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What is Troy All About?

Troy, a city of 55,000 people, is more than 200 years old. Located along the Hudson River in New York, Troy was a major center for the industrial revolution in the 1800's. It was the home of the detachable shirt collar, stove manufacturers, textile mills, stagecoach and carriage builders, breweries, bell manufacturers, iron and steel centers, and more. Iron plates for the Civil War ship the "Monitor" were rolled in Troy. Even Samuel Wilson, better known as Uncle Sam, lived and worked in Troy during this time.

A brownstone in Troy

Most of Troy's buildings stand from the 18th and 19th centuries; fine homes of former industrial tycoons, worker and factory housing, and homes of the emerging middle class are still used and lived in today, many retaining their original character and features. Wood frame, terra cotta, brownstone, and brick houses line the streets of the city. Queen Anne, Mansard, Beaux Arts, Romanesque, Italianate, Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, and other kinds of buildings can be seen everywhere in Troy. Restoration is an ongoing event here. In fact, a section of downtown has received an impressive collection of art galleries and boutique shops.

Here's a typical house in Troy under restoration (right). Troy has become the "restaurant district" of the capital region, and has many regular, popular events such as the summer's Riverfront Arts Festival with sidewalk chalk art competitions and the winter's Victorian Stroll, which includes events, music, crafts all around Troy's downtown, and the Hart-Cluett mansion decorated for a Victorian Christmas inside. Their research library is open, at no charge, to the public.

RiverSpark Center

Interesting places to visit and enjoy in Troy include the Troy RiverSpark Visitor Center, 251 River St. 518-270-8667 (left). Located in the lower level of the building, the visitor's center contains many displays with information on the Troy, Albany, Cohoes area, including industrial artifacts. There is an impressive slide show on the region, utilizing multiple slide projectors. The visitor's center has many brochures covering local points of interest. Admission is free. You may also enter the center for from Riverfront Park.

Troy Savings Bank Music Hall

Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, 7 State Street, 518-273-0038. If there's a performance at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall (right) while you're in town, you might consider attending to relax and enjoy the music as well as the impressive hall itself. The music hall, which opened in 1875, is built over the Troy Savings Bank. The lower floor consists of the bank, and the rest of the building is dedicated to the hall. Known for its near-perfect acoustics, it seats more than 1,000 people and has two balconies. Several music groups record in the hall. For most of the year, a free concert is offered once a month during a weekday lunch hour (noon-1 p.m.); concertgoers are invited to bring a lunch with them.

The Arts Center of the Capital Region, 265 River St., 518-273-0552
The gallery at the Arts Center of the Capital Region offers year-round exhibits of challenging contemporary art, and has been a focal point and resource for artists and arts students in the Capital Region for 34 years. The Arts Center offers as many as 300 classes each year in a wide range of arts disciplines, including painting, drawing, pottery, the culinary arts, metalworking and performing arts. A "Crafts for Credit" program offers college credit for completing Arts Center classes.

Hart-Cluett Mansion

Hart-Cluett Mansion, 59 2nd St, 518-272-7232 info@rchsonline.org
Completed in 1827 (left), this Federal style home was a local landmark. Today, both 57 and 59 2nd St. are owned by the Rensselaer County Historical Society . These buildings house the Society's extensive museum collections, changing exhibits, gift shop, research library, and offices. The house is open for tours or for your own look-around. If you visit, check out the small book in each room that contains photographs of the room as it appeared many years ago when the house was occupied. A small donation is requested.

The Children's Museum of Science and Technology in the Rensselaer Technology Park, 250 Jordan Road, Troy, NY 12180, (518) 235-2120, http://www.childrensmuseumonline.org, is a hands on, interactive, fun place for children. Kids can learn about science and technology, supported by history and art. Anchor exhibits include The Hudson River, the GE Animal Nursery, and the Lally Planetarium. There are animal shows and outdoor programming. Hike the trails or have lunch in the River Rock Cafe! The Molecularium(SM) show, a 25 minute show featuring a novel planetarium-format animated program, the "Riding Snowflakes" show, helps schoolchildren explore the universe as it exists at the atomic scale. Price; ages 2 and above, $6.00. Members are always free! Small fee for the Planetarium and Molecularium shows.

Oakwood Cemetery

Oakwood Cemetery
Entrances off of Oakwood Ave. or at the head of 101st St. Perhaps not a spot you would normally visit, but Oakwood Cemetery (right) is large, tranquil, and beautiful. Many notable people from Troy's past are buried here, including Uncle Sam. There is much beautiful stonework to be seen in monuments and headstones. If you enter from the Oakwood Avenue side, take a look at the impressive gargoyle on the still-operating crematorium.

Gasholder

Gasholder
The gasholder building (left) is located in South Troy. A large, round brick building with a domed roof and cupola, it was built to house coal gas. It's currently used for storage. While the building isn't open to the public, it's interesting to come upon it nestled in among the short row houses and narrow streets of South Troy. Located at the corner of 5th Ave. and Jefferson St., it was built in 1873 by the Troy Gas Light Company. Designed by Frederick A. Sabbaton, a prominent New York State gas engineer, the structure once housed a large two-lift iron gasholder that rose and fell according to the amount of illuminating gas being stored in it. The Troy Gas Light company first supplied the city with illuminating gas in 1848. (Source: "Industrial Archeology," John G. Waite and Diana S. Waite, Hudson-Mohawk Industrial Gateway, Troy, NY, 1973.)

Burden Iron Works

Hudson Mohawk Industrial Gateway
Located at the foot of Polk St. in South Troy, this building was the main office for the Burden Iron Works (right). The iron works is long gone, but you can view a full set of exhibits about the area's industrial heritage at the Burden Iron Works Museum. Several large items are located outdoors, including two ladle cars ... one of which was found during the excavation for the Rensselaer County Jail. The ladle cars were used to transport and pour molten iron.

Emma Willard School for Girls

Emma Willard School
285 Pawling Avenue, (518) 833-1300
Extraordinary Education for Girls Since 1814
Founded in 1814, Emma Willard School (left) was among the nation's first institutions for the higher education of women. Located on Mount Ida above the City of Troy, Emma Willard is a college-preparatory boarding and day school for 292 girls in grades 9 through 12 and the post-graduate year. The School's rigorous curriculum is complemented by diverse independent study options in the community, a thriving visual and performing arts program, exceptional leadership opportunities, and competitive interscholastic athletics. The School's collegiate Gothic architecture fills 137 acres on Troy�s residential east side. Two other local schools worth mentioning include Russell Sage College, initially founded by Emma Willard as the Troy Seminary for Women, and Hudson Valley Community College, the second-largest institution of higher learning in the Capital Region and nationally ranked 27th for the number of associate degrees awarded annually.

The Federal Lock at Troy

The Erie Canal, snaking from Troy ... to Lake Erie
Three years after Emma Willard opened her first school, workers broke ground on the historic Erie Canal. When it was originally proposed, the project was ridiculed as "Clinton's folly" and "Clinton's Big Ditch" (i.e., DeWitt Clinton, "Father of New York," First Governor of New York State). When the Erie Canal opened for business in 1825 it was widely considered one of the engineering marvels of the world. Just west of the Federal Lock at Troy (right), the world's greatest series of high lift locks are located in Waterford, the largest lift (169 feet) in the shortest distance on any canal system in the world!

Poestenkill Gorge

Poestenkill Gorge
The "Poesten Kill" (left) which literally means "foaming or puffing stream" in Dutch, powered mills in the gorge for more than 300 years. The waterfall is located in a peaceful, secluded location in the middle of the city of Troy. The gorge can be viewed from a visitors lot off Linden Avenue, between Pawling and Spring Avenues.

Troy City Hall

Troy City Hall
Monument Square (next to the RiverSpark Visitor's Center at 251 River St.). Enter the building (right) and go to the 2nd floor. There you will find many photographs of Troy from the turn of the century.

Troy Public Library

Troy Public Library (left)
100 Second Street, Troy, New York 12180
(518) 274-7071
A local architectural marvel, the Troy Public Library is the local repository for historical and genealogical materials relating to the City of Troy and Rensselaer County. A member of the Upper Hudson Library System, whose members stretch from Albany to Cohoes, the Troy Public Library has access to a wealth of resources both in the stacks and online.

Hudson River
Uncle Sam

Riverfront Park
Riverfront Park runs along the Hudson River (left), behind City Hall and other buildings on River Street. Events are often held in the park and free concerts held in the bandshell. A statue of Uncle Sam (right) greets visitors approaching from the corner of River and 3rd Streets.

Herman Melville's Home, Lansingburgh Historical Society

Lansingburgh Historical Society,
First Avenue and 114th Street (left). Built in 1786, this once was the home of American literary giant, Herman Melville, who wrote his first books here in an environment once rife with sea-weary mariners. Open March thru November on the 1st and 3rd of the month.

Tiffany windows in Troy

If you like stained glass, you might enjoy visiting some authentic Tiffany windows in town.

Places with Tiffany windows in Troy include:

  • Main lobby of the Troy Public Library at 100 2nd St.
  • St. Paul's Episcopal Church at 58 Third St.
  • Bush Memorial Center at Russell Sage College. The building is on the corner of Congress and 1st. streets.
  • St. John's Episcopal Church at 146 1st St.
  • Church of the Holy Cross Episcopal at 142 8th St.
  • St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church at 416 3rd St.
  • Oakwood Cemetery, at the head of 101st St.

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