April 20 – Happy Birthday Amsterdam, NY

amsternightOn this date in 1830, Amsterdam, NY was officially incorporated as a village of the State of New York. We know white men in the form of traders and missionaries had been passing through this spot of the Mohawk Valley since the mid 1600’s and that Sir William Johnson had established a couple of firm footholds in these parts on behalf of the King of England, a century later. Albert Vedder is the man most often credited with the founding of what is now the City of Amsterdam when in the early 1780’s, he built a sawmill and gristmill at the point where the Chuctanunda Creek meets the Mohawk River. But Amsterdam didn’t start turning itself into a real community until the Erie Canal was completed in 1825. The newly found ease of transporting industrial supplies and finished goods via “Clinton’s ditch,” combined with the hydropower provided by the steep and powerful downward flow of the Chuctanunda made this place an ideal location for manufacturing and as the mills came the people followed. At the time it was incorporated, the Village of Amsterdam had a population of between 300 and 500 people and right around 50 dwellings, along with a scythe factory, six stores, a printing office, schoolhouse, and a church. From there it would grow into the seventh largest city in all of New York State.

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