Amsterdam’s greatest days were fueled by its location at the confluence of a fast running creek and a good-sized river and by the later additions of an east-west rail line, canal and turnpike that passed right through its heart. These natural and manmade attributes attracted young bold first generation entrepreneurs who used them to manufacture and transport products like rugs, linseed oil, knitted goods, buttons and brooms to markets around the world.
These pioneers of manufacturing built huge multi-story factories, filled them with machines and trained thousands of immigrants from Europe to run them. As time went by and the products made by this first generation of entrepreneurs grew outdated or could be produced cheaper elsewhere, a new generation of product makers took advantage of the infrastructure and labor pool left behind and Amsterdam became the place where toys, litterbags, auto antennas furniture finishing products and fiberglass got made.
There was also another entrepreneur with great courage and business instinct on the scene. Unlike most of the product makers that preceded him, John Tesiero Jr. was born and raised here. He was the son of an immigrant He went to public schools, graduated from Lynch, served in the army, played poker with the boys down at the St. Agnello Club on West Main Street, married a local girl and started a family. After the war, he and two of his buddies made the very accurate forecast that pre-fabbed concrete blocks were going to be huge in the construction industry so they decided to start making them, first in a Cranesville barn, then in a building on Amsterdam’s south side…
(Tesiero shares his July 2 birthday with one of the all-time great Amsterdam High School defensive ends.)
My complete birthday post for John Tesiero Jr. will appear in the new second edition of A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam, NY Birthdays, which will be available before the 2016 Holiday season. I also distribute an Amsterdam, NY Birthday Blog Monthly Newsletter that includes the full birthday posts for three of the twenty-to-thirty people whose birthdays I recognize each month. Each newsletter also includes an Amsterdam Birthday Quiz that will test your knowledge and memory of people and events in your hometown.
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