David Schuyler‘s new book, Embattled River: The Hudson and Modern American Environmentalism (Cornell University Press, 2018) describes the efforts to reverse the pollution and bleak future of the Hudson River that became evident in the 1950s.
Through his investigative narrative, Schuyler uncovers the role of this iconic American waterway in the emergence of modern environmentalism in the United States.
Writing fifty-five years after Consolidated Edison announced plans to construct a pumped storage power plant at Storm King Mountain, Schuyler recounts how a loose coalition of activists took on corporate capitalism and defended the river. Continue reading
The Erie Canalway Heritage Fund, the nonprofit partner of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, has announced funding from the New York State Regional Economic Development Council initiative (REDC) for the Matton Shipyard Preservation and Adaptive Reuse Initiative in Cohoes.
Announced on December 13, the funding award of $373,400 is expected to be used to stabilize three original structures of the early 20th century ship building and repair facility, remediate environmental hazards, and stabilize 740-feet of Hudson River shoreline to prevent further erosion. Continue reading
With the opening of the entire Erie Canal in 1825, a call for more canals and other internal improvements arose from all over New York State. People in many legislative districts thought that if the state could build a canal that had already shown its great value, it could also provide infrastructure projects to help regional economies to connect with the artificial river that joined the interior Great Lakes and the global market through Albany and New York City. This was also the case coming from the legislative representatives from Montgomery County and although many lateral canals would be subsequently surveyed, planned and some would even be built, perhaps the most intriguing was one that never had a shovel turned.
As early as 1826, citizens from Montgomery County were calling for a plan to connect the Erie Canal – which already ran through the county on the south side of the Mohawk River – to the industrializing area around the county seat of Johnstown and further into the wilderness to the north for raw materials. Inhabitants of Montgomery and Hamilton Counties formally called upon the New York State Senate through the Canal Commission for a survey to be conducted and a planned canal from Caughnawaga (present day Fonda) up the Sacandaga River Valley (Journal of the NYS Senate 49 Sess 1826). The original intention was to have a canal of over 30 miles and elevation increase of 350 feet that would connect the Erie Canal to the waters of what is now known as the lower Adirondacks. That could therefore be connected to the head waters of the Hudson River and also through a series of lakes to the Raquette River and the St. Lawrence River. Senators knew that in order to populate that region of the state and exploit its natural resources, some forms of improvements would be necessary. However, their concerns grew over the expense and circuitous route the canal would need to travel. The senate forwarded the recommendation to the committee on canals were it apparently lay dormant. Continue reading
The Boards of the Hudson River Valley Greenway Communities Council and Greenway Conservancy for the Hudson River Valley will hold a joint Board Meeting on Wednesday, October 18, 2017 at Henry A. Wallace Center at the FDR Library and Museum in Hyde Park, NY. Continue reading
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that officials from local, state, and federal agencies, non-profit organizations, scientists, and other stakeholders gathered to mark the 30th anniversaries of DEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program and the NY-NJ Harbor & Estuary Program, as well as the 35th anniversary of the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve. The three anniversaries were recognized at the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve Conference in New York City. Continue reading
Celebrating its 5th decade as a historic house museum, Boscobel House and Gardens has opened for the season.
An 1824 inventory of the house, discovered in 1989, combined with more recent scholarly research projects, continues to inform the interpretation of Boscobel as it updates and improves the mansion’s furnishings and surrounding property. Continue reading
Abraham Van Santvoord, a descendent of one of the earliest Dutch settlers in Albany, was born in Schenectady on December 18, 1784. At the age of 14, he worked with his granduncle John Post who owned a shipping business in Utica. Since, at the time, there were few roadways, and the ones they had were snow covered in the winter and mud bogs in the spring, most shipping was done by water.
Van Santvoord successfully ran a shipping business on the Mohawk River. During the War of 1812, he contracted with agents of General Stephen Van Rensselaer of Albany to store and ship provisions westward on the Mohawk to support Van Rensselaer’s troops planning to invade Canada. Continue reading
A September post on this New York History Blog had some examples of “putting history to work” – showing the value of history for revealing historical precedents, insights or parallels which help shed light on current issues. Demonstrating that value in varied, imaginative ways is an important strategy for building support and securing resources for our history progams.
Here are a few more examples: Continue reading
Recently my son Adam and his seven-year-old daughter Mckenna were canoeing on the Hudson River above the Feeder Dam in Glens Falls when they noticed a small tree growing atop an old stone pier about 30 feet from shore – and something more. Tangled in the roots, they found a large old rusted chain with links 4 inches wide by 6 inches long.
Sharing pictures with Richard “Dick” Nason, the unofficial Finch Pruyn historian and an authority on river log drives, it appears likely the chain was left over from the heyday of log drives on the Hudson River. The chain was found in the Big Boom sorting area. Logs were released from the Big Boom upriver and floated down to the sorting area where they were tallied by owners, identified by the owner’s mark stamped on the butt end of each log. The sorting area was used from 1851 to 1929. Dick suspects the chain may be from the late 1800s. Continue reading
On Sunday, September 18, 2016 historian Geoff Benton will present a program exploring the grounds of Clermont State Historic Site, not as the idyllic playground of the wealthy Livingston family, but as a high water mark of the British invasion of the Hudson River Valley during the American Revolution. Continue reading