A Brief History of the Mount Ida Neighborhood - Transition

 “No city in America offers a more prolific theme for favorable comment than Troy,” the Citizens’ Association of Troy wrote in its 1895 marketing handbook, “one of the most famous cities on the American continent and one of the most thriving.”*  The tract’s boasts of clean streets and a thriving “intellectual vigor and refinement” could not disguise either the reality that the city’s important iron industry was moribund or that the project’s sponsors saw fit to have this testament to Trojan pride printed in Rochester.

[Figure 23] The campaign continued more or less unabated.  Troy formed a chamber of commerce in 1902 and in 1908 the group launched “Troy Week” to boost slumping local pride and attendant relocation.  The Chamber also produced a slick publication entitled The Reporter to carry the message of the city’s imagined rebirth.** 

The occasion itself was a well-orchestrated endorsement of the city, designed to function as both a homecoming for relocated Trojans and an enticement for potential businesses.  Unlike its 1895 forerunner, the 1908 drive focused as much on the benefits of life in the community as it did on the litany of vestigial industries (especially collars and cuffs) and the potential for economic development.  Although Troy was indeed improving its infrastructure through such actions as the acquisition of private land for public parks and the long overdue paving of important streets, the financial benefits of the campaign were transitory.  People did come to the city for the events of Troy Week and the Hudson-Fulton Celebration one year later, but they departed just as quickly as they arrived, leaving in their wake no new substantial manufacturing concerns.

* The Industrial Advantages of Troy, N.Y. and Environs (James P. McKinney, Publishers: Rochester, N.Y., 1895), 3.

** Troy Chamber of Commerce.  The Reporter for Troy Week, 1908 (Troy Chamber of Commerce: Troy, NY, 1908).  One of the more telling signs of growing local dispiritedness was Frederick Drowns’ installment in The Reporter dubbed “The Trojan’s Creed.”  The “Creed” was anything but dogmatic, asking its adherent at one point to profess that “I shall always hail from Troy when visiting elsewhere,” 34.     



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