When the Dutch West India Company explored and settled the Hudson Valley, two palisaded villages bordered the north and south ends of the original Troy area: Monemius, or Moenemine’s Castle, on Peebles Island in the north, and Unwatt’s Castle at the mouth of the Piscawenkill. The beaver pelt rage of the 17th century led Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, a jeweler and Director of the Dutch West India Company, to obtain a land grant and organized his Patroonship on both sides of the Hudson in 1629.
It is Jan Barenstz Wemp, known as Poest (from which we get Poestenkill) and an agent of the Patroon, who makes the land deal with the Mohicans for the purchase of what is going to become Troy. Then though a series of transactions becomes the land of the three great-grandsons of Derick Vanderheyden: Jacob I, Jacob D., and Matthais. Because of the location of Jacob D.’s land at the head of navigation on the Hudson River, most of the immigrants chose his land to settle. On January 5, 1789, the population met and decided to change their name from Vanderheyden to Troy, after the legendary Troy of Homer’s Iliad.
The first quarter of the ninetieth century was a tremendous period of growth for the emerging City, and Troy’s burgeoning industrial roots and the innovativeness of its citizens earned it the name “birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.” Only Pittsburgh, PA rivaled Troy in the production of iron and steel products, and the collar and cuff industry was founded here. Troy also become the center of American science with the founding of the Rensselaer School (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), led by the father of American geology Amos Eaton, and Emma Willard created the first female college, the Troy Female Seminary, in 1821.
Today, Troy is the embodiment of high tech with class—the technology and sophistication of the twenty-first century wedded to the charm and livability of the nineteenth. The Victorian downtown area is even charming enough to attract a number of movie producers, dubbing Troy “Hollywood on the Hudson.”