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History Tidbits

Burnt Hills, Ballston Lake and Vicinity

I am an admitted info addict and history buff.* Growing up in Charlton and going to school in the BHBL school district, I put this small site together as a tribute to my roots. There is a lot of fascinating history that many folks might not be aware of.

We were fortunate as kids to learn all about the proud Iroquois Nation, the fierce Mohawks and bloodshed with the Dutch settlers in colonial times. Of course, no "upstater" from the area could have avoided the knowledge of the Erie Canal and the vital importance the Mohawk River had in opening up the West to white settlers ("I had a mule her name was Sal... Fifteen Miles on the Erie Canal" was a song so ingrained in our upbringing, we all sang it in our sleep! )

But strangely, less is known about the Amusement Parks and the Train and Trolley Lines. They too were an integral and unique aspect of local history. This site hopes to offer a window into that world and tie it all together. History should never be forgotten. Visiting local Historical Society Archives in person or online provides an entertaining and educational opportunity to go back in time...

* Rich Coffey

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Burnt Hills

Burnt HillsThe small village of Burnt Hills got its unusual name from the practice of the Native Americans. Local tribes would sometimes burn the surrounding hillsides to attract deer who would then venture out to eat the new shoots that would sprout up from the ground. Thus, the area became known as the land of the “Burnt Hills." Further Info

Did You Know?

Ballston Lake

Ballston LakeBallston Lake, originally called Ball's Town, was named in honor of Rev. Eliphalet Ball. The first settlement was made in 1763 by two brothers named Michael and Nicholas McDonald, who located near the west bank of Ballston Lake. In 1770, Mr. Ball, his three sons and several members of his congregation were induced to settle here from Bedford, N.Y. by a donation of 500 acres of land. It is said, Ball paid the brothers one barrel of rum for the right to name the town after himself. Over time the name was shortened to Ballston.

Did You Know?

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CharltonDid You Know?

About the Charlton Girls School...

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Round Lake

Round LakeDid You Know...?

More About the History of Round Lake

Vischer's Ferry

Vischer's FerryHave you ever been through this little hamlet? It's a lovely spot and full of old fashioned charm.

Did you know?

Be sure to also check out photos of an ancient bridge nearby online. Link

Take a visual tour of the Vischer Ferry Nature & Historic Preserve
(the Old Erie Canal Lock, Towpaths and the Whipple Bridge...)

Rexford and Luna Park

Aqueduct with Canal BoatsTraveling south across the Mohawk from Rexford, stone pilings in the river hint at the presence of something of a grander historical significance. Here is where the Erie Canal crossed the Mohawk on a large stone aqueduct. There's great collection of photos here of the aqueduct. It was a favorite subject for many postcards in its day,

Who would have known traveling through the small town that it was also home to the famous Luna Park? From 1906 until 1933, daredevils leaped from a tall tower, carousels, merry-go-rounds, roller coasters, airplane rides and all kinds of amusements buzzed with activity, making Rexford a hot spot to visit in the area. Check out this wonderful collection of photos to see for yourself just how much variety there was.

Another interesting item was the McLane Hotel, a stop for stagecoaches and canal boats. John McLane operated it until about 1930. An old-fashioned and extremely weathered building with large galleries on both floors and a cupola at its peak, the strange building was a mysterious curiosity to all who passed by. It was demolished in 1964.

There are still visible remnants of

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Clifton Park

Clifton PArkHow many of you recognize the Clifton Park Hotel? (northeast corner of Old Route 146 and Route 9, Clifton Park Village). I always wondered what this relic from the past was and hope that somehow it can stay preserved and find new use in the easy-come easy-go commercial craptraps surrounding it.

It's a shame but the old village has all but disappeared.

There was a large spice mill on the Farm-to-Market Road in Halfmoon, NY back around 1892 and a Blacksmith and Carriage Shop. I believe the church is still standing. The Town Historain has posted a detailed history of the Grooms Corners Tavern.



Did You Know?

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Old SchenectadyDid You Know?

Ballston Spa

Ballston SpaDid You Know?



Malta Old BldgDid You Know?

Luther Forest Today...


AlplausDid You Know?

Historical Maps