“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Troy in Rensselaer County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

A Panoramic View of American History

<center>A Panoramic View of American History Marker</center> image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, April 16, 2008
A Panoramic View of American History Marker
Oakwood Cemetery, Troy, New York.
Inscription. We want our many visitors to realize that they are looking at one of the single most important broad overviews of American history anywhere in the country! What you see before you is the confluence of the Hudson and Mohawk rivers and "...most beautiful view of the Hudson River Valley anywhere," as well as a continuum of American history from the Mahican Indians to the American Revolution to Rip Van Winkle to the Erie Canal to the San Francisco Giants. Spend some time here absorbing the incredible center of American history below you.
* An asterisk after a name means that someone in the family is buried here in Oakwood Cemetery.
1. South Troy - Major Center of Heavy Industry.
Burden Iron Works - Manufactured most of Union horseshoes for Civil War, spikes for Transcontinental Railroad and the Burden Water Wheel (probable inspiration for Ferris Wheel).
Rensselear Iron Works (Grisold*), The Albany Iron Works at Troy (Corning, Winslow). Made the plates, armor, rivets, etc. for the iron-clad ship the "Monitor" which helped the Union win the Civil War. 1st Bessemer steel plant in U.S. (1865).
Fuller * & Warren* Co. "P.P. Stewart" cast iron stoves used worldwide.
Tompkins* Brothers Mill - Invented rotary knitting machine.
Marshall Mill - 1st harnessed water power of Poestenkill Gorge with water-power
A Panoramic View of American History Marker image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, April 16, 2008
2. A Panoramic View of American History Marker
tunnel. Water-powered cotton mill.
Meneely* - Sold bells internationally, Troy & Watervliet foundries were Meneely*, Jones* and Hanks.
"The Winking Tower" - Formerly an illuminating-gas storage tank, it was demolished in 2004. Hudson Valley Coke Company.
Washington Park - One of 2 private city parks in the county owned by surrounding land owners, (the other is Gramercy Park in NYC).
Russel Sage* home - He was reported to be the 19th wealthiest American ever. Started out by buying his brother's dry-goods store, went into government, then became a "robber baron" - with Jay Gould; buying up railroads, the "EL" in NYC, Western Union Telegraph Company. On his death, his widow, Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage, became the wealthiest woman in America and a major philanthropist.
2. Erie Canal Terminus - In Albany, about where the SUNY HQ is located (former D&H RR Headquarters). By 1825, NYC had become the major U.S. port because food and other goods produced out west were shipped down to NYC via Albany on the Erie Canal and Hudson River. 2a. Empire State Plaza, Albany - Seat of New York State Government.
3. The Catskill Mountains - Mountains carved from plateaus by glaciers and rivers millions of years ago. Home of Washington Irving's {text obliterated}
4. Watervliet - Formerly "West Troy" and "Gibbonsvile". Bell industry - 1808 Benjamin Hanks
A Panoramic View of American History Marker image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, April 16, 2008
3. A Panoramic View of American History Marker
begins 1st foundry. Production of world-famous Meneely*bells followed. U.S. Government "Watervliet Arsenal, " (1813). Oldest continually-operating arsenal and sole manufacturing facility for large-caliber cannon in the U.S. Erie Canal Weighlock Station - Just above sidecut for the canal to the Hudson. Designed to weigh cargo-carrying boats in order to collect tolls.
5. Green Island
5a. Fort Plant - Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Thomas a. Edison and naturalist John Burroughts camped here in 1919. Ford then bought 150 acres, built a hydro plant at the dam and a giant Ford radiator plant, demolished 2004.
5b. Gilbert* Car Works - Manufacturer of horse coaches, railroad coaches and gun carriages. (Near old Ford plant).
5c. Second Branch (sprout) of Mohawk - Flows west of Van Schaick* Island and between Van Schaick Island and Green Island. The first Branch was filled during the construction of I-787th during the 1960s.
6. Helderberg Escarpment - Rises up between Albany County and the Schoharie Valley.
7. The Silicon Vally of the 19th Century: Birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution Within this valley lies the confluence of the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers and their tributaries, which carved huge cataracts over the millennia. These enabled early settlers to run machinery by harnessing the power of the falling water, building prosperity while
A Panoramic View of American History Marker - LEFT image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, April 17, 2008
4. A Panoramic View of American History Marker - LEFT
using the cutting-edge technology of the times. The abundance of waterways speeded the transportation of raw materials to the factories here, and finished goods to places like New York City, The area in this viewshed has been the birthplace of many industries of world-wide importance.
8. Erie Canal - "Gateway to the West." One of the first openings cut through the Appalachian Mountain chain, the canal facilitated emigration to western NYS, the Great Lakes and beyond. Geology study and survey undertaken by RPI found Amos Eaton*. Engineering and construction oversight by Canvass White. Approximately 360 miles long, the canal, connecting Albany to Lackawanna, was completed in 1825. Sometimes referred to as "Clinton's Ditch, " for its staunch supporter, Governor Dewitt Clinton. 8a. Juncta. - Site of the first junction of the Champlain Canal and the Erie Canal in 1823, about which grew the City of Cohoes.
8b. There were 19 Locks in Cohoes to get around the Cohoes Falls, Some of water was diverted to industrial "power canals."
9. Cohoes
9a. Van Schaick* Mansion - Built in 1755 on what became Van Schaick Island. From August 11 -25th, 1777, the mansion served as the headquarters of the Northern Army for the States in the Revolution. Here, the decisive Battle of Saratoga was planned while the army was camped on the grounds. George Washington visited
A Panoramic View of American History Marker - Center image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, April 17, 2008
5. A Panoramic View of American History Marker - Center
here. The property is now owned by the DAR. 9b. Cohoes Music Hall - Opened as an opera house in 1874, but closed within a few decades. The stage remained empty for about 75 years. Restored in 1974, the hall functions as a dynamic community theater. The building also houses the "Cohoes RiverSpark Heritage Area Visitor Center."
9c. Harmony Mills - From 1860s to the 1880s, the mills were one of the largest textile producers in the U.S.A. The mills have been described as, "One of the finest examples of a large-scale textile mill complex outside of New England."
9d. Cohoes Falls - Second most powerful falls in NYS (after Niagara Falls), have fascinated travelers since their discovery by early Paleo Indians.
10. Town of Colonie Landfill.
11. Waterford
11a. Peebles* Island - Mahican Indians were the 1st residents. Dutch settlers Van Schaick* and Schuyler bought it from the Native Americans. During the Revolutionary War, Polish engineer Thaddeus Kosciuzko built breastworks here to protect the 5,000 Continental troops encamped on the island waiting for British General Burgoyne to come south from Montreal. Burgoyne was defeated at Saratoga. Some of the breastworks are still visible. The Peebles* family sold to Cluett* Peabody in 1905. who built the "Bleachery" facility. "Sanforizing" was invented/introduced here by Sanford Cluett.* Now a
A Panoramic View of American History Marker - Right image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, April 17, 2008
6. A Panoramic View of American History Marker - Right
delightful park operated by NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation.
11b. Old Railroad Bridge - Site of a main ford of the 4th Branch of the Mohawk River.
11c. "The Waterford Flight" - Locks 2-6 of the "Barge Canal,"- successor to the Erie Canal. Highest total lift, (170') in the shortest distance of any canal in the world.
11d. Champlain Canal - (1823 - present) Between Cohoes (Juncta) and Lake Champlain, canalized the Hudson River part way.
11e. Canal Town - Flat section of Waterford bounded by Lock 2 and the Champlain Canal and the Hudson & Mohawk Rivers. Former housing for large numbers of men working on the canals. Floods regularly.
12. 125th St. Bridge - "Union Bridge." Troy-Waterford. 1st bridge over Hudson north of NYC (1804). Once owned by Knickerbocker* family, who helped develop the steel-truss bridge.
13. General Electric Silicone's Plant.
14a. Catholic Central High School. Begun in Troy 1923. Current campus c. 1952.
14b. The old Boston & Maine Railroad - Ran directly below this bluff, on what is now the "Bike Path:. There were Boston & Maine RR stations on Gurley at 115th Street at Rensselaer Park.
15. Lansingburgh Academy (1795) - Herman Melville and President Chester Arthur both studied there. Current building at 114th & 4th (1820). Now branch of Troy Public Library.
16. 112th
Gardner Earl Memorial Chapel and Crematorium image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, April 15, 2008
7. Gardner Earl Memorial Chapel and Crematorium
Oakwood Cemetery's Gardner Earl Memorial Chapel and Crematorium, which one passes on the way to A Panoramic View of American History
St. Bridge - Troy - Cohoes: Formerly a toll bridge owned by the Knickerbackers*.
17. Deborah Powers* (1790 -1891). A remarkable woman who co-founded a major floor-cloth manufacturing business with her husband, ran it on her own after her husband's death, and later with her sons. Captained her own large sloop on the Hudson carrying goods to NYC. Her home on the river - Just south of the 112th St. bridge D. Powers & Sons Co. - A name that cleverly concealed the fact that she was a woman. Powers Memorial Park - She donated the land. Powers Home for Aged Women - She founded and then enlarged at 123rd & 3rd (c. 1883). Powers School - Named in honor of her generosity. Powers Bank - She founded during panic of 1877, at 116th & 2nd Ave.
17a. Part of Powers Oil Cloth Factories, (1860) - Then Ferguson Collar Factory, later Ready-Jell. Loft apartments 2005.
18. Rensselaer Park Elementary School, (1977).
19. Lansingburgh High School, (1967).
20. Knickerbacker* Middle School, (1937).
21. Rensselaer Count Agricultural Fairgrounds - Covered from 107th to 110th Streets from before c. 1864 to c. 1875. From 1864 to 1866, the U.S. Government leased some of the buildings as a Union Army hospital. This gave rise to the purchase of Oakwood's "Soldiers' Plot" on the bluff, for burial of Civil War soldiers who were away from their families.
22. Rensselaer Park (1875 -c 1920) - Private amusement park with horse-racing track, Ferris wheel, etc. Stretched from 107th to 110th St., and from 5th Ave. to 9th Ave.
23. Knickerbacker* Park (1920 - present)- From 103rd to 108th and from 5th Ave. to the Boston & Main RR. Large family monument near bike path. The land was donated to private not-for-profit to maintain, whose board still exists.
24. The Baseball Monument - A tribute to the Troy "Haymakers," an early, nationally-famous, baseball team (1861). When many of the players went to play in NYC, the team became the "NYGiants", now of San Francisco. Also a tribute to Trojan Johnny Evers, Hall of Famer of "Tinkers to Evers to Chance" (baseball's long -standing, famous double-play teammaates), and to Michael "King"/"Slide" Kelly, Hall of Famer and originator of the "slide".
25. Knickerbacker* Skating Rink - Owned by City of Troy.
26. Lansingburgh - Founded 1771 (before Troy) by Abraham Jacob Lansing*. Annexed to Troy in 1901. Roughly covered from today's Middleburgh St. to 133rd St. Originally part of the "Stone Arabia Patent," a late 17th-century land grand from the English governor that included much of the Albany area. Industries: Brushes - Famous nationwide, the largest brush - making center in the nation, was a cottage industry, with numerous people making brushes in their homes. Oilcloth making - (Floor-cloths) like linoleum, (See#17.) Boat building - sloops. Numerous locations along the riverfront Shirts, collars & cuffs - One of worlds largest mfgs: "Lion Brand," located at 120-121st St., owned by the Pine* family.
27. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, (1824). - Founded by Amos Eaton* and Stephen Van Rensselaer, its 1st home was on River St. at Middleburgh. (Campus now on 15th St.) First degree-granting school of engineering and technology in the English-speaking world that is still in existence. Oakwood is the final resting placy of many RPI presidents and professors.
28. First State Dam at Middleburgh St. - Is the end of one of the longest tidal estuaries in the U.S.A. Long before steamboats, the tides facilitated the sailing of ships up and down the river, making Albany, Troy and Lansingburgh ocean ports (1823). The dam was also a source of hydropower.
29. Downtown Troy - Cluett*, Peabody & Co. - Maker of Arrow Shirts - Building housed their world headquarters. Now Hedley Park Place. W.& L.E. Gurley* Co. - Premier manufacturer of engineering & surveying instruments. Earl* & Wilson* - Nationwide collars & cuffs manufacturer, 7th and Broadway. Ross* Valve Mfg. Co. - Manufacturer of brass hydraulic valves for water systems world-wide. Troy Savings Bank Music Hall - Renowned for its World-famous acoustics. George B. Post, architect (1875). Kate Mullaney House - Mullaney founded the 1st successful truly all-female labor union in the U. S. "Women's Collar Laundress Union." Charles Nalle - Was an escaped slave who, about to be sent back to his owner, was rescued by Troy citizenry and Harriet Tubman. Abolitionist Movement - Troy was a strong center before the Civil War, and major stop on the "Underground Railroad." Tiffany Staned Glass Windows - Troy may have the highest concentration of Tiffany windows anywhere: St. Paul's, St. John's, St. Joesph's, the Earl* Chapel, Holy Cross, Troy Public Library, Bush Memorial Chapel, and Paine* Mansion. Emma Willard* School (Formerly the Troy Female Seminary). Begun in VT. in 1814, relocated to Waterford, 1819-1820, and founded in Troy in 1821. Emma proposed that females be given an acadmic education beyond the 8th grade, and she pioneered teaching science and math to young women. The school was locaated at Congress and 2nd St. until a new campus was built on Pawling Ave., funded mostly by Margaret Oliva Slocum Sage,* a graduaate of Troy Female Seminary and the widow of Russell Sage.* Margaret then founded Russell Sage College on the old Emma Willard School's downtown campus. Many female national leaders were TFS graduates, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Hart* Cluett* House - Betsy and Richard Hart* developer, banker, founder of the Rensselaer & Saratoga Railroad. George B. Cluett,* founder of Cluett, Peabody & Co., makers of Arrow Shirts. Samuel Wilson* - Meatpacker during the War of 1812, he stamped "U.S." on barrels of meat, which the solders from Troy assured fellow soldiers meant "Uncle Sam" and good meat. From which, "Uncle Sam" became the internationally-known symbol of America. Wilson's home in Troy was demolished inthe 1970s.
Erected 2005 by Oakwood Cemetery/Troy Cemetery Association, Inc.
Location. 42° 45.879′ N, 73° 40.206′ W. Marker is in Troy, New York, in Rensselaer County. Click for map. The marker is in the Oakwood Cemetery, mounted atop the bluff overlooking the Lansingburgh section of Troy. Marker is in this post office area: Troy NY 12182, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. “Uncle Sam” (approx. 0.2 miles away); Major General Joseph Bradford Carr (approx. 0.2 miles away); Major General John Ellis Wool (approx. mile away); San Francisco Giants (approx. 0.3 miles away); Troy, N.Y. Hall of Famers (approx. 0.3 miles away); Amos Eaton (approx. 0.4 miles away); Warren Family Mortuary Chapel: 1861 (approx. 0.4 miles away); George Henry Thomas (approx. half a mile away). Click for a list of all markers in Troy.
Also see . . .  Oakwood Cemetery Sign: "The Panorama". (Submitted on June 27, 2010, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York.)
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Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. This page has been viewed 1,440 times since then and 118 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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