Watervliet, New York

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Watervliet, New York
City of Watervliet
Watervliet as seen when entering the city on Congress Street Bridge from Troy
Etymology: From Dutch for "water brook, or water stream"
The Arsenal City
Albany County New York incorporated and unincorporated areas Watervliet highlighted.svg
Location in Albany County and the state of New York.
New York in United States (US48).svg
Location of New York in the United States
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Location in New York
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Watervliet (the United States)
Coordinates: 42°43′29″N73°42′22″W / 42.72472°N 73.70611°W / 42.72472; -73.70611 Coordinates: 42°43′29″N73°42′22″W / 42.72472°N 73.70611°W / 42.72472; -73.70611
Country United States
State New York
County Albany
Incorporation as city 1896
  TypeCity Hall
  MayorMichael Manning (D)
  General Manager Jeremy Smith
  Total1.48 sq mi (3.82 km2)
  Land1.34 sq mi (3.48 km2)
  Water0.13 sq mi (0.34 km2)
30 ft (9 m)
Lowest elevation
0 ft (0 m)
(2018) [2]
  Density7,524.16/sq mi (2,904.04/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (EST)
  Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP Code
Area code(s) 518
FIPS code 36-001-78674
FIPS code 36-78674 [3]
GNIS feature ID0968918 [4]
Wikimedia CommonsWatervliet, New York
Website www.watervliet.com

Watervliet ( /wɔːtərˈvlt/ waw-tər-VLEET or /wɔːtərvəˈlt/ waw-tər-və-LEET) is a city in Albany County in the U.S. state of New York. The population was 10,254 as of the 2010 census. [5] Watervliet is north of Albany, the capital of the state, and is bordered on the north, west, and south by the town of Colonie. The city is also known as "the Arsenal City". [6]

Albany County, New York County in the United States

Albany County is a county in the state of New York, in the United States. Its northern border is formed by the Mohawk River, at its confluence with the Hudson River, which is on the east. As of the 2010 census, the population was 304,204. The county seat is Albany, the state capital of New York. As originally established by the English government in the colonial era, Albany County had an indefinite amount of land, but has had an area of 530 square miles (1,400 km2) since March 3, 1888. The county is named for the Duke of York and of Albany, who became James II of England.

U.S. state constituent political entity of the United States

In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders.



The explorer Henry Hudson arrived in the area of Watervliet around 1609. The area was first settled in 1643 as part of the Rensselaerswyck patroonship, under the direction of Kiliaen van Rensselaer. In 1710, Derrick van der Heyden operated a ferry from the Bleeker Farm (near 16th Street) across the Hudson River to Troy. Troops during the Revolutionary War used this ferry in 1777 on their way to Bemis Heights and Stillwater for the Battle of Saratoga. In 1786, a second ferry was started at Ferry Street (today 14th Street) over to Troy. [7] The town of Watervliet was founded in 1788 and included all of present-day Albany County except what was in the city of Albany at the time. Because so many towns had been created from the town of Watervliet, it is regarded as the "mother of towns" in the county.[ citation needed ] In 1816, as the first post office was erected, corner of River and Ferry streets (Broadway and 14th Street), it took the name Watervliet. [7]

Henry Hudson English explorer

Henry Hudson was an English sea explorer and navigator during the early 17th century, best known for his explorations of present-day Canada and parts of the northeastern United States.

American Revolutionary War War between Great Britain and the Thirteen Colonies, which won independence as the United States of America

The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence, was an 18th-century war between Great Britain and its Thirteen Colonies which declared independence as the United States of America.

Stillwater, New York Town

Stillwater is a town in Saratoga County, New York, United States, with an estimated population of 8,547 in 2016. The town contains a village called Stillwater. The town is at the eastern border of the county, southeast of Saratoga Springs and borders both Rensselaer and Washington counties. Saratoga National Historical Park is located within the town's limits. There is a hamlet in Minerva, Essex County, New York with the same name which has nothing to do with this town.

West Troy in 1866 West troy1866.jpeg
West Troy in 1866

The location of the future city was taken by the village of Gibbonsville (1824) and its successor West Troy, and the hamlet of Washington (later Port Schuyler). [8] The farm owned by John Bleeker, stretching north from Buffalo Street (Broadway and 15th Street) to the farm owned by the Oothout family near 25th Street was purchased by Philip Schuyler, Isais Warren, Richard P. Hart, Nathan Warren, and others in 1823; they named it West Troy. Gibbonsville was the farm of James Gibbons (which he purchased in 1805), which stretched from North Street (8th Street) to Buffalo Street (15th Street). [7] Washington was settled sometime before 1814 and was the area south of Gibbonsville and today the area of Watervliet south of the Arsenal; it became known as Port Schuyler in 1827. [8] Although Gibbonsville and West Troy sat side by side (West Troy lying on Gibbonsville's northern boundary), there was a rivalry between the two and each named and laid out their streets with no regard to the street names and grids of the other. [8] In 1824 Gibbonsville became incorporated as a village, and in 1836 this was repealed when West Troy became incorporated as a village including Gibbonsville and Port Schuyler; [8] and in 1847 the Watervliet post office changed its name to West Troy. [9] In 1830, Gibbonsville had 559 people, West Troy 510, and Port Schuyler 450. [9]

In 1865, present-day Watervliet was included in the Capital Police Force within the Troy District. This attempt at regional consolidation of municipal police failed and in 1870 the West Troy Police Force was organized. [7]

Capital District, New York Region in New York, United States

The Capital District, also known as the Capital Region, is the metropolitan area surrounding Albany, the capital of the U.S. state of New York. With a population of 1,170,483 (2013), the Capital District is the third largest metropolitan region in the state and the 45th largest in the country. Companies that have headquarters in Albany include CommerceHub and the Environment One Corporation. In the 21st century, the Capital District has emerged as a major anchor of Tech Valley, the moniker describing the technologically-focused region of eastern New York State. The Capital District was first settled by the Dutch in the early 17th century and came under English control in 1664. Albany has been the permanent capital of the state of New York since 1797. The Capital District is notable for many historical events that predate the independence of the United States, including the Albany Plan of Union and The Battles of Saratoga.

By 1895, what was known as the town of Watervliet was reduced to the present-day city of Watervliet (village of West Troy at the time), town of Colonie, and the village/town of Green Island. Colonie would split off in 1895, and the city of Watervliet was incorporated in 1896 at the same time that Green Island became a town of its own.[ citation needed ]

Colonie, New York Town in New York, United States

Colonie is a town in Albany County, New York, United States. It is the most populous suburb of Albany, New York, and is the third largest town in area in Albany County, occupying about 11% of the county. Several hamlets exist within the town. As of the 2010 census, the town had a total population of 81,591.

Green Island, New York Town and village in New York, United States

Green Island is a coterminous town-village in Albany County, New York, United States some 8 miles (13 km.) north of Albany, New York. Green Island is one of only five such town-village amalgams in New York. The population was 2,620 at the 2010 census. The postal code is 12183.

In the early 19th century Watervliet became a major manufacturing community much like its neighbors Cohoes and Troy, thanks to bell foundries. The first was located on Water Street (Broadway), between 14th and 15th Streets, by Julius Hanks, and the first bell foundry in Gibbonsville was established in 1826 by Andrew Menelly, Sr. [7] This would be the genesis of the Meneely Bell Foundry, which made thousands of bells that are still in use today from Iowa to the Czech Republic.[ citation needed ]

Cohoes, New York City in New York, United States

Cohoes is an incorporated city located in the northeast corner of Albany County in the U.S. state of New York. It is called the "Spindle City" because of the importance of textile manufacturing to its growth in the 19th century. The city's factories processed cotton from the Deep South.

Meneely Bell Foundry

There were two Meneely bell founderies, based on either side of the Hudson River in New York state.

Iowa State of the United States of America

Iowa is a state in the Midwestern United States, bordered by the Mississippi River to the east and the Missouri River and Big Sioux River to the west. It is bordered by six states; Wisconsin to the northeast, Illinois to the east, Missouri to the south, Nebraska to the west, South Dakota to the northwest, and Minnesota to the north.

Historic Iron Building at Watervliet Arsenal Watervliet Arsenal museum.GIF
Historic Iron Building at Watervliet Arsenal

In 1813, the U.S. Federal Government purchased from James Gibbons 12 acres (49,000 m2) in Gibbonsville, in 1828 another 30 acres (120,000 m2), along with later purchases from S. S. Wandell and others. [7] This land was used as the site for the Watervliet Arsenal, founded in 1813 during the War of 1812, it is the oldest Federal arsenal in the country; and is the sole manufacturing facility for large caliber cannon.[ citation needed ] John C. Heenan, U.S. heavyweight boxing champion and contender for the world title in 1860, was once employed at the Arsenal. [7]

The main route of the Erie Canal from Buffalo to Albany ran through Watervliet, and because the canal bypassed the city of Troy, the city's business community decided a "short cut" was needed for convenient access to the Erie Canal without having to go through the Albany Basin. A side-cut to the Hudson was at Watervliet's present-day 23rd Street (the Upper Side cut) finished in 1823, [8] and another just south of the Arsenal (the Lower Side cut). [10] A weigh station and a center for paying canal boat operators was here as well.[ citation needed ] As a result of canal boat crews being paid at the end of their trip, the areas around the side cut was once famous for gambling, saloons, and prostitution; there were more than 25 saloons within two blocks, [10] with names like The Black Rag and Tub of Blood. [11] The neighborhood around the side cut had the nickname of "Barbary Coast of the East", Buffalo being the "Barbary Coast of the West". [10] [11] In the 1880s, Watervliet had a reputation for over 100 fights a day and a body once in the week in the Canal. [11]

Also linking Watervliet to the transportation network of the region was the Watervliet Turnpike and the Albany and Northern Railway. The Watervliet Turnpike Company in 1828 built present-day New York State Route 32 from the northern boundary of Albany north to the northern limit of Gibbonsville (now Broadway and 15th Street). [7] The Albany and Northern Railway was built in 1852 connecting Watervliet to Albany, with a depot on Genesee Street; a few years later a new depot was built on Canal Street (Central Avenue) but was abandoned in favor of returning to the original location in 1864. [8]

As of August 2017, the mayor of Watervliet was Michael Manning, [12] elected to his first term in 2007. Mr. Manning, a Democrat, defeated incumbent Mayor Robert Carlson in a rare Democratic primary election in September 2007. [13]

The Ohio Street Methodist Episcopal Church Complex, St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church, Watervliet Arsenal, and Watervliet Side Cut Locks are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. [14]

St. Patrick's Church controversy

St. Patrick Church as it appeared in 2012. Church of St. Patrick (Watervliet, New York) - side view.JPG
St. Patrick Church as it appeared in 2012.

In September 2011, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany decided to close St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, citing physical deterioration of the building. The parish was merged with Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, and was unable to afford the estimated $4 million cost to rehabilitate the building. [15] Built in 1889, [16] St. Patrick's Church was the tallest point in the city. [17] The church was closely modeled on the Upper Basilica in Lourdes, and many Watervliet residents considered it a defining piece and landmark of the city's architecture. [18]

In March 2012, a developer filed a proposal to rezone the property from residential to business status so that it could raze the church (as well as an attached rectory, former school building, and six private residences) in order to make way for a Price Chopper grocery store. [15] [19] Some members of the community responded to the proposal to raze the church with criticism and legal challenges, [20] [21] [22] [23] but on November 20, 2012, the Watervliet City Council voted unanimously to allow the rezoning. [24] The deconstruction of the church was completed in May 2013, [25] and a new Price Chopper supermarket opened on the site in July 2014. [26]

Notable people


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.5 square miles (3.8 km2), of which 1.4 square miles (3.5 km2) is land and 0.12 square miles (0.3 km2), or 8.79%, is water. [5]

Watervliet is bordered on three sides by the town of Colonie (on the north by the hamlet of Maplewood, on the west by the hamlets of Latham and Mannsville, and on the south by the hamlet of Schuyler Heights). The northeastern corner of Watervliet is bounded by the town and village of Green Island. South of Green Island, Watervliet is bounded on the east by the Hudson River (which is the boundary between Albany County and Rensselaer County). The city of Troy is across the river from Watervliet. Watervliet is mostly flat, but begins an extreme slope in the center of its most westerly edge (especially between the Watervliet Arsenal and 19th Street, an area once called "Temperance Hill").[ citation needed ]



Watervliet Historical Populations
1840 4,572    
1850 6,900+50.9%
1860 8,952+29.7%
1870 10,693+19.4%
1880 8,820−17.5%
1890 12,967+47.0%
1900 14,321+10.4%
1910 15,074+5.3%
1920 16,073+6.6%
1930 16,083+0.1%
1940 16,114+0.2%
1950 15,197−5.7%
1960 13,917−8.4%
1970 12,404−10.9%
1980 11,354−8.5%
1990 11,061−2.6%
2000 10,207−7.7%
2010 10,254+0.5%
Notes: Census numbers for 1840 to 1890 are for the village of West Troy (incorporated 1836), which became the city of Watervliet in 1896.
*1880 census was not considered accurate and estimates put population at roughly 11,000* [9]
U.S. Decennial Census [27]

As of the census [3] of 2000, there were 10,254 people, 4,683 households, and 2,564 families residing in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 84.00% White, 10.87% African American, 0.18% Native American, 2.34% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 2.21% from other races, and 1.33% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.62% of the population.

There were 4,665 households out of which 26.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.9% were married couples living together, 16.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.4% were non-families. 38.3% of all households were made up of individuals. The median income for a household in the city was $32,910, and the median income for a family was $38,735. About 12.3% of families and 13.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.7% of those under age 18 and 5.7% of those age 65 or over.

See also

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