Rensselaer Park, a private park, opened in 1867, broadened in purpose in 1906 to become an amusement park by the newly-incorporated Troy Driving and Speedway Association, and closed sometime in 1918 after being used that final year for the Rensselaer County Fair (which was not typically held there). Its southern boundary was a little south of 108th Street, its northern boundary a little north of 110th Street, its western boundary on 5th Avenue, and its eastern boundary between 10th Avenue and the railroad (now Uncle Sam Bikeway).

Much of the land was taken for development by a Detroit-based company anticipating a need for new housing for people who would be employed by the Ford Motor Company plant on Green Island.


Rensselaer Park and vicinity, detail cropped and annotated from:
Bevan, John. Map of [the Village of] Lansingburgh, Rensselaer County, New York. New York: J. Bevan, 1872.

Google Earth overlay of 1872 map detail, park boundaries roughly annotated in red.

Detail of Rensselaer Park from “Birds-Eye-View of Lansingburgh, N.Y.” NYC: Galt & Hoy, 1879.

Park to Be Pleasure Resort.

The association which is planning to remodel Rensselaer Park was incorporated to-day under the name of the Troy Driving and Speedway Association. The association will have a capital stock of $10,000, to be issued in shares of $25 each. The Directors named are: Alba M. Ide, Lewis E. Griffith, Thomas A. Knickerbocker, Cornelius F. Burns, William T. Shyne, Frank Gilbert, Joseph A. Leggett and William Bolton, all of Troy. The Directors have elected as officers: President, William T. Shyne; Vice President, Cornelius F. Burns; Treasurer, William Bolton; Secretary, Edward H. Sims. The association has secured a lease of Rensselaer Park for seven years, and its primary objects will be to place the park in excellent condition, to rebuild fences, buildings and the grandstand and to place the track in shape. In addition, it is proposed to construct a speedway, a half-mile straightaway, on Eighth Avenue, Upper Troy, running north into the park, with a finish in front of the grandstand. The idea of making Rensselaer Park into a public pleasure resort has grown rapidly since the suggestion was first made, and it is very probable that the plans will take that form. Several applications have been received for a lease of the pavilion in the park, one as a roller skating rink, while numerous offers have been made for privileges of operating a merry-go-round, refreshment stands, swings, an open-air vaudeville theatre and other pleasure resort attractions. The United Traction Company has favorably considered a suggestion to build a spur from Second Avenue to the park, as the company already has a franchise over Eighth Street. The Boston and Maine Railroad has been approached with a view to building a sidetrack and a station at the park for out-of-town excursions. A meeting will be held next week to fix upon definite plans. Already $2,000 of the stock has been subscribed.
Troy Times. April 25, 1906: 5 col 4.

The movement to make Rensselaer Park in this city a pleasure resort worthy of Troy is in the hands of prominent and active citizens. The natural advantages of the park need only a little well directed energy to make it an attractive and frequently used place of recreation.
Troy Semi-Weekly Times. April 26, 1906: 4 col 3.

Undated photograph of Rensselaer Park racetrack, Boston & Maine Railroad track along hills in background.

DON’T FORGET THE
POLICE PICNIC
Rensselaer Park, Monday May 31, 1915.
(2,000)

Trotting, pacing and motorcycle races. Exhibition drill by Albany Field Hospital, N. G. N. Y.
Come One. Come All. Admission, 50c.
Troy Times. May 26, 1915: 2 col 5.

FORD WILL EMPLOY OVER 15,000 HANDS — WILL SPEND OVER $15,000,000 Rensselaer Park, as you know, is one of the Best Residential Sites in the City of Troy.  It is conveniently situated to trolley cars and alongside of most attractive thoroughfare in the city—Fifth Avenue. IMPROVEMENTS WATER, SEWER, GAS, ELECTRIC LIGHTS, SIDEWALKS, BEAUTIFUL TREES, PAVED ROADWAYS AND BOULEVARD. Our Representatives will await your arrival at the Park with plans, etc., and incidentally tell you what Henry Ford will do for Troy. NYHOFF & HOWELL OWENRS [sic] AND DEVELOPERS. Main Office Detroit, Mich. Branch Office Loraine, Ohio Branch Office Wilmington, N. C. RENSSELAER PARK, TROY, N. Y.  LARGE SIZE LOTS 40x140 $390.00 up Terms: 20% Down—$10 Monthly DON'T WAIT—DON'T BE SORRY! DON'T BE ANOTHER "WISH I HAD"—YOUR OPPORTUNITY IS HERE AT RENSSELAER PARK BUY A LOT NOW. NOTICE If you cannot be at Rensselaer Park attending the advance opening sale of these choice lots fill out the coupon below and mail.  We will attend to the rest. COUPON NYHOFF & HOWELL, Rensselaer Park, Troy, N. Y. Gentlemen: Kindly send me or have representative call with information regarding lots at Rensselaer Park and "WHAT HENRY FORD WILL DO FOR TROY." SIGNED STREET ADDRESS CITY  Henry Ford Captain of Industry, Capitalist, Builder of Cities—The Man Who Will Triple the Population of Troy.

“Come to the Advance Opening Sale Rensselaer Park Sub-Division Decoration Day.” Troy Times. May 29, 1919: 6 cols 1-7. (Altered from scan by Fultonhistory.com)

See also the Rensselaer County Agricultural Society Fairgrounds