Friday, May 1, 2009

Fame: Bradford R. Lansing

Bradford R. Lansing was the First Mayor of Rensselaer - twice over. Born in 1860 in Niskayuna, he moved with his parents in 1870 to Clinton Heights. Two years later (at age 12), he went to work in Schodack, beginning his work day at 3am. He started his own business in Greenbush in 1882.

Lansing started public service in 1894 as Assessor in the Village of Greenbush. He became Police Commissioner in 1896, and then was elected the first Mayor of Rensselaer (presumably when Rensselaer was incorporated in 1897). In the 1899 election, the Republican Lansing lost by 49 votes to Democrat James I. Miles. But in 1901, Lansing was "elected as first Mayor of Greater Rensselaer, after the annexation of Bath, East Albany, and a portion of East and North Greenbush".

In 1906 Lansing was elected to the state Assembly. The 1910 New York Red Book carries his biography - he was such a prominent member of the Rensselaer community that they didn't need to mention what kind of business he ran. (Elsewhere in the book it lists him as a retail grocer.) An April 10, 1909 article in the Rensselaer Eagle said that "Assemblyman Lansing knew a great deal about the butcher trade, having been brought up in it...".

Lansing died Feb. 4, 1912, and the New York Times had a short obituary (must register to read full article). The 1912 Journal of the Assembly of the State of New York includes a transcript of the resolution and remarks upon Lansing's death.

UPDATE: Advertisement from the Directory for the year 1907 of the cities of Albany and Rensselaer

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