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Bethlehem Town

Bethlehem Town Hall is located at 445 Delaware Avenue, Delmar NY 12054; phone: 518‑439‑4955.

Town of Bethlehem Photo

Beginnings [1]

Bethlehem's history begins with Henry Hudson's river voyage in 1609. The English navigator halted on the bank of the river within the borders of the town. Some of Hudson's crew camped through the night on an island off the bluffs of the stream called Normanskill. They were visited by a number of the natives whose friendly demeanor both surprised and pleased them. Nearly all of the temporary settlements made by the Dutch prior to 1623, in which year Fort Orange was built on the site of Albany, were made on Bethlehem territory.

A few permanent settlers located here prior to 1700. Among them were the families of Garret and Jan Van Wie, William Van Allen, Adam Winne, the Ten Eycks, Slingerlands, Francis Winne, Philip Schuyler, the Vroomans, and Van Derzees. These and a few others settled along the Hudson River and the Normanskill.

From 1750 to 1800 conditions of trade, agriculture, and social surroundings underwent great changes, gave a great impetus to settlement, and brought in a more mixed class of immigrants. The accession to power of the English and later the tremendous changes wrought by the Revolution all tended to bring into Albany county people of other and very different nationalities.

The Town of Bethlehem was erected in 1763 from the original town of Watervliet, and included all of what is now New Scotland and a part of Albany, the latter having been set off in 1870.

  1. Amasa J. Parker, editor, Landmarks of Albany County New York, D. Mason & Co., Publishers, Syracuse, 1897.
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