Welcome to Ken Gottry's Web Site

Cambridge History plus Computer Performance

Ken Gottry (ken@gottry.com)
History Last Updated: 03-Jul-2015
Computer Performance Last Updated: 09-Mar-2014


It happens to the best of us. My trusty old web server finally gave out. Silly me hadn't been making regular backups. The material below is as of 3-Jul-2015. Somewhere I have all the material from then until 14-May-2016. Little by little I'll be adding it back to the website. Of course, I don't have a complete list of everything I added or when so the restoration will be a tad pell mell. If there was something that you previously found of interest that is no longer here, please email me (ken@gottry.com) and I'll do my best to restore it. I guess I should also beautify my web pages whilst I'm at it. They are pretty ugly, aren't they? When I started this website, I was focused on substance not appearance. Time for me to address that. Thanks for visiting and thanks for your pateience.

Covered Bridges of Lower Washington County, NY

July 2015


Each year I pick a topic of local history, do some research, and give a preesentation at the Cambridge Historical Society. This year's topic is The Covered Bridges of Lower Washington County, NY. The choice was easy. Last summer I was made custodian of a large collection of history related to the Covered Bridge Advisory Committee of Washington County. The CBAC advises the Dept of Public Works on the restoration and preservation of covered bridges in the county.

As these photos show, today our covered bridges are a beautiful reminder of our past, but they weren't always so. Our covered bridges have suffered from wear-n-tear as well as from the onslught of Mother Nature. But thanks to the dedication and committment of our communities, our covered bridges will be around for another 100 years.

Check out the presentation that covers 3 of the 4 covered bridges around Cambridge (Shushan bridge is not covered)

2014 Cambridge Village Business Map

April 2014

Hannah Stevens and Sara Kelly created a business map of the Village of Cambridge for the 2104 Tour of the Battenkill bicycle race, America's largest one-day Pro/Am cycling race.

Click on the thumbnail for larger image. (c) SaraKellyDesign





Carillon Bells at United Presbyterian Church

April 2014

As I walked to the drug store the other day I heard the carillon bells from the UP church (the big white one by the traffic light). I sat and listened ... and recorded. Click the link above to see (and hear) a little history of the bells. You'll feel right at home. I even left in the background noise of cars and people passing by. Close your eyes. It's the 1960s. You're standing by Baratto's Popcorn Wagon, talking to Mike, hitching a ride to the lake, as the bells play in the distance.

Note: I've found that not all browsers have the same support for audio files. When you click the title above, another browser window should open and the audio should begin to play automatically. Sometimes, the audio control appears and you have to click the PLAY button icon. If you don't get any sound, try one of these alternate links. Still nothing, and desperate to hear the bells, then email me at ken@gottry.com and I'll see what I can do. Be patient as it may take a minute or two for the audio file and controls to load.


Eagle Bridge Slideshow

April 2014

On Saturday 26-Apr-2014 I gave a slidehow presentation at the Cambridge Public Library. Many locals were on hand to add their stories to my slides.

Eagle Bridge was once a thriving metropolis with two hotels, an opera house, and much more. Eagle Bridge was the junction of the east-west Boston & Maine railroad line and the north-south Delaware & Hudson. The 1886 D&H railroad map shows Eagle Bridge with equal prominence as Troy, Albany, and Saratoga. The houses were beautiful and the streets tree-lined. These photos bring that history to life.  


Ackley Building to be Demolished

September 2013

In their September 4, 2013 meeting, the Cambridge Village Board announced that the Ackley Building (Legrys Buildings to old-timers) cannot be repaired and must be demolished. This leaves 3 of the original 6 buildings to celebrate their 130th anniversary next year.

Read some of the history of the buildings on the south sid eof West Main



100th Anniversary of Cambridge's Yellow Brick Road

August 2013

In 1913 the Village of Cambridge paved its Main Street with yellow bricks. My great grandfather, William L. Hitchcock, was given the task of finishing a project that floundered through much of the year.

Cambridge began as four small communities each located 3/4 of a mile from the next along our current Main Street. To the East was Dorr's Corners at the intersection of Gilbert Street (NYS Route 313). Moving westward, you found North White Creek at the intersection of Park Street (NYS Route 22). Next was Cambridge Corners, at the intersection of Union Street (the Great Northern Turnpike, built 1799-1804 from Lansingburgh to Granville). Finally at the West was Stephenson's Corners, later renamed Coila.

Between North White Creek (now called the East End) and Cambridge Corners (now called the West End) was the Cambridge Swamp formed by the junction of Blair's Brook (now Owl Kill) and Cambridge Creek. For a century and a half, this swamp formed a political, religious, and economic separation between the two communities. Main Street was impassable after even the briefest of showers and was a quagmire after heavy snowfalls and early Spring downpours.

Three of the communities (all except Coila) united in April 1866 to form the village of Cambridge. While the incorporation presented a united community on paper, the terms of the union called for an East District and a West District. For over 60 years, the village had separate support structures on the East and on the West: Trustees, Police Dept, Fire Dept, Road Crews, and more. The village was united but separate.

In the late 1880's, J.B.Rice built his Seed House in the middle of the community after filling in much of the swamp with 3,000 truckloads of dirt. In 1891 Rice deeded land next to his business for the construction of a new school. Since 1799, Cambridge had had separate buildings of education on the East End and on the West End. Thanks to Rice, the Cambridge Union School helped bring the two districts a little closer together.

In 1901, the Village Board voted to pave Main Street in order to provide easy passage during any weather. Multiple proposals and multipe votes over the next 11 years and still no work had started. In Mar-1913, lines for the new curbing were finally drawn. By August, the project was floundering in the face of strikes, unmet payrolls, and delays in shipment of bricks and concrete. My great grandfather took control of the project and by Christmas Cambridge had its Yellow Brick Road from the corporation line on the East to the corporation line on the West.

This presentation explains why Main Street needed paving, how it was accomplished, and the effects on the Village, effects that linger today.

Around Cambridge, White Creek, and Jackson by Ken Gottry

October 2010

I did it. I published a book!

The Cambridge Valley has always been united and divided, each community holding tightly to its identity. In 1773, the Cambridge District was formed, comprised of the current towns of Cambridge, White Creek, and Jackson. In 1788, the area became the Town of Cambridge in Albany County and was annexed to Washington County in 1791. The area was divided into the present town boundaries in 1816. The three communities of Cambridge, North White Creek, and Dorr.s Corners, though each only three-quarters of a mile from the next, did not unite into the Village of Cambridge until 1866. Today the village spans the boundaries of the three townships but still divides itself into the East End and the West End.

Ken Gottry.s ancestors, the Van Ness, Woodworth, and Hitchcock families, have been associated with the Cambridge area since its founding. His father was historian for the village, town, and church, leaving a large collection to the village archives and public library. Much of the content in Around Cambridge, White Creek, and Jackson comes from material his father amassed in the mid-1900s.

The Images of America series presented by Arcadia Published celebrates the history of neighborhoods, towns, and cities across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the distinctive stories from the past that shape the character of the community today. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.

If you're in the area, stop by Battenkill Books. It's also available at smaller outlets (grin) online such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you're interested in a peek, some of the book and photos are available via Google Books.

Cambridge Celebrates its 250th Anniversary

July 2011

On July 23, 1761 Cadwallader Colden's patent for the Cambridge settlement was signed. In 2011 we celebrated the 250th anniversary of the Cambridge Patent

Cambridge Then & Now


In honor of Cambridge's 250th anniversary, I created a slide show of Cambridge Then & Now . Each slide presents a section of Cambridge with photos of how it used to look and photos of how it looks in 2011. Each slide also contains text describing the history associated with the photo.

Local History - Cambridge, NY 12816

Cambridge Central School (CCS)

Computer Performance

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