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Town of Guilderland
Guilderland Town Hall
Guilderland Town Hall
Etymology: Gelderland province in the Netherlands
Prospice Gelria - Latin for Look Forward Guilderland
Location in Albany County and the state of New York.
Location in Albany County and the state of New York.
Location of New York in the United States
Location of New York in the United States
Country United States
State New York
County Albany
Settled c. 1700
Incorporation as town 1803
 • Total 58.79 sq mi (152.26 km2)
 • Land 57.90 sq mi (149.97 km2)
 • Water 0.88 sq mi (2.29 km2)
328 ft (100 m)
 • Total 35,303
 • Estimate 
 • Density 617.31/sq mi (238.35/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP Code
12084, 12303, 12009, 12203
Area codes 518,838
FIPS code 36-001-31104
FIPS code 36-31104
GNIS feature ID 0979030
Wikimedia Commons Guilderland, New York

Guilderland is a town in Albany County, New York, United States. In the 2010 census, the town had a population of 35,303. The town is named for the Gelderland province in the Netherlands. The town of Guilderland is on the central-northwest border of the county. It is just west of Albany, the capital of the U.S. state of New York.


1866 map of Guilderland

Guilderland was originally a part of the Manor of Rensselaerswyck begun by Patroon Kiliaen van Rensselaer in 1629 as part of the New Netherland colony. By the end of the 17th century Dutch settlers from Albany and Schenectady began to establish farms in the area, beginning first along the banks of the Normans Kill. In 1712 a group of emigrants from the Rhine Valley in present-day Germany passed through the town on their way to Schoharie. They were the first to record and name the Helderberg Escarpment, originally Hellebergh meaning "bright or clear mountain". This name would also be used for all the land between the Normans Kill and the escarpment. In 1734 the first known religious service was held by a Lutheran dominie from Athens, New York to the "Normanskill Folk", and the first religious structure was a Dutch Reformed Church in 1750.

Guilderland was from the beginning a location very amenable to early industry due to its numerous streams for waterwheels, large forests for wood fuel, and the fine sand for glass works. In 1795 Jan and Leonard de Neufville (father and son) established a large glass factory mostly for the manufacture of windows but also of bottles of various shapes, sizes, and uses. Around this factory would spring the hamlet of Hamilton (today called Guilderland). The factory could not compete with cheap British imports after the War of 1812 and with its collapse the glass industry would never return to Guilderland. A hat factory and a foundry would both occupy the site over the next 200 years. French's Mills, another hamlet founded on industry, would be home many textile mills thanks to the power harnessed from the falls on the Normans Kill near Guilderland Center.

During the US Revolutionary War many families in Guilderland were split in their loyalties. In New York, tenant farmers generally opposed their landlords, the Patroons, who sided with the rebellious independentists (Patriots), making New York one of the colonies were the war of Independence became a vicious civil war. The patroon of Rensselearswyck and the local clergy however were able to rally the support of the majority of the local settlers in opposing the Loyalists. Those remaining loyal to the established government operated among else from the caves of the Helderbergs raiding settlements with the help of Native American. A battle between Loyalists and rebel Schenectady Militia with help from Rhode Island Continental Troops was fought just east of Guilderland Center. It was later alleged that the local Loyalists were about to burn Schenectady and Albany, which is not entirely trustworthy as these would have been their own neighbors. In any case, the victory of the American forces allowed the Rhode Island contingent to travel to Saratoga for the Battle of Saratoga that occurred five weeks later, the turning point of the US Revolution.

From 1799 until its formation in 1803, Guilderland was a part of the town of Watervliet. The name Guilderland (spelled Guilderlandt in the original law) was the suggestion of resident Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, who happened to be Lieutenant-Governor of the state at the time, and as such was President of the Senate. His family (that of the original patroon) and many of the original settlers came from Gelderland, a province of the Netherlands. In 1871 the northwestern portion of Albany, west from Magazine Street, was annexed to Guilderland, after the town of Watervliet refused the annexation of the same territory. Portions of this territory would be annexed back to Albany in 1910, setting up more or less the current border.

At the start of the Town's founding, the Schoolcraft family was prominent. Congressman John L. Schoolcraft was born in Guilderland in September 1806. When his father, Captain John Schoolcraft, died in December of the same year, he was raised by his grandfather, John Schoolcraft. Wealthy grandfather Schoolcraft, owned much property in Guilderland hamlet, ran an inn and tavern, was the first Justice of the Peace in the hamlet, an elder and trustee of the Hamilton Union Church, and a member of the first Guilderland School Board. He was also the uncle of the famed Henry Rowe Schoolcraft. John L. Schoolcraft started a profitable mercantile business, became president of Albany Commercial Bank (later to become a component of today's Key Bank), and was groomed for politics by Thurlow Weed, editor of the Albany Evening Journal, winning his first Congressional election in 1848. In the 1840s, Schoolcraft built the early Gothic Schoolcraft mansion John Schoolcraft House upon his return from a European journey. He used it mostly as a summer residence. Schoolcraft was a close friend and confidant of Governor William Seward and married Seward’s niece, Carolyn Canfield, in 1853.

Historic sites

A number of sites in Guilderland are included on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, including -

  • Albany Glassworks Site
  • Apple Tavern
  • Aumic House
  • Chapel House
  • Coppola House
  • Frederick Crouse House
  • Jacob Crouse Inn
  • John and Henry Crouse Farm Complex
  • Freeman House
  • Fuller's Tavern
  • Gardner House
  • Gifford Grange Hall
  • Gillespie House
  • Guilderland Cemetery Vault
  • Hamilton Union Church Rectory
  • Hamilton Union Presbyterian Church
  • Helderberg Reformed Dutch Church
  • Adam Hilton House
  • Houck Farmhouse
  • Knower House
  • McNiven Farm Complex
  • Mynderse-Frederick House
  • Norman Vale
  • Stephen Pangburn House
  • Charles Parker House
  • Prospect Hill Cemetery Building
  • Rose Hill
  • St. Mark's Lutheran Church
  • John Schoolcraft House
  • Schoolhouse No. 6
  • Sharp Brothers House
  • Sharp Farmhouse
  • Van Patten Barn Complex
  • Vanderpool Farm Complex
  • Veeder Farmhouse No. 1
  • Veeder Farmhouse No. 2


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 58.7 square miles (152 km2), of which, 57.9 square miles (150 km2) of it is land and 0.8 square miles (2.1 km2) of it (1.31%) is water.

The town borders Schenectady County, New York, including the towns of Princetown and Rotterdam on the northern and western edges. It also borders the towns of Berne, Colonie and New Scotland and the city of Albany.

There are several ZIP codes in Guilderland, including 12084 (Guilderland), 12085 (Guilderland Center), 12203 (Albany), 12009 (Altamont), 12303 and 12306 (Schenectady), 12159 (Slingerlands), and 12186 (Voorheesville).

Two interstate highways, I-87 and I-90 run through Guilderland, meeting in the city of Albany, north of Crossgates Mall a large mall on the edge of Guilderland. US-20 also runs through the town.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1810 2,476
1820 2,270 −8.3%
1830 2,742 20.8%
1840 2,790 1.8%
1850 3,279 17.5%
1860 3,246 −1.0%
1870 3,132 −3.5%
1880 3,459 10.4%
1890 3,606 4.2%
1900 3,530 −2.1%
1910 3,333 −5.6%
1920 3,117 −6.5%
1930 4,394 41.0%
1940 5,522 25.7%
1950 7,284 31.9%
1960 16,710 129.4%
1970 21,208 26.9%
1980 26,515 25.0%
1990 28,764 8.5%
2000 34,045 18.4%
2010 35,303 3.7%
2016 (est.) 35,745 1.3%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the 2010 census, there were 35,303 people and 14,205 households residing in the town. The racial makeup of the town was 86.21% White, 3.41% African American, 0.14% Native American, 7.49% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.01% American Indian and Alaska Native, 0.93% from other races, and 1.76% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.2% of the population.

There were 13,422 households, out of which 31.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.2% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present and 34.7% were non-families. 28.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 24.1% under the age of 18, 6.0% from 18 to 24, 30.9% from 25 to 44, 25.9% from 45 to 64, and 13.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.4 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $58,669 and the median income for a family was $68,472. Males had a median income of $48,742 versus $34,796 for females. The per capita income for the town was $29,508. About 2.4% of families and 4.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.8% of those under age 18 and 4.0% of those age 65 or over. 64.9% of workers are employed in the private-sector, and 29.1% are government employees.

Communities and locations in Guilderland

  • Altamont – A village in the western part of Guilderland, west of Guilderland Center.
  • Community Gardens – Town sponsored activity located in Tawasentha Park which includes 100 garden plots.
  • Dunnsville – A hamlet in the northwest part of the town.
  • Fort Hunter – A hamlet in the northern part of the town.
  • Fullers – A hamlet northwest of Hartmans Corners on Route 20.
  • Guilderland – A hamlet with the same name as the town; located on Route 20, established in 1796.
  • Guilderland Center – A hamlet west of Guilderland hamlet.
  • Hartmans Corners – A hamlet northwest of Guilderland hamlet on Route 20.
  • McCormacks Corners – A location northwest of Guilderland hamlet on Route 20.
  • McKownville – A hamlet near the east town line and Albany.
  • Meadowdale – A hamlet by the south town line.
  • Parkers Corners – A hamlet in the northwestern part of the town.
  • Watervliet Reservoir – A reservoir north of Guilderland Center.
  • Westmere – A hamlet in the eastern part of the town on Route 20 and a suburb of Albany; a census-designated place (CDP) of the same name is designated over this area.


There are actually two Libraries located in the Town of Guilderland: The Guilderland Public Library, and the Altamont Free Library. Both are members of the Upper Hudson Library System. The Guilderland Public Library, located at 2228 Western Avenue (US Route 20) serves as a cultural center for the town and the surrounding area. Some 59% of town residents hold library cards. Library use has grown with the population of the town. Since 1992, when the Guilderland Public Library moved into its current location, patron visits have almost doubled, from 177,996 to 343,144 annually, and circulation has more than doubled, from 214,446 to 519,426 items every year.

The Altamont Free Library, located in and serving the Village of Altamont, is a free association library. The Village of Altmont is a political entity within the borders of the Town of Guilderland.


Guilderland High School, New York
Guilderland High School

In 1812 the town was divided into eight school districts, mostly rural one room school houses. In 1901 the first high school in the town would be established at Altamont, this would be the only high school between Albany and Schoharie at the time. In 1953 the Guilderland Central School District would be formed on the consolidation of the eight smaller districts.

Guilderland is served by the Guilderland Central School District. It has one high school, Guilderland High School, one middle school, Farnsworth Middle School, and five elementary schools. These include Guilderland Elementary School, Pine Bush Elementary School, Lynnwood Elementary School, Altamont Elementary School, and Westmere Elementary School. Some portions of the town are served by other school districts, including Voorheesville Central School District, based in the town of New Scotland; as well as Schalmont Central School District and Mohonasen Central School District, both of which are based in the town of Rotterdam.

Notable people

  • Evert Bancker (1665–1734), fur trader and mayor of Albany
  • Jon Busch, soccer player
  • Ze Frank, artist and public speaker
  • Johnny Grabowski (1900–1946), baseball player and umpire
  • Victoria A. Graffeo, judge
  • Magdalene Isadora La Grange (1864–1935), poet
  • David Paterson, while his primary residence is located downstate in Harlem, the former Governor of New York maintained a residence in Guilderland as a state senator and later Lieutenant Governor of New York prior to assuming the governorship. Paterson resided in the New York State Executive Mansion while in Albany, but kept his Guilderland and Harlem residences.
  • Joseph E. Persico, author and speechwriter
  • Henry Ramsay (1808–1886), prominent civil engineer
  • Henry Schoolcraft (1793–1864), geologist, geographer, and ethnologist
  • William D. Veeder (1835–1910), politician
  • The Chen family, a Chinese immigrant family of four killed in their Westmere house in 2014; the case remains open.

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See also

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