Sturgeon in the Hudson River were so numerous that they were called “Albany beef” since at least the 1770s. The city of Albany itself was called “Sturgeondom” or “Sturgeontown” in the 1850s and 1860s, and its citizens were “Sturgeonites.” The “Sturgeondom” nickname has been seldom used after 1900 and is of historical interest today.
Wikipedia: Albany, New York
Albany (/ˈɔːlbəniː/ awl-bə-nee) is the capital of the U.S. state of New York and the seat of Albany County. Roughly 150 miles (240 km) north of the City of New York, Albany developed on the west bank of the Hudson River, about 10 miles (16 km) south of its confluence with the Mohawk River. The population of the City of Albany was 97,856 according to the 2010 census. Albany constitutes the economic and cultural core of the Capital District of New York State, which comprises the Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area, including the nearby cities and suburbs of Troy, Schenectady, and Saratoga Springs. With a Census-estimated population of 1,170,483 in 2013, the Capital District is the third most populous metropolitan region in the state and 38th in the United States.
30 August 1851, The Carpet-bag, pg. 1, col. 1:
Sturgeondom—the classical name of Albany.
15 June 1856, New York (NY) Herald, pg. 6, col. 4:
“Albany Beef” Along the Hudson—The Sturgeon Trade.
Albany, as a city, has many peculiarities, but we do not think it stands alone in this respect. We will not stop to discuss this question, but merely call to mind the fact that among the many epithets bestowed upon her and her citizens, is one of which she may justly be proud, when spoken of as a multitudinous peculiarity with respect to the latter. We refer to the epithet sometimes applied to our citizens while in other localities, as having emigrated from “Sturgeondom,” or are “Sturgeonites,” that they have been brought up on “Albany beef,” &c.
15 July 1860, The Military Gazette (New York, NY), pp. 218-219:
ALBANY, July 8th, 1860.
Truly, we in Sturgeondom, are getting to be a great people.
August 1866, American Agriculturist, pg. 295:
... Albany, Sturgeondom; ...
26 June 1868, The Argus (Albany, NY), pg. 4, col. 2:
STURGEONTOWN RANGERS.—This grotesque and fantastical company of youths paraded the streets yesterday, in full costume, the occasion of their picnic.
A Collar City History
By Don Rittner
Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing
Sturgeon certainly was abundant in the Hudson. At one time, nearby Albany was called Sturgeonville and sturgeon was called “Albany Beef.” Albany’s citizens were called “Sturgeonites from Sturgeondom.” Sturgeons ranged from 4 to 8 feet long and weighed from 100 to 450 pounds — one weighed in at 486 pounds. April to September was the harvest season, and about 20 per day were caught, often totalling 2,500 per season, ...
The Old Foodie
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Humans have a long tradition of substituting an inferior ingredient for an unaffordable, unavailable, or forbidden one – and then naming it in a quite misleading way. Welsh Rabbit is the best known example, but there are many others.
It seems unbelievable today that sturgeon would be the inferior substitute for beef, but that was indeed the situation in the Hudson River Valley in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The town of Albany was once known as ‘Sturgeontown’ on account of the large amounts of ‘Albany Beef’ caught in the Hudson river.
The Atlantic sturgeon is an impressive fish, that is for sure. It is capable of living up to the age of 50 years, and growing up to 14 feet in length.
Nicknames of Other Places • New York State • Saturday, January 23, 2016 • Permalink