Learn about the socialist takeover of Schenectady

GUILDERLAND — Bill Buell will tell the story of a historic political upset. He’ll present a program titled “1912: George Lunn and the Socialist Takeover of Schenectady” for the Guilderland Historical Society on Thursday, April 20.

A very well-known figure in his time, George Lunn not only served as the mayor of Schenectady, but also served a term in Congress and a term as lieutenant governor of New York. Lunn’s years as mayor had a big impact on Schenectady.

A minister of the Reformed Church, Mayor Lunn considered himself a Christian Socialist and formally became a member of the Socialist Party of America. His November 1911 election as mayor of Schenectady was noted in The Enterprise and was of interest to many people in Guilderland who had made his acquaintance during that summer.

Lunn had rented the Knower House, just outside of the village of Altamont. At least once during July, he traveled to the hamlet of Guilderland to meet with G.C. Zeilman, the manager and part owner of the Guilderland Foundry. Zeilman was a fellow socialist who was attempting to organize a socialist group among the workers there.

Lunn also gave a lecture at the Methodist Church in Guilderland.

Bill Buell has been a Daily Gazette journalist since 1977, often covering stories of historical interest. With a degree in history from the University at Albany, he is a local historian who has researched Lunn's years in Schenectady and has written about Lunn's many accomplishments during his two terms in office in a book with the same title as his program.

The public is invited to join historical society members for this free program on April 20 at 7:30 p.m. at the Mynderse-Frederick House at 451 Route 146 in Guilderland Center. For information call (518) 861-8582.

Editor’s note: Mary Ellen Johnson is the vice president of the Guilderland Historical Society.

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