Town Historian Banner

Kevin Franklin, Town Historian

Introduction to the Department Related Links
What's New Hours of Operation
Colonie's History Contact Information
Frequently Asked Questions Local Historical Society
Recent Events Back to Colonie Home

Introduction to the Department

he historian is an official of the local government appointed by the Supervisor. Duties of the historian consist of collecting, preserving and making available materials relating to the history of the community. The historian also is responsible for preserving current records for the future.

The historian takes the lead in identifying homes, buildings, structures and other sites in the community that should be preserved because of architectural, historical or archeological significance and their connections with historic persons and events. When placed on the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places, plaques may be erected and the sites marked. The importance of such places should be safeguarded from highway construction, zoning changes or renewal projects.

Information regarding the history of the Town may be obtained in many ways. Gravestone inscriptions from early family cemeteries, show family relationships and supply information about life span and birth and death rates. Verbal and oral history are important as source materials. Photos also supply important views of the past. Maps show the location of the Community and help illustrate changes and development of the area as well as artifacts which show how people lived, worked, traveled and worshipped.

Primary sources of books, manuscripts, statements and records of individuals, local government, organizations, business concerns and institutions in the community including schools and churches all contain valuable material. Newspapers contain information of all aspects of community life. Sources of information are identified as to origin and place or persons from whom it was obtained if possible. Publication of books, booklets and preparation of exhibits are valuable for presenting the above materials to the public.

The historian works in conjunction with the local Historical Society, The Pruyn House Cultural Center, the Library and other Town departments and organizations dealing with Town history, including the schools. The historian makes an annual report to the appointing officers about the work accomplished during the preceding year. Annual Reports also go to the State Historian's office and to the County Historian, with whom they cooperate.

Whats New


Colonie's History

Overview of Colonie
Early History of Colonie
History of the Town Seal
Al-Tro Island Park History

Frequently Asked Questions

How did the Town get its name?
The Town of Colonie was formed in 1895 and received its name from the Dutch "Colonye" meaning the settlement outside the city. The name can be traced to maps used by the Dutch patroons in the 1600's.

What are the Hamlets and Villages in the Town of Colonie?
There are two incorporated villages in the Town; the Village of Colonie and the Village of Menands, as well as several unincorporated, heavily populated areas; Latham, Verdoy, Loudonville, Maplewood, Boght Corners, Maywood, Newtonville, West Albany, Schuyler Heights, Roessleville, Mansville, Lishakill and Stanford Heights.

What is the population of Colonie?
During the past 30 years, the population has more than doubled as is evidenced by the following figures:
1950 Federal Census 29,533
1960 Federal Census 52,760
1970 Federal Census 59,742
1980 Federal Census 74,593
1990 Federal Census 76,494
Present population is approximately 80,000

What properties have been placed on the New York State and the National Registers of Historic Places and why?
To assist in the preservation of historic sites and homes in the Town of Colonie and to protect them from incursions of highways and industrial development, the Historian has applied for and been successful in having the following locations placed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places:

1973 - Watervliet Shaker Historic District

1974 - Newtonville Post Office (old Baptist Church)

1974 - Schuyler Flatts (archeological site)- In 1994 was also named National Historic Landmark by the Department of the Interior.

1979 - Albany Rural Cemetery

1979 - Loudon Road Historic District
(This includes 30 buildings, 27 on Loudon Road between 381 and 424 Loudon Road, 1 Imperial Drive, and 4 & 5 Cherry Tree Lane)

1979 - Loudon Road, Route 9, Multiple Resource District.
(This includes eight buildings: Bryan's Store in Loudonville, the D.D.T. Moore Farmhouse, Gorham House, Hughson Mansion, Springwood Manor, Wheeler Home, Whitney Mansion and Godfrey Farmhouse)

1980 - Sage Estate (Albany International)

1985 - Town of Colonie Multiple Resource District
(This covers 36 buildings, including a Menands Park Historic District of twelve homes on Tillinghast Avenue. The other places are scattered around the Town: 372 and 410 Albany-Shaker Road; 537 and 554 Boght Road; 225 Consaul Road; 140 Dunsbach Ferry Road; 33 Fiddlers Lane; 67 Haswell Road; 294, 441, and 463 Loudon Road; 27 Maxwell Road; 210 Old Loudon Road; 71 Old Niskayuna Road; 34 and 158 Spring Street Road; 957 and 1010 Troy-Schenectady Road; 379 Vly Road; 216 Wolf Road; 272 and 592 Broadway, and 40 Cemetery Avenue in Menands.)

Also included in the 1985 listing on the Registers is the Casparus Pruyn House at 207 Old Niskayuna Road. Acquired by the Town of Colonie in 1982 and restored and in use as a Cultural and Historical Center for the Town, the Pruyn House is now under the management of the Friends of Pruyn House, a non-profit organization. In 1988 the Buhrmaster Barn was moved from its previous site on Troy-Schenectady Road to the grounds of Pruyn House and is being used for summer concerts, wedding receptions, picnics and other events. An herb garden was planted at the rear of the house by the Blue Creek Garden Club in 1985 and a cutting flower garden added by the Fort Orange Garden Club in 1988. The Verdoy School House was moved from Troy-Schenectady Road in 1995 to commemorate the Centennial of the Town of Colonie and is used for programs, school related events and exhibits.

Is there a local Historical Society?

Yes. For information about the Colonie Historical Society, please visit their Web site.

Contact Information

Town of Colonie
Town Historian
Memorial Town Hall
Newtonville, NY 12128

(518) 782-2601


Hours of Operation

Please call for an appointment
The Historian's Office is located in Town Hall

Related Links

Albany Institute of History and Art
Albany Rural Cemetery
Canal Society of New York State
Colonial Albany Project
Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway
New York State Museum Batteau Discovery
Pruyn House Cultural Center
Schuyler Flatts
Shaker Heritage Society
William K. Sanford Town Library


Last Updated 06/19/08