In 1661, Dutch settlers found their way up along the Mohawk River, north of Schenectady. They named their town Rotterdam, after a city in the Netherlands. The area grew quickly, especially after the Erie Canal and railroads brought more industry and travel into the region.
Rotterdam’s long history is evident in its many historic sites, such as the Mabee Homestead, the oldest house in the Mohawk Valley. The property was settled in 1671, and the Stone House was built in 1705. Other buildings include the Inn, built in 1790, the Dutch Barn, built in 1760, and the Slave House, built in the early 18th century. The Slave House was boarded up in the mid 19th century, leaving it in an amazingly untouched condition.
The construction of the Erie Canal changed this region, and this history is also preserved. The Enlarged Double Lock No. 23 is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was built around 1841. The lock, which no longer contains water, is open to the public as a park.
Rent an apartment in Rotterdam and you’ll have access to Union College, a small liberal arts college founded in 1795 and located in Schenectady. Schenectady County Community College, a two-year college in the SUNY system, was established in 1967 and is highly respected for its music and culinary arts departments.