The Historic Amsterdam League (HAL) unveiled a historic marker last Saturday, September 20th at Shuttleworth Park, which commemorated the significance of the park to Amsterdam residents and marked its 100 year anniversary.
Jerry Snyder, the current HAL President said about the significance of the marker to his organization, “One of the things we originally wanted to do when we started HAL was to try to make the public more aware of the history of Amsterdam. Putting up the marker is one of the ways we are trying to raise awareness of the history. This is one of the programs we wanted to do, but the significance of this is it’s taken us awhile to get the program started and we are finally able to roll this program out and show some of the better things that are going on…Amsterdam gets a lot of negative press, but this is something positive we can do for the city, to show it in a more positive light. We hope to be able to do one of these a year…and to use these markers as a tool to get people to start thinking about the history and heritage of the area. That’s the direction we want to go.”
Snyder dedicated the marker by saying, “I would like to welcome you all to this dedication of the League’s first historic marker, a marker which recognizes the service of this wonderful park to our community for the last one hundred years. 2014 marks the 100 year anniversary of the grand opening of the park…since the first visitors climbed off the trolley cars at the station behind us on Memorial Day Weekend, 1914, the park has experienced several changes in form and name, but it has always been, during the past century, a place of recreation and entertainment and relaxation for the people of Amsterdam and the surrounding area and the visitors who have come to our city. It is therefore only fitting that we should recognize the contribution it has made to our community.”
He went on to describe a brief history of the park, from the purchase of the Nestle farm by the McCaffrey Brothers and the formation of Crescent Park Amusement Co., to its sale in 1934 to Mohawk Mills, to 2003 when the Mohawks made Shuttleworth Park their home.
Snyder added, “We formed HAL in 2010 as a non-profit and non-partisan organization, and we couldn’t have gotten where we are now without the efforts of all of our volunteers. I would like to thank the Marker Committee: Dave Brownell, Betty Clough, Dorothy Domkowski, and Jackie Murphy. And also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that we received a generous contribution from the Amsterdam Beautification Committee, which was instrumental in the purchase of this marker.”
Before the unveiling, Bob Hartig, HAL member and contributor to the Marker Committee, spoke briefly about the significance of the marker and of the park’s history in his life.
“The park has been a special place for 100 years to the people of Amsterdam, and it’s a little bit more special to me because I literally grew up here. My father was the caretaker just after the city acquired the park, since 1966, and I lived in the house right down there until 1980. Those fifteen years I grew up here. I lived in Rockton all my life, and I don’t remember much activity in the park before the city took it over. They put the skating rink in shortly after we moved in. That was my father’s pride and joy. He loved kids, he loved hockey…It was a unique place, growing up here.”
To find out more about the marker and the history of Shuttleworth Park, or to purchase a copy of the Rockton Tour guide, please visit the HAL website at historicamsterdam.org. Rockton Tour guides are also on sale at The Old Peddler’s Wagon, and The Bookhound Bookstore.