Schenectady in Schenectady County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The City That Lights and Hauls The World
While on a scouting trip in Schenectady to locate an industrial site for the Edison Machine Works, Harry Livor noticed two empty factory buildings adjacent to the Erie Canal. They had recently been built for the McQueen Locomotive Works, a rival to ALCO that had tried to start operations in Schenectady but never got off the ground. The buildings were up for sale.
Livor reported back to his employer, Thomas Edison, who made a trip to Schenectady in 1886 to investigate the opportunity. Edison liked what he saw but wasn't willing to pay the full purchase price. Community leaders in Schenectady, anxious to bring jobs to the city, bridged the offer with $7,500 and the deal was signed. Within a year, the Edison Machine Works had established its headquarters in Schenectady and hired 500 workers. After Edison merged his company with Thomson-Houston Electric in 1892, the General Electric Corporation was born.
In the 1890s, trolleys and electrified street railways were already replacing cable cars and horse-drawn carriages in many larger cties. But Edisons interests lay in the next big thing: railroad electrification.
General Electric and ALCO were Schenectady's pride. As they grew, so did Schenectady which became known as the "City that Lights and Hauls the World.” And its population soared - from 31,000 in 1900 to 72,826 by 1910.
"Genius is about 2% inspiration and 98% perspiration.” Thomas Edison
(Main image) GE plant c. 1917
(Right) Plant interior c. 1910 and Bird’s eye view c. 1900.
Credits: Schenectady County Historical Society
Erected by Schenectady County, ALCO.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Settlements & Settlers.
Location. 42° 49.455′ N, 73° 56.049′ W. Marker is in Schenectady, New York, in Schenectady County. Marker is on River Street west of Harborside Drive, on the right when traveling west. Marker is on the bike path beside the Rivers Casino parking lot. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Schenectady NY 12308, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Streamliners (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Casey Jones (about 500 feet away); "Jupiter" (about 600 feet away); Dewitt Clinton (approx. 0.2 miles away); The “Works” (approx. 0.2 miles away); "Big Boy" (approx. 0.2 miles away); World War II (approx. ¼ mile away); ALCo Site (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Schenectady.
More about this marker. Marker is on the former ALCo site.
Also see . . .
1. Schenectady (Wikipedia). (Submitted on November 12, 2020, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York.)
2. Selective History of General Electric. (Submitted on November 12, 2020, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York.)
3. ALCo History (Wikipedia). (Submitted on November 12, 2020, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York.)
Credits. This page was last revised on November 18, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 12, 2020, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. This page has been viewed 27 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on November 12, 2020, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. • Michael Herrick was the editor who published this page.