Friday, June 3, 2011

The Building Boom

During the Manor years, the only building between the Bath-on-the-Hudson toll gate and Defreestville was a half-way house for travelers (not even shown in this 1854 map). After the Forbes family left, the remaining manor lands along the Plank road were gradually sold.

Vintage Maps from the US Geological Service show little development along the plank road by 1893, almost 40 years later.

In 1897, the City of Rensselaer was formed, and in 1901, the city limits were extended to encompass the remaining Forbes Manor grounds (not including the upper Forbes Avenue tracts, which had been sold as farmland).

Rensselaer had become a manufacturing center and a major freight hub. Housing was tight, and Rensselaerites who were tired of the noise, soot, and smoke from the railroad yards looked for building lots outside the city.

Rumors that the United Traction Co. might extend their street car line made upper Forbes Ave. a very desirable location. The North End’s trendy park neighborhoods were about to take shape.

Rensselaer Eagle, August 8, 1908

Not in five years has building been so active in Rensselaer as it is now. New houses are going up all over the city and there are others in contemplation. ...

Many building lots have been sold out on the "plank road" as it is familiarly known to Rensselaerites, and several houses are in the course of erection there. Others are promised in the near future and the indications are that before snow files there will be a number of very good houses built out there.

The prospect that in the Spring, the United Traction Co. will extend its Broadway and Third Street line has been inducing many people to look for building sites along Washington avenue and upper Forbes avenue.
More Albanians than ever before are finding that they can live in Rensselaer, have a better house and much more breathing space for the same money than they are forced to pay in Albany. ...

That Rensselaer is booming and that it will continue to do so for some time to come is very evident.

This is part of the series: North End Park Neighborhoods (download this as a free PDF here)

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