Troy, New York

Troy, New York
—  City  —
City of Troy
The Troy waterfront and Hudson River, 2009

Nickname(s): Collar City
Motto: Ilium fuit, Troja est
Map of Troy and its major thoroughfares
Location of Troy within Rensselaer County and New York
Troy is located in New York
Location within New York
Coordinates: 42°43′54″N 73°41′33″W / 42.73167°N 73.6925°W / 42.73167; -73.6925Coordinates: 42°43′54″N 73°41′33″W / 42.73167°N 73.6925°W / 42.73167; -73.6925
Country United States
State New York
County Rensselaer
Settled 1787
Village 1793
City 1816
Founder Van Der Heyeden and Lansing families
Named for Classical Troy
 – Type Mayor-council
 – Mayor Harry Tutunjian (R)
 – City Council
 – Total 11 sq mi (28.5 km2)
 – Land 10.4 sq mi (26.9 km2)
 – Water 0.6 sq mi (1.6 km2)  5.45%
Highest elevation 500 ft (152 m)
Lowest elevation 0 ft (0 m)
Population (2010)[1]
 – Total 50,129
 – Estimate (2010) 50,129
 – Density 4,470/sq mi (1,725.9/km2)
Demonym Trojan
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 – Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 12179–12182
Area code(s) 518
FIPS code 36-75484
GNIS feature ID 0967902

Troy is a city in the US State of New York and the seat of Rensselaer County. Troy is located on the western edge of Rensselaer County and on the eastern bank of the Hudson River. Troy has close ties to the nearby cities of Albany and Schenectady, forming a region popularly called the Capital District. The city is one of the three major centers for the Albany-Schenectady-Troy Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which has a population of 850,957. At the 2010 census, the population of Troy was 50,129. Troy's motto is Ilium fuit, Troja est, which means "Ilium was, Troy is".[2]

Before European arrival, the area was settled by the Mahican Indian tribe. There were at least two settlements within today's city limits, Panhooseck and Paanpack. The Dutch began settling in the mid 17th century; the patroon Kiliaen van Rensselaer called the area Pafraets Dael, after his mother. Control of New York passed to the English in 1664 and in 1707 Derick Van der Heyden purchased a farm near today's downtown area. In 1771 Abraham Lansing had his farm in today's Lansingburgh laid out into lots. Responding to Lansing's success to the north, in 1787, Van der Heyden's grandson Jacob had his extensive holdings surveyed and laid out into lots as well, calling the new village Vanderheyden.

In 1789, Troy got its current name after a vote of the people. In 1791, Troy was incorporated as a town and extended east across the county to the Vermont line and included Petersburgh. In 1796 Troy became a village and in 1816 it became a city. Lansingburgh, to the north, was still a separate village, the first to have ever been incorporated in the State. Lansingburgh became part of Troy in 1900, though it maintained a very separate identity and still does to this day.

Troy is known as the Collar City due to its history in shirt, collar, and other textile production. At one point Troy was also the second largest producer of iron in the country, surpassed only by the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Rensselaer School, which later became Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, was founded in 1824 with funding from Stephen Van Rensselaer, a descendant of the founding patroon, Kiliaen. In 1821, Emma Willard founded the Troy Female Seminary on 2nd Street, which moved to its current location on Pawling Avenue in 1910. It was renamed Emma Willard School in 1895. The former Female Seminary was later reopened (1916) as Russell Sage College, thanks to funding from Olivia Slocum Sage, the widow of financier and Congressman Russell Sage. All of these institutions still exist today.

The city operates under a mayor-council government; Harry Tutunjian is the current mayor and Clement Campana is the council president.



Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the Mohican Indians had a number of settlements along the Hudson River near the confluence with the Mohawk River. The land comprising the Poesten Kill and Wynants Kill areas were owned by two Mohican groups. The land around the Poesten Kill was owned by Skiwias and was called Panhooseck. The area around the Wynants Kill, was known as Paanpack, was owned by Peyhaunet. The land between the creeks, which makes up most of downtown and South Troy, was owned by Annape. South of the Wynants Kill and into present-day North Greenbush, the land was owned by Pachquolapiet. These parcels of land were sold to the Dutch between 1630 and 1657 and each purchase was overseen and signed by Skiwias, the sachem at the time.[3] In total, more than 75 individual Mohicans were involved in deed signings in the 17th century.[4]

The site of the city was a part of Rensselaerswyck, a patroonship created by Kiliaen van Rensselaer. Dirck Van der Heyden was one of the first settlers. In 1707, he purchased a farm of 65 acres (26 ha) which in 1787 was laid out as a village.

A early local legend that a Dutch girl had been kidnapped by an Indian male who did not want her to marry someone else gained some credence when two skeletons were found in a cave under Poestenkill Falls in the 1950s. One skeleton was female and Caucasian with an iron ring. The other was Native-American and male.

The name Troy (after the legendary city of Troy, made famous in Homer's Iliad) was adopted in 1789, and the region was formed into the Town of Troy in 1791 from part of the Manor of Rensselaerswyck. The township included the current city and the towns of Brunswick and Grafton. Troy became a village in 1801 and was chartered as a city in 1816. In 1900, the city of Lansingburgh was merged into Troy.

In the post-Revolutionary War years, as central New York was first settled, there was a strong trend to classical names, and Troy's naming fits the same pattern as the New York cities of Syracuse, Rome, Utica, Ithaca, or the towns of Sempronius, Manlius, or dozens of other classically named towns to the west of Troy.

Northern and Western New York was a theater of the War of 1812, and militia and regular army forces were led by Stephen Van Rensselaer of Troy. Quartermaster supplies were shipped through Troy. A local butcher and meat-packer named Samuel Wilson supplied the military, and, according to an unprovable legend, barrels stamped "U.S." were jokingly taken by the troops to stand for "Uncle Sam" meaning Wilson. Troy has since claimed to be the historical home of Uncle Sam.

Through much of the 19th and into the early 20th century, Troy was not only one of the most prosperous cities in New York State, but one of the most prosperous cities in the entire country. Prior to its rise as an industrial center, Troy was the transshipment point for meat and vegetables from Vermont which were sent by the Hudson River to New York City. The Federal Dam at Troy is the head of the tides in the Hudson River and Hudson River sloops and steamboats plied the river on a regular basis. This trade was vastly increased after the construction of the Erie Canal, with its eastern terminus directly across the Hudson from Troy at Cohoes in 1825.

Troy's one-time great wealth was produced in the steel industry, with the first American Bessemer converter erected on the Wyantskill, a stream with a falls in a small valley at the south end of the city.[5] The industry first used charcoal and iron ore from the Adirondacks. Later on, ore and coal from the Midwest was shipped on the Erie Canal to Troy, and there processed before being sent on down the Hudson to New York City. The iron and steel was also used by the extensive federal arsenal across the Hudson at Watervliet, New York, then called West Troy. After the American Civil War, the steel production industry moved west to be closer to raw materials. The presence of iron and steel also made it possible for Troy to be an early site in the development of iron storefronts and steel structural supports in architecture, and there are some significant early examples still in the city.

The initial emphasis on heavier industry later spawned a wide variety of highly engineered mechanical and scientific equipment. Troy was the home of W. & L. E. Gurley, Co., makers of precision instruments. Gurley's theodolites were used to survey much of the American West after the Civil War and were highly regarded until laser and digital technology eclipsed the telescope and compass technology in the 1970s. Bells manufactured by Troy's Meneely Bell Company ring all over the world. And Troy was also home to a manufacturer of racing shells that used impregnated paper in a process that presaged the later use of fiberglass, Kevlar and carbon fiber composites.

This scientific and technical proficiency was supported by the presence of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, or RPI, one of the highest-ranked engineering schools in the country.[6] RPI was originally sponsored by Stephen Van Rensselaer, one of the most prominent members of that family. RPI was founded in 1824, and eventually absorbed the campus of the short-lived, liberal arts based Troy University, which closed in 1862 during the Civil War. Rensselaer founded RPI for the "application of science to the common purposes of life", and it is the oldest technological university in the English-speaking world.[7] The institute is known for its success in the transfer of technology from the laboratory to the marketplace.[8]

On December 23, 1823, The Troy Sentinel was the first publisher of the world-famous Christmas poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" (also known as "The Night Before Christmas" or "Twas the Night Before Christmas"). The poem was published anonymously. Its author has long been believed to have been Clement Clarke Moore, but its author is now regarded by a few to have been Henry Livingston, Jr.

Troy was an early home of professional baseball, and was the host of two major league teams. The first team to call Troy home was the Troy Haymakers, a National Association team in 1871 and 1872. One of their major players was Williams H. "Bill" Craver, a noted catcher and Civil War veteran, who also managed the team. Their last manager was Jimmy Wood, reckoned the first Canadian in professional baseball. The Troy Haymakers folded, and Troy had no team for seven seasons. Then, for four seasons, 1879 to 1882, Troy was home to the National League Troy Trojans. The Trojans were not competitive in the league, but they did have the biggest hitter in professional baseball, Dan Brouthers.[1] For the 1883 season, the Trojans were moved to New York City where they became the New York Gothams, better know later as the Giants.[citation needed] The Gothams had the same ownership as the New York Metropolitans of the rival American Association. As a result classic Met players became Giants, including Hall of Fame Pitcher Tim Keefe. Troy was also the birthplace of the famous player Michael Joseph "King" Kelly.

Troy has been nearly destroyed by fire three times. The Great Troy fire of 1862 burnt the W. & L. E. Gurley, Co. factory, which was later that year replaced by the new W. & L. E. Gurley Building, now a National Historic Landmark: Gurley & Sons remains a world-wide leader in precision instrumentation.

In 1892, there were election riots there during which Robert Ross was murdered. One of his alleged slayers, "Bat" Shea, was executed in 1896.

In 1900 Troy annexed Lansingburgh, a former town and village whose standing dates back prior to the War of Independence, in Rensselaer County. Lansingburgh is thus often referred to as "North Troy". However, prior to the annexation, that portion of Troy north of Division Street was called North Troy and the neighborhood south of Washington Park is referred to as South Troy. To avoid confusion with streets in Troy following the annexation, Lansingburgh's numbered streets were renamed: its 1st Street, 2nd Street, 3rd Street, etc., became North Troy's 101st Street, 102nd Street, 103rd Street, etc. Lansingburgh was home to the Lansingburgh Academy.

Illustration for Arrow Collar, 1907. J.C. Leyendecker.

In addition to the strong presence of the early American steel industry, Troy was also a manufacturing center for shirts, shirtwaists, collars and cuffs. In 1825, a local resident Hannah Lord Montague, was tired of cleaning her blacksmith husband's shirts. She cut off the collars of her husband's shirts, since only the collar was soiled, bound the edges and attached strings to hold them in place. (This also allowed the collars and cuffs to be starched separately.) Hannah Montague's idea caught on, and changed the fashion for American men's dress for a century. Her patented collars and cuffs were first manufactured by Maullin & Blanchard, which eventually was absorbed by Cluett, Peabody & Company. Cluett's "Arrow shirts" are still worn by men across the country.[2] The large labor force required by the shirt manufacturing industry also, in 1864, produced the nation's first female Labor Union, the Collar Laundry Union, founded in Troy by Kate Mullany. On February 23, 1864, 300 members of the union went on strike. After six days, the laundry owners gave in to their demands and raised wages 25 percent. There were further developments in the industry, when, in 1933, Sanford Cluett invented a process he called Sanforization, a process which shrinks cotton fabrics thoroughly and permanently. Cluett, Peabody's last main plant in Troy was closed in the 1980s, but the industrial output of the plant had long been transferred to facilities in the South.

When the iron & steel industry moved to Pennsylvania and beyond, and with a similar downturn in the collar industry, Troy's prosperity began to fade. After the passage of Prohibition, and given the strict control of Albany by the Daniel P. O'Connell political machine, Troy became a way station for an illegal alcohol trade from Canada to New York City. Likewise, the stricter control of morality laws in the neighboring New England states, left Troy with openly operating speakeasies and brothels. Gangsters such as Legs Diamond conducted business in Troy. This gave Troy a somewhat colorful reputation through World War II. A few of the finer houses have since been converted to fine restaurants, such as the former Old Daly Inn. Like many old industrial cities, Troy has had to deal with not only the loss of its manufacturing base, but a drainage of population and wealth to suburbs and other parts of the country. Troy's population in 1910 was over 75,000, more than 50% higher than it is today. These factors have led to a sizable degree of dilapidation and disinvestment, although numerous efforts have been made to preserve Troy's architectural and cultural past.

Kurt Vonnegut lived in Troy and the area, and many of his novels include mentions of Ilium, (Troy), or surrounding local references. Vonnegut wrote Player Piano in 1952, which is set in Ilium, New York, and is based on his experiences working as a public relations writer at General Electric. His 1963 novel, Cat's Cradle, was written in the city, and mentions being in Ilium. His recurring main character, Kilgore Trout, is a resident of Cohoes, on the opposite side of the Hudson from Troy.

Troy, as viewed from across the Hudson River looking east, circa 1909


Map of the neighborhoods of Troy

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.0 square miles (28 km2), of which 10.4 square miles (27 km2) is land and 0.6 square miles (1.6 km2) (5.44%) is water.

Troy is located several miles north of Albany near the junction of the Erie and Champlain canals, via the Hudson River and is the terminus of the New York Barge Canal. It is the distributing center for a large area.[9]

The city is on the central part of the western border of Rensselaer County. The Hudson River makes up the western border of the city and the county's border with Albany County. The city borders within Rensselaer County, Schaghticoke to the north, Brunswick to the east, and North Greenbush to the south; to the west the city borders the Albany County town of Colonie, the villages of Menands and Green Island, and the cities of Watervliet and Cohoes. To the northwest Troy borders the Saratoga County village of Waterford within the town of Waterford

The western edge of the city is flat along the river, and then steeply slopes to higher terrain to the east. The average elevation is 50 feet, with the highest elevation being 500 feet in the eastern part of the city. The city is longer than it is wide, with the southern half wider than the northern section of the city often referred to as Lansingburgh, or North Troy. Several kills (Dutch for creek) pass through Troy and empty into the Hudson. The Poesten Kill and Wynants Kill are the two largest and both have several small lakes and waterfalls along their routes in the city. There are several lakes and reservoirs within the city including Ida Lake, Burdens Pond, Lansingburgh Reservoir, Bradley Lake, Smarts Pond and Wright Lake.


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1800 4,926
1810 3,895 −20.9%
1820 5,264 35.1%
1830 11,556 119.5%
1840 19,334 67.3%
1850 28,785 48.9%
1860 39,235 36.3%
1870 46,465 18.4%
1880 56,747 22.1%
1890 60,956 7.4%
1900 69,651 14.3%
1910 76,813 10.3%
1920 71,996 −6.3%
1930 72,763 1.1%
1940 70,304 −3.4%
1950 72,311 2.9%
1960 67,129 −7.2%
1970 62,918 −6.3%
1980 56,638 −10.0%
1990 54,269 −4.2%
2000 49,170 −9.4%
2010 50,129 2.0%

At the 2000 census,[1] there were 49,170 people, 19,996 households and 10,737 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,721.8 per square mile (1,823.7/km²). There were 23,093 housing units at an average density of 2,217.6 per square mile (856.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 80.22% White, 11.41% African American, 0.28% Native American, 3.49% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 2.20% from other races, and 2.35% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.33% of the population. According the Census Bureau, the largest self-reported ethnic groups in Troy are: Irish (23%), Italian (13%), German (11%), French (8%), English (7%), and Polish (5%).

There were 19,996 households of which 27.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.6% were married couples living together, 16.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.3% were non-families. 36.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.97.

Age distribution was 22.1% under the age of 18, 17.6% from 18 to 24, 28.5% from 25 to 44, 18.1% from 45 to 64, and 13.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 98.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.0 males.

The median household income was $29,844, and the median family income was $38,631. Males had a median income of $30,495 versus $25,724 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,796. About 14.3% of families and 19.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.0% of those under age 18 and 9.5% of those age 65 or over.


Troy, like many older industrial cities, has been battered by industrial decline and the migration of jobs to the suburbs. Nevertheless, the presence of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has helped Troy develop a small high-technology sector, particularly in video game development. The downtown core also has a smattering of advertising and architecture firms, and other creative businesses attracted by the area's distinctive architecture. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the city's largest private employer.


Troy is home to tremendous examples of pre-Civil War, Victorian and Belle Epoch architecture, and encompasses the plethora of legacy styles and innovative designs incorporated into and emblematic of each era’s building disciplines and aesthetics.

The city’s architectural achievements rate inspirational and serve its citizens, visitors and onlookers as well as posterity, with as a veritable treasure chest set in masonry exteriors, as evidenced by the sheer variety of its building’s design vernacular, which includes specimens redolent of numerous ancient civilizations’ and later European edifice models. An apprehension of Troy’s breathtaking architectural heritage is foundational to ascertaining its cultural achievements and to a larger extent its unique place in the history of the United States of America.

Notably, the city's First and Second Industrial Revolutions’ decades-long innovations and successes enabled commercial and residential builders the financial means and engineering knowledgebase to express themselves in highly-individualized, and most often, grand masonry buildings. That opportunity to build such wondrous structures is owed, in part, too, to the fact that two major fires had devastated much of Troy’s earlier wooden structures, availing large tracts for re-development.

Whether for industrial, mercantile, civic, educational, academic and/or for other purposes, building fine structures served as a much relished means to assert one's status, enlightenment or aesthetic whimsy. Over-blown displays of wealth-for-wealth-sake, as seen in other prosperous cities, such as Newport, Rhode Island, were eschewed and deemed as in poor taste in Troy, and as such were little suffered … excessive, gaudy or poor manners, clothes and/or jewelry, likewise, carried over as socially established norms to architecture; tacking and grandiose building was frowned upon and did not take hold as it had in other cities. Troy has no over-sized mansions ie, over 11,000 square feet in town, and few historical homes much over that size in its outlaying areas, nor does it house other architectural "folly" indulgences, which would have been deemed outrageously gosh or crass by Troy’s selective but practical leading citizenry and common-man alike. Trojans aspired to a refined and civil community standard, predicated upon great ancient civilizations and European municipal models.

Significantly, on a large and decidedly egalitarian demographic-scale, building in Troy occurred with that marked community consciousness. It guided determination of a building’s size, style and intended primary usage … helping to ensure well-balanced cultural activity and continuity among building initiatives. That is why buildings in Troy are often grand, yes — since many of the builders of industrial, civic and the large townhouses eg, around Washington Square Park, a private park, included very rich by any standard citizens eg, Russell Sage (for a time touted as the richest man in the United States) and the members of the Griswold and Warren families (of the world-wide sold cast iron Warren Stoves fame) — but, ostentatious, decidedly no. Elegant was the operative buzzword: Architectural elements were matched to a builder's design preferences and “purse”, used to convey one's, as far as one's means would afford it and education could engendered ideas, tastes. The results were often splendid, as seen today in the many extant sections of the city: high-quality masonry: townhouses, apartment buildings, multiple-dwelling and private dwelling buildings large or small, reflect that sentiment, as the builders’ culturally driven reality.

Whether ornate and/or austere, Troy’s buildings stand testament to a rich cultural heritage: one that elegantly embraces the disciplines defined by antecedents’ achievements; while, attained was its own imperative: buildings for an exemplar and prosperous city, wrought of a peer-pressure, induced social normative, via a well fostered sense of community, devotion and adherence to good taste, resulting in its builders’ derivative design dialog.

Akin to Ilium, the gold-rich city-state, its namesake, Troy evolved to a somewhat similar rich status — or as others contend, Troy, New York owes certain of its municipal design scheme eg, its world-renown Troy Music Hall aka Troy Savings Bank to its civil-leaders’ admiration of the similarly, exceedingly erudite and highly prosperous Venetian Republic model(s) ie, those cities of the terra-ferma aka Veneto eg, Vicenza.

Troy’s most distinguished buildings’ designs share in the design legacy of their antecedents, to whom they often bear sticking, if little known today, similarities to eg, Vicenza's Opera House aka Basilica Palladiana and for that matter it closely resembles Brescia's somewhat more ornate Opera House <> as well as for Troy’s other civic buildings’ decidedly Italianate ie, Italian Renaissance design heritage: Troy Public Library and Troy Court House.

That reflects a stalwart social consciousness held among Troy's citizens, wrought of the decades’ long industrial, scientific and mercantile innovation and prosperity, which led, too, in a like vein to those historical achievements facilitated by and realized by the Maritime Republics aka Maritime republics along more ancient water trade routes. However, in Troy, New York's incarnation, the mighty Hudson and Mohawk rivers play their part, as does the Erie Canal and its lesser tributary canal systems, and later the railroads that linked Troy to the rest of the Empire State, New York City to the south, and Utica, New York, Syracuse, New York, Rochester, New York, Buffalo, New York and the myriad of emergent Great Lakes' cities of other states in the burgeoning United States … substituted analogously for the Adriatic Sea and its Bosporus waterways, for the ancient Spice Trade aka Spice trade and Silk Trade routes: as detailed for the Economic History of Venice aka Economic history of Venice.

It can be little wonder that Troy’s neo-classical and scores of other outstanding building styles represent a community’s culture that valued learned minds among its citizenry. Obvious is that Trojan’s held erudition and historical awareness, as to what comprises a great civilization, in the highest regard. Early on, indeed, Trojans had placed great emphasis on education. That predilection is witnessed in the numerous centers for higher learning and advanced degrees — for both men and women, and the civic leaders who were the drivers for those changes and institutions as well as the local citizenry that supported them — known today as these (all in one small city … along a the mighty Hudson River; several of the institutional names and their proprietary status, listed below, have changed over the years):

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute • The Emma Willard School for Girls aka Emma Willard SchoolRussell Sage CollegeTroy Public Library (to this day a private institution in service to the City of Troy) • The original The Albany Academy, was founded, too, in what is now known as North Troy, formerly the village of Lansingburg • The Hudson River Valley Community College

Trojans’ dedication to education, as a cultural pillar, mark Troy’s population as well-read, many were versed in the classics. Education, hard work, prosperity and thrift manifest in a competitive desire to build a city worthy of its ancient namesake. That consciousness, resulted in an exuberant building spirit that propelled forward, seen incorporated into the citizens’ penchant for ancient civilizations’ and European designs.the city’s civil, commercial and private structures. Trojans expressed their passion for building, using the following materials, for an array building features:

• Iron: cast and structural iron works (facades, gates, railings, banisters, stairwells, rooftop crenellation, window grilles et cetera); • Stone: carved hard and soft stone foundations, facades and decorative elements • Glass: as well as in the vast array of ornate stained and etched glass works; • Wood: fine wood work in found in many of Troy’s buildings. While few of its early structures have survived Troy's devastating fires, nonetheless, Trojans relished elaborate mechanically and/or hand-craved interior woodwork, extant today

As may well be expected, Troy is decorated by many beautiful and intact John La Farge and Tiffany stained-glass, etched and frosted glass installations.

It should be noted that the same exuberance of spirit that egged on Troy’s many builders, resulted in fierce competition, too, for acclaim, of a more mercantile/commercial sort, however (un)subtly, for having achieved the “best of the best” status, by certain of its architects and designers. This was much in evidence by the competition between La Farge and Tiffany (no matter how unspeakable it may have been in polite company to the proper Victorian mindset). Their competition was fierce for contract engagements at Troy Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag; see the help page. Troy also has several privately donated parks.

As with many American cities, several city blocks in downtown Troy were razed during the 1970s as a part of an attempted urban renewal plan which was never successfully executed, leaving still vacant areas in the vicinity of Federal Street. Today, however, there have since been much more successful efforts to save the remaining historic downtown structures.

Northern River Street

Part of this effort has been the arrival of the "Antique District" on River Street downtown. Cafes and art galleries are calling the area home. As home to many art, literature, and music lovers, the city hosts many free shows during the summer, on River Street, in parks, and in cafes and coffee shops. The Troy Farmer's Market is a popular event since 2000 that occurs every Saturday on River Street during the summer, or in the Atrium of downtown Troy during the winter.

Troy has been known to recognize the contributions of its residents to local music and arts community. Mayor Harry Tutunjian declared February 25, 2006 “Super 400 Day in Troy” in honor of the musical group's ten year anniversary.

Many notable artists were born or grew up in Troy, including actress Maureen Stapleton and authors Alice Fulton, Don Rittner and Richard Selzer. Past notable residents include Herman Melville, Emma Willard, Russell Sage, and Jane Fonda. Several books by noted author Kurt Vonnegut are set in the fictional city of "Illium", which is modeled after Troy.

Troy has produced at least three Medal of Honor recipients, including Lt. Colonel William J. O'Brien and Sergeant Thomas A. Baker, both from U.S. Army, 105th Infantry, 27th Infantry Division in World War II, and Specialist Four Peter C. Guenette from U.S. Army, Company D, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 506th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile), in Vietnam.

Annual events

  • The Troy Flag Day Parade, one of the nation's largest. The parade is held in early June. With resident school, Troy High, having the biggest participating marching band as of 2007.
  • River Street Festival, an annual, family-oriented arts/crafts and music festival held in June.
  • The Uncle Sam Parade, held on or in proximity to Samuel Wilson's birthday (mid-September).
  • Bakerloo Theatre Project, a classical theatre company provides between fifteen and twenty emerging theatre artists with a summer residency to develop their craft while performing a repertory season of plays by Shakespeare and other great playwrights. Performances occurs during the months of July and August.
  • The Victorian Stroll, an annual holiday event held in December.
  • The Troy Turkey Trot, an annual Thanksgiving Day Run; the oldest race in the Capital District. From its humble beginning in 1916 (with only 6 runners entered) the Troy Turkey Trot has grown into one of the largest road races in upstate New York.
  • Troy Night Out, a monthly (last Friday) event in downtown Troy where shops stay open late, restaurants bring in live entertainment, galleries have openings, and the streets fill up with people and events.


There were several important educational advances that took place in Troy, especially in scientific education and the education of women.

Under the patronage of Stephen van Rensselaer, Troy was the home of the first strictly scientific academic institution in the United States, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1824, and which trained that corps of students which later founded the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sheffield Scientific School at Yale, and virtually every subsequent American scientific academic institution.

Emma Willard was a national leader in the education of women, and the author of standard instructional textbooks used for decades nationwide. She was involved in the establishment of several women's colleges, but most especially in Troy the Russell Sage College, and the Emma Willard School.

Colleges and Universities

Secondary Schools

  • La Salle Institute (Middle and High School) (Troy, New York) (Private - Christian Brothers/Military School - US Army JROTC)
  • Catholic Central High School (Private; Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany)
  • Emma Willard School (Private)
  • Knickerbacker Middle School (Lansingburgh Central School District)
  • Lansingburgh High School (Lansingburgh Central School District)
  • Troy High School (Enlarged City School District of Troy)
  • W. Kenneth Doyle Middle School (Enlarged City School District of Troy)
  • Redemption Christian Academy

Elementary Schools

  • School #1
  • School #2
  • School #14
  • School #16
  • School #18
  • Carroll Hill
  • St. Augustine Parochial School (Roman Catholic)
  • Sacred Heart Parochial School (Roman Catholic)
  • True North Troy Preparatory Charter School
  • Ark Community Charter School
  • Susan Odell Taylor School
  • Rensselaer Park Elementary School (Lansingburgh School District)
  • Turnpike Elementary School (Lansingburgh School District)


  • The Tri-City Valley Cats, a minor-league Class A affiliate of the Houston Astros. The team is a part of the New York-Penn League. They play at the Joseph L. Bruno Stadium in neighboring North Greenbush. The Valley Cats won the 2010 New York Penn League Championship.
  • Hellions of Troy Roller Derby, a USARS-affiliated women's flat track roller derby was established in 2008. They currently play at Frear Park.


The City Council meeting in the former City Hall on River Street

Executive Branch

The Executive Branch consists of a Mayor who serves as the chief executive officer of the city. The Mayor is responsible for the proper administration of all city affairs placed in his/her charge as empowered by the City Charter. The Mayor enforces the laws of New York State as well as all local laws and ordinances passed by the City Council. S/he exercises control over all executive departments of the city government, including the Departments of Finance, Law, Public Safety, Public Works, Public Utilities, and Parks and Recreation.

The Mayor's term of office is four years, and an incumbent is prohibited from serving for more than two consecutive terms (eight years).

The current Mayor of Troy is Harry Tutunjian (R), who is serving his second term, having been re-elected on November 6, 2007.

Electoral history

Results from the last five Mayoral elections (an asterisk indicates the incumbent):

  • November 8, 2011 - Lou Rosamilia (D,WF) defeated Carmella Mantello (R,I,C)
  • November 6, 2007 - Harry Tutunjian *(R,I,C) defeated James Conroy (D), Elda Abate (TPP)
  • November 4, 2003 - Harry Tutunjian (R,I,C) defeated Frank LaPosta (D)
  • November 2, 1999 - Mark Pattison *(D,L,W) defeated Carmella Mantello (R,I,C)
  • November 7, 1995 - Mark Pattison (D,C) defeated Kathleen Jimino (R,RtL,Fre), Michael Petruska (I,W), Michael Rourke (L)
  • prior to the November 1995 election, a city-manager form of government was utilized

Legislative Branch

Troy's Legislative Branch consists of a City Council which is composed of nine elected members: three At-Large Representatives who represent the entire city, and six District Representatives who represent each of the six districts of Troy. Currently, there are 7 Democrats and 2 Republicans.

Each Council member serves a two-year term, and an incumbent is prohibited from serving for more than four consecutive terms (eight years). The City Council At-Large Representative who receives the greatest number of votes in the election is designated the City Council President.

The Council meets on the first Thursday of every month at 7:00pm in City Hall, in the Council Chambers on the second floor. All meetings are open to the public, and include a public forum period held before official business where citizens can address the Council on all matters directly pertaining to city government.

The current Troy City Council took office on January 1, 2010, and will serve until December 31, 2011. The members are:

  • Clem Campana (D - At-Large; President)
  • John Brown (D - At-Large)
  • Michael LoPorto (D - At-Large)
  • Kevin McGrath (D - District 1)
  • Mark McGrath (R - District 2)
  • Dean Bodnar (R - District 3)
  • Bill Dunne (D - District 4
President Pro Tempore)

Political Boundaries

The City of Troy is divided into forty-four (44) Election Districts, also known as EDs. An ED is the finest granularity political district that can be used, from which all other political districts are formed.

Other political districts that make use of these EDs include City Council Districts, County Legislative Districts, State Assembly Districts, State Senate Districts, and U.S. Congressional Districts.

City Council Districts

The 44 EDs are grouped into six Council Districts, as follows:

  • Council District 1: ED1-ED8
  • Council District 2: ED9-ED16
  • Council District 3: ED17-ED23
  • Council District 4: ED24-ED29
  • Council District 5: ED30-ED37
  • Council District 6: ED38-ED44

New York State Assembly Districts

Two New York State Assembly Districts, the 106th and the 108th, each share a portion of their total areas with groups of EDs in Troy as follows:

Other Districts

All other political districts that exist in Troy consist of the entire city—all 44 EDs:

Civil Service

  • Troy Uniformed Firefighters-Local 86 [3]

Today the Troy Fire Department numbers 119 uniformed personnel and operates 5 engine companies, a rescue engine company, 2 truck companies, three ambulances, a hazardous material response unit, 1 fire boat (Marine 1)located under the Green Island Bridge and 2 rescue boats, located in Lansingburgh (Boat 1)and a tow boat (Boat 2) for ponds. Approximately 10,000 calls are answered each year, about 500 for fire, about 250 of which occur in structures. The Troy Fire Department is also the hazardous material response unit for the County of Rensselaer. Which operates with a 2006 American LaFrance Rescue unit.

Anyone with a fire, rescue or medical emergency should dial 911. Routine requests for non-emergency services should be made by dialing (518) 270-5252.

The Fire Chief's Office and administrative personnel are located at 2175 6th Ave (Central Station) and can be reached at (518) 270-4471. The office is staffed from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM Monday through Friday. The Fire Inspector is also available through the Chief's Office during business hours.


  • Station #1 Lansingburgh Station - The Harry R. Dahl Firehouse

115th & 5th Ave Engine 1 - Truck 1 - Medic 1 - Reserve Medic 6

  • Station #2 Bouton Road Station - Raymond Henry Firehouse

Bouton Road & 15th Street Engine 2 - Medic 2 - Reserve Engine 7

  • Station #3 Campbell Avenue Station

and Fire Dept. Repair Shop 530 Campbell Avenue Engine 3 - Reserve Truck 3

  • Station #4 North Street Station - Charles Eddy Firehouse

North St. & River St. Engine 4

  • Station #5 Central Station

2175 6th Ave. Rescue Squad - Truck 2 - Medic 4 - Hazmat 50 - Car 4 - Boat 2 Administration - Reserve Engine 8 - Reserve Medic 5

  • Station #6 Canal Ave Station - JC Osgood Firehouse

Canal Ave. & 3rd St. Engine 6 - Reserve Medic 3 - 2 1947 Mack Pumpers

On January 5, 1789 a group of freeholders met at Ashley’s Tavern and changed the name of ‘Ashley’s Ferry’, their recently settled community on the banks of the Hudson River, to Troy. By 1791 Troy became a town, and in the same year the larger Village of Lansingburgh to Troy’s north purchased a ‘Philadelphia’ style hand engine.

All was generally well in the small town called Troy until the afternoon of October 6, 1793 when fire destroyed 14 houses and stores. This loss stirred the citizens of Troy into action, Subael Gorham was appointed Superintendent of the settlement's fire hooks, axes and ladders, and an act of the New York State Legislature compelled the citizens to purchase buckets and firefighting tools.

A second fire at the NW corner of State and River Streets in Asa Anthony’s Store, during the early hours of December 12, 1797, spread and destroyed the hardware store of Benjamin Heart. Early the next year Troy incorporated into a Village and purchased a Newsham style hand engine from a New York dealer. It arrived on a Hudson River sloop and was housed in a small wooden building to the south of the courthouse. In 1799 a narrow shed to house the village hooks and ladders was erected in the center of State Street.

A second engine company, Neptune Engine No. 2 was organized in 1803 and housed on the NW corner of State and Third Streets. A large fire which started at midnight March 18, 1810 destroyed an entire block of business buildings on the east side of River St. from Congress St. to State St. Mutual aid was utilized for the first time with help from the villages of Lansingburgh and Waterford. In 1812 a third engine company, the Washington Volunteers, purchased an engine capable of taking ‘suction’ from a cistern or other standing water source through a hose, a great improvement on the earlier engines which had to be supplied by a bucket brigade in order to pump water through their deck mounted nozzle. Rapid growth of the Village resulted in Troy’s incorporation as a city on April 12, 1816, population at this time was 4,254.

By 1820 Troy had grown to 5,623 and was the 35th largest city in the U.S. The same year, on June 20, a devastating fire destroyed 69 stores and dwellings and 21 outbuildings along River and First Streets. This small conflagration caused a new flurry of fire control effort resulting in the purchase of two new engines and the formation of Hook and Ladder Company No. 1. During the 1820s the new city suffered few fires but the 11 or 12 fires occurring during the decade did cause great loss.

By 1830 Troy had grown to 11,556 residents, and was the 19th largest city in the U.S. Fast becoming an industrial city due to it’s iron production, Troy lost its first rolling mill, that of the Troy Iron and Nail Co., located on the Wynantskill to fire on January 10, 1831 when a fire being used to thaw out the company’s water wheel spread. The night of January 25, 1834 saw the first use of a fire hydrant on the City’s new system when the Franklin House Hotel at Fulton and Third Streets suffered heavy damage in a 2 AM fire. The City lost it’s first firefighter in the line of duty on January 10, 1835 when simultaneous fires destroyed the Read, Armstrong and Co. Brewery at Ferry and Fifth Sts. and Brittnell’s Soap and Candle Factory, 411- 421 River St. Clark W. Segmann and possibly some other firefighters died from cold exposure on this –18 degree night. The decade saw the formation of a number of engine companies, hose companies and two additional hook and ladder companies.

Having long rung the church bells for alarms of fire, on December 7, 1843, an ordinance was enacted dividing the City into three fire districts with the number of the district with the fire to be rung. No. 1 was south of Congress St., No. 2 between Congress and Elbow (now Fulton) St. and No. 3 north of Elbow St. This was supposed to indicate an approximate location of the alarm for the firefighters, but in practice the policeman or sexton at the bell rope was not often able to ring a distinct 1, 2, or 3 possibly due to overexcitement.

On August 25, 1854 at 1 PM Troy suffered its greatest fire to date when over 100 buildings in 8 city blocks south of Division St. along the riverfront burned. The destruction of a number of industries and lumberyards raised the loss from this fire to a total of $ 1,000,000, a great deal of money at that time. With the city averaging between 50 and 75 fires per year, and suffering a great deal of drunkenness and fighting among the volunteer companies, several influential citizens began to promote the adoption of steam power to pump water and paid firefighters to operate the equipment. Arba Read Steam Fire Engine Co. No. 1 In 1860 the Arba Read Steam Fire Engine Co. No. 1 was formed. A steam pumper was purchased from the Amoskeag Co. of Manchester, N.H. A fully paid engineer was hired to operate this highly technical piece of equipment, but volunteers were still heavily relied upon.

The engine proved practical and soon two more Amoskeags were purchased, one later that year and a third in 1862. On May 10, 1862 Troy suffered its greatest loss by fire. A spark from a locomotive ignited a covered wood railroad bridge to Center Island, and a strong west wind drove the fire into Troy and by evening 508 buildings had been destroyed and at least 8 persons lost their lives. The financial loss was $3.9 million dollars.

Troy installed a new Gamewell Fire Alarm system in late 1868 and placed the system in service on March 25, 1869. Alarms were rung on fire station gongs and the bells of several city churches.

Troy’s last hand engine was replaced with a steamer in April 1882 when Hope Steam Fire Engine Co. No. 7 was formed. River St. grocery Warehouse Fire The Village of Lansingburgh was annexed by Troy on January 1, 1901. By 1906 the city had 1119 volunteers and 61 career firefighters. On May 7, 1908 Truck 2 was formed as the city’s first fully paid company. Engine 14 became the first fully paid engine company on February 2, 1912.

The following year a Knox Chemical-Hose Wagon stationed with E-8 became the City’s first piece of motorized fire apparatus. By 1917 the downtown truck (3) and Engine 8 were motorized Seagraves. 1917 also saw the loss of two firefighters and a battalion chief as the result of an ammonia explosion during a River St. grocery warehouse fire. Chief of Department Patrick Byron died 53 weeks later as a result of injuries suffered in the same explosion. A squad company was organized on July 8, 1919 and outfitted with a new motorized Seagrave chemical wagon. A motorized apparatus On January 23, 1922, by act of the City Council, all remaining volunteer companies were disbanded, the TFD was now a fully paid department. On November 1, 1923 a second platoon was formed, firefighters worked a 10 and 14 hour schedule for a short time.

In the summer of 1924 the last of the horse drawn engines and trucks were replaced by motorized apparatus. A third platoon was formed on January 1, 1959 allowing Troy’s firefighters a 56 hour workweek. Also in 1959 the fire alarm telegraph system was removed and replaced with telephone boxes. On February 4, 1973 a fourth platoon was formed, reducing the firefighters workweek to 40 hours. The telephone boxes were removed from the street corners on February 15, 1982.

April 1, 1981 saw the TFD take over emergency medical response in the city.

In January 1989 Truck Co. 3 was removed from service after being involved in a roll over accident. Truck 3 was replaced with Medic 3 for 1 year until it also was removed from service. Engine Co 4 was disbanned and firehouse was vacated in winter of 1995 when the new Central Station was opened. This was the home of Engine 5, The Rescue Squad, Medic 2, Car 4 and Truck 2 was moved from the Bouton Road station.

On October 9, 1995 emergency medical transport was taken over by the TFD. Medic 1 and Medic 2 alternated calls while Medic 3 was placed in service as needed by Truck 2's crew. In 1996 Medic 1 was moved to the Lansingburgh station and worked in conjunction with Truck 1, placing Medic 3 in full service.

In 1999 due to a number of fires in the area Station 4 was reopened. Engine 5 was removed from Service and its crew moved to Station 4. 1999 also saw the purchase of much needed new fire engines. American LaFrance replaced 3 out dated fire pumpers that were over twenty years old. They were placed at Engine 1, Enigne 2 and Engine 4. In 2001 under new staffing agreements Medic 2 was moved to Station 2 to work in conjunction with Engine 2. Medic 3 became Medic 4, Medic 3 was to move back to Station 3 to work in conjunction with Engine 3, but never did. The Rescue Squad at this time also became a pumper. Engine 2 pumper was moved there until a new rescue pumper was purchased. 3 additional American LaFrance pumpers were purchased going to Engine 2 and Engine 4. Also at this time Troy made an agreement with the Watervliet Fire Dept to respond on all Fire calls in there city known as Box #46. Engine 4, Engine 6 and the Rescue Squad provide this coverage, with Medic 4 responding on all confirmed working fires.


Some famous and interesting portions of Troy include:

Painted rocks spelling out the city's name placed on the western slope of Prospect Park.
Troy Gas Light Company, Gasholder House

Notable Troy residents

  • Henry Highland Garnet (1815–1882), African-American abolitionist, minister and orator; editor of The National Watchman and The Clarion
  • Mary Louise Peebles (1833–1915) author of children's books
  • Thomas Baker (Medal of Honor), received the Medal of Honor in the Battle of Saipan in World War II
  • King Kelly (1857–1894), professional baseball player, born in Troy.
  • William Marcy (1786–1857), governor, U.S. senator, U.S. Secretary of State.
  • John Morrissey (1831–1878), bare-knuckle boxer, U.S. representative, co-founder of Saratoga Race Course.
  • Kate Mullany (1845–1906), Irish-born labor organizer, founder of the first sustained female union in the country, the Collar Laundry Union, in 1864
  • Edward Murphy, Jr. (1836–1911), mayor, U.S. senator
  • Richard Selzer, surgeon and author, was born in Troy. His memoir Down from Troy recounts his experiences there as the son of a physician.
  • Horatio Spafford (1828–1888), composer of the well-known Christian hymn "It Is Well With My Soul", was born in Lansingburgh (now Troy), New York.
  • Maureen Stapleton (1925–2006), Academy Award Winning film, stage and television actress.
  • Samuel Wilson (1766–1854), a butcher and meatpacker during the time of the War of 1812, believed to be the inspiration for the personification of the United States known as Uncle Sam
  • James Connolly (1868–1916) One of the leaders of the Irish Easter Uprising. Emigrated to Troy in 1903 and lived there until returning to Ireland. A statue of Connolly was erected in Troy in 1986.
  • Robert Fuller (born July 29, 1933) is a former American television actor and current rancher. He is best known for starring roles on the popular 1960s western series Laramie as Jess Harper, and Wagon Train as Cooper Smith, as well as for for his lead role as Dr. Kelly Brackett, on the popular 1970s medical drama Emergency!.
  • John Joseph Evers (July 21, 1883 – March 28, 1947) was a Major League Baseball player and manager who was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1946. He was the middleman of the famous double play combination Tinkers to Evers to Chance. He was on three World Series championship teams, the Chicago Cubs in 1907 and 1908, and the Boston Braves in 1914.
  • Herman Melville (August 1, 1819 – September 28, 1891) was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet. He is best known for his novel Moby-Dick. From 1838 to 1847, he resided at what is now known as the Herman Melville House in Lansingburgh (now Troy), New York



  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ Ilium fuit is the well-known expression from the Aeneid, where it is the beginning of Parthus' reply to Aeneas. Aeneid, Bk. II., 325. 30 153, and which had come to mean a complete and final end. The second half, Troja est, is a defiant declaratory statement that nevertheless, Troy still lives.
  3. ^ Rittner (2002), p. 27
  4. ^ Rittner (2002), p. 22
  5. ^ "A Resourceful People A Pictorical History of Rensselaer County, New York"
  6. ^ US News (2006). "America's Best Colleges 2007". Retrieved 2007-12-01. 
  7. ^ "RPI History Main Page". Retrieved 2007-01-21. 
  8. ^ "Rensselaer in Brief". 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-22. 
  9. ^ Robert Breuer, Troy's RiverSpark Visitor Center. Retrieved 1 August 2007.
  10. ^ "50 years of innovation and excellence". Hudson Valley Community College. Retrieved 2009-12-21. 
  11. ^ "Troy Gas Light Company, Gasholder House". Society for Industrial Archeology. Retrieved 2010-01-23. 

Further reading

Note: Linked titles redirect to a free, full-view version hosted by Google Books or the Internet Archive.

Rensselaer County histories

Troy histories

External links





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