LATHAM — If you’ve driven through Latham, your tires have probably touched Troy-Schenectady Road. The road that snakes through the boundaries of Watervliet and eventually merges with Route 7 is long, populated and a center of commerce for the area.
Not only are many businesses flanking its edges, but Albany International Airport kisses the curb, with many sub streets bringing avid plane spotters closer to the action than ever.
Along with its cultural pull, Troy-Schenectady Road is also rife with history.
Troy-Schenectady Road was constructed in 1802 by the City of Troy shortly after Albany connected with Schenectady via the Albany and Schenectady Turnpike (Central Avenue today) in the late 1790s.The new Albany to Schenectady turnpike was a straight shot between the two cities and, in time, hosted at least 15 taverns or inns along the route.
“It seemed whenever Albany did something to connect with Schenectady, Troy was soon to follow as they did not want to be left out of any of the commerce with Schenectady,” Town of Colonie historian Kevin Franklin said in an email. “[W]hen the Albany and Schenectady Turnpike was established, it was big news, having replaced the old and terrible road or path used since the 1600s called Kings Road or Kings Highway between those two communities.”
In response to the Albany and Schenectady turnpike, the City of Troy incorporated their own link between these two cities around 1802. The original Troy to Schenectady Turnpike crossed the older Old Loudon Road at what was then called Yearsley’s Corners. In later years, the intersection took the name of “Latham’s Corners.” The original Latham’s Corners intersection remains just east of today’s Latham traffic circle and New Loudon Road, which was created in the 1930s to relieve some of the increased traffic along Old Loudon Road.
West of Latham’s Corners on Troy Schenectady Road was an area called Seven Oaks. This is where the old Wade family farm sat and where present-day Forts Ferry Road meets Route 7 west of the Northway. As you continued west on Route 7, the old Vogt family farm was to your left; it is now the location of the New NYS Police Troop G. Headquarters. Across the road from Troop G were the old Burns and Whitney farms, where present-day Burns-Whitney Estates was constructed just after WWII.
As Route 7 moves toward Schenectady, Verdoy is hit before coming into the Town of Niskayuna. Most of the old Verdoy area along Route 7 has disappeared, including old houses that dotted the sides of the road and several commercial establishments. More recent demolitions included buildings in the path of the “safety zone” of the north/south runway of Albany International Airport. The area of Verdoy today is hardly recognizable from what it looked like right up into the 1970s and 1980s.
In other historical terms, the connections between Albany and Schenectady and later Troy with Schenectady are two of the earliest railroads in the state. The first was the Mohawk & Hudson Railroad, chartered in 1826, soon followed by the Troy to Schenectady Railroad of 1836.
The Watervliet Turnpike was circa 1830, which is today’s Broadway between North Albany to Watervliet through Menands. It too was serviced by the Schenectady Railway Company and in later years by the United Traction Company Trolleys and all three roads today by the Capital District Transportation Authority.
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