A Tonic for Troy
By Don Rittner

Mayoral hopeful Frank LaPosta proposed last week that the city consider bottling it's water and selling it, similar to what is done by our northern neighbor Saratoga Springs! Stop laughing! Not only is it a super idea, it really is just bringing back an industry that had been here for more than one hundred years.

Let's back up a few thousand years. Our fair city is built on the flood plain of the Hudson River, but the upper part of the city (East Side) and the rest of Rensselaer County is sitting on top of hundreds of feet of glacial deposits that carpet the land up to the Rensselaer Plateau. Much of this is glacial till, an assortment of rocks, cobbles, gravels, sands, and silts. It happens to hold water very well, as you can tell if you drive around the Town of Sand Lake, for example.

Billions of gallons of water flow through this system and are recharged by rain each year. As the water slowly percolates through the glacial material, it is cleaned and filtered, a natural filtration plant. Since water flows to its lowest point, thanks to gravity, it heads west for the most part and discharges into streams like the Poestenkill, Wyantskill, Piscawenkill, Meadow Creek, and others, flowing through our city and emptying into the Hudson River. Some of it also finds its way out through springs where the glacial material interfaces with bedrock or other material. It just so happens that Troy is the site for several of those springs.

When Troy was first founded, residents took water from streams or dug wells. Natural spring water became the city's first official water supply in the early 1800's when wooden pipes and aqueducts were constructed and distributed through the city. A reservoir was created by damming up a stream on the west slope of Hollow Road (Spring Ave) by the Aqueduct Water Works in 1800. The privilege of delivering this, "pure and wholesome water for domestic purposes," was given to physician Israel Clark of West Windsor, New Jersey, by Stephen Van Rensselaer. By 1814, cast iron pipes were being laid in the village. By 1848, there were 59,497 feet of water pipes in Troy. All that is left of it today of course is the small springs on Spring Avenue, still a popular stop, and used by many Trojans to this day.

In 1833, Troy constructed three reservoirs on the Piscawan Kill; the stream through goes through Frear Park and empties under Middleburgh Street. The construction of one covered and two open reservoirs east of the Boston and Main Railroad tracks in Eddy's Lane was completed in 1834 and had a storage capacity of one million gallons. Other reservoirs were built in and on the outskirts of the city until the present Tomhannock system went into effect shortly after the turn of the 20th century.

By 1900, Troy spring water was used by local brewers, such as Stanton, Kenney & Murphy, Quant, Stoll, and soda and carbonated waters were made and sold by Cleminshaw Bottling Co., Ramroth, and Wager Bros. In the 1920's, Troy spring water was bottled by 10 bottlers, including Hoyt Spring and the Troy Spring Water Company, both on Spring Avenue. Additionally, The Standard Spring Water Co. on Linden Ave, corner of Spring Ave, was bottling up to the 1960's.

So you see, Mr. LaPosta's idea of bottling and selling Troy water is not so far fetched - nor new. The only thing needed is a good name and jingle for the new commodity and that's where I can help. Here are my top names for Troy's new cash crop:

1. Sparkling Troy: Your Gastric Will Enjoy!
2. Trojan Elixir: The Quick Tummy Fixer.
3. Troja Est - Drink Only The Best!
4. Frank's Bubbly Brew: Will Fix What Ails You!

My serious choice is "Troy Tonic: The Essence of Ilium." The logo can be a stream flowing out of a Greek temple and gardens corked in amber red bottles. The jingle, sung to the tune of "Home On The Range," goes like this:

Oh give me a tonic, where the Trojans all frolic,
Where both Democrats and Republicans say,
That seldom is heard more refreshing words,
"You can drink Trojan Tonic all day."

So we should consider Mr. LaPosta's proposal seriously. I have been in almost every major city in the U.S. and I can tell you that Troy and Albany have the best tasting water anywhere.

People buy bottled water from France, Maine, and Saratoga, so why not from Troy?

"Trojan Tonic" could be just the thing to make "Made in Troy N.Y." famous again.