Attractions & Parks
The Pine Bush Nature Preserve is spread out throughout the Town of Guilderland. This beautiful, large preserve, which is also the home of the rare Karner Blue butterfly, is open year round for hiking and cross-country skiing.
The Town of Guilderland maintains a system of parks offering a wide variety of year-round outdoor opportunities.
Tawasentha Park, located on Route 146, is the largest. The swimming pool facilities include a diving area, lap area and kiddie pool. A variety of swimming courses are also available throughout the summer. A pavilion is available for group activities, and must be reserved ahead of time. There are numerous picnic areas with tables and grills.
The Park also offers fishing, boating, trails for jogging and cross-country skiing, ice skating, sledding, basketball and tennis courts and playground areas. The Park is used by the local Little League, and by school cross-country teams.
Abele Park, located in McKownville, Fort Hunter Park on Ronald Place and Lone Pine Park on Benjamin Street are smaller neighborhood areas offering play grounds, ball fields, basketball courts and picnic areas.
The Nott Road fields offer first-class soccer fields and diamonds for softball and basketball, as well as trails and basketball courts.
In addition to facilities, the Town operates a number of special programs including popular Summer Day Camp and Summer Sports Camps. The Day Camp program is for 5-12 year olds with a delightful variety of sports, crafts, and recreational activities! Sports camps include softball, soccer, tennis, wrestling, gymnastics, archery, football and track and field. The Summer Recreation Programs offer free bus transportation.
Several golf and country clubs are available in Guilderland and nearby communities. Many State Parks and Recreational sites are within an easy drive of Guilderland.
The Capital District Region, which the Town of Guilderland is part of, is home to professional teams in baseball, soccer and hockey!
Introduction to Guilderland
The Town of Guilderland has had at least four names through recorded history. In colonial times, it was part of the Manor of Rensselaerswyck, granted by the Dutch West India Company to Killian Van Rensselaer in 1630. Farmers who settled on Rensselaerswyck land paid “quit rents” in the form of cash or “fat, fowl, wheat and labor” to permit them to clear land, construct buildings and grow crops.
In the 1700’s, the area became known as “Helleburgh” for the mountains in the southwest. The Dutch name, meaning bright or clear mountains, evolved to the current “Helderberg”.
The area became part of the Town of Watervliet in 1778, and in 1803 it broke away to become the Town of Guilderland, with virtually the same boundaries it has today.
The name “Guilderland” honored the province of Gelderland in the Netherlands, which was the homeland of the original settlers along the Normanskill or Norman Creek. The Guilderland Historical Society maintains several historical homes locally that are open to the public at various times throughout the year, such as the Frederick House in Guilderland Center.
Today, Guilderland is a fast-growing community at the crossroads of the Capital District Region offering gracious living in a suburban area of over 30,000 residents. Guilderland is primarily a residential area with a wide variety of retail, manufacturing sites, office and research facilities, farmland and nature preserves.
The Town of Guilderland – by Alice Begley, Town Historian. Hundreds of years after bands of Mohican Indians camped and hunted along the Normanskill Creek, early European settlers of Dutch and German origin traveled over rough and rutty ox-trails that had been Indian footpaths to reach a promised land. In 1712, these pioneers arrived at the escarpment of the Helderberg mountains. They chose to build their homes and make a new life in the rich and bountiful land that would later be called Guilderland.
On February 10, 1803, the New York State Assembly received a petition from Nicholas V. Mynderse and an accompanying group asking for 58.67 square miles to be separated from the Town of Watervliet, part of the Van Rensselaer Manor owned by Dutch Patroon Stephen Van Rennsselaer.
The bill to divide Watervliet passed the Assembly on February 16th and was sent to the New York State Senate. When the bill emerged in ten days, it was declared that the land would be called Guilderland in honor of Patroon Van Rensselaer whose home state was in the Province of Gelderland in the Netherlands.
The Dutch influence exists in Guilderland noted by the remaining old Dutch barns, and the historic markers along town highways are reminders of the participation by early settlers in the American Revolution. Captain Jacob VanAernam has been called an outstanding patriot for his service in the militia during the War. Colonel Abraham Wemple was noted for his command of a regiment reported to have been at the Battle of Saratoga.
Nationally, when Guilderland was organized, Thomas Jefferson was president, the Union flag had 15 stars and 15 stripes, the Louisiana Purchase was the first territorial expansion in the new nation and Lewis and Clark had begun their Northwest Expedition.
Nicholas Mynderse, who had come from Dutch stock, was elected Supervisor of the new Township. His family owned large portions of the land. The Albany-Schoharie Road, now called Route 146, crossed the Mynderse Land and he built a house and tavern on that highway. The historic house stills stands and is used by community groups in town.
The old Schoharie road was the first improved highway headed west and it preceded the Great Western Turnpike completed in 1799. In the 1800’s, agriculture replaced forests in Guilderland, turnpikes and railroads cut through the countryside. New farms and businesses flourished along the turnpike and the growing township designed a school system in 1813.
Guilderland is laced by two main streams, the Normanskill and the Hungerkill. Water power from these streams enabled an early industrial complex to thrive in Guilderland’s beginning years. A glass factory and grist mill in the hamlet of Hamilton (Guilderland Village) and a sawmill, textile and woolen mills in French’s Hollow spawned power from these turbulent waters.
Today, Guilderland is a thriving, suburban community of 34,000 residents. In encompasses a State University, and has varied commercial and residential areas with a large school district and several complex housing developments, yet a large section of the western end of town has kept its rural and residential profile.
Flying over Town Hall, Guilderland’s flag boasts an herald coat-of-arms of the Province of Gelderland in the Netherlands. Truly, Guilderland is in step with its motto – Prospice Gelria – Look Forward.