Schenectady was first settled by the Dutch in 1661 as a part of the New Netherland Colony.  The name “Schenectady” is said to be derived from the Mohawk word for “on the side of the pinery,” referring to what today is called the Pine Bush.  The English seized the New Netherlands colony in 1664 and renamed it New York. Additional land was purchased from the Mohawks in the 1670’s as the settlement expanded.  Schenectady quickly became a frontier trading community with tribes of the Iroquois Nation.  Schenectady was attacked by the French and their Indian allies in 1690.  The settlement was reconstructed with a stockade.

Schenectady was incorporated as a borough in 1765 and as a city in 1798.  Union College was founded in 1795 taking its name from the union of several religious bodies coming together to form a nonreligious school.

In the 1800’s Schenectady became an important transportation center connecting the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers and the Great Lakes to the west.  When the Erie Canal opened in 1825 it made an island of the Stockade area between the canal and the Mohawk River.  One of the first railroads in America was established between Albany and Schenectady in 1831, and Schenectady soon became a center for technology and manufacturing. Thomas Edison moved his Edison Machine Works to Schenectady in 1887.  This evolved and grew into General Electric by 1892. Another large manufacturing business was the American Locomotive Company (ALCO). During this era, Schenectady was known as “The City that Lights and Hauls the World”.

As technology evolved, Schenectady also became home to a series of firsts; it was the site of one of the first commercial radio stations, and The first regularly scheduled broadcasts occurred in 1928. Today, Schenectady is part of New York’s Tech Valley and the western gateway to the Mohawk Towpath National Scenic Byway.  Schenectady is home to the Price Chopper/Golub Corporation and a population of over 66,000.


Latitude: 42.813395 Longitude: -73.940005 Elevation: 256 ft
Contact Information

Maureen Gebert – Economic Development
City Hall, 105 Jay Street
Schenectady, NY 12305-1970 US
[email protected] Eric Hamilton – Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway Coalition, Inc.
P O Box 90
Clifton Park, NY 12065 US
[email protected]

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