Preserve America Community:
Halfmoon, New York
Halfmoon, New York, (population 18,474) developed because of its proximity to the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers, and later, the Erie and Champlain canals. In the early 1600s, the cluster of islands and surrounding area at the confluence of the Hudson and Mohawk rivers was known as Halfmoon Point. The early settlers of Halfmoon were under the jurisdiction of Albany County from 1683 until 1791, when Halfmoon joined the newly created Saratoga County.
Industry in Halfmoon developed slowly until the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825. Many new mills and industries were established because of the economic activity generated by the canal. Halfmoon remained primarily an agricultural community until the late 1960s, when US Highway 9 was widened and Interstate 87 was constructed. As a result, employment in Albany and surrounding cities became easily accessible to Halfmoon residents, establishing the town as an attractive suburban community.
Halfmoon is working to preserve the heritage of the canals, while promoting their educational and recreational benefits. The town of Halfmoon has purchased the historic Champlain Canal Corridor within its borders, and partnered with the Capital District Fly Fishers Association, the Mohawk Towpath Byway, Inc., Shenendehowa Rotary, and the Halfmoon Trails Advisory Committee to enhance this resource. The partners have developed the Erie Canal Towpath Trail, constructed fishing access for the physically challenged, and posted interpretive signage on the trail and at the fishing access. Three grants, combined with town funding and local volunteer contributions, helped to bring the project to completion.
Halfmoon is a member of four regional programs promoting heritage tourism through canals and rivers. The town of Halfmoon and the non-profit Lakes to Locks, Inc. obtained a grant from the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program to complete and promote the Champlain Canalway Trail. Statewide, Halfmoon is involved in the Hudson River Greenway and the Historic Saratoga-Washington on the Hudson River partnership.
The Halfmoon Historical Society and the Trails Advisory Committee collaborated to conduct research on the town’s historic cemeteries and installed signs to commemorate their history.
The town of Halfmoon Planning Board leads preservation activities in the town, using historic overlay zones to help protect historic properties in Halfmoon. Currently, there are three Historic Overlay Districts in Halfmoon, the hamlet of Crescent, the Church Hill Road Historic District, and the Historic Champlain Canal.
For more information
Town of Halfmoon: www.townofhalfmoon.org
National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program: www.nps.gov/ncrc/programs/rtca
Lakes to Locks: www.lakestolocks.com
Historic Saratoga-Washington Partnership on the Hudson: upperhudsonpartnership.org
Posted June 5, 2009