In the 17th century, the area now called Niskayuna consisted mostly of cornfields. Niskayuna officially became a town in Schenectady County when the county split off from Albany County in 1809. From its early days as a farming community to its present state as a suburban town, Niskayuna has attracted residents from many areas. Transportation has been crucial to the development of the town, beginning with the Albany-Schenectady Turnpike. After the turnpike came the Erie Canal, proposed in 1808 and completed in 1825, which linked the waters of Lake Erie in the west to the Hudson River. Water transportation was soon joined by the Schenectady Railroad Corporation and the Troy and Schenectady Railroad. Finally, a modern system of roads and highways came into being during the 20th century. As manufacturing grew in the nearby city of Schenectady, Niskayuna emerged as the residential suburb that it is today.
Nestled among the rolling hills of the Mohawk Valley, the town of Rotterdam was formed in 1820 from the Third Ward of the city of Schenectady. Its history, chronicled in Rotterdams two hundred images, begins much earlier and is essentially the story of people past and present. The original settlers, mostly of Dutch origin, turned the wilderness into farmland. Their descendants and those who followed expanded into other livelihoods, producing goods that were shipped first along the Erie Canal and later across the nation by rail.
Glenville recounts the rich and varied history of the town on the north side of the Mohawk River that crowns Schenectady County. Long before it became an incorporated town, Glenville was the site of the last great struggles between the Mohawk and Mohican Indians for control of the Mohawk Valley, the regions first European settlement (1661), and numerous raids and encampments during the colonial wars of the 18th century. From farming to factories and railroads to roadhouses, Glenville is a compelling look at the architecture, culture, industry, and economic forces integral to the lives of residents past, present, and future.