Rensselaer County Historical Society History Walks

The Rensselaer County Historical Society (RCHS) offers walking tours of historic downtown Troy on Saturday mornings this September and October. Tours depart from and return to the Market Table at the Troy Farmer’s Market at 10:30 am. Each week brings a different theme for the tours, which are led by RCHS staff and frequently incorporate historic photographs and readings from letters and diaries.

September’s History Walks are part of the Hudson River Ramble. The Hudson River Valley Ramble celebrates the trails, the river and the historic and cultural resources of the Hudson River Valley Greenway and National Heritage Area. For more information about the Ramble visit www.hudsonrivervalleyramble.com
Cost: $5 per person/ RCHS members free. Reservations can be made by calling 518-272-7232 x12 or email ilenefrank@rchsonline.org . For more information, visit www.rchsonline.org

Saturday, September 8 Green Island Bridge
Discover this historic Hudson River crossing point and the various bridges that have been built at this site.

Saturday, September 15 Uncle Sam’s Life in Troy
This tour takes you to sites associated with Samuel Wilson, the &#8220real&#8221 Uncle Sam. You’ll also visit the RCHS museum, which includes artifacts from Samuel Wilson’s life and images of our national symbol.

Saturday, September 22 Amazing Architecture
Stroll the streets of downtown Troy and find a rich built environment. Tour showcases Troy’s architectural gems as you explore the range of styles found in Troy.

Saturday, September 29 The Marquis de Lafayette Visits Troy
For much of 1824 & 1825, Lafayette, the hero of the American Revolution, made a triumphal visit to the US, including visiting Troy twice. Follow in his footsteps as he was shown the bustling city that Troy had become.

Saturday, October 2 Underground Railroad
Troy was a hotbed of abolitionism. Walk to where history was made including the site of the rescue of Charles Nalle.

Saturday, October 13 Amazing Architecture
Stroll downtown Troy and you’ll find a rich built environment. This tour showcases Troy’s architectural gems and range of styles.

Saturday October 20 Monumental Troy
Join us as we look at the many monuments that remind us of wartime sacrifice, famous events and the people who left their mark on Troy.

Saturday, October 27 Murder and Mayhem
Who knows what ghosts might haunt the streets of Troy? You will, after taking part in this walk through the more colorful stories of Troy’s past

RCHS is located at 57 Second Street, Troy NY 12180.

Rensselaer County Historical Society May Close

The Rensselaer County Historical Society has announced that they may be forced to close due to economic hardship. I will reprint here the message they sent:

We Need Your Help!
Keep the lights on and history alive!

To our members and friends,

As you may have read in [yesterday’s] Times Union, RCHS is currently experiencing severe financial difficulty. The organization been running annual deficits for several years, and despite special efforts, the situation has now become critical. In a matter of weeks RCHS will no longer have funds available to meet its basic operating needs. What may have seemed &#8211 even ten years ago &#8211 a reasonable endowment with sustainable cash reserves has now dwindled to the point where we are no longer able to pay our bills. Without an immediate and substantial infusion of funds (upwards of $150,000), it appears that we will be required to close our doors while we work to implement a prudent fiscal strategy.

If we must close,

· our loyal and hardworking staff will be furloughed. Together these professionals have over 74 years of service to our community.

· exciting new educational initiatives, popular public programs, and long-planned exhibits would cease or be cancelled. The loss to our community &#8211 both economically and psychologically &#8211 would be incalculable. RCHS collections hold over 60,000 items of decorative arts, furniture, paintings, and sculpture. None of these items would remain available to the public. More importantly, an even greater number of documents relating to our past would be completely inaccessible. The utility bills alone for maintaining these collections are almost $6,000 a month.

· RCHS efforts as a major catalyst in highly visible efforts to use the historic fabric of our county to stimulate economic development will be curtailed. We hope to be able to continue serving &#8211 in fact inspiring &#8211 our community through these efforts.

We are beginning a public campaign to &#8220keep the lights on and history alive!&#8221 As in the past, we are grateful for your active interest and suggestions regarding strategies to ensure RCHS’s survival. We also urgently need your personal assistance in providing immediate financial support during this financial crisis.

Our plan is to take the next three to four months to develop &#8211 in partnership with our supporters &#8211 a new business plan for RCHS, designed to ensure its long-term sustainability. We are fortunate to have Rachel Tooker, a very experienced and energizing Transitional Executive leading this effort. The dedicated members of the RCHS board are prepared to join Rachel to discuss our finances and future plans in detail. Please give us a call if you have questions or suggestions for us.

In the meantime, here are some things you can do to help RCHS:

Help us to spread the word about RCHS and its positive impact on the community.

Distribute RCHS membership and program brochures to your clubs and community organizations.

Hold a brunch or get-together and make a group donation to RCHS.

Give an RCHS membership as a birthday present or gift to a new neighbor.

Volunteer to help with an RCHS program or project.

Send us your ideas for making RCHS sustainable and an even more valuable part of the community.