Collection Facts

Extent: 
517 items
Dates of Original: 
c. 1750 - 1980
NYH Topic Area(s):

Historical Context

The European settlement of modern-day Clifton Park dates back the Dutch in the late 1600s. The present towns of Clifton Park and Halfmoon were originally one town, Halfmoon. Families crossed the Mohawk River from the Schenectady area, first seasonally, and then created permanent settlements. Various land patents in the Clifton Park area were granted by European authorities in Colonial times.

Transportation has played a significant role in Clifton Park’s history – the Erie Canal (opened in 1825) brought commerce and travelers. By 1828, the town of Halfmoon was too large and cumbersome to govern as a single town, and Clifton Park split away to form its own town. The first town meeting for Clifton Park was held in 1828 in the Grooms Tavern. The railway from Albany and Schenectady brought holiday-makers, and the creation of I-87 in the 1960s turned Clifton Park into a burgeoning bedroom community for Albany, Schenectady, and surrounding areas.

Scope of Collection

This collection includes photographs of Clifton Park and Halfmoon dating back to 1711, offering a glimpse into early life along the Erie Canal. Clifton Park was an agricultural town prior to the advent of I-87, and there are photographs of orchards and farms, as well as the families who worked them. Also included are Justice of the Peace records and postcards obtained by the unofficial Clifton Park town historian from the 1940s to 1970s, Howard Becker.