A Brief History of the Mount Ida Neighborhood - Transition

The last major attempt to entice industry with the mistaken promise of steady growth was in 1916 on the 100th anniversary of Troy’s incorporation as a city.  The Chamber of Commerce published further claims of a population on the rise, even though Troy had experienced the sharpest population decline of any city in New York State between 1910 and 1915.*  Between 1910 and 1920, Troy’s population shrank by almost 5,000 persons and fell from seventy-second to ninety-eighth among American cities.** 

By 1930 Troy was no longer among the top 100 cities, the first time in its history it had fallen from the list it would never revisit.  The chamber’s fantastic vision of Troy as a thriving metropolis in 2016 stands almost without comment.

By the time the Industrial Publicity of the Troy Chamber of Commerce published Looking into Troy Industrially in the early part of 1938 hubris was abandoned in favor of practicality.  The booklet concentrated almost exclusively on the logistics of such elements as freight handling, electrical distribution and industrial accident data.  Like most northeast cities, Troy was desperate for industry and made no attempts to hide that fact.  “Troy’s labor is conservative,” the chamber noted, and “the medium rental [for worker housing] here is the lowest in the state”—a truth made real by the housing glut left in the wake of the thinning population.  Potential industrialists were courted with promises of a “sympathetic municipal administration” that would be “friendly to industry.” ***  The report made use of 1937 and 1938 statistics on safety, tax rates, municipal expenses, etc., but it portrayed its population via1930 Census data.  The numbers were accordingly skewed.

Arthur Perry Brigham, “The Population of New York State,” Geographical Review (Volume 2, Number 3: September 1916), 217.

www.census.gov

Industrial Publicity Committee, Troy Chamber of Commerce, Looking into Troy Industrially (Troy, N.Y.: Whitehurst Company, 1938), 27.

 

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