A History of its Industries, Railroads and Inventions


ALCO, Schenectady


Hotels in Saratoga


Union Station, Albany


Saratoga station


GE, Schenectady


Union Station, Troy


Cohoes Falls


Canal aqueduct, Rexford

After America won its war for independence, New York developed a flourishing economy based upon invention, transportation, industry and manufacturing. Many technologies associated with the industrial revolution in America were first implemented in New York. For example, the first steam-powered boats and trains got their start in New York in 1807 and 1831 respectively.

Railroads were first introduced in New York State with construction of the Mohawk and Hudson Railroad. This mechanized travel arrived less than 10 years after construction of the Erie Canal began in 1817. Railroads would forever change the face of travel in the 19th Century just as the automobile and New York State Thruway changed travel in the 20th Century. While the Erie Canal spearheaded westward development in the state and nation, it was the railroads that brought the biggest shift of people and goods westward in the years that followed. Other early New York State railroads, including the Utica and Schenectady, built in 1836, and the Syracuse and Auburn Railroad built in 1837, broadened the impact of rail transport on the region.

Upstate New York has been the setting for inventions and businesses of international significance. The abundance of water power and the advent of canal and rail transportation provided nineteenth century Upstate New York entrepreneurs with the means to power factories and send their products to market. The various modes of transportation, particularly the Erie Canal, New York Central Railroad, and the Erie Railroad, gave New Yorkers great access to markets for their products and the natural resources of the State. Combining those assets with the wealth generated and invested into industrial pursuits, New York State lead the nation in manufacturing from 1840 to 1960.

This website is dedicated to the research and publication of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries history of the Capital District and New York State. Most of the books listed below (many of which are self-published and limited in quantity) are available for sale at the Brookside Museum in Ballston Spa and the Schenectady Trading Company and Mohawk Valley Railroad in Schenectady. Those who live outside the Capital Region should check eBay and Amazon (look for the listings selling new books). You can also order a book by mail.

Book Listing:

Railroad Atlas: New York's Capital Region (new)

Railroad Atlas: New York State (coming in 2023)

The American Roundhouse (coming in 2022)

Railroads of New York's Capital District (new)

Great Inventors of New York's Capital District

Invented In Saratoga County, New York

Invented In Ballston Spa, New York

Around Milton (Saratoga County)

Lost Industries of Saratoga County

Lost Industries of Albany County

Lost Industries of the Kaydeross Valley

Early Railroads of New York's Capital District

The Golden Age of Railroads in New York's Capital District

Railroading in New York's Capital District: Hot Off The Presses!

Railroad Wars of New York State

The Ballston Terminal Railroad And Its Successors

Leading Industrial Pursuits of Ballston Spa, Glens Falls, Sandy Hill & Fort Edward

The Paper Bag King: A Biography of George West

Isaiah Blood: Scythe and Axe Maker of Ballston Spa, New York

The Meatloaf Incident (novel)

The Quest for Redstone: Minecraft Book 1

Journey to the Cursed Mines: Minecraft Book 2

Thanks to the following people and organizations for their important contributions: the Brookside Museum, the late Maurice "Chris" Morley, the late Paul Pastore, John Nehrich, Ann Hauprich, Ken Bradford (Joseph Smith collection), the Corinth Museum, Town of Milton Historian, Saratoga County Historian, the Waterford Museum, and the Saratoga Springs Public Library, among many others. Last updated on 07/02/2021. Copyright 2008-2021. No part of this website may be copied or reproduced without permission from the author, except for short passages used for reviews. All rights reserved.


Ballston Spa springs

Burden wheel, Troy


Saratoga Racetrack


Livingston Avenue Bridge


Harmony Mills, Cohoes


Hudson River, Albany


Nott Memorial, Schenectady


West Albany Shops

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