A Short History of the Economy of The City of Amsterdam, N.Y. 1911

Excerpted from the 1912 Report of the Statistics Committee
of the
Amsterdam Board of Trade

Atlas Knitting Company, circa 1910

Source: Official Manual of the Board of Trade
Amsterdam, New York
Organized in 1884
Containing Portraits of Officers, Constitution and By-Laws, List of Members, History, Views, Etc.
Published by Board of Trade, Amsterdam, N.Y. 1912

Cities, like trees, should have roots reaching out in all directions, thus bringing the greatest possible nourishment to their support.

The ancients loved to ally their ideals with the city. Our Sacred Book moves through many a waste, but it rises to the vision of a city in its climax and likens this city to a tree, the Tree of Life. Amsterdam shall be to us a tree tonight planted by the waters of the Mohawk and Chuctanunda, surrounded by natural advantages. The roots branch out into a fertile territory and the tree has grown to a high stature. The top is among the clouds, its height being exalted above all the trees round about. The branches are long so that they reach the ends of the earth. This tree is made fair and beautiful by the multitude of its branches. The roots ramify the entire globe. Some of them are 8,000 miles long, penetrating the globe and a cross section of the trunk at the base has an area of 5 1/2 square miles, or 3,520 acres, or the distance around the tree is about eight miles. The tree bears all manner of fruit, yielding it every month in the year. The support comes from every quarter of the globe. From the Orient, China, Turkey, India, and other eastern countries, comes the wool that is used in the manufacture of carpets and rugs; France and Italy furnish the raw silks from which the silk gloves are made. The Occident, the south and southwestern section of the United States, supply the knit goods industry with cotton, from the west and southwest we receive the broom corn used in the manufacture of brooms and brushes, and from the northwestern section, the Dakotas, Montana and other northwestern states furnish the Kelloggs & Miller oil industry with linseed from which the oil is made. These raw materials passing through the hands of a skilled Amsterdam manufacturer are converted into a finished product, and in turn are sent out to all parts of the globe to minister and give comfort to humanity. Amsterdam rugs and carpets adorn and beautify millions of homes all over the land. Amsterdam brooms make a clean sweep wherever they are found. Amsterdam underwear, embellished with the world's famed Chalmers pearl buttons, shuts out the cold in winter and the mesh goods in summer admit the fresh breeze, while Yund, Kennedy & Yund make the world sweat. The K. & M. oil is used to preserve and enhance the beauty of the exterior of all kinds of buildings.

The exact date of the first settlement of what is now the city of Amsterdam is not very clearly known; the first settlement was called Vedders Mills, after an Albert Vedder who settled on a tract of land at the mouth of Chuctanunda creek and built a grist mill, and later on it was given the name of Veddersburg. In the year 1809, at a town meeting, it was changed to Amsterdam. In the year 1813 this village had only about 150 inhabitants, one schoolhouse, a Presbyterian church, grist mill, a few stores, several shops and about twenty-five dwellings. In 1830 the place was incorporated as a village. April 17th, 1854 the legislature granted Amsterdam village a charter; the village at that time covered an area of one square mile. From 1854 to 1885, so rapid was the growth of the place, that a city charter was applied for and obtained. In the year 1888 the village of Port Jackson was annexed. By a special act of the legislature in the year 1901, the village of Rockton was annexed to the city. In 1911 a new charter was granted, which went into effect January 1, 1912. In 1881 a special act of the legislature provided for a system of waterworks, of which the construction up to the present time has cost $1,121,354.12. There are over forty-five miles of distribution pipes, and 514 hydrants for fire purposes. In 1886 a board of sewer commissioners was created and a system of sewers put in, at a cost of $395,000. There are at present 38.33 miles of sanitary sewers in operation and 8.17 miles of storm sewers. Electric street lighting was introduced in 1886, and our city streets are now lighted by 300 arc lights of 2,000 candle power each. Our fire department consists of twenty-four men, one chief, one assistant chief, and one superintendent of fire alarm telegraph system. The apparatus consists of four combination chemical and hose wagons, one hook and ladder truck, one steamer, four hose carts, five sleighs, two exercise wagons, and 7,800 feet of hose. There was a total of 133 fires, with a loss on buildings to the amount of $61,945.46 and on contents $145,855.57, making a total insurance loss of $207,801.16, which is $1,121.54 more than the loss of 1910. Amsterdam has ten large and splendidly equipped public schools and a high school, besides St. Mary's Catholic Institute, also St. Joseph's, St. Stanislaus, St. Casimir's, and St. John's parochial schools.

Amsterdam has three national banks with combined deposit of $1,704,875.00, also one savings bank having 13,452 open accounts, with assets of $5,173,816.20 and surplus of $313,831.38. The deposits for the year of 1911 show an increase of $250,000.00 over the year of 1910. The total number of transactions for the year were 46,212, an average of 3,851 per month, or 143 per day, or eighteen every hour, or one every three minutes and twenty seconds.

Amsterdam is the first city in the United States in the manufacture of carpets and rugs, having three mills, giving employment to about 5,000 hands, whose annual output is 12,2500,000 yards, equal to 6,960 miles, and consuming 50,000 tons of coal and combined power of steam, electric and water of 5,500 H.P., and whose annual output sums up over $11,000,000.

Amsterdam has two silk mills, whose yearly output is $1,509,000, and who turn out 460,000 pairs of gloves.

Amsterdam has nine broom manufacturing plants, and turns out more brooms than any other city in the world, having a yearly output of $1,750,000.

Amsterdam is the second city in the United States in the manufacture of knit goods, having over thirty knitting mills, giving employment to 6,000 hands, whose output is over $10,000,000 annually.

Amsterdam is the largest in the manufacturing of mesh underwear in the world, giving employment to 750 people, using 4,450,000 lbs. of cotton yarn, and paying out in wages annually $500,000.

Amsterdam has the largest pearl button factory in the world, whose output amounts to $1,590,000 annually.

Amsterdam's linseed oil mill consumes over 1,000,000 bushels of flaxseed annually, which entails the expenditure of from $2,000,000 to $2,500,000, and uses about 50,000 barrels per year for the shipment of these oils, and about 9,000 flour and sugar barrels for shipment of cleaned and ground flaxseed, and over 100,000 bags for the shipment of oil cake and oil meal; the coal consumption is approximately 3,000 tons.

Amsterdam has one brick yard, whose annual output for 1911 was 3,000,000 bricks.

Amsterdam has other important industries, such as the paper mills, needle manufacturers, four machine shops, seven planing mills, two button machine factories, two dyeing works, one spring shop, boiler shop, paper box factories and many other industries giving employment to many thousands of hands, having a yearly output of about $25,000,000.

The amount of soft coal consumed annually is 110,000 tons, and 50,000 tons of hard coal, making a total of 160,000 tons.

It would take 4,000 cars, with a capacity of forty tons each, or a train of cards about thirty-two miles long, reaching from Amsterdam to Albany.

[section discussing power consumption and tons of freight forwarded omitted here]

Amsterdam covers five and one-half square miles, and has a population of 32,000, has fifty miles of permanent sidewalks, fifty miles of gas mains, ten miles of paved streets, two electric light plants, fifteen miles of electric railroads, one telephone company, twenty-one churches, five hotels, two daily papers, an immense jobbing trade, a free library, a new federal building, several theatres, Home for Elderly Women, Children's Home, and several fraternal organizations.

Amsterdam's assessed valuation is $12,645,545.57, and property exempted from taxation of $1,335,755.00, and indebtness of $1,090,500.00, a tax rate of $19.18.

The death rate for the year 1911 was 453, marriages 460, and 759 births.

Back to Town of Amsterdam Page

Back to Montgomery County NYGenWeb

Created: 12/11/99
Copyright ©1999 M. Magill
Copyright ©1999 - 2012 Montgomery County NYGenWeb
All Rights Reserved.