About Town of Colonie

The Town of Colonie has often been referred to as the "Crossroads of the Capital District" or tri-city area. Colonie Township contains about 57 square miles of land situated in the north-east corner of Albany County, and bordered on its north by the Mohawk River and on its east by the Hudson River. It was the last town to be "removed from" the once larger town of Watervliet that formed what is todays Albany County. Since Colonial times people had to cross through what is now Colonie in order to make their way between the cities of Albany, Schenectady or Troy. Colonie’s earliest roads included the Loudon Ferry Road, which crossed at a ford of the Mohawk River near the New York Power Authority property on the Cohoes Crescent Road. The Loudon Ferry Road (today’s Rt. 9) was established in 1757 as a military road from Albany to Lake George to support British and American forces during the French and Indian Wars.

Next came the turnpikes. The Albany and Schenectady Turnpike began construction in 1802 replacing the old Kings Highway that ran between Albany and through the Pine Bush to Schenectady. Other early turnpikes in Colonie were the Troy and Schenectady Turnpike (1802) and the Watervliet Turnpike between Albany and through West Troy to Troy. The Watervliet Turnpike (1830) replaced a primitive Dutch road that once ran beside the Hudson River between Albany and points north.

Colonie has also been referred to in earlier times as "Albany’s Breadbasket" because of its Agricultural History. Many areas of Colonie contain rich tillable soils first cultivated by Native Americans and later by Dutch and English colonists. Farmers in Colonie routinely recovered Native American points and other stone tools while tilling their fields. The wheat and corn and vegetables grown here in Colonie were sold in neighboring cities as was milk from the many dairy farms throughout the town.

The Erie Canal (1825 connected to the Hudson River at Albany and proceeded northward through what was called the Lumber District of North Albany and through what is now the Village of Menands, and the Cities of Watervliet and Cohoes. A series of locks at Cohoes raised and lowered canal boats around the barrier of the Cohoes Falls. A large stone aqueduct crossed the Mohawk River in the Boght area of Colonie into Saratoga County where the canal continued west to Schenectady. The Town of Colonie is a partner of the Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway which includes the Cohoes Crescent Road in Colonie. Additional information about the Erie Canal and the Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway can be found here.

The Town of Colonie’s unique location has contributed to its continued growth and prosperity over time. The handful of old roads seen on old maps of the town have given way to well over 1,000 town owned streets not counting major interstate highway systems of I-87 and I-787, the Albany International Airport. Agricultural lands have been transformed into residential neighborhoods and retail stores both large and small throughout the Town.

By Kevin Franklin, Town Historian.

Learn more about the Town of Colonie Timeline or discover its rich history.