A Brief History of the Mount Ida Neighborhood - Water

[Figure 2] When Sweer Theunissen Van Velsen built the first mill on the Poesten Kill prior to 1667, the area that would become the City of Troy was barely distinguishable from the rest of the region.*  Three Dutch patroons owned the totality of the wooded land, and none built his own home more than a modern block or two from the Hudson River.  Van Velsen was only third second non-indigenous settler north of the Wynants Kill and east of the flood plain, drawn away from the relative safety of the Hudson River by the thundering cascade that tumbled from atop Mount Ida.  The foment at the base of the nearly two-hundred foot drop had caused early Dutch settlers to name the stream the Poesten Kill, meaning “foaming” or “bubbling” creek.**  This foam was a consequence of the powerful forces inherent in the falls, and the mighty waters themselves provided all the energy necessary to fuel the industrial boom to come.  During the following three hundred years the Poesten Kill would see the rise, splendor and eventual demise of the mills and factories that gave birth and purpose to the neighborhood above.  Although nature has again engulfed and largely reclaimed the stream and its banks, Mount Ida still clearly has its roots in the waters below. 

[Figure 3] The second wave of New England emigrants in the later eighteenth century promptly exploited the natural resource that had driven Van Velsen’s modest saw mill.  The English Yankees were quick to see that the Poesten Kill’s terminus at the Hudson River made the stream an ideal location for manufacturing, with an ease of transport that would only improve with the rapid expansion of the city and state’s infrastructure. 

* Rutherford Hayner, Troy and Rensselaer County New York, A History (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1925), 49.

** Nathaniel B. Sylvester, History of Rensselaer County (Philadelphia: Everts and Peck, 1880), 175.

Figure 2

Figure 3

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