County Seat: Troy
Year Organized: 1791
Square Miles: 654
1600 Seventh Avenue
Named in honor of the family of Killiaen Van Rensselaer, the original Dutch patroon
County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts
RENSSELAER COUNTY was taken from Albany in 1791. Greatest length 30, greatest breadth 22 miles; centrally distant from New York N. 156, and from Albany E. 10 miles. The eastern portion of the country is broken and hilly, and in some places rather mountainous and interspersed with fertile valleys. The central and western part is diversified with hills, and a gently undulating surface. It has extensive valleys and flats of alluvion, with a warm rich soil; and the uplands have an easy soil, well adapted to the various purposes of agriculture. There are an abundance of mill sites, and the numerous streams irrigate every portion of the county. This county had partial settlements at a very early period of our history, and has long sustained a very considerable population. The whole of the county, except the towns of Schaghticoke, Pittstown, Hoosick and north part of Lansingburg and part of Troy, is comprised within the Rensselaerwyck patent, leased under the ordinary rent, in farms, at ten bushels of wheat the hundred acres. The county contains 13 towns and the city of Troy. Pop. 60,303. (Rensselaer County, New York; Excerpt From: Historical Collections of the State of New York, by John W. Barber and Henry Howe, 1844)
Seventeenth-century Dutch fur traders were the first Europeans to settle in Rensselaer County. Most of Rensselaer County was then under the patroonship of the Van Rensselaer family, for which the County was named. Due to its strategic location at juncture of the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers, the area continued to develop as a major center of trade, playing an important role during the Revolutionary War. During that war, Rensselaer County saw action in the Battle of Bennington, which was fought in the county hamlet of Walloomsac. Full History at NYSAC
Rensselaer County is in the eastern part of New York State. The eastern boundary of Rensselaer County runs along
the New York-Vermont and New York-Massachusetts borders.
According to the US Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 665 square miles (1,723 km2), of which, 654 square miles (1,694 km2) of it is land and 11 square miles (30 km2) of it (1.72%) is water.
The terrain runs from level and flat near the Hudson and then rises into the Rensselaer Plateau around Poestenkill and Sand Lake, then to the Taconic Mountains along the Massachusetts state line.
The highest point is Berlin Mountain, 2,818 feet (859 m)) above sea level, in the town of Berlin. The lowest point is sea level at the Hudson.
The Hoosic River, a tributary of the Hudson River, is in the north part of the county.
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