Rensselaer County

Basic Information

Address: 1600 Seventh Avenue Troy, New York 12180
Phone Number: 518-270-2900
County Seat: Troy

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Additional Information

Year Organized: 1791
Square Miles: 665
Size of Board: 19
MSA: Albany-Schenectady-Troy
Townships: Berlin, Brunswick, East Greenbush, Grafton, Hoosick, Nassau, North Greenbush, Petersburgh, Pittstown, Poestenkill, Sand Lake, Schaghticoke, Schodack, Stephentown
Cites: Rensselaer, Troy
Schools: Emma Willard School, Hoosac School, Woodland Hill Montessori School, Susan Odell Taylor School for Children, Robert C. Parker School, Catholic Central High School, Holy Spirit School, Lasalle Institutue, Oakwood Christian School, Redemption Christian Academy, Sacred Heart School, St. Jude the Apostle School, St. Mary's Academy
School Districts: Averill Park School District, Berlin Central School District, Brunswick Central School District, East Greenbush Central School District, Hoosic Valley Central School District, Hoosick Falls Central School District, Lansingburgh Central School District, North Greenbush School District, Rensselaer City School District, Schodack Central School District, Troy City Schools, Wynantskill Union Free School District
Libraries: Troy Public Library, Rensselaer Public Library, Cheney Free Public Library, Berlin Free Town Library, Brunswick Community Library, Castleton Public Library, East Greenbush Community Library, Grafton Community Library, Nassau Free Library, North Greenbush Public Library, Petersburgh Public Library, The Poestenkill Library, Sand Lake Town Library, Stephentown Memorial Library, Arvilla E. Diver Memorial Library
Museums: Hart-Cluett Mansion, Herman Melville House, Crailo Historical Site, Burden Iron Works, Miller House, Stephentown Genealogical Center
Parks: Bennington Battlefield State Park, Grafton Lakes State Park, Cherry Plain State Park, Schodack Island State Park, Papscannee Island Nature Preserve, Dyken Pond Environmental Education Center, Prospect Park, Frear Park, Knickerbocker Park
Population: 160,266
Medium Income: $60,140 - Median Income
County History:

A very brief history of Rensselaer County
Henry Hudson sailed up the Hudson River and turned around at Troy, where the waters became too shallow for his vessel, the Halfmaen. Seventeenth-century Dutch fur traders were the first Europeans to settle in Rensselaer County. Most of Rensselaer County was then under the patroonship of the Van Rensselaer family, for which the County was named. Due to its strategic location at juncture of the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers, the area continued to develop as a major center of trade, playing an important role during the Revolutionary War. During that war, Rensselaer County saw action in the Battle of Bennington, which was fought in the county hamlet of Walloomsac.
Rensselaer County was incorporated in 1791. During the War of 1812, Samuel "Uncle Sam" Wilson ran a meat packing business in Troy that provided beef for the American forces. The U.S. that was stamped on the barrels became known as "Uncle Sam's" and before too long, "Uncle Sam" began to symbolize the United States. Mr. Wilson is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Troy.
Due to its ample water power, natural resources, and proximity to shipping, Rensselaer County and the City of Troy became one of the country's major industrial centers, particularly in the iron, steel and clothing industries, a position they held for nearly a century. Meanwhile, the fertile fields and lush pastures of the local farming community kept the workers in Troy, Albany and New York City fed. Ice from Castleton and other parts of Rensselaer County kept produce cool in the days before refrigeration. Into the early twentieth century, industry played an important part of Rensselaer County's history. The Arrow Collar was created in Troy. Reapers made by the Walter A. Wood Corp. from Hoosick Falls harvested many of the wheat fields in the mid-West and in Europe.
Education played a crucial role as well in Rensselaer County. Many public schools could be found throughout Rensselaer County. In 1821, Emma Willard first opened the Troy Female Seminary, which some time later was named after her. Stephen Van Rensselaer founded Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1824. By the middle of the nineteenth century several private schools had cropped up throughout Rensselaer County.
During the Civil War, Rensselaer County provided the means to win the war through the efforts of Burden Iron Works in South Troy. That factory provided such fundamental elements of war as horseshoes and such specialty metal work as the iron plates for the Monitor. Much of clothing also came from the textile mills that that dotted the countryside. Hundreds of soldiers from Rensselaer County, including the famous General Wool, fought in the Civil War. The county thrived industrially through the early 20th century but suffered along with the rest of the Northeast when industry began moving elsewhere.
In the late 20th century, the County re-emerged as a center for the "high-tech" industrial revolution. The Rensselaer Technology Park and the University at Albany East Campus provide research facilities for bio-tech and computer companies. Agriculture has extended beyond the dairy industry to include a variety of field crops, livestock and nurseries.

Additional Information:

Rensselaer County has 6 villages - Castleton-on-Hudson, East Nassau, Hoosick Falls, Nassau, Schaghticoke and Valley Falls.