By Authur Einig
1. Who is Uncle Sam?
2. Where did the first walk-off grand slam take place, and who hit it?
3. The word “excelsior” appears on the scroll at the bottom of New York State’s coat of arms. What does it mean?
4. Which U.S. President was born in Kinderhook, Columbia County.
5. George McClellan, many folks know, was a Union civil war general and candidate for president in 1864. Was he born and raised in the Capital Region?
6. Founded in 1978, this annual two-day jazz festival has featured greats such as Miles Davis, B.B. King, Dave Brubeck.
7. Is there a museum devoted to the Capital Region’s Dutch heritage?
8. I heard that Washington Park was originally a burial grounds. Is that true?
9. Is there a replica of the Half Moon in the Capitol Region?
10. I like the old school, historic look. Can I get windows, doors, radiators and such from by-gone eras? No mail order. I like to see my parts first-hand. Is there a place in the Capital Region where I can get these parts?
11. What is the oldest surviving building in Albany? Who owns it?
12. Whitehall, in Washington County, is often called “the birthplace of the United States Navy.” Why is that?
13. What was the name of Albany before the English named it so in 1664? 1
4. Bennington is in Vermont, so the Battle of Bennington occurred there, right? 1
5. Besides Howe’s Caverns, what other attraction is located in the town of Howe’s Cave?
16. Caves in the town of Howe’s Cave other than Howe’s Caverns? Really?
17. Are there any Volkswagens on top of smokestacks around here?
18. Is there a view nearby where I can see five states?
19. Is there a gorgeous state park in Schoharie County?
20. Where in the Capital Region can I learn about slate quarrying?
1. Sam Wilson of Troy was a meat-packer from Troy who supplied beef to the US Army in the War of 1812. Legend has it that package of the beef was stamped “US,” meaning they were meant for the army, but some worker told some other worker that it meant Uncle Sam, meaning Sam Wilson and Uncle Sam soon became synonymous with the United States. Wilson is interred at Oakwood Cemetery in Troy.
2. In 1881, the city of Troy fielded a National League baseball team. Their big power-hitter was Roger Connor. He hit it, though the term “walk-off” hadn’t been coined yet (the term didn’t exist until 1981). The powerful Connor held the major league home run record until a kid named Babe Ruth broke it.
3. “Ever upward”
4. Martin Van Buren
5. Yes, George McClellan was born and raised here but not the Civil War general. There were two famous George McClellans. The general was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1826, while our George McClellan was born in 1856, in Columbia County’s town of Schodack. He graduated from Albany Law School in 1880 and devoted his life to public service, focusing on the people of his home county. In 1927, he was laid to his well-deserved rest in the Nassau-Schodack Cemetery of Rensselaer County.
6. Freihofer’s Jazz Festival in SPAC in Saratoga Springs
7. Yes. The Crailo State Historic Site, in Rensselaer on the east bank of the Hudson. From Albany, take the Dunn Memorial Bridge to get there. (Many people don’t know who Mr. Dunn was. The full name of the bridge is Private Parker F. Dunn Memorial Bridge. He was a U.S. Army Medal of Honor recipient.)
8. The State Street Burying Grounds was established in 1800 and was much smaller than the Washington Park that exists today. Overcrowding soon became a major problem and it fell deeper and deeper into a state of disrepair. In the late 1860s, the city paid to have all the residents of the Burying Grounds exhumed and moved to the newer, larger and more kept-up Albany Rural Cemetery.
9. In 1989, the New Netherlands Museum in Albany built, and still owns, a replica of Henry Hudson’s Half Moon. In 2015, it was loaned to the Westfries Museum in the Netherlands. In the interest of speed, she was hoisted onto a huge transportation ship headed for Hoorn, her original home port and a key harbor town of the Dutch East India Company. The Half Moon will be back one day, but for now, get binoculars and satisfy your need to see her by looking at the eight-foot tall brass weathervane that sits on the roof of SUNY Administration building in downtown Albany.
10. What a convenience for old-house lovers! The Historic Albany Foundation runs a historic parts warehouse where they sell and/or take donations.
11. The Van Ostrande-Radliff House was built in 1728. See it at 48 Hudson Ave. In 2013, the Historic Albany Foundation purchased it.
12. In 1776, a naval battle at Valcours Bay Island (near Plattsburgh) was fought. Fifteen ships were built at Whitehall. A second contributing factor to Whitehall’s “birthplace” legacy was the fact that she built many of our navy’s ships during the War of 1812. As a point of interest, the wreck of the gunboat, Spitfire, used in the Battle of Valcours Island, was found in 1997 by the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in Ferrisburgh, Vermont. It still rests at the bottom of the lake, but a replica of another gunboat, the Philadelphia, floats near the museum.)
14. Nope. Although the Bennington Monument is, indeed, in the town of Bennington, the Battle of Bennington was fought some ten miles away in Walloomsac, Rensselaer County (just east of North Hoosick).
15. Inside a longhouse is the Iroquois Indian Museum, which has the largest collection of Iroquois art and artifacts in the United States. The Iroquois were comprised of the Five Nations: the Onandaga, Mohawk, Seneca, Oneida and the Cayuga. They were later joined by the Tuscarora, so there’s a lot to see here and if you want to learn about the Native Americans who lived here before we did.
16. Really. The Secret Caves. Caverns Road, of course. Quieter than Howe’s simply because not so many people know about this place.
17. Oddly enough, yes. In Amsterdam, off Ann Street, alongside the Mohawk.
18. Yes. In the town of Windham (Greene County). The panoramic views of NY’s Helderbergs, the Green Mts. of Vermont, the scenic Connecticut Valley, NH’s White Mts. and the Berkshires in Massachusetts, especially when the leaves change take one’s breath away. Drive there via the Mohican Trail – Rte. 23. Windham is a town for exploring. It’s pretty rural, laid back, relaxed, quiet and very scenic. It’s at the western edge of the county and borders on Catskill Park, so it’s on the far reaches of the Capital Region.
19. Yes. Mine Kill State Park in North Blenheim, named for the waterfalls in the park. It offers great activities year-round and is also a great place for bird-watching.
20. The Slate Valley Museum in Washington County. Granville, to be specific. Near the Vermont border. Artifacts, displays, a quarry shanty, videos, Photos, etc. make it a thorough learning experience.