A Brief History of the Mount Ida Neighborhood - Immigration

During the same year the firm of Manning and Howland built its first major paper factory along the Poesten Kill, laying the foundations for what would be the last active water-powered business to leave the stream.                      

[Figure 5] The Fifth Ward underwent drastic changes in the thirty years between 1845 and 1875.  Like all of Troy, its population continued to grow throughout the nineteenth century, more than quadrupling from 1,067 in 1845 to 4.354 in 1875—this while losing a portion of its area to other wards.  Far more indicative of the neighborhood’s growing importance, however, was the percentage of residents it could claim.  In 1845 the Fifth Ward was home to only 4.9 percent of the city’s residents; by 1875, almost nine percent of Troy lived there.*  Much of this phenomenal growth had been fueled by immigrants who saw in the Mount Ida neighborhood the opportunities created by its expanding industrial girth. By 1855 an even forty percent of the ward’s residents had been born outside the country.  For them, Mount Ida represented hope and possibility.   

Figure 5

Figure 6

[Figure 6] Prior to 1850 there was little residential development east of Fifteenth Street.  Most Trojans still lived and worked within blocks of the Hudson River, so there was slight incentive to make the trip along the very steep incline that leads to Upper Congress.  Mount Ida had indeed witnessed substantial growth in housing, but this stock tended to sprout on the southern side of the Poesten Kill Gorge and below the western face of the hill overlooking downtown. 

*** Kellogg explained the difference between the operations:  “The mill to which this estimate is applicable, is the flouring mill of four runs of stones, capable of grinding four runs of bushels per day.  The Factory is the common cotton factory of average capacity, and supposed to require but half the power of the mill.”  The City of Troy: Its Commerce, Manufactures, and Resources (Troy, NY: Young and Hartt, 1847), 31.    Kellogg, who identified himself in reference to Troy only as “one of its merchants,” thickened the rhetoric:  “The data for these calculations were obtained by actual admeasurements, taken in the month of August in that year [1834], during one of the severest droughts with which this section of the country had been visited for many years.  The maximum or even the ordinary average must be much greater.” 30. [From page 4]

* Census of the State of New York for 1845 and 1875.


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