New York's

Capital District

A History of its Industries, Railroads and Inventions

Albany ~ Troy ~ Schenectady ~ Saratoga Springs ~ Cohoes ~ Waterford ~ Ballston Spa ~ Rensselaer
Corinth ~ South Glens Falls ~ Lansingburgh ~ Stillwater ~ Mechanicville ~ Watervliet ~ Clifton Park
Altamont ~ Delmar ~ Hoosick Falls ~ Eagle Bridge ~ Slingerlands ~ Delanson ~ Rotterdam ~ Colonie



A Short Biography of Timothy Starr

Tim was born in Connecticut but moved with his family to Hebron, New York (Washington County) at an early age. Tim, his younger brother and younger sister all graduated from the Granville school district. It was during his senior year in high school that Tim wrote his first book, a novel called "The Meatloaf Incident and Other Adventures" that is based on his experiences growing up in Hebron. After receiving college degrees in History, Accounting, and Business Administration (MBA), he went to work in the nonprofit field, holding positions in accounting and senior management. 

In 1997 he moved to the Town of Milton near the airport. From 2003 to 2013 he lived in Rock City Falls and served as the Treasurer of the Saratoga County Historical Society (Brookside) Board of Trustees, but in 2014 reluctantly moved to Glenville to be closer to work.

After noticing many ruins around the Town of Milton, he began researching the town's history. The discovery of an old trolley railroad bed behind his house motivated him to write a book about the line's history. That project naturally led to another one that detailed the industries served by the railroad. When it was discovered that several important inventions were developed to support these industries, yet another project unfolded that resulted in a Ballston Spa book of inventions, and a Saratoga County book of inventions.

The birth of his daughter in 2007 put further research on hold, but in early 2009 Tim began working on a biography of "Paper Bag King" George West and a biography of Isaiah Blood, a local scythe and axe manufacturer. In 2010, the History Press published two of his books: Great Inventors of New York's Capital District and Lost Industries of Saratoga County. A long-standing interest in local railroads resulted in the books "Early Railroads of New York's Capital District" (2011), "The Golden Age of Railroads in New York's Capital District" (2012), "Railroading in New York's Capital District: Hot Off The Presses" (2012), and "Railroad Wars of New York State" (2013). His most recent book, "Around Milton," is part of the Arcadia Press Images of America series.

He is a featured writer in Ann Hauprich's book "Legacies Unlimited," in a chapter titled: "Timothy Starr: He (Literally) Wrote the Book on Village Inventors." In 2009 he contributed a piece about Saratoga County inventors for the Brookside Museum's book "In Our Own Words: The Story of Saratoga County." In 2015 he contributed a chapter to "Saratoga Springs: A Centennial History." He has also been published in Saratoga Living, Our Town Ballston Spa, Spotlight Milton, The Saratogian, and was a frequent contributor to Ballston Spa Life's History Lesson series. On February 6, 2011, he appeared on WNYT News Channel 13's interview show called Forum 13 in which he discussed the book "Great Inventors of New York's Capital District." On February 17, 2016, he was interviewed by Bob Cudmore for "The Historians" podcast series.

Tim's collection of historical data includes 2,000 patents, dozens of local history books, thousands of digital history articles, thousands of newspaper articles, and 11,000 scanned photographs. About 75 percent of his written collection is digitized into PDF files, while all of his photographs are digitized.

Never too late to follow your passion

Published: Sunday, June 7, 2009

Ballston Spa Life editor

In Beverly Moore, Hauprich writes about a village woman who may have done her one better. Moore, a retired nurse, waited until she was 80 years old before publishing and then reached back to give readers of her recently published first non-fiction a glimpse of life inside Ballston Spa’s former hospital.

Speaking of historians, late-blooming writers and local history, I draw your attention to this week’s History Lesson on this page. Ballston Spa resident, finance director and new father, Timothy Starr joins us for what we hope will be a regular contribution.

Starr has in five years exemplified the discipline, perseverance and passion professional historians envy, becoming a familiar face in area archives. He has already published several books on local history, been coaxed onto the directors’ board of the Brookside Museum, home of Saratoga County’s Historical Society, and been inspirational in his creativity and doggedness to locate new resources or connect anew dusty ones.

Starr and Moore are examples to us all of coming to a passion late in life. But in acting upon that, they enrich everyone around them.


Picture of Tim at the Empire Mill in Rock City Falls, taken by photographer
Antonio Bucca for Ann Hauprich's book "Legacies Unlimited" (2008).