Sunday, January 25, 2009

New York: The Empire State (5)

Topic: Albany Pre 1940 (continue) #5

In the closing years of the century, migration forced the first road improvements and the development of a number of turnpikes radiating from the city. At the height of turnpike travel, 20 stagecoaches left Albany daily over the Cherry Valley route (now US 20). The first steamboat to make regular trips, the Clermont, built by Robert Fulton, steamed into the Albany harbor on August 19, 1807.

The Champlain Canal was opened in 1822, the trans-State Erie was completed in 1825. Albany built a pier 4,000 feet long, at which hundreds of canal boats could be handled at one time. Wheat from the Genesee Valley, salt and waterproof cement from Onondaga, butter, glass, and potash were unloaded on the Albany wharves. Packet lines carried pioneers to Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois. From 1820 to 1830 the population of the city doubled. IN 1831, 15,000 canal boats tied up at city wharves and 500 sailing ships in the coastal and West India trade cleared from Albany.

Within a few years after the appearance of the first canal boat came the first railroad. The diminutive De Witt Clinton made the first trip over the Mohawk & Hudson Railroad to Schenectady on September 24, 1831. The Hudson River Railroad, connecting New York City with Greenbush (now Rensselaer) across the river, was completed in 1851. The first steam-driven printing press in the country was operated here in 1828; the second telegraph instrument in the United States was installed here in 1845; the American Express Company was formed here in 1841. Cattleyards, developed at West Albany, at their peak handled 2,000,000 animals a year from midwestern ranges. (10)

Sources Utilized to Document Information


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