Get to know Schenectady, NY

Schenectady is an eastern city roughly 19 miles northwest of Albany.  The city’s name comes from a Mohawk work meaning “beyond the pines”.  Dutch settlement began in 1661 when Arent van Curler purchased land and sold plots to other proprietors .  Barred from the fur trade that the settlers in modern-day Albany had a monopoly on, the settlers turned to farming livestock and wheat.  The English took control of the New Netherland colony in 1664, creating New York.  In the ensuing colonial wars, attacks on Schenectady saw residents captured and some killed.  The end of the Revolutionary War brought representative government and the settlement received a city charter in 1798.  Schenectady grew in importance as a transportation, manufacturing, and trade hub with the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825.  The abolitionist movement grew in the city throughout the 1830’s, and a route on the Underground Railroad ran through the area.  New industry developed through the 19th century as the river was harnessed for power, bringing industrial jobs and immigrants to Schenectady.  In 1892, the General Electric Company became headquartered in the city and served as a major industrial and economic force for the city.  The American Locomotice Company (ALCO) also developed in Schenectady after merging with smaller companies in 1901.  The 20th century brought new immigrants to the city as well as African Americans from the South during the Great Migration who were in search of industrial jobs at GE and ALCO.  The city’s population peaked in 1930 before the Great Depression brought job loss and subsequent population decline.  It continued to lose jobs and residents through the 20th century as a result of industrial and corporate restructuring in the United States.  Recent years have seen a turn to renewable energy to build up a new economy.  The city will be also home to one of three sites the state has selected to develop as casino gambling.  Notable attractions include the Stockade Historic District, the state’s first hisrotic district, Central Park, and Proctor’s Theatre.  Famous residents have included Mickey Rourke, who was born in the city, and author Kurt Vonnegut.

Quick Facts

Population: 65,735

Median Household Income: $40,755

Median Property Value: $114,400

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