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The town of Guilderland, NY, has a long and rich history dating back to Colonial times. Those times are well documented.
But equally rich
is the history of the town in the post WW II era when it grew quickly into a typically American suburban/rural town
with icons, buildings, businesses, and events, many of which are now gone but not forgotten
This site is for the benefit of those who still fondly remember those days and their children who may have heard many a story of those times.
Please e-mail any comments, photos, captions, corrections, complaints* or questions to:
GCHS class of 1971
Town resident from
GCHS class of 1971
* If anyone has issues with anything published here, simply let us know and we will promptly correct it. This is NOT a for-profit site. It is simply for the enjoyment of our readers.
We would like to be able add Guilderland stories to this website. They should be of general interest and positive in nature. For example:
NEW Year's Eve at Tommy Polito's Tavern:
Four of us were double dating on New Years Eve in 1970. Having gone to several places that were private parties or had high cover charges we decided to stop at Polito's to have a drink and figure out what to do next. We never left. We knew almost everyone in the place and prices were the same as alway...s. Around 11:00 Tommy's people started putting all sorts of great food on some side tables. After all the food was set out, Tommy turned off the jukebox just long enough to announce that: "the food is on the house.. so dig in - and Happy New Year!" Tommy sure knew who his customers were and how to treat them right.
To submit stories, just use the use the e-mail link above to send. They may be edited for brevity or grammar. Negative or slanderous stories will not be published.
Stories will be credited only if requested. Such as: submitted by John Doe - GCHS class of 1971 or Mary Doe, resident 1956 - 1999
He pulled his 2011 Chevy Cruz rental car into the large and very empty dirt lot on the corner of US route 20 and state route 146 and killed the ignition. Opening the door, he slid out and lit a cigarette. As he slowly walked toward the center of the lot, his snakeskin boots kicked up dust and his Stetson hat shielded his eyes from the late afternoon sun. Passing cars and the few pedestrians hurrying along their way paid no attention to him despite his attire that was way out of place.
Jonathan stopped and waited. He was wondering if he would presently smell stale beer, pizza, smoke and urine. Would he hear the rippling humming noise of the crowd or “My Sweet Lord,” “Get Back” and “Honky Tonk Woman” beating out of the jukebox? Would a familiar voice say, “Hey Jon… what you doing tonight?” Nothing mystic or Stephen King like happened but he stood waiting nonetheless.
“Gimme, gimme, gimme the honky tonk blues…”
This was his next to last stop. He had time.
The Turnpike Drive-in Theatre on Western Avenue opened in 1952 with a capacity of 300 cars. One of the two theaters in town, it had a kids’ playground in front, snack bar in back, and who knows what happened way in the back. Now a housing development.
Before there was Burger King - there was Carrols - Home of the Club Burger.
AVAILABLE NOW IN PAPERBACK
Is the house a haven or a horror? A portal to the past or portent of the future? Jason Graham and Martha Conklin, each bearing deep emotional scars from their past, embark on a fascinating and frightening journey.
Seeking closure to their memories, will they find a more important mission to pursue?
This is short novel spanning a very long time.
A time perhaps that never was and never will be again.
THE normally comforting shapes
in the knotty pine paneling tormented eight-year old Jason, as he lay awake reliving the nightmarish day of rage and torment at the hands of his mother. Suddenly, he remembered the loose panel in the back of his closet. Sliding out of bed quietly, he slid open the door and reached in to feel for it -- but all he felt was a solid wall.
Short Novel 164 pages - 42,000 words
Many of the images, captions, and stories on this site are gleaned from a Facebook private page entitled: "You know you're from Guilderland ..." Some are from my own archives, some from public domain sites, and hopefully many more from you who are viewing this..
The site is organized by general area, so use the navigation buttons on the upper left or click on any photo below.
Fort Hunter - Leininger's Cider Mill on Carman Road & Old State Rd. was the place to get fresh cider in the fall.
Altamont: The historic Hayes House in the village of Altamont, built in 1910, is 2 1/2 stories on a square frame foundation with an enclosed porch on the first floor and balconies on the second and third floors. For about 30 years, starting in 1971, the Hayes House was owned by the Altamont Fair and operated as a museum..
Fort Hunter: The other iconic drive-in was the Carman on route 146.
...and just how many times has the cow been stolen? Purloin of beef? Sadly, Greulich's market recently closed. This small, family-owned grocery store and butcher shop, which opened in the early 1950's, was known for customer service.
McKownville - McKown's Grove was the family playground.
Altamont - The Altamont County Fair was the August Place to be for us.
McKownville - The Tom Sawyer Motor Inn was pretty up to date accommodations in its day. So of course Huck Finn furniture opened next door.
Tommy Polito's Tavern.
AVAILABLE FROM LULU PRESS - CLICK HERE.
The town of Guilderland has a long, rich history dating even before its incorporation in 1803. This well documented. For those interested, Images of America – Guilderland, NY by Alice Begley and Mary Ellen Johnson is a good read.
For the baby boomer generation however, the town holds a different history, not covered in any textbook. We did not consider it history at the time because we were living in it. Places we lived, loved, learned, worked and played, taken for granted, as though nothing would ever change. Those days from the 1950’s to 1980’s, were times of great change, not only in the culture of America, but also as reflected in the town.
The town of Guilderland, a mostly rural suburb coupled with the hamlet of Guilderland Center and the village of Altamont, nestled quietly between Albany and Schenectady. McKownville, Westmere, and the eastern part of the hamlet of Guilderland proper, closest to Albany saw the first rise in housing developments. Altamont was a self-contained village. The town was just beginning to move into full suburban mode. Crowing roosters, farmer’s fields, road stands and empty fields, streams and woods, replaced by ice cream shops, diners, bowling alleys bars, burger joints, housing developments and schools. To coin a phrase, it might have been be called – “burbrural.”
Like much of history, it didn’t last long. Pictorial evidence is scarce. What little there is resides in old photo albums or shoeboxes. And in this book. The day of digital images from cameras, phones or tablets was decades away. Who gave any thought to snapping a photo of Carvel, Frosty, The Penguin or Dutcher’s ice cream? We ate, drank and caroused at Fonda’s, Hopper’s, Tommy Polito’s, Dell’s, The Late ‘n’ Lazy or the Village Drummer. Take photos? – no way.
The long awaited sequel to A Baby Boomers history of Guilderland.
Book three is in progress and the author is looking fo rnew stories,
Photos and anecdotes. Please use e-mail link above.
Available now from Lulu Press
CLICK HERE TO VIEW
This book is the requested sequel to the well-received original volume: "A Baby Boomers History of Guilderland" published in 2017. New stories and new photographs. In contrast to the first book, this one focuses more on personal memories than geography and landmarks. The first volume had 34 contributors of stories and graphics. The one has over 60!
Places we lived, loved, learned, worked and played, taken for granted, as though nothing would ever change. Those days from the 1950’s to 1980’s, were times of great change, not only in the culture of America, but also as reflected in the town. Like much of history, it didn’t last long.
In addition, it has a lengthy chapter about The Guilderland Players at Guilderland Central High School.
154 pages 6" x 9" with many photographs and maps
NOW AVAILABLE -
Paperback, 136 Pages
iNCLUDES THE ORIGINAL NOVELLA,
Tommy Polito's Tavern
plus material from the Guilderland books, much NEW
material and many vintage photographs.
A BABY BOOMERS 2019 CALENDAR
Your daily companion to this site and all of the books.
See a preview of evey page on Lulu!
ALTHOUGH THIS IS A NOVEL, it makes a several chapter stops in Guilderland, Scotia and Schenectady.
To view details CLICK HERE
Following the premature death of his wife,
Earl Garnett, a professional writer, decides to drive across
America. Along the way, he discovers the country, as he
never imagined it.
Soon, cryptic writings appear on his laptop, often coinciding
with roadside memorials that lead him into the darker sides
of the road. Ultimately, he must decide whether or not to
follow the prompting of these haunting passages and accept
Please see synopsis' and reviews of all the authors books at www.jgreenbooks.com