Old Duanesburg

Plank Roads

In regards to the question as to whether Duanesburg ever had a" log" road or a "splinter" road, I must confess that I have never heard of either term. I can't help but wonder if the term "log" road would be the same as what I call a "corduroy" road. They were common throughout the area, and were made by cutting small logs, generally six inches or less in diameter and laying them cross ways to the road in wet spots or marshy spots.

I also wonder if the term might have referred to plank roads. If so, Duanesburg had two of them. One was the Fort Hunter Plank Road, which left the great Western Turnpike at McCormick's corners and followed along present-day Carmen road through the area now referred to as Fort Hunter. At a point where Carmen road intersected the New York State Thruway, it turned to the left and went along present-day Fort Hunter Road to Curry Road and followed Curry Road to the five corners. There it pretty much followed present-day Mariaville road through the hamlet of Mariaville to the intersection of Route New York 30. At that point it swung North and followed Route 30 through the hamlets of Scotch Bush and Minaville. After crossing the creek in Minaville it went along present-day Fort Hunter Road to the village Fort Hunter. It was a toll road as you probably expected.

A better description of it is given in George Peeke's book "a Thumbnail History of Mariaville". Another plank road started at Schenectady in the center of the city, and went through the lands now owned by General Electric Co., up Broadway Hill and along Broadway to the five corners, where it followed pretty much along present-day Duanesburg road, to Duanesburg where it intersected with the great Western Turnpike. There was a tollhouse located a top of Broadway Hill and a second one about halfway between Schenectady and Duanesburg. It was built in 1849 and operated for about 30 years.

According to a book compiled by William Avery, about the history of Duanesburg, the plank road was 10 feet wide and was built of heavy plank laid lengthwise over wooden ties. Generally these planks were about three inches thick and made from American elm, which stood up well under horses hooves, manure and urine.

Bill Massoth

 

 

Duanesburg, NY
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