The Toll Gate War

Over at the Friends of Albany History, there's a good, short history of The Great Western Turnpike -- that is, Western Ave -- and the "Toll Gate War" by Al Quaglieri. A clip:

The city, meanwhile [in the late 1800s], had grown steadily westward. Former farmlands west of Manning Boulevard were subdivided into building plots; new side streets popped up. Among the first was Nineteenth Street, now Winthrop Avenue.
Despite being ungraded, sandy, and nearly impassable, Nineteenth Street had one popular attribute: it was just west of the Great Western Turnpike's Western Avenue tollgate. While farmers continued to pay tolls, casual travelers and pleasure seekers braved treacherous Nineteenth Street to circumvent the tollgate.
The Turnpike Company fought back in 1897 by piling a large barrier of lumber across Nineteenth Street at Western Avenue. This started a brief but nasty "Toll Gate War" with the City. Albany's Common Council ordered the company to remove the obstruction. They did, but replaced it with a new, annex tollgate. The City gave them 48 hours to remove it, which they did not, so the new gate was promptly destroyed by order of the Street Commissioner.

The story -- in not the road -- takes a few twists and turns from there.

See also: A gate to the past.

The rail line that's now the rail trail
In Other Interesting Histories of Local Transportation Routes™, check out Susan Leath's history of the rail line that's now the Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail. It started as a way to move coal, and then became commuter rail. The story includes an intentional train crash and a donnybrook.

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