f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

August 11, 2008

Schenectady’s 9 Front St. stars on History Detectives tonight

Filed under: Schenectady Synecdoche — David Giacalone @ 12:59 pm

afterwords (10 P.M. update, Aug. 11): Episode 7 of Season 6 of History Detectives just ended. The tale was told with interesting background details about Schenectady’s past, and the tension preserved until the end. Here, from the transcript, are Elyse Luray’s conclusions in the Front St. Blockhouse story:

Elyse: I tell Sharon and Dan that the wood dating, the stone, and the dimensions of the house were all signs that their home had been an early fortification. But without the letter from the British Governor of New York, I would never have solved our riddle. Why did maps of the period show the blockhouse to be in a different location –six hundred feet from their home? It says that Governor Cornbury ordered the stockade along Washington to be moved closer to the river. So that explains it, the blockhouse on the 1756 map, was a new blockhouse. Dan and Sharon’s home on Front Street was most likely built in the early 1700’s following the massacre. But when the town grew and the stockade was expanded and moved closer to the river, that blockhouse was abandoned for other uses. So I’m happy to tell you that in my opinion, you really do have a blockhouse.

Sharon [Cole, co-owver]: I’m thrilled it’s a blockhouse. I am in shock. You know what makes it extra special at this point now is that, when you think about it, without 9 Front Street, the other houses probably wouldn’t even be here.

Stockadians — residents of the Stockade Historic District in Schenectady, New York — tend to think our tiny, lovely neighborhood of old buildings and narrow streets along the Mohawk River is pretty special. Tonight at 9 PM, people across the nation will learn about one rather unique structure in the Stockade, when 9 Front Street is featured in a segment of the PBS History Detectives Show. Here in the NY Capital Region, we’ll be watching on WMHT-17 (see its schedule to find encore presentations).

Here’s what the History Detectives website says about its Schenectady Blockhouse Story.


AIRED: Season 6, Episode 7
THE PLACE: Upstate New York


When a young couple in Schenectady, New York purchased their dream house in the town’s historic district, they believed their home was built for a middle class family in the late 19th century, like all other homes in their neighborhood.

But four mysterious stone walls visible in the attic have led them to believe otherwise. Did this house once guard against enemy attacks during the tense years of the French and Indian Wars – nearly 300 years ago?

History Detectives determines whether this unassuming structure may have helped ensure the survival of the town of Schenectady, a 17th- and 18th-century vanguard Dutch outpost, as it fought France and her Indian allies for control of the lucrative fur trade.

Click here a brief preview clip for this Episode. See our prior post from March, “History Detectives down the block” for more details and photos.

Because the f/k/a Gang lives half a block away and walks past 9 Front Street daily, and one of our favorite Stockade-stroll companions resides therein, you can bet we’ve got the show on our refrigerator’s To Do List for 9 PM tonight (and a timer set to remind us). Check back here tomorrow for an update on the findings of Elyse Luray and the HD crew.

For more about our Stockade neighborhood, see this prior post on pink flamingoes, and this one on cherry blossoms.

sunset stroll
my gaze returns
to her flower box

… by dagosan


  1. I live on Union St., and my wife and I just got done watching the episode. It was not only a great story, it gives us even more appreciation of the historical value of our town. We look forward to taking a walk in the stockades soon (as long as it doesn’t rain anymore this summer).

    Comment by Justin — August 11, 2008 @ 8:58 pm

  2. Justin, Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Please grab an umbrella and come rain or shine.

    Comment by David Giacalone — August 11, 2008 @ 9:23 pm

  3. Very cool. My dad lived on Euclid Ave, and now I wish he lived in the Stockade area. Honestly, this show taught me a lot, because I really forgot about that area of the city. I want to go and visit again. I live in DC but still have family there.

    Comment by Cherisse — August 11, 2008 @ 9:54 pm

  4. Hello, Cherisse. I lived in DC for 20 years before moving to Schenectady in 1988. The Stockade is my favorite part of Schenectady, and Georgetown my first and favorite DC home.

    Comment by David Giacalone — August 11, 2008 @ 10:11 pm

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