Garnet Douglass Baltimore Trail
Mayor Patrick Madden today announced the official dedication of the “Garnet Douglass Baltimore Trail” in recognition of the first African-American engineer and graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (1881). The city unveiled a new trail marker during a ceremony on Monday, August 13, 2018 at the entrance of the recently-restored walking trail located in the southwest corner of Troy’s historic Prospect Park.
Mayor Madden said, “The City of Troy owes a great deal to Garnet Douglass Baltimore, a remarkable individual whose valuable contributions literally shaped the community in which we live in today. The designation of this newly-restored hiking trail within Prospect Park—the expansive recreational facility of which he designed—is a fitting tribute to his achievements and connection to the story of our great city and community. I applaud the leadership of Steven Strichman, Troy’s Commissioner of Planning, and the organizations and countless volunteers who lent a hand to restore this hidden gem for use by our residents and neighborhoods, both today and in the future.”
Abandoned for decades, the now-Garnet Douglass Baltimore Trail was one of the original four roads that led into Prospect Park. Under the leadership of the City and in coordination with local & federal partners, including the Friends of Prospect Park, the National Park Service Rivers & Trails Assistance Program, the Little Italy Quality of Life Committee and neighborhood volunteers, the approximately half-mile trail was cleared and reclaimed for public use. The trail expands the historic park’s trail system, directly connecting the Little Italy and South Troy neighborhoods to the peak of the approximately 84-acre city park. The trailhead is located on Hill Street between Adams Street and Jefferson Street in Troy’s Little Italy neighborhood and is open daily to the public from dawn until dusk.
A member of the Class of 1881, the grandson of a Revolutionary War solider and former slave who escaped and settled in Troy, Garnet Douglass Baltimore spent much of his early career participating in the survey, design and construction of bridges, canals, waterways and railroads across New York State, including portions of the Oswego and Erie Canals. In 1903, Baltimore made his most significant contribution to the Collar City with the design of Troy’s now historic Prospect Park. Garnett died in 1946 in the home where he was born on 8th Street. He is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Troy.
“Garnet Douglas Baltimore was a true Rensselaer graduate, making contributions that continue to impact our community today,” said Christopher Nolin, Director of Community and State Relations for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. “A trailblazer, he was the first African-American to earn a bachelor’s degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and participated in the design and building of bridges, railroads, canals, and waterways around New York State. Today we mark the opening of the Garnet Douglas Baltimore trail while recognizing his impact by creating new connections between our community and Prospect Park, a park he designed for the enjoyment of the citizens of Troy.”