NEW YORK STATE

CAPITAL DISTRICT

A History of its Industries, Railroads and Inventions
 


 


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A Short Biography of Timothy Starr

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 a rural community. 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 and for many years 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 (the Ballston Terminal Railroad). 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, other projects unfolded that resulted in a Ballston Spa book of inventions and a Saratoga County book of inventions.

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 his most popular book, "Railroad Wars of New York State" (2013, Arcadia).

His 2018 book, "Around Milton," is part of the Arcadia Press Images of America series. In 2020 Arcadia published "Railroads of New York's Capital Region," and a year later Tim self-published "Railroad Atlas: New York's Capital Region." As of late 2021, two books are in the process of being written (American steam locomotive roundhouses and a railroad atlas of New York State). A railroad atlas of New England is also planned.

Although local history research is "just a hobby," the preservation of that history has been a passion for the past 25 years. He contributed to Ann Hauprich's book "Legacies Unlimited" with 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. In 2021, the Saratoga County Historical Society released a book titled "Saratoga County Stories" that contains a series of historical essays, a few of which were written by Tim.

Tim's collection of historical data includes 2,000 Capital Region patents, dozens of local history books, thousands of digital history articles, thousands of newspaper articles, and 18,000 photographs. About 80 percent of his written collection is digitized into PDF files, while all of his photographs have been painstakingly digitized for future use and distribution to nonprofit organizations.

 

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Never too late to follow your passion

Published: Sunday, June 7, 2009

By JOSEPH ROCHA
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.

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