Thursday, June 23, 2011
Old Schenectady, NY
When the Dutch laid out their village, they chose a site near the Mohawk River, where Binne Kill joined it. The village was built with a stockade around it, made of pointed logs placed close together. The sides that touched were hewn flat and the logs were pinned together at the top with wooden pins.
French accounts say there were two main gates; the English accounts say there were three. One was where Front Street and Ferry Street now meet. The gate led to the river and to Niskayuna. The other gate was where Church and State Streets now meet; that was referred to as the South Gate, which led to the gardens and farms. There were undoubtedly smaller gates in the stockade, just large enough for a person to walk through. There was a blockhouse in one angle of the stockade, but it remained unfinished for a time.
The land inside the stockade was not all the settlers owned. They each owned a farm on the flats or on the islands, a pasture to the east of the village and a garden west of Mill Creek. The village was laid out in four blocks or squares. Each square was divided into four plots, with each plot being about 200 feet square. The original town plots were later subdivided as more people arrived to settle there.