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Bethlehem tours on track

Historical trolley rides to run for a fourth year

Bethlehem Town Historian Susan Leath will once again be taking to the road this year to guide residents and visitors alike on a historical trolley journey, with the first tour taking place Friday, Feb. 5.

This will be the trolley tour's fourth year running, and Leath's third year at the microphone directing the tour. As in previous years, Albany Aqua Ducks will provide the transportation. Co-owner Maureen Lundberg said that the Bethlehem tour is much looked forward to.

It's one of the nicest tours that we do, she said. "It's such a wonderful town with so much history in it."

Aqua Ducks does regular tours in the City of Albany, and has also done programs in places like Troy, Watervliet, Cohoes and East Greenbush. Enough people turn out for the Bethlehem tours to make it a recurring program, Lundberg said.

"There's no place we won't go if people show an interest," she said.

The tour will take riders through most of Bethlehem's hamlets, excluding North and South Bethlehem, which is due to logistical considerations, not for lack of historical value, Leath said.

"It would just take too long. It's a lot of territory to cover," she said.

This year's tour will include more examples of the town's varied architectural heritage, including elaborate high style Slingerlands homes and Greek revival farmhouses. Leath will also take the opportunity to include some of the research she's done over the past year in the tour, so even those who have taken the trolley ride before will find plenty of fresh elements.

In a town like Bethlehem, many of the remarkable stories will come from landmarks that residents pass by often, like the Slingerlands house where the Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep movie "Ironweed" was filmed or the longstanding Adams Hotel on Delaware Avenue.

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