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Village of Altamont
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Altamont High School
How many people remember the original Altamont High School?  The Altamont Museum & Archives houses a number of year books, playbills, school newspapers, and photographs.

The first school was known as District # 7 and was located in what was the "old village" of Knowersville at 120 Main Street.  This building became a private residence in 1879.


1879

A fine, two storied schoolhouse was built on School Street (Lincoln Avenue) at a cost of $ 5,000. to the taxpayers.  The school offered grades 1 through 8.  The school operated until 1902 when the Altamont Union School opened.

The 1879 building was sold and in 1905 it was moved to Maple Avenue.   It has served as Village Hall, a firehouse, an apple packing warehouse and at one time housed a basketball court on the second floor and a rollerskating rink in the basement.  It then became a private residence and later it was converted into apartments.

1902

The Altamont Union School District # 7 started the September 1902 year in a brand new building. The building was constructed on solid brick, with white marble trimmings, 56 x 78 feet, two stories and a basement in height.  It was designed to hold a capacity of 250 pupils.  It was dedicated on 9/14/07.   The first principal was Prof. A. Z. Boothby.  Students came from other villages, towns and even counties to attend Altamont Union School.  Some as far away as Schoharie.  A few students would arrive by train on Monday, board with a Village family while attending school during the week and return by train to their homes on Friday afternoon.

 

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One of the items includes this playbill from 1941.  Students of Altamont High School performed three One-Act Plays at the Masonic Hall on March 21 of that year at 8 pm.  How many remember these shows or the performers?

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A second item was a 15 page report entitled "History of Altamont".  I have reprinted the the contents since they were not scanable.  Please remember this was written in 1946 by 7th graders.

 

HISTORY OF ALTAMONT

front cover

COMPILED AND EDITED

by

GRADE 7

ALTAMONT HIGH SCHOOL

APRIL 1946

page 1

 

                   Girls                                                                              Boys

Jane Ann Crounse                                                          Walter Beskorowajny

Janet Crounse                                                                 Leroy Brunk

Myra Crounse                                                                  Walter Chapman

Luella Gage                                                                     Joseph Femia

Katie Klama                                                                     Richard Long

Barb ara Mattice                                                              Robert Martin

Betty Orsini                                                                       John Pollard  

Mary Orsini                                                                       Robert Tompkins

Lillian Page                                                                      John Travis

Patricia Pendorf

Mary Ann Rissackor

Majorie Robinson

Geraldine Westervelt

page 2

Map of Altamont

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page 3

HISTORY OF ALTAMONT

     The village of Altamont lies at the foot of the Helderberg Mts.  In north western Albany County, 15 miles west of the city of Albany and 9 miles south of Schenectady.

     It was settled by the Dutch and Germans about the date 1750, it came into prominence during the Revolution.  One  of the largest groups of the patroits and Tories ever organized was dispersed at the Battle of the Normanskill, a few miles from the village, in the early days called Knowersville after Benjiman Knower, banker and a maker of hats, who in 1800 built the Knower house in the "Old Village".  In his home took place the wedding of Knower's daughter to William L. Marcy, famous governor of New York. 

     On October 1, 1887, the name of our village changed to Altamont.  Alta meaning high, and mont, a short word for mountain.  It was changed through the aid  of President  Grover Cleveland, who while governor, often visited the Helderbergs.

     Earlier settlers were the Vroomans, Wemples, Van Aername, Crounses and Seversons.

     Frederick Crounse, a shoemake bor in Germany, settle on the Crounse farm near Altamont in 1754,

     The first doctor was Fredrick Crounse who had his home in the "Old Village".  He practived there for 60 years, and he built the house there in the year 1833.

     In 1835, Colonel Church built the celebrated Kushaqua hotel at the price of $ 100,000.  The Seminary of Our Lady of La Salette is now located there.  Colonel Church brought the Van Rensselaer lease in 1855.  He assessed the land and the people had to pay him.

page 4 

    The Dutch Church of the Helderbergs was founded in 1760.  The first fude log meeting house was built a the place now known as Osborne Corners.  The sermans were in Low Dutch and German.  The first church  was built in Altamont in 1834 and demolished in 1886.  The new church was built in 1889 in Guilderland Center and shortly after, one was built in Altamont.  

    The Lutheran Church started its servercs about 1788. 

    The first Albany County Fair was held in Altamont  in 1893.

    The foot of the seteep incline that led over the mountains on the old Schoharie Road was the location of the Wayside Inn or the Severson Inn, which is still standing.  It was built after the close of the Revolution.  In the cellar of the old house were located the slave quarters.

    An Indian once hollowed a great wooden bowl from a maple tree which stands where Walter Alston lives.

    Outside of Altamont is located the burying ground known as the "Whipple Cenetary" or "High Point Cemetary".  Here are buried some of our most famous men of a century gone, among them Revolutionary veterans, and one George Washington's own orderly.

    In 1890, the first officers of the village were choosen.  They were as follows:  President, Hiram Griggs; Trustees - Smith Philley, Jesse Crounse, and Henry A. Wilbur.

    The Wayside Inn or Severson Inn as it is called was the Post Office of Altamont.

    The house were the Richards live in the "Old Village" was once the Inn of Jacob Crounse built in 1833.  It was a midway tavern where horses were changed on the Schoharie-Albany Stage Coach routes.

page 5

    The population of Altamont is about 1999 or more.  It is mainly a residential village.  Large numbers of its residents are commuters to Albany and Schenectady.

    The Altamont Enterprise, a weekly newpaper was established in 1884.

                                       By Jane Ann Crounse and Janet Crouse

                                            Typist - Robert Tompkins

 

page 6

THATCHER PARK

    We can go up the road by car or we can walk up the trail that starts at the stone house farm.   Then after we get up there, we can look out over the country.  We might even go over to Lookout Tower, so we could get a better view.

    After that, we can go over the old bear path and see the sits.  The old path is Lower than it use to be.  Then we come to "Thin Man's Cave" which is very narrow and there is a falls by the cave.  We go a little farther and come to another falls.

    After that, we come to the old Indian Ladder, where they have now built steps.  Then we can eat and after we eat, we can go to Haile's Cave  or Fat Man's Cave.  If the water is not running out, we can go back in the cave.  It is necessary to have alight, for it is very dark.  The cave is about a half mile long.  It has a few curves in it.  Then you come to a lake over a hundred feet deep.

    If an added trip is taken the next day, the animal park, where deer and other animals are kept, would be our logical stopping off place.  It can be found a little ways from Thatcher Park.  

Richard Long

page 7

ALTAMONT HIGH SCHOOL

     Altamont High School was ereted in 1901 and the principals were as follows:  Mr. Griffin, Mr. Arthur Boothby,  Mr. Homer Northrup,  Mr. John Atwood,  Mr. Homer Fancher,   Mr. G. Homer Hook,   Mr. Lester Bacon,  mr. Kent Burroughs,  Mr. Lester Rounds,  and Mr. Walter Campbell.

     The present teachers at Altamont High School are as follows:

Miss Flagg      -  Kindergarten

Mrs. Wilson     - 1st and 2nd grade

Miss Loga       - 3rd and 4th grade

Mrs. Spadaro - 5th and 6th grade

Miss Dam       - Grade 7

Mrs. Relyea    - Grade 8

Miss Shrack   - 9th grade homeroom teacher, Health, Biology, Social Studies

                           9 and English 9

Mr. Spione     - Social Studies 10, 10th grade homeroom teacher, Social

                          Studies 12 and guidance

Miss Benzal  -  11th grade homeroom teacher, Science and Math

Miss Brautigan - 12th grade homeroom teacher, English grade 12, Spanish,

                           Latin, Librarian

Mr. Burton      -  Business Law, Economics

Miss Curtis    -  Secretary, Lunch Supervisior

Mr. Campbell - Principal, Guidance, Business Arithmetic, Coach

Mrs. Crounse - Cafeteria Cooks

Mrs. Van Eck - Cafeteria Cooks

Mr. and Mrs. William Fellows - School custodians

Mr. Korkosz   - Music

page 8

ACTIVITIES AT ALTAMONT HIGH SCHOOL

     Altamont High School has a 6 man football team, 9 man baseball team.  It also has a girls socker team, and a boys and girls bowling league.  Due to lack of space, there is no basketball team.

    The curriculi of Altamont consists of : a lunch program, Commerical Departmetn, motion picture projector and radio transcription phonograph, Courses in art, music, journalism, Spanish, Latin, Stenography and Guidance.  It also has a yearbook, the "Tawsenthan"; and a school newspaper, "The Altamonitor" edited and published by the pupils.

     The most complete school local history library of New York State can be found in the Altamont School Library.

     A well-known school band, and choir or glee club, and orchestra  make up the music end of the program.

     Every year, an inspection and medical examination of each child is held by the school physician.

     Part of the Reformed Church has been turned over to the Kindergarten and 1st and 2nd grades at a school annex.

Bob Martin

page 9

Crossection of the Nationalities in Altamont

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page 10

VARIOUS OCCUPTIONS IN ALTAMONT

Artist   -   Charles Townsend

Well driller  -  Torlish, Platz, Ogsburg

Janitor   -  William Fellows

Printor  -  Howard Ogsbury

Library  -  Mary Weaver

Grocery Store  -  Pangburn, Keenholts, Williamson, A&P Manager

Oil Business  -  John Pollard II

Hardware - A. R. Crable

Drugstone  -  Stephen Veneer

Hairdressing -  Pearl Griffen, Marguerite Orsini

Grain Mill - Ward G. Ackerman, G.L.P.

Policeman - Alfred Whipple

Gift Shop - Mrs. Goldsmith, Mrs. Bradt, Mrs. Gage, Mrs. Stephens

Shoemaker - Milton Becker, Miss Helen Becker

Insurance - Millard Severson

Coal - Wrighter, Ackerman

Paper and Paint - F. Lape

Barber Shop - Tony Gagliotti, Mr. Ross

Watchmaking - Mr. Golden

Electical Appliances - Mr. W. Austin, Mr. Dabo , Mr. Hayes

Funeral Home - Harry Fredendall, Mr. Dorsett

Freight - Mr. Stafford

Telegraph - Mr. Stafford

Telephone - Mr. Chapman

Bank - Mr. William Wands, Pauline Hellenbeck, Frances Severson

Laundry - Mrs. Crocee

page 11

Bus - Boh

Nurses Home - Mrs. Jenkins, Mrs. Wright

Garage - Howard L. Gage, Westfall, White, Ackerman

Doctors - Dr. Sweeney, Dr. Cullen

Lawyer - Earl Blarkhuff, Mr. Fowler, Joe Graham

Paper Hangers - Mr. Martin, Mr. St. John, Mr. Schaible

Plumber - Mr. Rector, Charles Kelley, Mr. Secor

Carpenter - Mr. St. John, Mr. Flo_____, Mr. Stevens, Mr. Kent

Contractor - Mr. May

Patricia Pendorf

Mary Orsini

Betty Orsini

page 12

SIGNS OF ALTAMONT

HELDERBERG AVENUE

    Inn of George Severson

   Old Schoharie Rd. Built at close of Revolution.

   First Post Office of West Guilderland.

MAPLE AVENUE

    Incorporated as a village 1890

   Officers : President - Hiram Griggs

                   Trustees  -  Smith Philly

                                       Jesse Crounse

                                       Henry Wilber

WESTERN AVENUE

    Farm and burial place of John Groot, officer 3rd regiment,

    Albany County - Militia - War of Revolution.

OLD VILLAGE

   Dr. F. Crounse built house 1833

   First physician at West Guilderland (Altamont)

   Practiced here 60 years

page 13

   Inn of jacob Crounse built in 1833

   Midway Tavern where horses were changed on Schoharie Albany Stage

   coach routes.

Knower House

   Established as Hat Factory about 1800 by Benjamin Knower.  Governor

   Marcy married Cornellian Knower in this house.   

OLD PLANK ROAD

   Schoharie to Albany followed this route.

   Chartered 1849.  Abandoned 1857.

   Severson house built by early settler Jurrian Severson.

   Located on map of West Manor, Rensselairswyck 1867.

VILLAGE PARK

   Old Helderberg.  Land of bitter conflict between Patriots and Tories.  Known

   later as West Guilderland, Knowersville and Altamont.

THATCHER PARK

   The name means clear mountains.  They have been called the key to the

   Geology of North America.  John boyd Thatcher Park operated by

   Conservation Department State of New York.

page 14

Tory Cave 1777

    Jacob Salisbury, a spy, during the Invasion of Burgoyne, found refuge from

    settlers in a cave against the cliffs near by.

Haile's Cave

    Explored by Professor Theodore G. Haile of Albany 1880.

WHIPPLE FARM

    Settled by Naluchi Whipple of Conn. about 1793.  In 1820, Farm premium

    as model farm in Albany County.

    About 1750, Frederick Crounse, son of Polish noble-man.  Owned by

    Crounse family at present.

Katie Klamm

Janet Crounse

END OF REPORT