TORNADO AT SCHENECTADY. On Saturday last [August 28, 1847], about four o’clock in the afternoon, Schenectady was visited by a phenomenon unusual in these high latitudes. Gentlemen who witnessed its inception, relate that a heavy storm seemed gathering over the high grounds which bound the city on the East, when suddenly large clouds were seen to rush towards each other from opposite directions with amazing velocity. [Read more…] about A Tornado in Schenectady, 1847
Squire Whipple was born in Hartwick, Massachusetts on September 16th, 1804. His parents were James and Electa Whipple. Born and raised on a farm, he attended a small country school for three or four months a year. He moved to New York in 1817.
By the age of seventeen, he passed the required examination for common school teaching and taught part time to finance his education. In 1822-1828 he attended Hartwick College in Otsego County; Fairfield Academy in Herkimer County; and graduated from Union College, Schenectady in 1830. He spent the next few years working as a surveyor for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and married Anna Case. [Read more…] about Albany’s Squire Whipple: Father of the Iron Truss Bridge
Very little is documented about medicine in Schenectady County during the 19th century. There are few hospital records to review; Ellis Hospital was not founded until 1885; and the Schenectady County Medical Society did not meet between 1843 and 1869.
We can however, glean some insight into this period from old newspapers, a wonderful book on the 134th NY Volunteer Infantry, minutes of the Schenectady Common Council, and old stories from the Efner Center and the Schenectady County Historical Society library. [Read more…] about Medical Practice in 19th Century Schenectady
Cholera can kill more people more quickly than any other disease. Thousands can die overnight. More people died from cholera in the 100-year period from 1817-1917 than from three centuries of Bubonic Plague (Black Death) during the Middle Ages.
The disease is contracted by the ingestion of water and food with fecal contamination by Vibrio cholerae bacteria, resulting in acute diarrhea, dehydration, and death. Poor sanitation contributes to its spread. [Read more…] about The 1832 Cholera Epidemic in the Capital District
Throughout the 1840s, members of the commercial and professional classes of New York’s Capital Region cities established “Young Men’s Associations,” loosely based upon the Young Men’s Christian Association recently founded in England. In Schenectady, ten prominent men formed their own Young Men’s Association in an attempt to bring culture to their growing city of 10,000.
Although the Association required an annual fee of $2, members and ladies were allowed to attend the lectures for free. The entrance fee for men who were not members was 25 cents. “The association is the only place in our city, aside from the pulpits, where you are able to find any discoursing,” announced its founders in the Schenectady Reflector. “It is the only place where an amusement of a miscellaneous nature is to be found…It is the only place where the clerk, the mechanic, or lawyer, can spend an hour (profitably) out of his store, workshop, or office.” [Read more…] about Ralph Waldo Emerson in the Capital District in 1852
Yates Street in Schenectady runs north and south from Union Street to Liberty Street, from the Friendship Baptist Church on Union Street to the Katbird Shop at the corner of Liberty and Yates.
In the late 1840s it was regularly traversed by the only former resident of Schenectady and the only graduate of Union College ever destined to occupy the office of President of the United States. [Read more…] about Chester A. Arthur, The Spoils System & Civil Service Reform
Schenectadians’ interest in protecting and exploring wilderness has its roots in the mid 1800s with industrialization and westward expansion. The wilderness was at risk of disappearing, and influential nature lovers used their writings to convince Americans that preserving land and wildlife was vital. Many Americans, including people in Schenectady, could easily see the case for this. [Read more…] about Schenectady and the Adirondacks: A Legacy of Conservation
The Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks had hired me the previous winter. It was now the spring of 1987. Windows and doors were again opening to the hope and then the reality of spring’s warmth. The director of the Schenectady Museum William (Bill) Verner had given me, practically rent free, a desk and telephone from which to begin work as the Association’s first Executive Director in over 60 years.
It helped that Bill was a member of my board of trustees, and that his knowledge and love for the Adirondacks and Adirondack history from a home base in Long Lake was long and deep. [Read more…] about The Adirondack Raised Relief Map: Some History
Many organizations introduce their work with the words “were it not for the volunteers, we could not…” That can be justifiably said of the Adirondack Research Library (ARL), formerly part of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks (AfPA). [Read more…] about The Volunteers Behind the Adirondack Research Library
Capital Region radio station WGY, New York State’s oldest broadcaster, will celebrate their 100th year with a live afternoon of broadcasting on Sunday, February 20th.
WGY’s original licensee was General Electric (GE), headquartered in Schenectady. In early 1915, the company was granted a Class 3-Experimental license with the call sign 2XI. That license was canceled in 1917 due to the First World War, but 2XI was re-licensed in 1920. [Read more…] about Radio Station WGY’s 100th Anniversary of Broadcasting