Capital Cobblestone Project: Telling the History of Albany’s streets

Capital Cobblestone Project: Telling the History of Albany’s streets

Erik Schlimmer spends most of his times tramping through various parts of Adirondack wilderness. The founder of the Trans Adirondack Route has spent years documenting the histories behind the names of the Adirondacks. While he prefers the wild, he is also a resident of the Capital Region and seeks to bring the same sense of storied history to the city as he has to the mountains. Below is his press release for further information.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 18, 2015 – We have driven down and walked along the streets of Albany, but have we ever stopped to think about why they are named so?  One Capital Region resident has, and now he wants to write a book about it.

Erik Schlimmer, an author, graduate student, and Troy resident, specializes in place name books that answer an age-old question: “Why is that thing over there called that?”  His two place name books include History Inside the Blue Line, released in 2014, and High Peaks History, which will be available New Year’s Day 2016.  These publications describe the place name histories of more than 300 Adirondack features.

Schlimmer’s forthcoming book about Albany’s streets – Capital Cobblestone – will be released after what the author predicts to be four years of research.  “When I write books about the Adirondack Mountains, I know exactly what sources to consult, what historians to speak with, and who to enlist as fact-checkers.  When it comes to urban history, the landscape seems uncharted territory to me.”

Another challenge for Schlimmer is the sheer amount of Albany streets.  “I thought there were perhaps 250, maybe 300, streets.  Actually, there are about 800.”  The author is currently decoding streets that pay homage to flora and fauna.  Such streets include Chestnut Street, Ash Street, Sparrowhill, and Warbler Way.  Other streets pay obvious tribute to historical figures such as George Washington, Henry Johnson, and Clara Barton.  The author predicts that some place name histories will forever remain in obscurity.

With this being such an expansive project, Schlimmer is calling on Capital Region residents to assist him.  He maintains a Facebook community – Capital Cobblestone Project – where he keeps members updated and invites input concerning street name histories.  “Just think,” he said.  “Behind every single street name there’s a story.  And chances are pretty good that the story’s pretty good.”

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To receive more information, please send an inquiry to erikschlimmer@gmail.com.

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