Albany, NY History
Spanning the globe are hundreds of incredible cities with various backgrounds that add to the essence of what they became. This is the way off all cities and towns, building upon and drawing from their founders and those who cross their paths throughout history. Albany, New York is no exception.
This oft overlooked state capital has a rich legacy that dates back to the mid-16th century, and is now home to many proud Americans with lives just as unique as the city in which they reside. Here are some of the historical happenings that makes this city in NY the one-of-a-kind city it is today.
Various Cultural Influences in Albany, NY
When digging through history of the area, it is revealed that the city is one of the oldest surviving European settlements. The city dates all the way back to exploration of the Americas by various European travelers, but also has the markings of influence by Native American tribes of the region.
While the area was inhabited by the Algonquian tribe when settlers discovered it, it has also long been referred to by surrounding Native American communities as “the fireplace of the Mohican nation” or “through the pine trees.”
The first structure in Albany was built by French traders in 1540 and, although it was destroyed soon after, the legacy of a communally constructed city–with structures and influence from the British, Dutch, French, and Native peoples–lives on.
Albany, A Major Transportation Center
Like many successful cities, Albany, New York was prosperous and continued to thrive in the 1800s and beyond thanks to its involvement in revolutionary transportation advancements.
With the development of turnpikes in the early 1800s made Albany the turnpike center of the state and a grid system was designed for the roadways of Albany, there were other technologies in the making.
In 1807, Robert Fulton began a steamboat line that ran up the Hudson River from New York City to Albany, becoming the first successful enterprise of its type.
This type of accessibility spurred further growth for Albany, bringing new residents and driving the population up so that by 1810, the city was the 10th largest urban area in the country.
In the following decades, Albany NY became a major player in rail industry as well, truly solidifying its place as one of the great innovative cities of early US history.
Long-Time Mayor Does Very Little
In addition to its many notable accomplishments, Albany has some odd historical moments that make it a truly unique city. From 1942 until 1983, the city had the same mayor, who retained the office until his death.
Erastus Corning II was the figurehead of the city for a long time, although assessment of the decades he held office shows that what he achieved in time he lacked in accomplishments.
During his time in office, Corning led very few drives for any sort of advancement in his city. Even when federal funds were being dispersed to promote renewal of neighborhoods and city expansion across the country, the city saw very few of those changes.
While this is not necessarily a positive blip on the historical radar of the city, this NY city is–today–appreciated for its historic architecture that remains in place as a direct result of Mayor Corning’s downfall.
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