The Sturgeon are coming! The Sturgeon are coming!

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Click on the link below for a wonderful story from Alloveralbany.com about the return of the endangered Atlantic Sturgeon to the Hudson.

From about 1770 to 1870 Albany was sometimes known as “Sturgeontown” or “Sturgeon City”” even “Sturgeondom”. We were even called “Sturgeonites” Albany harvested sturgeon for local consumption and there was a huge industry around salting and packing in kegs and shipping all over the country. It went over the Erie Canal and then in the wagon trains heading west, and it was a U.S. Army staple, supplied to soldiers in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and the Mexican-American War.

Sturgeon collagen, a form of gelatin, was used in making lighting oil, beer making (Albany was a BIG beer town), jellies, glue and medicine. That gelatin was known as isinglass. (from the Dutch “huusblase” (huus=sturgeon + blase= bladder). Many businesses in the City thrived on the annual sturgeon catch from April to September.

There was even a Sturgeon Lane, between Westerlo, Church and So. Ferry, just above the dock near the South Market where most of the fishing boats arrived with their hulls full of sturgeon. But the fish were so plentiful, they could be caught by net in the Foxenkill, that ran through what is now Sheridan Hollow.

But by the 1880s the supply in the Hudson was increasingly depleted, and in the early 1900s, there were NYS laws regulating sturgeon fishing. Despite the shortages, it remained an Albany favorite into the 1930s, although quite expensive.

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Copyright 2021  Julie O’Connor

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