It’s likely that the early farmers, millers, colliers, lumberers and teamsters helped spread the word of the springs and waterfalls on the Poesten Kill, but it was the early artists and travelers whose record remains. One of the first depictions of the beauties of the Poesten Kill High Falls was an engraving made in Paris in 1817. As the 19th century wore on, changing attitudes about nature combined with regional guides and maps led to increase in American travel for travels sake. [Read more…] about ‘Wild, Picturesque and Beautiful’: Mount Ida, Poestenkill Falls and Troy’s Prospect Park
On the Hudson River along upstate New York’s eastern border, within the natural boundaries of river and mountains, lies the rough rectangle of Rensselaer County. It is bisected by the Poesten Kill,* a powerful stream that scours its way from the mountains to the sea level flats of the Hudson River at Troy.
The Poesten Kill splits the county across the middle into two pieces of roughly equal size, north and south. From its source at about 1,600 feet in the Taconic Mountains, to the village which bears its name, it’s a smaller steam tumbling over forested rocks and ledges, and forming pools and small waterfalls. At the village of Poestenkill it begins to meander across a 10-mile wide plateau of farmlands before falling abruptly through a series of steep gorges at Troy to settle into the Hudson. [Read more…] about The Poestenkill: Mountains, Waterfalls and Waterworks
The Poesten Kill is a mid-sized stream that flows off the Rensselaer Plateau in western Rensselaer County toward the Hudson River. It tumbles through Barbersville Falls and winds its way through the towns of Poestenkill and Brunswick, before reaching the Great Falls above Troy. Below there it’s channeled into a long-abandoned canal (hence Canal Street in Troy) that flows into the Hudson.
In the earliest recorded times, fresh drinking water was acquired from the Poesten Kill and from a spring on Hollow Road in Troy (now Spring Avenue, later the farm of Stephen J. Schuyler). [Read more…] about The Poesten Kill: Healing & Healthful Waters
Two whales that ascended the river and were stranded during exceptionally high water in the Hudson in 1647 died there. In 1654 flooding all but destroyed the West India Company’s garden below Fort Orange and in 1666 Jeremias van Rensselaer reported that “fully forty houses and barns have been carried away, among which our house in which we lived, the barn and the brewery, the new as well as the old are lost also, so that hardly any traces can be found of where they have stood.” [Read more…] about Rensselaer County Floods: A Short History
Between the more formidable island of Papscanee (previously spelled Papsickene, now a peninsula nature preserve) and where the Hoosac River meets the Hudson, more than a dozen streams flow into the Hudson River. Only at the Poesten Kill, which flows through Troy, was there enough farmland, room to grow, and sufficient water-power for the earliest industries. [Read more…] about Early Dutch Farms at Troy
Noted local historical archeologist David R. Starbuck has said that the interconnected routes from the Richelieu River at the north end of Lake Champlain to Albany has the highest density of military sites in North America in the 1700s.
The large military encampments that attended the big campaigns of that era were among the largest cities in America, albeit for short intervals. [Read more…] about Settler Fears of Indian Conflict Near Albany Before 1664
k In December, the Rensselaer County Historical Society (RCHS) unveiled a new addition to the museum. The Poestenkill Lion returned to the museum after some conservation work and for the first time was displayed on the museum’s walls.
The lion first came to RCHS in 2011, when long-time RCHS supporters Hughes and Eva Gemmill donated the painting, which dates to about 1840 and is by an unknown artist. The lion was thinly painted with milk paint on four wide unfinished wood boards. [Read more…] about Poestenkill Lion: Unique Folk Art On Exhibit
Rensselaer County Historian Kathryn Sheehan will lead a tour of Mt. Ida Cemetery, which features some of the oldest headstones in the city of Troy, and the Poestenkill Gorge, a favorite destination for picnickers, photographers, and nature enthusiasts for centuries.
The waters of the Poestenkill collect in Dyken Pond, then make a dash for the Hudson River below. The Mt. Ida falls drop roughly 85′ into a gorge of crumbly black shale, make a right angle turn, dropping a further 75′ into a massive pool. This source of water power fueled several industries along the Poestenkill’s banks in the 19th century.
Hidden History – Mt. Ida Cemetery and the Poestenkill Gorge will be held on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 4:30 pm. The cost is $15 per person and $12 for RCHS members.
The Rensselaer County Historical Society and Museum (RCHS) is a not-for-profit educational organization established in 1927 to connect local history and heritage with contemporary life. RCHS is located at 57 Second Street, Troy NY 12180.
Photo: Mills along the lower Poestenkill Gorge at the foot of Cypress Street including the Griswold Wire Works, Tompkins Brothers machine works, and above Manning Paper, which occupied earlier Marshall textile mill buildings. Courtesy Troy Public Library.
John Warren (yours truly) has written the first history of the Poestenkill which flows through the center of Rensselaer County and enters the Hudson River at Troy, will offer a book talk and signing this Thursday (October 22nd, 6:30 to 8 pm) at the Rensselaer County Historical Society in Troy (57 Second Street, Troy). The event is free and open to the public. Copies of The Poesten Kill will be available for purchase at the event. The Poestenkill has been home to American Indians who hunted, gathered, fished and farmed along its shores, frontier Dutch farmers and traders, colonial tradesmen, merchants, millers, and lumbermen, and nineteenth century iron, steel, textile, and paper workers.