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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Grafton, New York


The above, grayed out area, roughly outlines the location of the Town of Grafton within the Rensselaer Plateau. The Rensselaer Plateau includes all, or part, of ten townships within its domain of slightly over 100,000 acres. I thought it would be interesting to occasionally provide a snapshot of each of the towns that comprise a portion of the Rensselaer Plateau. I'll attempt to do this in order of amount of Plateau acreage, starting with Grafton which has the most acreage within the Plateau.

The Town of Grafton is the only one entirely within the Plateau. Parts of Berlin, Brunswick, Hoosick, Nassau, Pittstown, Petersburgh, Poestenkill, Sand Lake, and Stephentown also fall within the Plateau. A detailed map of the Town of Grafton is available as part of a Rensselaer County map at the GIS & Mapping section of the Rensselaer County Online. The elevation at the Grafton Town Hall in Grafton Center is 1,550 feet. The 2010 census population of Grafton was 2,130 -- a 7.2% increase over the 2000 figure of 1,987. Not much different than 1850 when the population was 2033. The Town is serviced primarily by the Berlin Central School District with a portion of the western end being serviced by the Brunswick Central School District.

Many lakes and ponds are scattered throughout Grafton, including Babcock Lake, Cranberry Lake,  Dunham Reservoir, Dyken Pond, Elizabeth Lake, Forest Lake, Taconic Lake and those within Grafton Lakes State Park: Long Pond, Mill Pond, Second Pond and Shaver Pond.  The Quackenkill creek is sourced at Cranberry Lake and zigzags across Route 2 as it works it's way south eventually through Troy, adjacent Congress Street/Canal Ave./Mt. Ida Cemetery to the Hudson.

Grafton was originally wholly within the Manor of Rensselaerswyck, the Van Rensselaer family patroonship led, at one time, by Stephen Van Rensselaer, the founder of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. When Stephen Van Rensselaer's sons took control of the patroonship, they demanded back rents that their father had ignored. This triggered the Anti-Rent War. On December 19, 1845, Elijah Smith was shot in Grafton by an unknown person in one of the numerous struggles which took place between the anti-renters and the authorities.

The Union Army uniforms, during the Civil War, were dyed blue from a factory located on Blue Factory Road (off Route 2) in the Town of Grafton. Grafton's most famous resident was Granville Hicks, book critic and author numerous books, the most notable being Small Town (about his life in Grafton).

Links
Grafton Community Library
Grafton Historical Society, Grafton New York
Grafton, NY - Wikepedia
History of Grafton, NY
History of the Seventeen Towns of Rensselaer County from the Colonization of the Manor of Rensselaerwyck until the Present timeMap of Town of Grafton, NY 
Landmarks of Rensselaer County Town of Grafton, NY
2010 Census Data

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