Classic Tales of Old Dorp: Ellis among outstanding citizens of Schenectady

Who was Schenectady's most outstanding citizen in its long history? Former columnist Larry Hart gave

The Daily Gazette is reprinting excerpts of the late Larry Hart’s long-running column, “Tales of Old Dorp.” Today, Hart answers a question that could have many answers. This column excerpt originally was published May 27, 1980.

Another among the questions most often asked of us, as Schenectady city and county historian, is “Who do you think, in its entire history, might be called Schenectady’s most outstanding citizen?”

Could there be a tougher question, one that could be answered with definiteness, without hesitation? We think not.

Our community is one year shy of its 320th anniversary, which is a long time and a lot of people to sift out a person’s credentials as candidate for Schenectady’s greatest citizen.”

Personally, we might lean a bit in favor of John Ellis, who organized the Schenectady Locomotive Works in 1851 and hyped this city’s industrial era, but there is plenty of margin for competition for the title. That’s why a projected Wall of Fame to be installed at the Schenectady County Historical Society’s headquarters at 32 Washington Ave. should prove interesting — if, for nothing else, to cull just a few of the most qualified candidates from among the many already nominated.

Understand, we’re going all the way back to Arendt Van Curler, Schenectady’s founder!

Categories: Life and Arts

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