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. 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.


—So great was the success attending the opening and inauguration of the Rensselaer Park last week, that since the close of the tournament every dollar of the capital stock of the association has been subscribed by our citizens. The park, under the direction of its present enterprising managers, is already a success, and there is no reason why it should not continue to prosper and grow in the affections of the people.
“City Notes.” Troy Daily Times. October 23, 1867: 3 col 2.

☞ RENSSELAER PARK.—The new skating rink in the Rensselaer Park is now completed, and the water has been let in. The pond is four hundred and thirty feet long, by about four hundred feet wide, and will admirably answer the purposes of a park. If the present weather continues for a day or two more, our skatists will have an opportunity of testing its glassy surface.
Troy Daily Whig. November 20, 1867: 5 col 1.

Chap. 64.
AN ACT to incorporate the Rensselaer Park Association.

Passed March 28, 1868.
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assembly, do enact as follows :
SECTION 1. John L. Flagg, Joseph B. Wilkinson, Robert Green, Gates H. Barnard, C. L. MacArthur, Augustus A. Peebles, Samuel O. Gleason, John F. Porter, William Ingram, Elijah S. House, John A. Griswold, and all such persons as may hereafter be associated with them, and their successors and assigns shall be, and they are hereby incorporated and made a body politic and corporate, in fact, and in law, by the name of the “Rensselaer Park Association.”
§ 2. Said association is hereby authorized and empowered in its corporate name, to purchase, hold, use, improve, beautify, let, lease, sell and convey such real and personal property in the county of Rensselaer, as may be necessary to enable said association to carry on its lawful operations; to erect buildings, construct roads, or otherwise improve such lands, and use the same as may be of most advantage and profit to said association; hold fairs and exhibitions, and award prizes, and said association may receive and make all lawful sales, transfers, deeds, conveyances, grants, mortgages, bonds, leases, covenants, contracts, agreements, and bargains, and be capable of doing all lawful acts, and things whatsoever proper and necessary for the purposes aforesaid. The real estate of said association shall not be assessed or taxed for an amount exceeding its value for agricultural purposes, so long as the same may be used for the purpose of a park as herein specified.
§ 3. The capital stock of said association shall not be less than the sum of forty thousand dollars, nor shall it exceed the sum of one hundred thousand dollars; said stock to be divided into shares of one hundred dollars each. Said stock shall be paid at such times, in such manner, in such installments, and upon such notice as may be indicated by the directors of said association, and in case of the failure of any stockholder to pay any instalment at the time and place appointed for the payment thereof, within thirty days after personal notice
of such call by the treasurer of said association, his stock, and all previous payments thereon may be forfeited by the directors to the use of said association, and the said association may, in its corporate name, sue for and recover of any subscriber of stock, who may be so delinquent in the payment of any instalment as aforesaid, if said association so elect by a vote of the directors thereof. The stock of said association shall be deemed personal estate, and shall be transferable in such manner as the by-laws may prescribe.
§ 4. The stock, property and concerns of said association shall be managed by a board of directors consisting of eleven, who shall, except the first year, be annually elected by the stockholders, at the time and in such manner as shall be provided for by the by-laws of said association, and the names of the directors who shall manage the affairs of said association for the first year, or until others are elected in their places, are John L. Flagg, Joseph B. Wilkinson, Robert Green, Gates H. Barnard, C. L. MacArthur, Augustus A. Peebles, Sam-
uel O. Gleason, John F. Porter, William Ingram and Elijah S. House.
§ 5. There shall be a president of said association, and also such other officers as the association in its by-laws may designate, who shall be chosen from the directors by the said board of directors, and who shall give such security for the faithful performance of their duties as may be required by the board.
§ 6. The directors of said association shall have power to make, and to change and alter at pleasure, such by-laws, as they may deem proper for the disposition and management of the property and business affairs of said association.
§ 7. Each stockholder of said association shall be individually liable to the creditors thereof, to an amount equal to the stock held by him respectively, for all debts and liabilities of said association, but shall not be liable to an action therefor, before a judgment shall have been recovered, and an execution thereon shall have been returned unsatisfied in whole or in part against said association, and then the amount due, with interest, on such execution shall be the amount recoverable, with costs, against such stockholder.
§ 8. This corporation shall possess the general powers and privileges and be subject to the liabilities and restrictions contained in title third of chapter eighteen, of part first of the Revised Statutes.
§ 9. The said association shall not be liable for taxation for any purposes, except as hereinbefore mentioned.
§ 10. This act shall take effect immediately.
Laws of the State of New York, Passed at the Ninety-First Session of the Legislature. Vol. 1. Albany, NY: Van Benthuysen & Sons, 1868. 95-97.

☞ RENSSELAER PARK.—President Flagg, of the Rensselaer Park, has the promise of some beautiful swans from Central Park, New York, for our new pleasure grounds, and expects them up in a day or two, when they will be placed on Sylvan Lake, the handsome little sheet of water in the south end of the course. There are already a number of ducks on the lake, who appear to like their beautiful quarters very much.
Troy Daily Whig. June 29, 1868: 4 col 4.

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.

Fire at Rensselaer Park.

The open-air theatre, Cupid’s coaster and another concession at Rensselaer Park were destroyed by fire this afternoon.
Troy Times. June 22, 1917: 8 col 3.

—The chemical of the Mason Hose Company yesterday afternoon extinguished a slight fire in the railroad station at Rensselaer Park. The flames were caused by sparks from a Boston and Maine locomotive.
“General Mention.” Troy Times.August 24, 1917: 2 col 3.

—The Child chemical wagon was called to Rensselaer Park at 6:15 o’clock last evening to extinguish a fire in the fence. Slight damage resulted.
“Lansingburgh.” Troy Times. April 2, 1918: 16 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

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