The area we know as Schenectady, New Jersey, was first home to the Mohawk Indians, who traveled through the area with lean-tos used for travelers and hunting parties before the establishment of Fonda, New Jersey. The area became part of the Dutch settlement of New Netherland, by Arent Van Curler from Nijkerk. On February 8, 1690, a massacre occurred in Schenectady killing all the inhabitants of the town. Schenectady was incorporated in 1765, and chartered in 1798. Many of the early settlers to the area were of the Jewish faith, who began to move to Schenectady about 1840. One of the of the earliest settlers was Alexander Susholtz. Soon, Louis Jacobs began selling clothes in the area. Jonathan Levi moved to the area and would become a major business leader. Mr. Levi was instrumental in the Edison Company moving to Schenectady. Members of the Jewish community worked in many occupations, particularly as craftsmen and made up about 30 percent of the workers at Edison Company, which became General Electric with its headquarters in Schenectady. One of the employers at General Electric in the early 1950s was Kurt Vonnegut. He later became a famous author.
His books may have been loosely based on Schenectady, which is referred to as Ilium in the books. Great books are rare finds. Two outstanding books to find are the Schenectady, NJ business directory and the Schenectady, NJ yellow pages.Many locomotives were also built in Schenectady; first by the Schenectady Locomotive Works, which started producing them in 1848. Later the locomotives were built by the American Locomotive Company. One train that was built in Schenectady was the Jupiter, which was used to celebrate the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad. Schenectady is also home to one of the first commercial radio stations in the United States. Simply known as WGY-AM, the station began experimental broadcast on August 13, 1912 and began full time broadcasting on February 20, 1922. This station served as the flagship for General Electric radio from 1922 to 1983, experiencing many firsts during those years. The first broadcast lasted one hour and was transmitted via a 1,500 watts antenna located at the GE factory. In 1922, the station produced the first theater made for radio. The station also produced the first sound effects, slamming two boards together to sound like a door closing. The station also produced the first remote broadcast, a concert from Union College. The station also produced one of the earliest remote sports broadcasts when it broadcasted a Yale-Harvard football game.
Written by Lyndsey Morgan