Senator Farley Says November Is New York State History Month

Hugh T. Farley

November 25, 2005

November is New York State History Month and a great time to learn about the rich heritage that is New York's past, the importance of our State in the discovery of things we see and use every day, and the State's vital role in setting a path for our Nation's future.

New York has always played a pivotal role in our nation’s history since its earliest days as a Dutch and British colony. Our State was the scene of many battles fought in the American Revolution, including the pivoyal Battles of Saratoga, and New York residents also delivered large quantities of supplies to General George Washington.

New York State is also home to some fun history. For example, did you know the first potato chip was created in Saratoga Springs? Potato chips were created when railroad magnate Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt was vacationing at Saratoga Springs. One evening, while dining, the Commodore sent his fried potatoes back to the kitchen complaining that they were too thick. George Crum, the cook on duty, sliced up a batch of paper-thin potatoes, fried them to a crisp and salted them. What was intended to be a joke between the cook and the Commodore turned into an instant hit often referred to as "Saratoga Potato chips."

Did you know Schenectady was home to the first college radio station? On October 14, 1920, the first college radio station began broadcasting from Union College in Schenectady. WRUC started with a series of weekly programs consisting of vocal and instrumental phonograph records. The programs were broadcast from 8 to 8:30 p.m. and were heard within a 50-mile radius.

As most know around here, Johnstown was the site of the nation's first glovemaking factory. As early as 1809, buckskin gloves were favorably known as a Fulton County product. Skins were brought in by trappers and farmers. The old Indian formula for tanning was used and the makers, many of whom had learned their trade abroad, shaped the gloves.

I have developed a fun and educational quiz in honor of New York State History Month. It is available in brochure form from my offices and a copy is posted on my website at This is a great opportunity for children and adults alike to learn more about the past of the 44th District -- which includes Fulton, Montgomery, Schenectady and parts of Saratoga counties.

Both the quiz booklet Senator Farley Salutes History Month, and a separate booklet called Senator Farley's Guide to Historic Sites and Museums in Fulton, Montgomery, Saratoga and Schenectady Counties, are available by calling my office at 455-2181 (Albany), 843-2188 (Amsterdam), 762-3733 (Johnstown), or toll-free at (800) 224-5201. Snapshot New York is another free booklet that is available through my offices and which highlights fascinating historical tidbits from throughout the State.