Hudson Mohawk Industrial Gateway

Hudson Mohawk Industrial Gateway The Gateway works to celebrate and preserve the industrial heritage of New York's Capital Region. The Gateway also operates the Burden Iron Works Museum.

The Village of Valley Falls in Rensselaer County recently announced that it had been awarded a $200,000 brownfield grant...
06/22/2019
Valley Falls envisions park to replace crumbling mill

The Village of Valley Falls in Rensselaer County recently announced that it had been awarded a $200,000 brownfield grant from the EPA to study contamination at the old Thompson Mill on the Hoosick River prior to pursuing a plan to create a park at the 23-acre site. Scottish immigrant James Thompson started the mill in 1860. Initially the mill produced three products: buckram (a stiff cotton used in hat making), netting and twine. Later it specialized in netting products (including mosquito netting and ping-pong nets) and twine. James Thompson & Co., Inc. closed the mill in 1992, but the NYC-based company continues in business with the motto “Dyers & Finishers Since 1860 – Our Second Century of Service.”

https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Valley-Falls-envisions-park-to-replace-13969102.php#photo-13037190

VALLEY FALLS - This northwestern Rensselaer County village of 466 residents has a vision of transforming a derelict 159-year-old former Thompson Mill site into a park along the Hoosic River, whose waters helped drive the 19th century mills in this area. The village has a $200,000 Brownfield Assessme...

About a dozen Gateway supporters had a fascinating tour of the Case Window and Door facility in Green Island this mornin...
06/19/2019

About a dozen Gateway supporters had a fascinating tour of the Case Window and Door facility in Green Island this morning. Company principal Russ Brooks explained that Case specializes in custom large-scale doors, windows and window walls for high-end residences. He described the challenges of designing and making large units as he led the group through the recently expanded 50,000 square foot operation. Case’s windows use European “tilt & turn” technology. Much of the special insulated glass and metal hardware is sourced from Europe (especially Germany), but the fabrication takes place in Green Island using state-of-the-art tools. Products are shipped to customers around the world.

Some good photos and maps of the old Ludlow Valve Co. site on the Poestenkill in South Troy. John Griswold's Rensselaer ...
06/19/2019

Some good photos and maps of the old Ludlow Valve Co. site on the Poestenkill in South Troy. John Griswold's Rensselaer Iron Works first occupied the site, followed by essentially the same company with a different name, Albany & Rensselaer Iron & Steel Co.

HOW DID THEY SERVE THIS?

Ludlow Valve was one of the largest valve company in the world. Between this company and Eddy Valve (who had merged with Rensselaer Valve), Troy was basically the fire hydrant capital of the world.

The Ludlow plant encompassed two giant buildings, one on each side of the Poenstenkill in south Troy. Together along with the waterway in between, they spanned a distance of roughly 1,000 feet (138 inches in HO). We hope to be able to include a replica of this complex on our new layout, although scaled down a bit.

Tom Amrine was pointing out that this doesn't really get us much operation as there were no loading doors on the side we will see, the east side. I have been thinking about this and I was considering having a spur run alongside each building and putting some freight doors on that side.

But these doors have to be up four feet from the ground, suggesting a floor inside at that height. And we know from the Historic American Engineering Record files at the Library of Congress, one track ran inside the plant at the north end and the interior of at least the north plant was at ground level.

And adding loading doors on the side means having to add a foundation of that height. The bottom of the windows comes down close to four feet from the ground and raising the sides for this foundation changes this look. (It would look odd to have the bottom of the freight doors about even with the bottom of the doors.)

So my question then became - how was this served? It seems strange to think of a wayfreight engine picking up and dropping cars throughout the plant.

Two other big industries in Troy, Republic Steel/Burden and the coke plant each had at least one switching loco, an 0-6-0 or 0-4-0 back in the days, lettered for the company. I don't know of any such locos lettered for Ludlow but then there is so much we don't know about this plant.

I've convinced myself that cuts of cars would be dropped alongside the plant by the NYC or other wayfreights, left for the plant switcher to move around. And there would be another set of cars set out to be picked up. (Could have just one track for this purpose or perhaps two, outbound and inbound.) I don't think we should letter up an engine for Ludlow until we see at least one photo, but we could consider it out of sight at all times, hence it doesn't get modeled.

I am in the modern era of thinking that having one's own steam loco(s) is unusual but I'd thinking nothing of a modern plant having a fleet of trucks. Just steam locos are rare, you know. (At least today!)

I'm just thinking out loud here. - JN

The Capital District Transportation Committee’s latest five-year Transportation Improvement Program includes an $866,000...
06/16/2019
Replace the Menands Bridge? DOT will explore options

The Capital District Transportation Committee’s latest five-year Transportation Improvement Program includes an $866,000 contract with NYSDOT to study replacement options for the Troy-Menands Bridge over the Hudson River (SR 378). The truss bridge was completed in 1933 by the Phoenix Bridge Co. of Phoenixville, Pa., at a cost of $1.9 million. This bridge originally included a center lift section. It is the second-oldest of the six Hudson River bridges in Troy. The Troy-Waterford Bridge was built in 1909 (also by the Phoenix Bridge Co.) and rehabbed in 1985.

https://www.timesunion.com/business/article/Replace-the-Menands-Bridge-Maybe-says-the-DOT-13974607.php?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Timesunion_DailyeEdition

TROY - The Troy-Menands Bridge, built during the Great Depression, has had a number of alterations and facelifts through the years. Now, state officials are studying whether it's time to build a new one. The Capital District Transportation Committee, in its new five-year, $500 million Transportation...

Gateway Executive Director Michael Barrett brought a selection of our Troy beer memorabilia to the "Brewers of Oakwood" ...
06/14/2019

Gateway Executive Director Michael Barrett brought a selection of our Troy beer memorabilia to the "Brewers of Oakwood" event last night in the beautiful Gardner Earl Memorial Chapel. Beer historian Gerry Lorentz reviewed the long history of brewing in Troy, and Rare Form Brewery supplied the attendees with samples of its 6.3% "Dead Brewers Collaborative" beer.

The Squire Whipple bowstring truss bridge was once ubiquitous in New York: it was the standard bridge for crossing the E...
06/11/2019

The Squire Whipple bowstring truss bridge was once ubiquitous in New York: it was the standard bridge for crossing the Erie Canal. Hundreds were built, but only four survive. We have previously featured three of them, the bridges in Vischer Ferry, Claverack and Normanskill. The fourth bridge is on the Union College campus in Schenectady, having been moved there from its original location in Johnstown. Squire Whipple (yes, that is his real first name) was a Union College graduate (1830) and is considered a pioneer in metal bridge design. The first two images are from the current New York State Museum Erie Canal exhibit.

Throwback Saturday! Here's part of a page from a special Gateway newspaper supplement from 1976. Our offices were in the...
06/01/2019

Throwback Saturday! Here's part of a page from a special Gateway newspaper supplement from 1976. Our offices were in the Rice Building, and basic annual membership was only $1. The Industrial Architecture book is still for sale at the Gateway and at Market Block Books in Troy -- and the price has barely increased. The Historic American Engineering Record's Hudson Mohawk Area Survey is a collector's item today. The page also includes an ad for Monocrete Steps. The company is still in business, but has moved to Watervliet.

This deceptively bucolic painting of the Brandywine River by American artist and illustrator Frank Schoonover (1877-1972...
05/27/2019

This deceptively bucolic painting of the Brandywine River by American artist and illustrator Frank Schoonover (1877-1972) was recently on exhibit at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass. The two small stone buildings seen along the river are actually gunpowder mills for the DuPont Powder Works. The buildings have only three walls -- they are open on the river side to relieve the force of an accidental explosion.

The Gateway is on a roll! At least as far as historic markers funded through the Troy City Council Neighborhood Improvem...
05/22/2019

The Gateway is on a roll! At least as far as historic markers funded through the Troy City Council Neighborhood Improvement Program is concerned. Our Jones Troy Bell Foundry marker was funded in 2018 (installed in late 2018, dedicated in 2019), and among the recently announced 2019 NIP awards is another Gateway marker. This one will feature the Wynantskill, which powered Burden's first iron mill (as well as competitor Erastus Corning's Albany Iron Works). The project involves the installation of a kiosk which will display an 1870’s print showing a panoramic view of the Burden Iron Works and the Woodside Church along with another historic map of the Wynantskill. The kiosk will be located near where the Wynantskill exits Burden Pond (Mill St. and Campbell Ave.). Thanks to Joe Durkin for handling the NIP application.

Spring rains have resulted in high (and scenic) flows down the Poestenkill Gorge in Troy. This now-bucolic area was once...
05/19/2019

Spring rains have resulted in high (and scenic) flows down the Poestenkill Gorge in Troy. This now-bucolic area was once a major center for water-powered industry. In 1840 cotton manufacturer Benjamin Marshall harnessed the power of the falls by constructing an underground tunnel system. Other industries that developed at this site included several paper mills and the Griswold wire works (shown in photo, courtesy RCHS).

05/13/2019
hudsonmohawkgateway.org

The Gateway's 2019 tour program brochure has been printed, and should be on its way to those on our mailing list soon. Copies will also be available at various locations in the Troy area. The program has some perennial favorites, including of course the Tiffany window tour on Sept. 21, which often sells out quickly. New this year are tours of Case Window and Door in Green Island, and Blackfly Mountain Woodworks, located in the Esek Bussey firehouse complex in Troy. For those who can't wait, the brochure can be accessed through the Gateway's web site, www.hudsonmohawkgateway.org

In commemoration of the150th anniversary of the "Golden Spike" ceremonial completion of the transcontinental railroad (M...
05/10/2019
Refurbished gigantic 'Big Boy' locomotive fires up crowds in the West

In commemoration of the150th anniversary of the "Golden Spike" ceremonial completion of the transcontinental railroad (May 10, 1869), Union Pacific RR has restored to running condition an example of the most powerful steam locomotives ever built. The UP 4014 "Big Boy" is one of several of the same model made for UP in the 1940s by Alco in Schenectady. The video in the link is rather long, but the first few minutes will give you an idea of the size and complexity of the locomotive, as well as its wonderful noises.

https://www.autoblog.com/amp/2019/05/09/refurbished-big-boy-locomotive-fires-up-crowds-in-the-west/

It's headed to Utah for Transcontinental Railroad's 150th anniversary.

Today's Albany Times Union has a nice Eric Anderson article on the local connections to the building of the transcontine...
05/05/2019
How the Capital Region helped put California on the map

Today's Albany Times Union has a nice Eric Anderson article on the local connections to the building of the transcontinental railroad. The 150th anniversary of the "Golden Spike" ceremony marking the completion of the railroad is May 10th.
https://www.timesunion.com/business/article/How-the-Capital-Region-helped-put-California-on-13810974.php

https://www.timesunion.com/business/article/How-the-Capital-Region-helped-put-California-on-13810974.php How the Capital Region helped put California on the map Before the railroad, the West Coast was a six-month trip by sea By Eric Anderson Updated 8:28 pm EDT, Thursday, May 2, 2019 Railroad worke...

It was just a week ago -- another rainy Friday -- that we dedicated the Jones Troy Bell Foundry historic marker. Our fri...
05/03/2019

It was just a week ago -- another rainy Friday -- that we dedicated the Jones Troy Bell Foundry historic marker. Our friends at NEB&W model railroad reminded us that the old bell foundry building was later incorporated into a major cold storage facility on Adams St. The larger building was demolished in the early 2000's.

Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site opened this morning.
05/01/2019

Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site opened this morning.

Last week, the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) returned to the Schoharie Creek Aqueduct in Fort Hunter, New York for the third time in its history.

HAER recorded the 1841 aqueduct as part of its Hudson-Mohawk Area Survey in 1969, its inaugural summer field team. Jet Lowe produced additional large format photographs in 2010, following a 2006 flood. The structure has deteriorated significantly since, especially following a 2011 flood. Of the nine surviving arches in 1969, only six remain intact.

Heritage Documentation Programs, NPS architects laser scanned the aqueduct's remains last week, and will produce detailed measured drawings for the HABS/HAER/HALS Collection in The Library of Congress and will assist the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor in developing treatment plans and prioritizing rehabilitation of the structure.

The HAER field team consisted of Christopher Marston, project leader, HDP architects Ryan Pierce and Daniel De Sousa. Duncan Hay, historian with the Erie Canalway National Heritage Area provided assistance and support. Jarob Ortiz the HDP Photographer was also on site and produced large format photographs of the aqueduct.

#HAERnps #Aqueduct #NewYork #PreservationInAction #SavingPlaces #HistoricPreservation #Engineering #PreservationThroughDocumentation

Today is May Day, celebrated in many countries as International Workers’ Day. And how were workers treated at the Burden...
05/01/2019

Today is May Day, celebrated in many countries as International Workers’ Day. And how were workers treated at the Burden Iron Co.? First of all, Burden was strongly anti-union and withstood several strikes trying to force the company to recognize a union (strike leaders were then blacklisted). So all employees worked under individual contracts with the company. For example, in a 1916 contract, Vincent Weber bound his son Charles to work in the company’s machine shop for 1,252 days (4 years). The work week was 6 days of 10 hours each. Pay started at 7.5 cents/hour and rose to 17.5 cents/hour in the fourth year, provided that young Weber had worked his quota of hours. The contract also stated that “in case of loss of time caused by suspension of works by strikes, fire, breakdowns or depression of trade, or any like cause, the time lost is to be made up after the close of the fourth year.” In addition, Burden reserved the right to re-assign Weber to any other company division. (Copy of contract courtesy of Rensselaer County Historical Society)

04/29/2019
Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor

Opening of canal navigation season is just around the corner!

The Erie Canal is an evolving American story full of vision, hope, ingenuity and determination. In the 1800s, these inland waterways literally transformed our fledgling nation economically and socially. Today, communities connected by these waterways are refocusing on their waterfronts and using the canal system’s amazingly unique infrastructure to attract investment and fuel rejuvenated economies. THANK YOU for supporting our efforts to preserve, promote and revitalize upstate New York’s legendary canal system and the diverse communities that line its shores. Heritage & Historic Preservation - NPS Paul D. Tonko

A little rain didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the large crowd that gathered this morning for the formal dedication of th...
04/26/2019

A little rain didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the large crowd that gathered this morning for the formal dedication of the historic marker commemorating the Jones Troy Bell Foundry and the bell casting industry in Troy. The marker is located near the site of the original foundry building and across the street from the second location, which is still standing and owned by BestFire. HMIG Executive Director Michael Barrett provided an abbreviated history of bell making in Troy, and Troy Mayor Patrick Madden and Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin gave brief remarks. Project coordinators Sandra Rouse of the Riverside neighborhood group and Steve Muller of the Gateway unveiled the marker. Local attorney E. Stewart Jones, a descendant of the founder of Jones Bell, also attended the event.

This group of four and five story former warehouses built in 1865 and 1885 in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge has rece...
04/22/2019

This group of four and five story former warehouses built in 1865 and 1885 in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge has recently been converted into retail and office space. The warehouses were known as “Empire Stores,” and mostly stored coffee. The current development continues the “Empire Stores” name. Historic view is from Brooklyn Historical Society; views of renovation are from project architects S9 Architecture.

Fire bricks were another Troy industry.
04/21/2019

Fire bricks were another Troy industry.

Jacob Henry started making fire bricks in Albany in 1825. After his death, the plant was moved to south Troy and in 1882, Harvey McLeod purchased the company and began expanding it. (McLeod was also involved in Bussey & McLeod in making stoves on the east side of Oakwood just off 10th St. and offered products under the brandnames of "Gold Coin" and "Gold Metal" although it might actually be a different McLeod, Charles.)

Fire bricks were made to withstand high heat and were needed in cast-iron stoves which were intended to burn coal. M&H was the largest maker of fire bricks (in the world, I think).

The engraving is c. 1880's and is looking east. If we include this on the new layout, we should be modeling the other side but we might have to cheat and model it as if this was the east side.

I think M&H used local clay, perhaps with some additional ingredients, and probably shipped in coal for the kilns, although there appears to have been spur for this.

The Valuation map is c. 1917 with west at the top of the page. The Sanborn map is c. 1885, with east at the top, which might be confusing. The last image is part of a bird's eye engraving c. 1881 and I've tried to depict the fire brick company in red.

(The top of the kilns look like those old glass pint-size milk bottles.) - JN

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Troy, NY
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