Diabetes Awareness Campaign: Trekking Along the Erie Canal.
North Tonawanda
Pendleton
Lockport
Medina
Albion
Brockport
Rochester
Rochester
Fairport
Macedon
Palmyra
Newark
Lyons
Weedsport
Jordan
Camillus
Syracuse
DeWitt
Chittenango
Canastota
Canastota
Durhamville
Oneida
Rome
Utica
Ilion
Herkimer
Little Falls
Canajoharie
St. Johnsville
Auriesville
Amseterdam
Schenectady
Schenectady
Colonie
Albany
Schenectady
Stockade.
The Schenectady Stockade
Where the Mohawk River goes through a double bend, is an area known by the Mohawks as the “Great Flats.” The southern bank of the river became an excellent place for the Dutch to settle in 1661 when Arent Van Curler bought the land from the Mohawks. Van Curler was a cousin of Rensselaer, the Patroon of Fort Orange (now known as Albany).
Soon the area became know as Schenectady. The name, according to the city’s historic center is from Schau-naugh-ta-da meaning “across the pine planes.” Other sources I have read suggest that name Schenectady is a corruption of the Mohawk word for ‘door.’ The Indians considered the area to be the door of the Mohawk Valley. Of course this is an allegorical reference to the longhouses of the Algonquin Confederation. A longhouse was a place where representatives of six member nations of the confederation met to discus issues and make decisions.
In 1662 Van Curler brought a group of 15 people to help establish trade with the Indians which became the primary economic engine of the settlement. It was so successful that it became the target of Indian allies of the French who put the town to the torch in 1690. Sixty people were killed and 27 taken prisoner back to Quebec. Fortunately the Schenectady sprang back from the ashes. As pioneers moved westward along the Mohawk River the city became known as the Gateway to the West.
The Erie Canal was built to pass right through Schenectady. With the advent of the railroad, these two networks enabled materials to be transported with ease. The result was a rapid and successful development of industry.
In 1887 Thomas Alva Edison established his Edison Machine Works which soon became known as GE (General Electric). Another important company also sprang up—the American Locomotive Company. It built steam engines for rail systems such as Union Pacific, Southern Pacific, and the New York Central railroads. Alco’s most famous model design was the Big Boy series which were so powerful that they were able to surmount the Rockies. Because of these two companies, Schenectady became known as the city that lights and hauls the world!
 
Previous. Next.