We begin at Lincoln Park, located between Morton and Eagle Street. Though the park is now a place of recreation, complete with a pool in the summer months and an ice skating rink in the winter, it was once the site of a battle between Mohawk Native Americans and a group of Dutch colonists. In 1626, a group of men from the Dutch outpost in the area, then known as Fort Orange, led by the superintendent of the outpost, Daniel Van Kriekenbeek, along with some Mahican Native American allies, broke the Dutch’s neutrality regarding the Iroquois nations and planned an attack on the local Mohawks. Unexpectedly, the Dutch colonists and Mahicans were ambushed a mere mile away from Fort Orange along the Beaver Kill, a river that ran through what is now Lincoln Park. Though a specific number is not known, a significant number of lives were lost in the ensuing battle, including that of Van Kriekenbeek. Although the battle was far from a decisive Dutch victory, it is demonstrative of the Dutch ascendancy that was taking place in Albany.
Looking at Lincoln Park today, it is evident that it is located in a basin. This basin was formed by the aforementioned stream that flowed through the area, called the ‘Beaver Kill’ by the Dutch. By the mid-eighteenth century, parts of the park were owned by the Dutch Reformed Church (which, at the time, owned a substantial amount of land extending to the banks of the Hudson River, known as ‘the Pastures’) and the area of the park now occupied by the Lincoln Park pool was once the site of a brewery and saw and grist mills that were built by a man named Evert Wendall.
By the beginning of the nineteenth century, Wendell’s mills had fallen apart and were forsaken. In their place, brickyards were established due to the fact that there were natural clay banks existent along the Beaver Kill. In addition, the Beaver Kill boasted a water wheel that powered much of Downtown Albany. Eventually, due to the extent of Albany’s industry that was operating around the Beaver Kill, and the color that the water turned from resulting waste that was dumped into it, the stream was nicknamed ‘Buttermilk Falls.’
The Lincoln Park that we know today was established in the late nineteenth century by a group of woman known as the 'Mother’s Club' (now called the 'Woman’s Club of Albany') who sought to create Albany’s first public playground. In the time since the opening of the park, the Beaver Kill has been channeled entirely underground, utilized only as a part of Albany’s sewer system. The park was originally opened as ‘Beaver Park,’ paying homage to the buried stream, but was renamed Lincoln Park in 1916 by the common council in order to give it a more patriotic feel.