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Preserve America is a national initiative in cooperation with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; the U.S. Departments of Defense, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Education; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities; and the President's Council on Environmental Quality.

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Preserve America Community:
Troy, New York

Troy, a city of 50,000 people, is more than 200 years old. On the Hudson River in New York State at the juncture of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area and the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, Troy was a major center for the industrial revolution in the 1800's. Home of the detachable shirt collar, stove manufacturers, textile mills, stagecoach and carriage builders, breweries, and more, Troy also once led the nation in iron and steel production. Cast iron storefronts and original cast and wrought iron railings adorn many Troy brownstones from that period. Horseshoes, nails, cast iron stoves, bells, and the plates for the Union's Civil War battleship Monitor were also manufactured here.

Outstanding examples of 18th and 19th century architecture – including Queen Anne, Mansard, Beaux Arts, Romanesque, Italianate, Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, and other styles – were built by Troy’s successful capitalists and are still used and lived in today, many retaining their original character and features. Skilled workers who specialize in the restoration of old residential and commercial structures stay busy throughout the year.

In Troy’s downtown, listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1986, recent public/private efforts have focused on the revitalization of River Street, the earliest commercial area. A private developer has redeveloped the Market Block, a complex of seven adjacent, foreclosed downtown buildings purchased from the city. Private investment increased following public space improvement projects and state-funded renovations/restorations. Troy also offers a CDBG funded 50/50 façade improvement grant program to private owners of commercial buildings in the historic downtown.

The Troy RiverSpark Visitor Center contains many displays, including industrial artifacts and an award-winning slide show explaining the international significance of the area's industrial heritage. Interactive exhibits tell the story of specific highlights such as the world-famous Burden Water Wheel, the most powerful vertical water wheel in history and the likely model for the world's first Ferris Wheel. Visitors can also go see the Gasholder Building, the Burden Iron Works, now a museum of the area’s industrial heritage, and the Poestenkill Gorge waterfall that powered mills for more than 300 years.

Troy’s Savings Bank Music Hall, established in 1875 over the existing Troy Savings Bank, boasts acoustics considered among the world's best. If you like stained glass, you might enjoy visiting authentic Tiffany windows in the historic Troy Public Library and in several churches around the city. Washington Park is one of two privately owned, gated urban parks in New York State, and walking tour guidebooks to the area’s 19th century architecture are available. With its restored Victorian homes on tree-lined avenues, Troy has been used as a shooting location for Hollywood films including "The Age of Innocence", "Ironweed" and "The Bostonians".

Victorian Stroll is an annual winter festival in the streets of downtown Troy. The early 19th century Hart-Cluett mansion, owned by the Rensselaer County Historical Society, is decorated in period style for the occasion. Troy also participates in the Riverspark (Hudson Mohawk) Heritage Area, including regional promotion of the Hudson Mohawk Heritage Trail.

For more information

City of Troy: www.troyny.gov

RiverSpark Visitors Center: www.troyvisitorcenter.org

Rensselaer County Historical Society: www.rchsonline.org

Posted April 30, 2009

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