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Guilderland Town

Guilderland Town Hall is located at 5209 Western Turnpike, Guilderland NY 12084; phone: 518-356-1980.

Guilderland Town Photo

The Town of Guilderland Historic Multiple Resource Area was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. Text below was adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [1] Adaptation copyright © 2010, The Gombach Group.


The town of Guilderland was originally part of Stephen Van Rensselaer's "Rensselaerwyck" and was settled primarily by people of Dutch ancestry who moved westward from Albany seeking fertile farmlands. Dutch Colonial farmhouses and barns as well as several other eighteenth-century farm buildings in the resource area remain in use today.

The first improved highway through the town was the old Schoharie Road between Albany and Schoharie, which opened around 1750 and passed through such areas as Hamiltonville, Guilderland Center, and Altamont. To accommodate travelers on the road, many inns, taverns, and stores sprang up along the route. Several of these vernacular structures, later converted to non-commercial uses, are included in the nomination.

The construction of the Great Western Turnpike in 1799 brought increased prosperity and population to the area, hastening the formation of the new town which incorporated in 1803. The road extended from Albany to Cherry Valley and carried hundreds of families emigrating to the west and drovers bringing cattle into the eastern markets. As the rural community of Guilderland continued to expand in the nineteenth century, churches, a single room school, and cemetery buildings were constructed. Representative examples of these functional building types are included in the nomination. As a group, these individual properties reflect the civic, religious, domestic and commercial forces which helped to shape the historical development of Guilderland.

In 1863 the Albany and Susquehanna and the Hudson and Saratoga Railroads were built through Guilderland. The location of the line spurred the development of Altamont, initially called Knowerville. Altamont had long been a popular stopping place for travelers on the Schoharie Road. In 1713 Palatine refugees traveling through Altamont gave the name of "Hellebergh" (now called Helderberg), or "Bright Mountain," to a scenic wooded escarpment in the vicinity. By 1750 there were taverns, a doctor's office, a store, and a blacksmith shop in the community. Around the turn of the century summer residents came to the area and built large vacation estates, some of which are included in the nomination area, near the Helderberg. The homes were frequented by such prominent citizens as Albany publisher William Cassidy and New York State Governor Grover Cleveland.

  1. Larson, Neil G. NYS Historic Preservation Office, Guilderland Multiple Resource Area, 1982, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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