By JAIME STUDD
For the Express
BROADALBIN — The Broadalbin-Kennyetto Historical Society is finalizing plans to unveil the newest addition to the family of blue and yellow historical markers that dot the village’s landscape.
At a ceremony planned for early October, the historical society will gather to celebrate the installation of a brand new plaque honoring the village’s earliest Kennyetto Creek mills. The sign is set to be located somewhere in the vicinity of the Kennyetto Creek Bridge at the junction of Maple and Mill Streets.
George Pifko Jr., president of the historical society, said research indicates the Kennyetto Creek site to be among the earliest-known locations of creek-driven mills in the area.
The first is thought to be a grist mill, but evidence points to the site having hosted many mills over the years. In fact, Pifko said, remnants of several mill foundations, including a saw mill, can still be found in the Kennyetto Creek bed.
While the exact wording of the proposed marker will not be revealed until the fall ceremony, Pifko said it will recognize the site as being among the earliest commercial centers of the village.
“The reason why the village is here is because of Kennyetto Creek,” said Pifko. “That afforded them the ability to make a product. It afforded them the ability to process their food, the flour for their grain, the lumber to build the buildings, so it brought people together at a specific location.
“Now, we think in terms of the commercial center as being where your stores are, on Main Street,” he added. “But, back then, it would have been where enterprise was actually taking place, which was in the mills.”
The new roadside marker, whose installation was approved by the Broadalbin village board at its July meeting, is being produced at Catskill Castings in Bloomville. It is expected to be completed within the next few weeks, at which time the historical society will set an exact date for the official ceremony.
The last time members of the historical society gathered to dedicate a new marker was October of 2009. Located in front of the municipal office on West Main Street, the Plank Road marker recognizes the historical significance of the road linking the rural economy of the Sacandaga Valley to the rail and canal access in Amsterdam.
When New York State ceased to underwrite the cost of producing and installing the familiar roadside markers, the historical society accepted responsibility for funding the projects. Fundraising efforts generally allow the society to present a new marker once every two years.