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A Brief History of our Towns: Clifton Park & Halfmoon

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projectile points
Early archaic projectile
points, 5000-6000 years old

Evidence of early man as far back as 8000 years has been found in Clifton Park and Halfmoon. In the seventeenth century, Native Americans, including Mohicans and Mohawks, were present along the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers. They raised corn on the Mohawk River plain, calling the area Canastigione, for “corn flats.”

Dunsbach Ferry
Dunsbach Ferry, c. 1900

European settlers moved north from Albany and Schenectady to establish farms and homes in the Halfmoon and Clifton Park area in the mid-1600s. A ferry operated by Cornelius Claes Vandenburgh and later known as the Dunsbach Ferry, was shuttling back and forth across the river by about 1710.

In 1727, Nicholas Fort began a rope ferry to the west along the river. A third ferry operated at what became known as Vischer's Ferry later in the century.

Groom's Tavern
Groom's Tavern,
Groom's Corners, c. 1910

After the French and Indian War, available farmland drew settlers from more populated areas toHalfmoon and Clifton Park. Halfmoon, originally a town of Albany County, became a “mother” town in Saratoga County in 1791. Clifton Park was split off from Halfmoon in 1828, retaining the name of the early Clifton Park Land Patent. The first town meeting was held in Groom’s Tavern.

Hotel, Old Route 146
Hotel, northeast corner of Old Rte. 146
and Rte. 9,
Clifton Park Village, c. 1910

In 1829 the Saratoga-Waterford Turnpike was planned to stretch from Waterford through Halfmoon, north to Jonesville, Ballston Spa and on to Saratoga. A remnant between Clifton Park Village and Jonesville still survives as Plank Road. Taverns provided food and shelter for travelers and became the focus of social life. In the 1820s the first Supervisor of the Town of Clifton Park, Ephraim Stevens, operated a hotel at Stevens Corners, later known as Clifton Park Village.The Clifton Park-Halfmoon town line now divides the building.

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