Read history on local roadside markers

To the Editor:

Friday, April 30, is National Historic Markers Day. This is hopefully the first of many more to come celebrating these markers that we all pass by. These markers go a  long way to recognizing events and the personalities of the various  communities.

There are at least 40 of these markers in the town of Guilderland. There are about a dozen in the town of Berne, which were freshly painted by Frank Brady in 2016.

This Historic Markers Day is sponsored by the William G. Pomeroy Foundation (, which provides grants for town historic groups or town governments to commemorate events. The town of Berne has one such Pomeroy marker commemorating the Anti-Rent wars. Albany has a Pomeroy marker designating the Rapp Road Historic District, honoring the Great Migration.

In Guilderland you will find one of these historic markers, on Willow Street just north of the State Police barracks. It is a marker for Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, a resident of Guilderland in the 1820s.

Mr. Schoolcraft was a writer, scholar, explorer, and historian. He is honored in the National Rivers Hall of Fame in Dubuque, Iowa for his discovery of the headwaters of the Mississippi River.

In 1832, Mr. Schoolcraft discovered a body of water — a small lake in what is now Minnesota. Being a scholar, he named this body of water Lake Itasca by combining the Latin words veritas and caput to form the word Itasca which means true head. His journal was published in 1834.

There are four categories of people who are enshrined in the National Rivers Hall of Fame. They are builders, artists, writers, and musicians, pathfinders, and the river people.  Henry Rowe Schoolcraft is a pathfinder.

As you pass these markers, I hope you can appreciate them a little more. I painted Guilderland’s markers in the years 2015 to 2017. I will be repainting some of them this year.

John B. Haluska


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