SCHENECTADY, has a long and rich history dating back to Colonial times. Those times are well documented.

But equally rich is the history of the city in the post WW II era when it grew quickly into a typically American city with icons, buildings, businesses, and events, many of which are now gone but not forgotten.


The book below will be a companion to this website.


Like the Guilderland and Scotia book shown below,

I am looking for contributors - stories, anecdotes or photos of general interest.

I had over 34 contributors for the Guilderland book and it has received rave reviews.

You will be credited for the stories and photos unless you wish to remain anonymous.

Please e-mail any contributions of stories, photos or even brief anecdotes of general interest to:


Att. John Green

For more information
please go to:




Like the Guilderland book shown below,

I am looking for contributors - stories, anecdotes or photos of general interest.

I had over 34 contributors for the Guilderland book and it has received rave reviews.

You will be credited for the stories and photos unless you wish to remain anonymous.

Please e-mail any contributions of stories, photos or even brief anecdotes of general interest to:


Att. John Green

For more information
please go to:





Faded photographs, covered now with lines and creases, tickets torn in half, memories of times and places…


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 shoe boxes. 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.

Friends or relatives might stay at the Country Squire Motel, Bailey’s Cabins, The Tom Sawyer Motor Inn, the Governors Motor Inn or the M&M Motel. A quick bite to eat was often at the Bumble Bee, Will Roy, Mike’s Diner or Walt’s Subs. Finer, more expensive fare found at The Altamont Manor, The Bavarian Chalet, The Shadow Box, Howard Johnson or Harry’s Beef Bottle and Beer. Lazy summer days were whiled away at McKown’s Grove, Tawasentha Park or French’s Hollow. Money saved to go to the Altamont Fair in August. We bought our groceries at Spinosa’s, Gruelichs, Star Market or the A&P. We filled our tanks and got our oil checked at Joe’s Service Station, O’Hanlon’s or P.L. Turnpike Yattaw Esso. Other needs satisfied by Robert Hall, Western Auto, Robinson & Hennett Hardware, Ted & Marions Sporting Goods, Candy Kraft or Master Cleaners.

Few pictures taken, because little thought was put into these and many other places that filled our lives and memories. If photos are scarce, memories, stories and anecdotes remain. The photos and stories garnered from many sources. Some from the author’s personal archives, others from the Face book page – You know you’re from Guilderland when… Many are from people, like the author, who grew up in town and in some cases still reside there or nearby. Photos may fade but memories remain intact - for the most part.

Please enjoy the walk…



122 pages 6" x 9" with many photographs and maps. 

Before the book, I made a website of the same name. This is a link to it:



This book below offers you a concise history of the Ash Fork, Arizona area from 1850-2017

to purchase

To see more click here:


Although a supernatural mystery work of fiction, the book below makes several long stops in Scotia, Schenectady and Guilderland as well as other places in the USA.


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 the consequences.

204 pages

See website for more:



This guy was on a sidewalk on Washington in the Stockade when I was taking many of the photos for this site. At first I thought it a sculpture - a closer look revealed it to be a real snapping turtle. No doubt it came up from the river.


Please also check out my entire book collection on my publisher's site, Lulu Press.


This site is strictly for your enjoyment. I maintain this at my own expense and welcome any comments, contributions of photos or for this website or companion book I am writing. (see left side column fro details). Many of these photos come from my own archives or public domain sources. Although like many of you viewing this, I have long since moved, but memories remain undimmed (mostly). Please ENJOY the walk down memory lane. --- John F. Green


Downtown here is mostly considered as State Street, Erie Boulevard, Jay Street and Union Street. The photos below cover a period from 1950 to 1980 except as noted and a few contemporary ones taken recently by the author during a month long road trip across country. (see this link)


1950 - Corner of State and Broadway looking east. Note F. W. Woolworth and some really vintage rolling stock.

1958 - State Street looking west. Proctors theater marquis is on the left. S.S. Kresge, W.T. Grant and Lerner can be discerned on the right. The railroad bridge is in the far background.

1956 Same general view to the west.


1970 - Proctor's and The Carl Company. The old Foster Hotel sign can be seen in the distance. Quite a crowd is on hand. I suspect a parade?

Date unknown - State and Erie. S.S. Kresge (the original store) and the State Theater.


Date unknown but perhaps the 30's - I am including this only because it is a good view of the Nicklaus Building which was just recently demolished in 2017.

A rainy day on State Street in the 1980's - Note Barney's Department Store on the right and the unmistakable Nicklaus building on the left.


1960- The heyday of downtown State Street viewed from the park at the confluence of State and Albany Streets. The car coming toward the camera with twin headlamps sure looks like my dad's 1957 Plymouth Savoy.

1960 - The author liked Baum's Newsroom near the bridge where he bought comic books. Old wood floors and a clowd of cigar smoke.


Also the 1960's - Learner and Wallaces. Grant's and Kresge. And who could forget roasted peanuts!

Although this photo pre-dates the period of this website, Wallace Armer Hardware was an institution in the city. Anyone remember the money tubes? If you couldn't find it at Wallace Armer - they didn't make it! The Bodenstab family owned it for many years.

The above photos are contemporary - 2107 taken from the Park at the top of downtown State Street.

Before it was Schenectady County Community College it was The Hotel Van Curler. This aerial view shows the approach to The Great Western Gateway Bridge and the infamous "dead man's curve." Directly across from the hotel was WRGB television studios -- the oldest TV station in the country. The General Electric Broadcasting Company.

1974 - the end of an era and the last remaining part of the bridge - ironically, "deadman's curve." The new bridge is much straighter.


GE and the American Locomotive company gave Schenectady the nickname -- “The City that Lit and Hauled the World.” It was so named, because it had been chosen by Thomas Edison to be the headquarters and principle manufacturing plant of the General Electric Company. The American Locomotive Company also was located there. It finally closed down after the Korean War in 1955. At it's Zenith GE employed approximately 42,000 people in and around Schenectady. Today, it is but a shadow of it's former glory.

In many ways, Scotia families of this time-period were often linked to businesses in Schenectady – especially General Electric, which at one time employed over 42,000 people. The five o’clock whistle from the GE plant was the signal for children to head home for supper.  

This story comes from Deb Gatta:

I am a Scotia native, born in 1962, who married into the “Gatta Dynasty.”  I refer to them as “The Kennedys of Scotia.”  If you were in Scotia Glenville High School from 1976-1980 chances were that you knew at least one person from the Gatta family -- and likely more.  We had four in our grade! 

My dad worked at GE.  In our family, we ate at 5:30 p.m. sharp.  GE let out at 5 p.m. and Dad was home by 5:15 p.m.  If he got home a minute after that he would say, “That darned GE traffic,” which meant that he didn’t make it through the light going from Washington Avenue onto the State Street bridge.  

GE was more than just a job for my father, it was also where he met my mother. My mom won the title of Miss Schenectady GE and then he won her heart.  She was a long distance switchboard operator and the sweet sound of her voice caught his ear.  He asked her out and the rest was history. My husband’s grandfather worked at GE, as did his father and many of his relatives. Everyone I knew had pens, pencils and pads of graph paper from GE.

John, my husband, worked in the park maintenance department and I worked in the Collin Park Retreat over the summers when we were in college. He would come over during his 10 a.m. break to play 4-square with the kids at The Retreat and they would sing, “Debbie’s in love with the garbage man.” For lunch, we would always go over to Jumpin' Jack's and then to the Twin Freeze.

Years later, they removed the Twin Freeze sign.  We would go into it and ask the people working there if they knew where Twin Freeze was.  None of them ever did.  We would shake our heads and chuckle.  How could that “company history,” not have been passed along?


Although the Stockade district falls centuries outside of the scope of this site, it is as well known to the boomer generation as the founders. The author when entertaining out of town visitors always included a drive or walk through the Stockade.

Lawrence stands guard in the heart of the stockade district.

Please pardon this photo. My favorite intersection in the country - for obvious reasons.

The historic Campbell house.

Although on the edge of the stockade, on Erie, Boulevard Bowl is still in business, unlike so many others.

This is the Stockade seen from the Scotia side of the Mohawk River on Shonowie Avenue.



A footbridge fro GE employees from Hamilton Hill to get to the plant. The spiral walkway on I-890 is long gone but the remnants of the concrete walkway on the lower left is still there.

1956 - The Royal Academy of Beauty and Culture. The author's mother is 4th from the right, facing the camera with her hands in front.

Catalyn Street when it was the offices of Creative Colleagues. Previous to that the Genium Publishing Company. Originally, the headquarters and showroom of the Dearstine Lumber Company. At one time Dearstine Lumber occupied the entire corner.


Please e-mail any contributions of stories, photos or even brief anecdotes of general interest to:


Att. John Green

As noted above, this site is a work in progress -
Some of the other things I would LOVE to include:

• Linton.
• Mont Pleasant
• Upper State Street
• Union Street and Vicinity
• Plus anything of interest to this time-period.


Also - please visit the sister sits to this:





And anything else of interest to aging old fogies like the author of this site. Born in Bellevue Hospital (as were both of my sons) I spend a lot of time in and around Schenectady. I also lived in Guilderland from 1957 to 1984, but spent half of my youth 1953-1966 in Scotia with my grandparents on 105 Third Street and Mohawk Ave, across from Collins Park.

updated 12/10/2017