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The Stockade Historic District is the oldest neighborhood in This 1657 map, of "Novi Belgii" drawn four years before Schenectady's founding evidences the lack on knowledge of the interior of the continent. Schenectady and may very well be the oldest, unspoiled residential neighborhood in the country.  It is home to what the National Parks Service called "the highest concentration of historic period homes in the country,"  with over a 40 homes in excess of 200 years in age.

In 1690 The French and their Indian allies massacred the Stockader's and burned the village to the ground.Settled in 1661 by a group of enterprising Dutch merchants and fur-traders, the settlement flourished until 1690 when a party of French-Canadian and Indian marauders burnt the stockaded village to the ground, massacred most of its inhabitants and marched 27 prisoners back to Quebec.  Native Mohawks, including "Lawrence the Indian," encouraged the hearty Dutch to resettle; by 1692, the Stockade area was once again a flourishing fur-trading outpost and a thriving industrial and commercial center marked by sturdy homes and churches of local merchants, laborers and farmers of Dutch, English, and Scots heritage.


The stockade saw one of the first calls for liberty in 1765 and was the area's center for the Committees With the end of the French and Indian war, English troops abandoned their Garrison here and Stockaders were free to express other things on their mindson Safety. During the revolution we became a crucial link in the line of supplies for the Revolutionary effort providing provisions, bateaux and arms to the continental army.  Washington visited several times during and after the Revolutionary War.

Union College can trace its beginnings to 1779, when several hundred residents of upstate New York began the first popular demand for higher education in America.  These residents pursued that dream for 16 years until, in 1795, Union became the first college chartered by the Regents of the State of New York.   Originally located in the Stockade Historic District, the college moved to its present location in 1814. Designed by the renowned classical landscape News of Gate's defeat of Burgoyne's army near Saratoga brought Gen. Washington  to town to reconnoiter... and plan a counter-strike against Montreal.  But first he needed a boat, actually 200 of them.  architect Joseph Jacques Ramee, Union College was the first planned campus in America predating the famous University of Virginia designed by Thomas Jefferson in 1817-22.  Since its inception, the college has been recognized as a national, even international, leader in non-denominational, liberal arts education.

The 18th Century brought prosperity to the area.  Many businesses, warehouses and wharves were built along the BinneKill to service the traffic which moved up and down the Mohawk River.

Durham boat (a.k.a. "Schenectady Boat") was used in New York State between 1790 and the opening of the Erie Canal (1825), and was the first type of canal boat used .

In 1819 a devastating fire destroyed  most of these establishments along with a number of houses on nearby Washington Avenue.  A total of 200 buildings were lost.    

Artist Len Tantillo's conception of Schenectady harbor ca. 1817.Artistic interpretation of what Schenectady's harbor may have looked like during the building of the Erie Canal by twentieth century artist Len Tantillo. (Used with permission of the artist.)

The description of the properties lost from contemporary newspapers inspired L. F.Tantillo's painting "Schenectady Harbor."  

As a result of the fire, the business district relocated from the Stockade area to State Street which was nearer the new Erie Canal.  This left the Stockade area  mainly residential, and probably saved it from being demolished in the name of progress. 

Old Burr Bridge 1871 The old Burr Bridge looking toward the Stockade district of Schenectady from the Scotia side.  Popular lithograph print, circa 1871.

In the 1940's and 1950's, following a period of decline, residents became increasingly aware of the uniqueness of  the Stockade.  More efforts were expended on preservation and restoration.  In 1957, residents organized The Stockade Association and in 1962 the City Council of Schenectady passed an ordinance establishing The Stockade as  historic district -- the first in the State of New York.

The Stockade has been called home by many historical figures from the Schulyer's and Yate's of the late colonial period, through early twentieth century wizards like Steinmetz and Edison and including many women who were ahead of there time such as Elizabeth Gillette.

Contemporary artist's conception of Schenectady Harbor ca. 1786 This lithograph, part of the NY State museum's exhibit on the 3 man bateaux was drawn from memory by a nineteenth century artist of the Schenectady waterfront at it's peak.

In 1973  the  State of New York created the Stockade Historic District, the state's first historic district, which was then declared a historic landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.



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