Homage to AmytheArchivist, a.k.a. Mystery Images #37 & #38

Posted by T. A. Gobert on December 13, 2017 in

An astute subscriber to RPI History Revealed recently pointed out that the Archives blog has been going strong for ten years!  In honor of the blog’s creator, Amy Rupert (a.k.a. AmytheArchivist), I think it’s time to harken back to one of her signature series - mystery images!

Amy’s very first post was titled “Mystery Image #1” indicating her intention to post unidentified images on a regular basis.  And so she did.  Our readership has been an excellent resource in identifying the people and events depicted in these mysterious photos.  However, this time around I’m turning the tables a bit.

Instead of sharing an image about which we know little or nothing, I’m asking our readers what you know about a couple of photos that are well identified.  They come from our collection of Louis B. Puffer photograph albums, which I described in my previous post.  So please, have at it, and tell us if you think you know what either of these pictures represents!


Thu, 12/14/2017 - 10:47 Permalink

OK - the falls are the Poestenkill Gorge Park in Troy. I'm guess the image on the left is related to Burden Ironworks? Maybe it's Henry Burden standing on the intake pipe for the massive waterwheel used to power the plant? Do tell!

Jeff Miner '78
Thu, 12/14/2017 - 10:26 Permalink

Judging by the church in the background, I would guess that the first picture is taken atop the Burden Water Wheel in South Troy, or somewhere in that vicinity. The second photo looks like the Poestenkill Gorge, but I can't identify the building in the center. That would be about where the Cookie Factory stands today.

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 09:09 Permalink

If I were to bet I'd say the one on the left is part of the burden water wheel and that church behind it is the one off of 4th near HVCC. The one on the right looks like the Poestenkill falls.

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 10:08 Permalink

I'm behind in my blog reading and just came across this post. I can't believe it's been 10 years! Thanks for the shout out and thanks for continuing to post such great content here!

In reply to by egglel

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 10:53 Permalink

Glad to keep up the tradition, Amy!

Fri, 12/22/2017 - 14:01 Permalink

OK folks, here's the scoop on the latest two mystery images. Both are in our collection of Louis B. Puffer Photograph Albums, #MC 85.

#37 (the photo on the left): LBP standing atop the "old Burden Water Wheel, 1906." This image is in Album #1 (1905-1908), page 39. The church in the background is currently an arts center, but originally it was called Woodside Church, funded by Burden wealth. It's located on Mill Street (Route 4), near the Wynantskill in Troy, NY.

#38 (the image on the right): This photo of the Poestenkill Gorge and Falls was taken by LBP in October 1909. The steeple in the background belongs to the former Church of the Ascension on Congress Street, which is now Mount Ida Preservation Association Hall. The building with the multi-story porch is located approximately where the Cookie Factory now stands at 520 Congress St., Troy.

Thanks for your answers - each of you turned the tables on me so I ended up verifying a few "mysteries" myself!

In reply to by egglel

Tue, 12/19/2017 - 14:22 Permalink

Hey Jill-

Both of your answers are right, but the individual standing atop the water wheel is Louis B. Puffer, the fellow whose photo albums we recently acquired. I’m not sure if he was able to take self portraits or if he recruited friends to take his picture, but his image appears in several of the albums. Louis often posed in outdoor scenes, next to (or atop) structures, and/or with friends. Judging by the number of photos of his pals goofing around I get the impression he was a lot of fun to be around. I’m just glad he documented so many of his activities and that his photos found their way to the archives. They’re a real window to the past!


In reply to by egglel

Tue, 12/19/2017 - 14:05 Permalink


Right again - that's the Poestenkill! I'm not sure about the building, but it could be a mill of some sort. Perhaps RCHS staff can identify that structure too.


In reply to by egglel

Tue, 12/19/2017 - 14:01 Permalink

Hi Alex-

You, Jeff, and Jill are all correct regarding the Burden Water Wheel. I'm not sure which church is in the background, but when I have a chance I'll ask my friends down at the Rensselaer County Historical Society. Those folks seem to know everything about Troy's past!


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