Schenectady, New York

Schenectady is a city located in Schenectady County, New York, of which it is the county seat. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 61,821. The city also has the ZIP code 12345. The name "Schenectady" is derived from a Mohawk Indian word for "on that side of the pinery," or "near the pines," or "place beyond the pine plains."

The City of Schenectady is in central New York State, near the confluence of the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers. It is in the same metropolitan area as the state capital, Albany, New York; central Schenectady is about 15 miles north-west of central Albany.



The area that is now Schenectady was originally the land of the Mohawk tribe of the Iroquois Nation. When Dutch settlers arrived in the Hudson Valley in the middle of the 17th century, the Mohawk called the settlement at Fort Orange "Schau-naugh-ta-da", meaning "over the pine plains." Eventually, this word entered the lexicon of the Dutch settlers, but the meaning was reversed, and the name referred to the bend in the Mohawk River where the city lies today.

Schenectady was first settled in 1661 when the area was a colony of the Netherlands. Settlement was led by Arent Van Curler, who was granted letters of patent to Schenectady in 1684.

On February 8, 1690 the town was attacked and overrun by forces of France and their Native American allies, who burned the town and killed all but 60 of the inhabitants.

In 1765 Schenectady was incorporated as a borough. It was chartered as a city in 1798.

Union College was founded here in 1795.

In 1887 Thomas Edison moved his Edison Machine Works to Schenectady. In 1892 Schenectady became the headquarters of the General Electric Company.

Schenectady is home to WGY-AM, one of the first commercial radio stations in the United States. The station was named after its main sponsor, General Electric (the G), and the city of Schenectady (the Y). WGY also generated the first regular television broadcasts in the United States in 1928, with regular broadcast on Thursday, Thursday and Friday afternoons. The first live television broadcast also came out of WGY in 1928, with the broadcast of the Democratic Convention. This television station is now WRGB. (see: 1928 in television).

Historic population of Schenectady: 13,655 in 1880; 31,682 in 1900; 92,061 in 1950.

The city was once known as "The City that Lights and Hauls the World" because of its history and the heritage of the Edison Electric Company, now known as General Electric, and the American Locomotive Company (ALCO), which disappeared in the late 1960s. In the early 21st century, the city is experiencing difficult financial times, as are many upstate New York cities.


Schenectady is located at 42°48'15" North, 73°55'45" West (42.804076, -73.929289)Template:GR. The altitude above sea-level is 211 to 275 feet.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 28.5 km² (11.0 mi²). 28.1 km² (10.9 mi²) of it is land and 0.4 km² (0.1 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 1.27% water.


As of the censusTemplate:GR of 2000, there are 61,821 people, 26,265 households, and 14,051 families residing in the city. The population density is 2,199.9/km² (5,699.0/mi²). There are 30,272 housing units at an average density of 1,077.2/km² (2,790.6/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 76.77% White, 14.77% African American, 0.36% Native American, 2.00% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 2.52% from other races, and 3.53% from two or more races. 5.88% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 26,265 households out of which 27.2% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.0% are married couples living together, 16.7% have a female householder with no husband present, and 46.5% are non-families. 38.6% of all households are made up of individuals and 13.8% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.23 and the average family size is 2.98.

In the city the population is spread out with 24.3% under the age of 18, 11.6% from 18 to 24, 29.7% from 25 to 44, 19.1% from 45 to 64, and 15.2% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 35 years. For every 100 females there are 91.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 87.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $29,378, and the median income for a family is $36,458. Males have a median income of $30,869 versus $25,292 for females. The per capita income for the city is $17,076. 20.8% of the population and 16.8% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 30.5% of those under the age of 18 and 9.6% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Places Of Interest

  • Schenectady County Community College is located in downtown Schenectady. The school was started in the former Hotel Van Curler and is known for its technical, culinary, and music programs.
  • Central Park is the crown of Schenectady numerous parks. Central Park is the highest elevation point in the city. The Common Council voted in 1913 to purchase the land for the present site of the park.
  • City Hall is the focal point of government in the city. It is often remarked that Schenectady City Hall is one of the more beautiful city hall's in New York State
  • Located in Schenectady is its Municipal Golf Course ( From the website,
    Welcome to Schenectady Municipal Golf Course; an 18 hole Championship facility nestled amongst stately oaks and towering pines. The City of Schenectady is proud to offer this well conditioned golf course to the residents of Schenectady and the surrounding area. The course was designed in 1935 by Jim Thompson under the Works Public Administration (WPA) program. Schenectady MGC stretches out to 6600 yards and features fast undulating greens and tight fairways blanketed within grasses and native vegetation In addition to our rich history, Schenectady Municipal G.C. was ranked by Golf Digest "Best Places to Play in 2004" with a three star rating.
  • Proctor's Theater is the major arts venue. Built in 1926 as a vaudeville/movie theater, it was refurbished and is now home for live stage events. It is home to "Goldie," a Wurlizter theater pipe organ. Proctor's was also the site of one of the first public demonstrations of television, projecting an image from a studio at the GE plant a mile away.


  • A timeline of Schenectady's long history (
  • The tulip is the City of Schenectady's designated flower. Symbolic of the Dutch origin of the city, the tulip, a flower extensively cultivated and nurtured in Holland, although also extensively grown in North America.
  • Schenectady is featured in Dr. Seuss' "I Can Read With My Eyes Shut".
  • Schenectady is featured in a poem by Eve Merriam called "Schenectady".
  • Schenectady is featured in a poem by Medora Addison called "Names".
  • There is a collection of science-fiction short stories by Barry Longyear entitled "It came from Schenectady." The title is from Harlan Ellison's reply -- often repeated -- when people asked Ellison, "Where do you get your ideas?"
  • Schenectady is the former home of the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. In 2005 the Hall moved to Saratoga.

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