Ask Roger Anything, and he’ll probably obsess about it

Of signs and the late Jim Seals

AskYes, it’s time to Ask Roger Anything. But in fact, it’s ALWAYS Ask Roger Anything time. When people ask me something on Facebook or in the comments of the blog, and I don’t know, I will probably obsess about it as I try and find out.

For instance, on June 7, if you were to search Yahoo, the first piece one would find would be my October 2021 post Musician Jim Seals is 80 and Alive. I then had people noting that his Wikipedia page listed him as recently deceased. But I couldn’t find anything definitive, which is to say, a source I recognized. ((What IS Noise 11?) Finally, Variety indicated that he had passed away.

On June 6, when I posted about a sign near my house,  someone asked where the original item was now located. Good question. I called the state library, the city Department of General Service, and several others.

One of the things I learned as a librarian is that when you keep finding people who say, “It’s not us. It could be them, but I really don’t know”, it’s time to recalibrate.

So I wrote to an Albany list on Facebook, which generated a lot of conversation about the CONTENT of the signs but not what I was looking for. So I looked at the William G. Pomeroy site; they are the people who put up the new sign. I noted that the Grant Recipient is the Pine Hills Neighborhood Association. I contacted an officer who I knew personally. They are now on the case, and I can let it go.

Getting back to the point

Knowing that I can only do so much, I’m STILL asking you all to Ask Roger Anything. It broadens my horizons, which I like to pronounce as HOR-i-zins, for some reason. What are your deep, dark secrets that you want me to psychoanalyze? I’m just as qualified as the next random person on the Internet.

I SHALL answer your questions, usually in the thirty days. Leave your questions, suggestions, et al in the comments section of the blog. OR you can also contact me on Facebook or Twitter. On Twitter, my name is ersie. Always look for the duck.

I will keep your anonymity or pseudonymity. (My spellcheck LIKES pseudonymity.) E-mail me at rogerogreen (AT) gmail (DOT) com, or send me an IM on FB and note that you want to be unnamed. Otherwise, I’ll list your actual name.

The first railroad in New York sign


Here’s a picture of the sign designating the first railroad chartered in the US. As you can see, the sign had been there since 1940.

“The Mohawk and Hudson Railroad was the first railroad built in the state of New York and one of the first railroads in the United States. It was so-named because it linked the Mohawk River at Schenectady with the Hudson River at Albany. It was conceived as a means of allowing Erie Canal passengers to quickly bypass the circuitous Cohoes Falls via steam-powered trains.

“The railroad was incorporated on April 17, 1826, as the Mohawk and Hudson Company and opened for public service on August 9, 1831. On April 19, 1847, the company name was changed to the Albany and Schenectady Railroad. The railroad was consolidated into the New York Central Railroad on May 17, 1853.”

This sign was located along historic Route 20 in Albany on Madison Avenue near Allen Street, just two blocks from my house.

That’s not the same sign!

I would not have mentioned this except for one thing. The sign has been replaced, apparently in 2021, though I never noticed until mid-May 2022.

Notice the more definitive wording. Not “near here,” but here. Yet it’s narrowed the scope of the accomplishment.

The other noteworthy element is who paid for the sign. “The William G. Pomeroy Foundation  is committed to supporting the celebration and preservation of community history, and working to improve the probability of finding appropriate donor matches or other life-saving treatments for blood cancer patients.”

Here’s the description of this sign.

“In August of 1831 the first steam-powered passenger train in New York State, powered by the locomotive DeWitt Clinton, traveled between this place (junction of Railroad and Great Western Turnpike, now Western Avenue in Albany) on the Mohawk and Hudson Railroad line and Schenectady.”

“From the August 2, 1831 edition of Morrisville’s Republican Monitor:

We learn that the company have decided on using steam power only; and there is probably no road in this country or Europe more admirably calculated for locomotive engines…The Mohawk and Hudson rail-road has an important advantage over other roads, in being perfectly straight, and consequently less liable to lateral pressure; and the engines placed upon it will not be retarded by any intervening inclined plane, as they will be employed upon the level between the hills at Albany and Schenectady.


The Pomeroy Foundation, which began in 2005, “is interested in opportunities to partner with 501(c)(3) organizations, nonprofit educational institutions, and local, state, and federal government entities that have identified a unique and historically significant project that could incorporate physically placed roadside markers.”

I’m fascinated by this in part because something that I had taken for granted, sitting by the nearby bus stop for decades, had changed, and I missed it until now. Also, I’m interested in entities that will provide signage designating historical places to not-for-profit entities, but also to the governments.

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