Ken Gottry - Cambridge NY History

Northern Turnpike,built 1799-1804, goes from Lansingburgh, through Cambridge, to Granville. It was the major highway to get from NYC to Canada. Its stagecoach traffic fostered the economic development of the East End and West End of Cambridge

This is a story of

  • privatization
  • big business vs. big government
  • outsourcing
  • influential lobbyists
  • Fake News
  • voting irregularities
  • corrupt public officials
  • State lotteries to fund public projects
  • poor infrastructure in sparsely populated areas
  • widening gap between the Have’s and Have Not’s


Sounds like 2018, but this was 1790 the Turnpike Era

 Northern Turnpike Milepost AckleyRoad 2016 04 21


My wife is the great granddaughter of Grandma Moses. This presentation shows Grandma as the painter known to the public and as the grandmother known to the family.

Formal education in Cambridge started in 1799 with a vote to open a private school. It was built on Academy Street and eventually became Cambridge Washington Academy. In the 1870's we had the Union Schools. In 1891 we finally united into a single school today referred to simply as "the Old School". In Sept-1951 the current Cambridge Central School opened. Along the way, the townships of White Creek, Cambridge, and Jackson were home to 39 one-room schoolhouses. Below is my presentation about the journey.


Norman Rockwell lived in nearby West Arlington, VT from 1939 to 1953. He often visited the Cambridge area looking for models for his paintings of American life. This presentation discusses some of our local models who found fame in a Rockwell painting and on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post

That's my parents, Ken & Charlotte Gottry, in Walking to Church that appeared on the cover of the magazine on April 4, 1953. That's also a Cambridge fire hyrdrant in the photo. You'll have to watch the presentation to get the story on that.



In 1788 the northern boundary of Albany County was Dononohowe Creek (Ondawa Creek aka Batten Kill). Thus in the first US Census in 1790 Cambridge is listed in Albany County. The land to the north was Charlotte County named after King George's wife. In 1784 it was renamed Washington county.

By 1791 Albany County was so big it was time to split off northern portion to form Rensselaer County. Cambridge wanted boundary between Washington County and Rensselaer County to be Batten Kill because of close business and social connections with Lansingburgh (Troy). Salem wanted boundary to be Hoosick River so that Cambridge would be in Washington County, making it as large as possible

Salem was very powerful in Albany so Cambridge moved into Washington County.



In 2010 I gave a presentation on the history of the McClellan family in Cambridge, leading to the building of the Mary McClellan Hospital. Here's Mary McClelllan, mother of Robert and Edwin, in Meikleknox (Edwin's home on South Union Street). Although the official name of the hospital is Mary McClellan Memorial Hospital, Mary actually outlived both her sons.

MaryMcClelllanHospital      MaryMcClellan at Meikleknox