Your browser is out of date.
This site may not function properly in your current browser. Update Now

Dunsbach-Vandenburgh Ferry Crossing

Historic Districts and Sites
In the days before bridges spanned the river, ferries performed a critical service. A rope or cable strung across the river would guide the ferry scow, and a toll was charged for the service. – Town of Clifton Park History Collection

Early settlers found well-defined trails between old Indian villages and river fording places. These trails became early roads. Cornelius Claes Vandenburgh established a rope ferry site prior to 1705 connecting an Indian trail that crossed the Mohawk River and headed north to Round Lake or east through Halfmoon to the Hudson River. Henry Knox crossed on the ice at this site in early January 1776 on his trip to Boston carrying 59 cannon captured from Fort Ticondergoa. Vandenburgh's 1718 stone house was a landmark until it was destroyed when the water level in the river was raised with the creation of the Barge Canal in 1917. Henry Dunsbach of Rensselaer County purchased the ferry and house in 1813. The Dunsbachs also operated a hotel at the site which they sold with the ferry in 1873. The Emerich family owned and operated the ferry when it was discontinued after the state of NY purchased it for the Barge Canal in 1910. Between 1898 and 1900 a toll bridge replaced the ferry at this location. The winter ice destroyed it, however, the ferry was re-established.

Suggested Further Reading

Additional Information is available at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Library.