Preserve America Community:
Rensselaer County, New York
Located in the eastern part of New York State on the Hudson River, Rensselaer County (population 152,538) was first settled in the early 1600s by the Dutch and has been the backdrop to a number of significant events in American history. The Battle of Bennington in 1777 took place in the Town of Hoosick, a Revolutionary victory that paved the way for the British surrender at Saratoga. Fort Crailo, located in the City of Rensselaer, was where "Yankee Doodle" was composed.
Because of its ideal geographic location and an abundant water supply, the area quickly became a leader in the industrial development of the Northeast. Rensselaer County played a crucial role in the Civil War, providing the Union Army with machine-made horseshoes manufactured at the Burden Iron Works, powered by the largest waterwheel in the world.
Iron plates for the Monitor, the iron-clad vessel instrumental in the Union Army victory, were rolled at the Albany Rolling and Slitting Mill. In 1865, the first steel plant in the United States was built at the mouth of the Wynantskill in Troy.
Today, Rensselaer County is becoming a leader in high technology and is home to the Rensselaer Technology Park in the Town of North Greenbush.
For more information
Rensselaer County: www.rensco.com
Rensselaer County Historical Society: www.rchsonline.org
National Register Travel Itinerary: www.cr.nps.gov/nr/travel/pwwmh
Posted April 30, 2009