 20,000 Japanese civilians were killed or committed suicide out of fear of American troops. [Read more…] about Capital District Soldiers at the Battle of Saipan
As with other fancy goods stores, Pease’s catered to the middle and upper middle class selling highly decorated goods like ceramics, prints, furniture and other decorative household items that progressively thinking people might have wanted to purchase. [Read more…] about America’s First Christmas Card & An Early Albany Department Store
This week on The Historians Podcast, a look at the history of the Albany County town of New Scotland. Alan Kowlowitz, president of the New Scotland Historical Association and longtime Town Historian Bob Parmenter discuss New Scotland’s Onesquethaw Valley Historic District and more. [Read more…] about A Town of New Scotland, NY, History Podcast
The Albany County Historical Association (ACHA) is set to host its 4th Annual Gala at Cornerstone at the Plaza on Thursday, September 13th at 6 pm. The fundraiser, which will include a cocktail hour, dinner, and silent auction, also serves as a celebration of history education and preservation in Albany.
In addition to honoring the ACHA’s Trustees, staff members, and volunteers, the organization will extend its appreciation to Norman Rice, Executive Director Emeritus of the Albany Institute of History and Art. [Read more…] about Albany Co Historical Honoring Norman Rice at Gala