Niskayuna residents have a gateway to the past, thanks to efforts from town officials to renovate and preserve a small but significant piece of the town's history.
Town officials have been working to preserve the 19th Century Niskayuna Railroad Station for a little more than a year.
Niskayuna Town Planner Kathy Matern said the station is important to the town because of its educational uses and in promoting the area's local history plus, it's pretty.
The station sits in the town-owned Lyons Park on the Mohawk Hudson-Bike Hike Trail and has a wrap-around porch that overlooks the Mohawk River.
It's a gorgeous area on the Mohawk River. You couldn't ask for a better setting, Matern said.
More important, the old railroad station is significant because it gives insight into how the area was developed and about the people who first settled there.
The Niskayuna Railroad Station was one of two rural stations on the Troy-Schenectady Railroad line, which was underwritten by the city of Troy to increase its economic position and compete with the Mohawk and Hudson line. Construction on the Troy-Schenectady line began in 1836 and was completed in 1842.
The rural stations along the Troy-Schenectady line, including Niskayuna and Aqueduct in the west, were intended to be transfer points for agricultural products, quarry stone and bulk commodities from surrounding areas. The Shaker community that settled in Niskayuna used the line to transport their produce and crafts to distant markets.
During the line's peak operating years, the Troy-Schenectady Railroad had passenger service, delivered mail and moved the region's farm products.
The Troy-Schenectady Railroad declined during the Great Depression and passenger service was discontinued in 1933; limited freight service continued until 1964.
Matern said the Niskayuna Railroad Station was renovated in the 1880s and was renovated again to serve as a private residence. It was then abandoned for a number of years before the town purchased it.