The East Front Street Neighborhood has undergone some serious transitions since the Dutch first settled Schenectady more than 350 years ago.
It was originally known as the Poor Pasture, a place where the not-so-wealthy residents of Schenectady could graze their farm animals. In the middle of the 19th century that area was swallowed up by Schenectady Locomotive Works, which eventually became the American Locomotive Works and dominated the landscape until 1969. Now, the neighborhood shares that land with The Rivers Casino and Resort.
Located just east of the railroad overpass at the Stockade border, west of the casino and along the southern banks of the Mohawk River, the East Front Street Neighborhood will soon be undergoing another transition. With the help of grant money from the Schenectady Foundation through the city's Thriving Neighborhoods Challenge, East Front Street is going to get a bit more colorful.
Mary Ann Ruscitto, who has lived her entire life in the neighborhood, said the project will get started as soon as some construction work in the area is complete. She has created a new logo for the East Front Street Neighborhood, which features the image of a streaming locomotive.
"We are going to use the logo on our welcome to the East Front St. banners, and we're going to use it on our new trash cans," said Ruscitto, who has spearheaded the project named Reawakening East Front Street. "We are also doing a mural under the railroad bridge that separates us from the Stockade. Our side is going to have the logo, the other side is going to have pictures of the history of our neighborhood. We're doing this all with the money we got from the Schenectady Foundation."
In my new role as Schenectady County Historian, I will have public hours at the main branch (Karen B. Johnson Library) of the county library on Tuesday from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and Thursday from 1 p.m.-4 p.m.
Feel free to come on down, ask a question, or tell me something I don't know. Schenectady's history is vast and varied and I never run out of new discoveries.