History

A Brief History of Our Village

The Village of Menands was incorporated after a special election held on August 15th 1924, in which residents voted to encompass what were then the boundaries of the 15th school district of the Town of Colonie. The Village of Menands took its name from Louis Menand, who was born in France on August 2nd 1807 and emigrated to America in 1837. Not long after arriving he met and married Adelaide Jackson of Albany in 1840. In 1842 they settled in (what is now) the village that bears his name. Here he established one of the finest horticultural establishments in the country at the time. His home and greenhouses where located near Menand Road on what is now known as Ganser-Smith Park. A train station on the Delaware and Hudson Railroad line was built along his property which eventually became know as the “Menands Station”. Louis Menand passed away in 1900 at the grand age of 93.

Howard Menand, (b. October 28th 1890), who was the great grandson of Louis, compiled much of the history of the Village. Howard lived his entire life in Menands and was appointed Village Historian in 1969. This enabled the Village to draw on his vast memory of the area which was known as “Menands Gardens” before its’ official incorporation in 1924. Who better than Howard Menand and others of his era to write a history of the Village in anticipation of its 50th Anniversary Celebration, just a few short years away in 1974?

Howard spent many hours in the years before the 1974 celebrations to write what would be the 50th Anniversary Magazine for Menands. This would include a very descriptive narrative of how the Village evolved, who the earliest residents were, where they lived, and in many instances what their occupations were. His work created a sound written foundation of the areas historic past. Howard passed away on April 28th 1977 at 86 years of age.

After Howard’s passing, the next Historian would be Mr. Jack Cotter. Mr. Cotter was not a life long resident of Menands but recognized the importance of Menands to its relationship with local, state, and even national history. Mr. Cotter’s research focused on early Dutch records, land grants and early Native American relationships with the European settlers.

Shortly after Mr. Cotter passed away I was appointed in 1986 by (then) Mayor Tom Gibbs to replace Mr. Cotter as Village Historian. Mayor Gibbs recognized my interest in history and that family on my father’s side had long resided in this area prior to 1924. I had been appointed as a police officer in the village on June 5th 1973 and was very fortunate to have known Howard Menand and to have participated in the Village’s 50th Anniversary Celebrations in 1974. Using Howard’s written history of Menands and Mr. Cotters research material, as well as the recollections of my father, and his brother and sister, enabled me to reach out to many people who graciously allowed me access to a vast number of photographs of early Menands. Having retired as the 5th Chief of the Menands Police Department in the fall of 2003, I am happy to say that I look forward to continuing my work as historian for the Village of Menands, and as the recently appointed historian of the Town of Colonie as well. I hope to bring to you through this website, much of the material I have gathered over the years. I hope you will enjoy it.

If you have questions or have information or photos you believe to be of historic significance, please contact me at: (518) 782-2601 or by e-mail at:historian@colonie.org
You may also visit the Town of Colonie Historian website for further information at:http://www.colonie.org/historian/index.html