Amsterdam (Postcard History)

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9780738572536: Amsterdam (Postcard History)
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In the 1700s, Amsterdam was just a small trading village in upstate New York. Utilizing its superior location astride critical waterways, the village grew during the westward expansion of the early 1800s to become an industrial powerhouse. By the 20th century, Amsterdam had become America's foremost rug-making center, nicknamed the "Carpet City," and the seventh largest city in New York. Waves of Dutch, German, Irish, Italian, and eastern European immigrants were drawn to the city for work. Some became mill workers while others became millionaires. The vintage postcards in Amsterdam tell the story of an American dream created, lost, and still pursued on what was once America's frontier.

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About the Author:

Gerald R. Snyder is a mechanical engineer and native of Amsterdam who collects and interprets images of the Lower Mohawk Valley. Robert von Hasseln is Amsterdam city historian, former military and naval historian of the State of New York, and former director of the New York State Military Museum.

Review:

Title: Amsterdam by: Gerald R. Snyder and Robert Von Hasseln A Book Review

Author: AJ Clark

Publisher: AHS Rampage

Date: 6/17/2010
You've all heard the stories, whether it be from parents or grandparents. Amsterdam used to be great, they'll say. We used to be the Rug City. My own grandfather points out on drives down Market Street that there were once more millionaires living in Amsterdam than in any other place in the world. He also tells, with delight, about how the Chuctanunda creek flowed in different colors depending on the dye the mills were dispensing that day. Perhaps that's not quite appealing, but it shows just how big of an industrial powerhouse our city once was. It was once a magnificent place, vibrant and full of life.
In a new addition of Arcadia Publishing's Postcard History Series, Gerald R. Snyder and City historian Robert von Hasseln explore Amsterdam's fascinating legacy and past through Snyder's eclectic collection of postcards. Together they showcase different time periods through different visuals of Amsterdam's many neighborhoods. Many of our grandparents' stories come to life in the black and white postcards of the Amsterdam that Kirk Douglas grew up in as the ragman's son. Downtown is depicted before the urban renewal projects of the mid-century. What we now know as LLA stands new and majestic looking over the valley.
No part of Amsterdam is left out, and the book is separated into sections based on neighborhoods, ranging from Downtown to Rockton to the Southside. With each postcard picture in each section comes a paragraph caption, describing the place, scene, and any other relevant, interesting information. Weighing in at 127 pages, the book is neither too lengthy nor too short and is by no means a task to read in full. Any Amsterdamian, either young or old, can at least flip through to look at the pictures and see what our familiar streets looked like so long ago. I found it to be a marginally interesting experience just doing that myself.
But not only can we see what the past looked like in Amsterdam by perusing the postcards in this book, we can also draw upon our city's past and look with hope toward the future. The last postcard's caption is a beautiful sunset over the Mohawk Valley near Amsterdam, chosen by the authors because it best "represents the continuing nature of Amsterdam history." Let's just hope their right.
Amsterdam, $21.99, Arcadia Publishing. Available at local retailers, online bookstores, or though Arcadia Publishing at www.arcadiapublishing,com or (888) 313-2665

Title: Amsterdam history in pictures

Author: Bob Cudmore

Publisher: The Daily Gazette

Date: 3/26/2010
Don't ask for an Amsterdam cocktail when visiting Russo's, Shorty's Southside, JDR's Lounge or other local taverns.
According to a new history book, the Amsterdam cocktail was a derisive phrase coined in the last century when the Glen Wild water supply north of the city was expanded into an area called the Ireland Vlae in the 1930s.
"Inadequate clearance of the land being flooded caused discolored and odorous water," wrote Gerald R. Snyder and Robert von Hasseln. "Combined with chlorine and later fluorine, the result was called the Amsterdam Cocktail. Filtration of the water supply was made possible by a federal grant in 1972."

Snyder, a mechanical engineer and lifelong Amsterdamian, and von Hasseln, city historian and former state military historian, are the authors of "Amsterdam" in Arcadia Publishing's postcard history series.
Snyder has collected postcards and photographs of Amsterdam for more than a decade.
Von Hasseln said, "We organized the neighborhood chapters in the sequence that the city grew up, and headed each chapter with a historical map of the period, so moving through the book one gets a feel of the way the city developed."
The book begins with downtown. Sections follow on the river and the railroad, East End, South Side, West End, Market Hill, Church Street and Rockton.
Among the downtown photographs is one from 1897 as firefighters poured water on the shell of the Arnold Block. The fire did $75,000 in damage and was covered by The New York Times.
There are outdoor and indoor pictures of Amsterdam's former passenger train station, built in 1899 at a cost of $60,000. When rail travel was at its peak, 27 trains a day stopped in Amsterdam.
The railroad station was between the four-track mainline and the Mohawk River. A roadway connected the station with a highway overpass in 1910. As the authors point out, travelers sometimes preferred the longer walk instead of "the dank and dark pedestrian tunnel that passed from the station under the tracks to Railroad Street."
The East End section includes a picture of the fortress-like Fourth Ward School on Vrooman Avenue below Main Street. Built in 1894, the building burned down about 1940.

The South Side section includes a picture showing the Chalmers Knitting Mill under construction in 1913. The demolition of that building is awaited this year. Other pictures depict the days of the Erie Canal.
The West End section shows the former Amsterdam City Hospital on Guy Park Avenue. Today the site is Sirchia Park, named for Pvt. Frank Sirchia, killed in action shortly after the invasion of Normandy in World War II.
There are many pictures showing carpet mills and other factories, such as an artist's rendering of the Kelloggs & Miller linseed oil plant on Church Street.
Two pages of photographs are devoted to carpet maker Stephen Sanford's horse farm, Hurricana Farm on Route 30. Later called Sanford Stud Farm, the facility closed in 1977. An effort is under way to preserve the remaining buildings.
One picture shows the monuments to famous Sanford horses that once lined the farm along Route 30. "Contrary to local legend these were not grave markers of horses," the authors wrote. Only one horse, Monarchist, is known to be buried on the property.
Snyder and von Hasseln have their first book signing at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 27, at Dan

Weaver's Book Hound, 16 E. Main St. in Amsterdam. Weaver said, "This book is the best opportunity to see the city as it once was, as it naturally developed in response to all the factors of its history."
A portion of the book's proceeds will be donated to the Amsterdam Veterans Memorial.

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