The Ultimate Sacrifice
End of Watch: March 31, 1900
In the late 1800s, the train traffic that flowed through Schenectady crossed State Street exactly where it does today -- between Broadway and Erie Boulevard, then the Erie Canal. On March 31, 1900, Patrolman Mynderse was stationed at a walking post near the crossing. An Albany woman shopping in the downtown area was walking across the multi-track street level train crossing when two trains approached from opposite directions. The woman stopped in the middle of the tracks, paralyzed with fear. Ptl. Mynderse ran from his post, pushing the woman to safety just before a train would have struck her. Ptl Mynderse narrowly avoided being struck by the train himself; however, he stepped backwards too far into the second set of tracks, and directly into the path of the other oncoming train.
William Campbell, the Chief of Police, was quoted as saying of Ptl. Mynderse, "Fearless in the performance of his duties, he never thought of danger." Shocked and horrified by the tragic death of Ptl. Mynderse, the citizens, newspapers and Common Council demanded that the railroad elevate its train tracks in the city. Ptl. Mynderse was posthumously honored with the naming of a new city street after him. Mynderse Street was located off State Street in a new section of the city that was expanding eastward from downtown.''