Latham, New York

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Coordinates: 42°44′49″N 73°45′32″W / 42.74694°N 73.75889°W / 42.74694; -73.75889
Latham
hamlet
Official name: Latham, New York
Name origin: For former hotel owner William G. Latham
Country United States
State New York
Region Capital District
County Albany
Municipality Town of Colonie
Elevation 354 ft (108 m)
Coordinates 42°44′49″N 73°45′32″W / 42.74694°N 73.75889°W / 42.74694; -73.75889
Mayor Paula Mahan
Timezone EST (UTC-5)
 - summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP Code 12110
Area code 518
Location of Latham within the state of New York

Latham is a hamlet in Albany County, New York, United States. It is located along U.S. Route 9 in the town of Colonie, a dense suburb north of Albany. As of the 2010 census, the population was 20,736.

History[edit]

Latham Historical Populations
Year Pop. ±%
1970 9,661 —    
1980 11,182 +15.7%
1990 10,131 −9.4%
Sources: Censuses 1970 and 1980;[1] and 1990.[2]

The area was known at different times in its history as Yearsley's (c. 1829), Van Vranken's (c. 1851), Town House Corners (c. 1860) and Latham's Corners, named after hotel owner William G. Latham. The "corner" referred to is now the intersection of Troy-Schenectady Road (NY Route 2) and Old Loudon Road.

The Old Loudon Road was built in 1755 during the French and Indian War to bring troops and provisions from Albany to the areas of Lake George and Ticonderoga. The Troy and Schenectady Turnpike was built in 1802 and intersected Old Loudon. An early first resident of this hamlet was Jonas Yearsley, 1785, who later built the first hotel close to this intersection. The hamlet was known first under the name of Yearsley's Corners and years afterward as Van Vrankens Corners in the 1850s. The name changed into Latham when William Latham became owner of the hotel. James, his son, continued to run the hotel until he died on August 14, 1933.

Geography[edit]

The hamlet itself is very narrow east-west and relatively long north-south, centered on the intersection of the Troy-Schenectady Road and Old Loudon Road. As a hamlet its boundaries are inexact though they are marked by the New York State Department of Transportation on the west and east ends on New York Route 2 and on the south end on US Route 9 (US 9). On the west end the hamlet begins near the entrance to Latham Circle Mall; on the south end it starts near the Y-intersection of US 9 and Old Loudon Road; and on the east end the border is near the Kiwanis Park. The northern border is not marked. The area normally referred to as "Latham" extends well beyond the hamlet itself, as the name is also used for the post office of the 12110 ZIP Code. Many locations often considered in the northern and northeastern parts of Latham are in the Cohoes ZIP Code, while many in the eastern sections use a Watervliet ZIP Code.

Latham's terrain is mostly a hilly mix of deciduous and evergreen trees, with some ponds, creeks and swamps, including several protected water courses and New York State Wetlands. Streams east of Old Loudon Road and US 9 generally drain into the Hudson River; west of Old Loudon and US 9, the hamlet's watercourses drain into the Mohawk River.

Location[edit]

Landmarks[edit]

Latham's most conspicuous features are its red-and-white checkered water towers, the larger of which bears the hamlet's name and were torn down in 2010, and the Latham Circle, a once-notorious traffic circle located near the site of the original Latham's Corners. The circle was recently modified to be more like a modern roundabout, greatly improving its safety. Trees were once planted within the center of the roundabout, which plunges sharply down to an underpass, but the trees quickly withered and died.[citation needed]

Today, Latham Circle is home to the Circle Diner (a modern recreation of the classic chrome diners of the 1950s), as well as a small strip mall, and a bank. Nearby, the derelict Latham School stood abandoned for decades until its demolition in April 2007, its students long since transferred to newer facilities within the North Colonie Central Schools district in the 1960s.

Latham Circle Mall was one of America's earliest indoor shopping malls.[citation needed] While this retail destination is not open currently, it will be reopening as a strip mall soon. A series of renovations, including being torn completely down, is currently in progress. It was in physical and financial decline for well over a decade, primarily since the opening of Crossgates Mall in nearby Guilderland, as well as the nearby Latham Farms big box store complex.

Other sites of historic or geologic interest in Latham include several small historic cemeteries now surrounded by retail or residential developments, and a sequence of slate and shale cliffs and canyons behind Shaker High School (from which nearby Blue Creek Elementary School takes it name) and between Haswell Road and New York State Route 2. Some of these sites are now on private property, and require owners' or town clearance for access.

Controversies[edit]

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) considers the Latham water towers to be potential obstructions to air traffic approach paths at Albany International Airport, as the higher tower protrudes nearly 60 feet (18 m) into east (Runway 28) approach. In future planning of putting ILS systems into runway 10/28, the tower must be moved. To address this concern, the Airport Authority has developed a plan to remove the towers and replace them with a new structure on a 12-acre (49,000 m2), Town of Colonie owned parcel near the Albany Reservoir. This plan has been controversial, as some residents are concerned that the removal of the towers will allow lower approaches by aircraft, thereby increasing noise pollution levels. Originally the two water towers were painted green to blend into their surroundings. The red and white checkerboard pattern added later to approve visibility to air traffic only covers half of the larger tower which makes for a strange color scheme when seen up close.

March 1, 2011, demolition began on the Latham Water Tower by starting the removal of the famous red and white checkered paint. According to Latham Water District Superintendent, John Frazer, the project would have started almost a month and a half earlier, in January 2011, but was delayed due to feet of ice that was contained within the tower. After about a month of warmer temperatures, combined with efforts of running water through it, the ice melted, and project was started to be put back on track.

Another concern, which has also delayed the project, was fear of contamination of nearby waters. The contractor of Schultz Construction, Inc. warned that the stripping of metal from the tower would have a great possibility of falling and polluting waters near the tower. The situation was rectified, with the decision that, in addition to the metal being recycled; the surrounding water would be disposed of, to rid the area of any possible hazardous materials.

The total cost of the project, to be paid for by the FFA; through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Albany Airport Authority and New York State Department of Transportation, will be an estimated $11.1 million. The new tower that will be used for the Town of Colonie is located 343A Albany Shaker Road. It was built in 2008 and was built to hold 2.5 million gallons of water.

The process to take down the tower is expected to take four weeks.

Rapid commercial and residential development and resultant traffic increases have also been issues of concern and controversy in Latham, in the core retail corridors near Latham Circle, Latham Farms, and between Interstate 87 and Wade Road. The Town of Colonie recently completed land use and development studies of the Route 2 and Route 7 corridors. Temporary building moratoriums were placed in large parts of the western sections of Latham in response to community concerns. In August 2005, the Town of Colonie issued a Comprehensive Plan that will provide the guidelines and framework for future development of Latham and its surrounding hamlets and incorporated villages within the town.

References[edit]

  1. ^ 1980 Census of Population; Volume 1: Characteristics of the Population. United States Census Bureau. 1980. p. 34-10. Retrieved 2010-02-13. 
  2. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links[edit]