The Seventeenth CenturyThe Schenectady Stockade is one of the oldest communities in America. Founded by the Dutch on land purchased from the Mohawk Indians in 1661, it came under English rule three years later. From the earliest days a timber stockade wall enclosed the settlement; however, in 1690 a massacre and fire destroyed the village in the first of the colonial wars. With the help of the Mohawks, undaunted settlers rebuilt before the new century.
The Eighteenth CenturyThe village thrived with farming, fur trading, and boat building on the Mohawk River bank. It became a commercial transportation and military center. Schenectadians contributed significantly to the development of the west. They played an important role during the colonial wars and the Revolutionary War, after which the third stockade wall was removed. Union College, founded in 1795, was first located in the Stockade.
The Nineteenth CenturyTwo events changed the commercial life of the Stockade. In 1819 a disastrous fire destroyed businesses near the Mohawk River, and several years later the Erie Canal provided water transportation outside the old stockade boundaries. Businesses rebuilt in a new par of town. Community life still centered in the Stockade; but the area continued as mainly residential, retaining a diverse architectural legacy of houses, churches, and public buildings.
The Twentieth CenturyIn 1962 the Schenectady Stockade became the first historic district in New York State. The city established it as a legally protected historic zone under a state enabling act. In 1973 the United States Department of the Interior entered the Stockade on the National Register of Historic Places. The national recognition affirms the historic and architectural significance of the Stockade and encourages the preservation of this important part of America's heritage.