A Brief History of the Mount Ida Neighborhood - Water

Mahlon Taylor built the first paper mill in all of upstate New York along the Poesten Kill in 1792.*  Taylor erected both a grist mill and saw mill on the same property, and built a wooden flume to supply all three operations with water power.  Larger printing and paper-making firms in Albany and Hartford bought Taylor’s interests the following year and expanded the mill to produce rag paper in much larger quantities.  By the early nineteenth century at least four mills were in full-time operation between Ida Falls and the western face of Mount Ida.**  Although these mills existed primarily to serve the businesses and residents of the newly-founded City of Troy, it would not be long before their products were shipped outside the area at a similar rate.        

[Figure 4] In 1824 the United States Supreme Court ruled the North River Steamboat Company monopoly on the Hudson to be illegal, and private citizens of Troy quickly moved to form a competitive company of their own.***  Workers completed the earliest phase of the Erie Canal in 1825.  As Troy sits at the head of natural navigation on the Hudson (the river is, in fact, an estuary to this point), and lies very near to the mouth of the Mohawk River, the city became a pivotal point of transport for goods and passengers branching out in all directions.  During the next ten years the population of Troy more than doubled (from 7,895 to 16,959), and the city’s location proved a strong draw for those seeking both the beauty and industry of the Upper Hudson Valley.

* Arthur James Weise, The City of Troy and Its Vicinity (Troy, NY: Edward Green, 1886), 229.

** Edward T. Howe, “The Hudson-Mohawk Region Industrializes,” The Hudson River Valley Review (Vol. 19, No. 2: September 2002), 43.

*** The citizens celebrated the opportunity by naming the first steamboat the “Marshall,” after the Chief Justice who wrote the majority opinion.  Weise, The City of Troy and Its Vicinity, 277. 

Figure 4

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