Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Albany NY

(The OldLibrarian: the tour passes over Albany itself, what follows is a very abbreviated version of the entry for Albany in the cities section of the guide. US 20 follows Madison and then Western Avenues through the city, the only part of the route though NY other than Auburn where the route ran through one of the larger upstate cities.)

Albany (18' alt., 130,447 pop.), capital of New York State, inland seaport..., is built along the edge of a plateau that extends 18 miles northwest to the Mohawk Valley... Although Albany is an important manufacturing and wholesale center, its personality is determined by its function as the capital of the state... It is this large group of office workers that gives Albany an essentially 'white-collar' appearance.
The first permanent settlers, who came in 1624, were 18 families, mostly Walloons from Holland. They built a second fort on the site of the present river steamer landing and called it Fort Orange in honor of the ruling house of Holland.

In 1630 Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, with two partners, purchased from the Indians land on both sides of the Hudson River and established the patroonship of Rensselaerwyck.

[After the colony passed from the Dutch to the English in 1664...] The British permitted the Dutch to retain their own language, customs, religion...

The fur trade made Albany traders wealthy and intensified friction with the French. Control by the English of the interior and the fur trade of the Great Lakes area depended on their alliance with the Iroquois and the of the defense of the Colonial frontier, of which Albany was the key.

[During the Revolution...] Capture of Albany was the objective of the British campaign of 1777... The war at an end and the Indian treaties voided, Albany found itself at the crossroad of a free Nation in the making. Lands in the central and western parts of the State were opened to settlement; and the principal route from the New England States lay down the Hoosick Valley to the Hudson, south to Albany, and across the pine plains to Schenectady and the Mohawk Valley. The main stream of westward emigration poured westward through Albany; in 1795, five hundred vehicles a day pushed up State Street hill...

In the closing years of the [18th] century, migration forced the first road improvements and the development of a number of turnpikes radiating from the city. At the height of turnpike travel, 20 stagecoaches left Albany daily over the Cherry Valley route (now US 20)...

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