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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Hoosick, NY


The above, grayed out area, roughly outlines the location of the Town of Hoosick within the Rensselaer Plateau. Ten towns comprise parts of the Rensselaer Plateau.

The Town of Hoosick was created as a town in 1788, before the creation of Rensselaer County. The region was formerly the District of Hoosick (1772) and previously the Hoosick Patent (1688). A detailed map of the Town of Hoosick is available as part of a Rensselaer County map at the GIS & Mapping section of the Rensselaer County Online. The elevation at the Hoosick Town Hall at 80 Church Street is 455 feet. The 2010 census population of Hoosick was 6,924 -- an increase of 2.4% from the 2000 census. Hoosick is serviced by the Hoosick Falls Central School District.

The Town of Hoosick has more industry than most of the ten towns with a portion of their area on the Plateau. There's Oak-Mitsui (copper foils, aluminum bonded copper and advanced interconnect materials for the electronic industry) and Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics (high-tech foams and films).

According to the History of Hoosick, NY,
"The assertion has been made, and it is now accepted as a fact by most persons, that the "Leatherstocking" of James Fenimore Cooper's novels was Nathaniel Shipman, one of the earlier settlers of the northeastern part of the town of Hoosick. He was a noted trapper and hunter, a close friend of the Mohican Indians, and fought with them against the French and the Canadian Indians. He was a Tory during the War of the Revolution and was tarred and feathered for his disloyalty. Soon after he disappeared and nothing was heard of him for years. Mr. Shipman's daughter Patience married John Ryan of Hoosick. Mr. Ryan became acquainted with the novelist Cooper while the former was serving in the State Legislature about 1804 or 1805, and in their conversations it was found that the missing hunter had been living in the forest near Otsego lake for some time. He was finally induced to return to Hoosick and reside with his daughter and her husband, though he frequently returned to his western home at intervals. He died in 1809 at the house of Mr. Ryan and was buried in the village churchyard."

The Battle of Bennington, named after nearby Bennington, VT, of the American Revolution was fought in the town northeast of the community of Walloomsac.

Battle of Bennington
There's a nice bookstore in the village of Hoosick, DogEars Book Barn, on Route 7 just before Bennington, Vermont.

Links
Battle of Bennington
Cheney Library
History of Hoosick, NY
History of the Seventeen Towns of Rensselaer County from the Colonization of the Manor of Rensselaerwyck until the Present time
Landmarks of Rensselaer County 
Map of Hoosick, NY
The Hoosick Township Historical Society
Town of Hoosick, NY
Town of Hoosick, NY - Wikipedia
2010 Census Data

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Into the Mystic


Gusts of wind rolling heavy snowfall across the foggy lake brought to mind Into the Mystic, one of my favorite Van Morrison songs. I found this YouTube clip of a young Van Morrison performing it live.

Into the Mystic
Van Morrison

Friday, October 28, 2011

First Snow: October 27, 2011



Yes folks, it's here. I took this picture driving home on the dirt road leading to our house last night after work. The appointment has been made with Wassick's Tires in Bennington to put on the Hakkapeliitta 5's. The best part about heading to Bennington for any reason is the Blue Benn -- the best breakfast west of Lou's Restaurant in Hanover, New Hampshire. Tonight, I'll be digging out the portable shovel and Come-Along to put in the trunk. The National Weather Service is forecasting several more inches for Albany Saturday -- so.... we know what that means to those of us on the Plateau!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Forest Meditation

Forest Meditation Throne
I discovered this throne in the woods on our property. A nice spot to slow oneself down and ponder the important things in life.

Simple Gifts
Judy Collins

Friday, October 21, 2011

Sand Lake, New York


The above, grayed out area, roughly outlines the location of the Town of Sand Lake within the Rensselaer Plateau. Ten towns comprise parts of the Rensselaer Plateau.

The Town of Sand Lake was formed from Greenbush and Berlin June 19, 1812. A detailed map of the Town of Sand Lake is available as part of a Rensselaer County map at the GIS & Mapping section of the Rensselaer County Online. The elevation at the Sand Lake Town Hall at 8428 Miller Hill Road is 790 feet. The 2010 census population of Sand Lake was 8,530 -- an increase of 6.8% from the 2000 census. Sand Lake is serviced by the Averill Park Central School District.

The Sand Lake History website has an interesting image "The School of Sand Lake 1876" that provides a map of the town populated with photos of the tiny school buildings at that time. What strike me in looking at the photos -- like so many Rensselaer Plateau photos of that time -- is how deforested the area was. We can count ourselves fortunate for the reforestation and efforts of organizations like the Rensselaer Plateau Alliance and Rensselaer Land Trust for this. We can also count ourselves fortunate that we live in a rather crime free area. It was not always the case, as this item from the Sand Lake Historical Society's Historical Highlights' "Protection Against Horse Thieves"  -  notes:


Links
History of Sand Lake, New York
History of the Seventeen Towns of Rensselaer County from the Colonization of the Manor of Rensselaerwyck until the Present time
Landmarks of Rensselaer County 
Map of Sand Lake, NY
Sand Lake Historical Society
Sand Lake History
Sand Lake Town Library
Town of Sand Lake, NY
Town of Sand Lake, NY - Wikipedia
2010 Census Data

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Still Bill


I recently watched Still Bill a documentary, available on DVD, about Bill Withers that I have to take this opportunity to recommend. I don't think this film got wide distribution, but I thought it was fabulous -- one of the best documentaries I've ever seen. You probably remember Bill Withers as the singer/songwriter of hits like Lean on Me and Ain't No Sunshine. And this documentary does chronicle the musician Bill Withers -- but it's a whole lot more. Don't expect to see Bill a la Keith Richards at the Super Bowl concert. This DVD's about how to be yourself as you grow older gracefully and how Bill Withers is still himself at 70-something.

Click here for the Still Bill trailer.


 Bill Withers Ain't No Sunshine

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Poestenkill, New York


The above, grayed out area, roughly outlines the location of the Town of Poestenkill within the Rensselaer Plateau. Ten towns comprise parts of the Rensselaer Plateau.

A"gateway" to the Rensselaer Plateau, Poestenkill was separated from Sand Lake and became a distinct and separate town on March 2, 1848. It takes its name from the Poesten Kill an important Rensselaer County stream that flows northwesterly through the Town of Brunswick then on into Troy before entering the Hudson River. A detailed map of the Town of Poestenkill is available, as part of a Rensselaer County map at the GIS & Mapping section of the Rensselaer County Online. The elevation at the Poestenkill Town Hall at 38 Davis Drive is 480 feet. The 2010 census population of Poestenkill was 4,530 -- an increase of 12% from the 2000 census. The town is serviced by the Berlin Central, Brunswick and Averill Park school districts.

In researching this posting, I was quite impressed Town of Poestenkill's Comprehensive Plan and the Town's focus on Conservation & Environment. The Town has a Natural Resource Conservation Plan that includes this section on mining -- something I believe all town governments on the Plateau should be wary of given the predominance of valuable graywacke:


Links
Graywacke -  Wikipedia
History of Poestenkill, NY
History of the Seventeen Towns of Rensselaer County from the Colonization of the Manor of Rensselaerwyck until the Present time
Landmarks of Rensselaer County 
Map of Poestenkill, NY
Poestenkill Library
Poesten Kill 
Residents Against Mining
Town of Poestenkill, NY
Town of Poestenkill, NY - Wikipedia
2010 Census Data

Friday, October 14, 2011

Turkey Tracks


We came across turkey tracks in a hike through the woods last weekend. This must be a very large turkey. I didn't have a coin on me, so used my watch to put it in perspective.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Petersburgh, New York

 
The above, grayed out area, roughly outlines the location of the Town of Petersburgh within the Rensselaer Plateau. Ten towns comprise parts of the Rensselaer Plateau.

Petersburgh became a distinct and separate town on April 4, 1791, having been sliced off what had been, at that time, a much bigger Stephentown. Yet it still contained much of what is today Grafton and Berlin.  It was named after Peter Simmons, an early settler. A detailed map of the Town of Petersburgh is available as part of a Rensselaer County map at the GIS & Mapping section of the Rensselaer County Online. The elevation at the Petersburgh Town Hall at 65 Main Street is 730 feet. The 2010 census population of Petersburgh was 1,525 -- a decrease of 2.5% from the 2000 census. Petersburgh is serviced by the Berlin Central School District. The Little Hoosick river flows north through the middle of the town and empties into the Hoosick River in North Petersburgh. The town recently added an "h" to the end of Petersburgh, desiring to reestablish its original spelling which had been discarded at one time. The United States Post Office is yet to adopt the town's desired spelling.

Taconic, is the largest industry in Petersburgh. From the Taconic corporate website, "By pioneering the manufacture of PTFE coated fabrics and other high-temperature/non-stick materials, Taconic has become a leading supplier to the food processing industry. They also supply a wide range of coated materials, including tapes, fabrics and belts for a wide variety of industrial applications. The company's Advanced Dielectric Division supplies high-quality circuit board materials to the fast growing wireless communications industry."

It's been a tough year given the economic environment, brutal winter, ice storm and tropical storm. But here's a quote from A Brief Outline of the History of Petersburgh, NY:  "Nevertheless, times were hard. Continuous wars with the French and the Indians resulted in much destruction and bloodshed. On several occasions the primitive farms along the Hoosick and Little Hoosick were burned out and their inhabitants killed or dragged off as slaves to Canada. In 1747 the entire settlement of Dutch Hoosick was sacked and burned by French troops. Then in 1754 the rebuilt settlement was once again put to the torch by marauding Indians." Maybe things aren't so bad now... 

Links
A Brief Outline of the History of Petersburgh, NY
History of Petersburgh, NY
History of the Seventeen Towns of Rensselaer County from the Colonization of the Manor of Rensselaerwyck until the Present time
Landmarks of Rensselaer County 
Map of Petersburgh, NY
Petersburgh Public Library
Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) 
Taconic Corporate 
Town of Petersburgh (USGenWeb Project)
Town of Petersburgh, NY
Town of Petersburgh, NY - Wikipedia
2010 Census Data

Monday, October 10, 2011

Old Saratoga Books


Linda and I visited Old Saratoga Books at 94 Broad Street in Schuylerville yesterday. Many used bookstores are musty and not too attractive. Old Saratoga Books is a beautiful shop on the main drag of Schuylerville. Linda founds several nice children's books. I didn't spot any for my collection, although they do have a nice first edition of Granville Hicks' Small Town with the original dust jacket. I already have that or I would have snatched it. They have a nice section on local history.

The shop is open Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 5 pm or by appointment. Closed February.

Co-owner Dan Jagareski 




Guarding the back of the shop...

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Berlin, New York


The above, grayed out area, roughly outlines the location of the Town of Berlin within the Rensselaer Plateau. Ten towns comprise parts of the Rensselaer Plateau with Grafton comprising the largest piece. Stephentown and Berlin take honors for the next largest pieces.

A detailed map of the Town of Berlin is available as part of a Rensselaer County map at the GIS & Mapping section of the Rensselaer County Online. The elevation at the Berlin Town Hall at 65 South Main is 860 feet. The 2010 census population of Berlin was 1,880 -- a decrease of 1% from the 2000 census. The Little Hoosick river flows north through the town. The Berlin Central School District -- covering Berlin, Grafton, Petersburgh and Stephentown -- has most of its buildings in the Town of Berlin. One elementary school is in the Town of Stephentown and another (currently not used) in the Town of Grafton.

Henry J. Seagroatt Co., a producer and distributor of flowers and supplies, was a major industry until quite recently when big box grocery stores began importing flowers from South America. W.J. Cowee LLC, another major industry in town and the world’s leading manufacturer of wooden floral picks and plant stakes, just announced the sale of most of its assets to the Garcia Group, Inc. of Atlanta, Georgia. Despite the current economic environment, most of us should count ourselves fortunate. Read the story of The Crow's Nest in Berlin.

Want to see a slice of real Americana? Mark your calendar today to attend the annual Berlin 4th of July Parade. It's like going back in a time machine to a much simpler era.
 
Links
Berlin Central School District
Berlin Free Town Library
History of Berlin, NY
History of the Seventeen Towns of Rensselaer County from the Colonization of the Manor of Rensselaerwyck until the Present time
Landmarks of Rensselaer County 
Map of Berlin, NY
Town of Berlin, NY - Wikipedia
Town of Berlin, NY
2010 Census Data

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Stephentown, New York


The above, grayed out area, roughly outlines the location of the Town of Stephentown within the Rensselaer Plateau. Ten towns comprise parts of the Rensselaer Plateau with Grafton comprising the largest piece. Stephentown and Berlin take honors for the next largest pieces.

A detailed map of the Town of Stephentown is available as part of a Rensselaer County map at the GIS & Mapping section of the Rensselaer County Online. The elevation at the Stephentown Town Hall at 26 Grange Hall Road is 867 feet. The 2010 census population of Stephentown was 2,903, an increase of 1% from the 2000 census. Stephentown is serviced primarily by the Berlin Central School District.

Stephentown was founded March 29, 1784. At that time it covered a much larger area, including what is today Petersburgh and Berlin. Although the Rensselaer Plateau has a variety of mammals today -- including bear, moose, and fisher -- we don't have any wolves. But the History of Stephentown, New York notes "The early settlers evidently suffered from the depredations of wolves, for April 6, 1802, there is an entry in the records of the town showing that the authorities that day offered a bounty of fifteen dollars for the head of a full-grown wolf and half that amount for the head of a young wolf."

Readers of this blog know I'm a reader and book collector. Stephentown is home to Down in Denver, a very nice used bookstore.

Links
History of Stephentown, NY
History of the Seventeen Towns of Rensselaer County from the Colonization of the Manor of Rensselaerwyck until the Present time
Landmarks of Rensselaer County
Map of Stephentown, NY
Stephentown Historical Society 
Stephentown Memorial Library 
Stephentown, NY - Wikipedia
Town of Stephentown
2010 Census Data

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Changó's Beads and Two-Tone Shoes


Plateau neighbor William Kennedy's new book, Chango's Beads and Two-Tone Shoes, was just released. Best wishes to Mr. Kennedy on the new novel, the first new book by this Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Ironweed in nine years. The New York State Writers Institute in Albany is sponsoring a reading by Mr. Kennedy tonight at 8 p.m. in Page Hall at the University of Albany's downtown campus. The Writers Instittute programs typically have a bookseller selling copies of the author's books at the conclusion of the reading with the author signing copies.

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 probably 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