Collection Facts

Extent: 
66 items
Dates of Original: 
c. 1850 - 1919
NYH Topic Area(s):

Historical Context

Schenectady is a city near Albany, New York. The city developed at a rapid pace in the nineteenth century because of its location to the Erie Canal and Mohawk River, making it a transportation corridor. The city also grew into a manufacturing territory, with the cotton mill being a major source for product and trade.

Scope of Collection

The Erie Canal played an important role in Schenectady County’s development. The opening of the Canal in 1825 facilitated trade between cities in New York, and Schenectady became a prominent shipping port and center for boat-building. Businesses like the American Locomotive company and General Electric would use the Erie Canal to transport raw materials. The Canal would also be used for recreation. Schenectady residents would board the “Kittie West,” a well-known excursion boat to visit places like Rexford and Vischer Ferry. During winter, Schenectady residents would use the canal for winter sports. The portion of the Erie Canal that ran through the City of Schenectady was filled in and paved over in 1925 and became what is now Erie Boulevard. Today, the Erie Canal is mainly a tourist attraction and has been designated as a National Historic Landmark