A Brief History of the Mount Ida Neighborhood - Quality of Life

Methodists were the exception, committing themselves to a substantial brick structure on Thirteenth Street in 1849.*  The congregation of the new Congress Street Methodist Church had been moved up the mount from the “Hemlock Church,” a wooden building on the south side of Ferry Street at its intersection with Congress.  The new location was a point of dissension, however, and some members of the church were so dissatisfied with the move up the hill that they withdrew from the flock to erect a separate brick edifice on the site of the old wooden church.  This disagreement among the Methodists points to the most obvious element of the geography of Mount Ida: the slope is remarkably steep.  Trolleys were still fifteen years into the future, and most people would have been forced to walk up the incline.  It is no coincidence that the designation “Mount Ida” began to displace the more common “Ida Hill” at the very point in time that a large number of people were required to climb it.

 

[Figure 18] The advent of the trolley would change life on Mount Ida, helping to bridge the gap between downtown and what could seem like a distant outpost.  Horses began pulling the streetcars up the Congress Street incline in the spring of 1866, one of the last routes established in Troy.**  Electric streetcars replaced the horse-drawn trolleys in 1889 (only one year after Richmond, Virginia launched the world’s first electric street railway),*** and the entire route was retired in favor of motorized busses in November of 1926.**** 

* Weise, Troy and Its Vicinity, 210.  The church, greatly enlarged and Gothicized in the 1880s, was razed in the 1960s.

** Fred B. Abele Transportation History Collection, “Notes on Various Routes.”  New York State Library, Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections, SC 22662, Box 52, Folder 5.

** Phelan and Carroll, 38.

**** Fred B. Abele Transportation History Collection, “United Traction Chronology.”  New York State Library, Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections, SC 22662, Box 52, Folder 3.

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