The Dey Ermand Company

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RB Wing possibly 1898 10999018_10155292873040187_3308652974853406489_o.jpgYesterday this never-before-seen photo was posted over on the "Albany...The Way it Was" Facebook page. Most noticeable is the old location of R.B. Wing, ships' chandlers and dealers in every kind of oil imaginable, apparently. R.B. Wing survived into modern times as a construction supplier in one of the landmark buildings of Broadway, but the building we associate with them today was across the street from this set of buildings, which were taken by the city in 1914 in order to develop the Plaza and the continuing southward march of the D&H Headquarters and, eventually, the Albany Evening Journal building.

Of interest is the building to the right, the home of William Dey Ermand Company, which we'd never even heard of before seeing this picture. Happily, a volume of "American Paint and Oil Dealer" from 1916 is able to fill us in with a wonderfully detailed view of what retail paint looked like a century ago.

"The day of the untidy paint store has passed, and the Ermand [sic - the family name is actually Dey Ermand] company has placed the merchandising of paints, varnish, oils and glass on an exceedingly high plane . . . 'We regard our window display as a very good salesman,' said A.C. Hollister, vice-president and general manager. 'We give this feature a great deal of attention. Our windows are changed every Monday morning, and we think this aids very materially in selling our goods, as they conform to our newspaper advertising, which we keep going at all seasons of the year.'

"The Ermand business was founded in 1864 by William Dey Ermand. In 1847 he built an oil and varnish factory, from which a great deal of the product was exported. In 1859 he established a general jobbing and retail paint, oil and glass business at 381-383 Broadway, Albany. In 1908 the business was incorporated as the William Dey Ermand Company. In 1914 the property at 381-383 Broadway was purchased by the City of Albany for river front improvement purposes, and the company then purchased and moved to the present location, 473-475 Broadway.

"The present property consists of two buildings, connected by steel bridges, extending from Broadway to Dean Street. There are twelve floors, which give ample room to carry a complete stock of paints, varnish, oils and glass. The retail store is located in the Broadway building. The receiving department and wholesale shipping department are in the rear building on Dean Street.

DeyErmandInterior.png"All of the shelves, bins and dry color boxes are of steel. This affords much more room and the appearance and upkeep cannot be excelled. In the old store the oils were kept in tanks and barrels in a rear oil room, but in the present store Bowser pumps have been installed in the rear of the center of the retail store. This affords customers an opportunity of seeing how the product is handled, in a clean and satisfactory way. The counters are divided into sections to hold eight barrels, with separate lift over each one. In this way the unsightly barrel is kept from view.

"Customers appreciate looking at a clean oil outfit. Small sales have been increased since these tanks were installed, it having been found that customers like to see their container filled before their eyes. The tanks are filled in the cellar and the battery is so arranged as to take up very little space. With a barrel hoist and a track to roll the barrel on, one man can empty a barrel in about five minutes.

"Brushes are carried in a four-compartment doubled-deck oak cabinet. One brush of each kind is fastened to the door behind plate glass and the stock is carried behind the doors. This is a most up-to-date piece of work and makes the selling of brushes much easier."

Albany_New_York_Commercial_Streets_Dey_Ermands_Paint_Store 1930 or 1932.jpgThe newer Dey Ermand building at 473-475 Broadway is pictured here. It was likely on the site of what is now the James T. Foley United States Courthouse, which was built beginning in 1933.

Bainbridge Burdick v. Albany Railway

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Burdick&Son.pngIn researching the homes built by Edward Ogden, we ran across one he built in 1890 that was named for Bainbridge Burdick at 935 Madison Ave. in Albany. A moniker like "Bainbridge Burdick" is always worth another look, and this search didn't disappoint, as we turned up the case of "Bainbridge W. Burdick v. the Albany Railway." Bainbridge was the son of Norman and Mary Burdick, born in New Hampshire in 1864. In 1900, father and son and their families and more were living at 935 Madison, where Norman was listed as the head of household. Both were listed as manufacturers of stove fixtures -- Burdick and Son (stove specialties, die makers and tin boxes) was located at Hamilton and Mosher. Bainbridge was also a director of the First National Bank of Albany and of the Commercial Union Co-operative Bank, and the treasurer of the Hygienic Ice and Refrigerating Company at Arch and Quay.

So here's what happened to Bainbridge W. Burdick on November 3, 1899. Right around noon that day, Bainbridge (we may take to calling him "BWB") boarded a trolley run by the Albany Railway Company at the corner of State and Pearl Streets. The car was very crowded, so he stood on the rear platform, as did another passenger. The car moved up to Chapel Street and a third gent got on the rear platform. The conductor collected their nickel fares and, before the car had reached Eagle Street, told the three on the rear platform to step inside, crowded though the car still was. One of the other men got inside the door, the other could only get to the door casing, against which he leaned. BWB felt there was nowhere for him to go.

"When I got on the car at the corner of State and Pearl I attempted to get inside. Getting on to the platform I looked to see if there was room to get inside. I was obliged to stand on the platform. People were standing up in the aisles, I couldn't tell how many there was there. I couldn't see the front end of the car." The record, by the way, notes that he was 30 years old, six feet in height, somewhere between 160 and 170 pounds, and that he had been United States marshal of the Northern District for three or four years.

 The conductor, Clinton F. Jackson, told him he would have to get inside, or get off the car, but BWB said he had paid his fare and had not reached his destination. Jackson said there was plenty of room, and he had just been fined three days' pay for letting a passenger stand on the rear platform; BWB said "if you lose any time I will pay you for it." Jackson signaled to stop at Hawk Street, asked Burdick one more time to go in, and Burdick refused. The conductor told him he would have to put him off the car, and Burdick said, "I think you will need some assistance." The conductor, motorman and an inspector then threw him off the car and refused to permit him to get on again. "During the struggle plaintiff's finger was sprained, and his back strained. The conductor struck plaintiff while endeavoring to put him off the car. At no time did the conductor offer or return to plaintiff his fare." Passengers testified there was room in the car.

So he sued, as one does. In Supreme Court (which, of course, is the lowest state court in New York), a jury found for the railway and charged BWB with costs. In fact, he was ordered to pay the railway $132.69, which wasn't nothing at the turn of the real century (Hoxsie's not on board with this whole 21st Century thing). Not satisfied with that, he appealed, but the Appellate Division was no more sympathetic. "Diligent search fails to disclose any case holding that a passenger has a right to ride upon the platform in violation of a city ordinance or the rules of the company after being requested to go within the car or leave the car." He was called on to pay up; it's possible his was the most expensive trolley ride in Albany history.

 As late as 1946, Burdick and Son of 72 Hamilton St. was advertising for help - "Girls Wanted." Hey, that's how classifieds were worded at the time.  (Mosher Street ran from 72 Hamilton to 85 Madison, all of which is wasteland underneath the Dunn Bridge now.)

Phoenixville Phriday: The Big Inch

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TheBigInchinPhoenixville.pngThe United States entered the Second World War in 1941, which brought, shall we say, a reaction from Germany. Part of that reaction was sending U-boats to the eastern sea routes, where they proved pretty effective at sinking our oil tankers that brought oil up to the northeast from the Gulf of Mexico. 46 tankers were sunk and another 16 damaged just from January through April of 1942. One report says that the US lost a quarter of its oil tankers that year. Shipments shifted to rail but the infrastructure wasn't really ready; there weren't nearly enough rail cars to handle the need, and inland barges were inefficient. Pre-war planning had been underway, however, and the federal government had a plan to build pipelines, the biggest that had ever been built, and one of them, known as the "Big Inch," came right to Phoenixville.

(Well, the location is universally reported as Phoenixville in all the media of the day. But it is really closer to Eagle; back in 1943, no doubt Phoenixville was the biggest place around.)

Big Inch was a 24-inch pipeline that ran from Longview, Texas to Norris City, Illinois, and then on to Phoenixville, PA. A parallel pipe was known as "Little Big Inch," intended to carry lighter products like kerosene. Here the pipeline branched into 20-inch segments that served New York City (Linden, NJ) and Philadelphia (Chester Junction, PA). The line was put together with incredible speed; pipe was being fashioned by July of 1942. Just 350 days after construction began, a ceremony was held in Eagle, near Phoenixville to mark the final weld of the Big Inch (July 19, 1943). The picture above was taken just before the pipe was dedicated. Oil was flowing to Philadelphia by August 15, hitting the junction just the day before. It had taken a month just to flow from Norris City.

You might think that in those early days of the war, when there was concern about military secrecy and sabotage, that a national security project of this type might have been kept at least a little quiet. But to the contrary, it almost seems as if they couldn't publicize this pipeline enough, as part of war-time propaganda. As the Wikipedia page for Big Inch notes, newsreels gushed Pipeline Goes Through! and Pipe Dream Comes True-Oil!, and short films were made about the construction work, including Pipeline.The pipelines also appeared in the RKO Pathé film Oil is Blood. Interior Secretary Harold Ickes attended the dedication ceremony. Big Inch was not kept quiet.

SyracuseHeraldAmericanJuly181943PhoenixvilleBigInch.pngAfter the war, the pipelines were privatized and sold to TETCO, and converted for use transporting natural gas. Little Big Inch was converted back to oil around 1957. Both Big Inch and Little Big Inch are on the National Register of Historic Places.

If you want to know more about the Big Inch, its Wikipedia page has more.

And a very good summary put out by TETCO is at this link.

Albany Architects: Marcus T. Reynolds

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MarcusTReynolds.jpgThe last Albany architect of significance was Marcus T. Reynolds. Working from 1893 through 1930, Reynolds created some of Albany's greatest landmarks and, sad to say, was the last architect to have a positive impact on the city. (One could argue that for Wallace Harrison, architect of the Empire State Plaza - but that feels like a single piece, something apart from the city, and the effect it had on the fabric of the city was anything but positive. Besides, Harrison was not from Albany.)

Reynolds was born in Great Barrington in 1869; his mother died in 1875, and his father (a Union College classmate and friend of Chester Arthur) then put Marcus and brother Cuyler in the care of their aunt Laura Van Rensselaer, living at 98 Columbia Street in Albany. Marcus was sent to boarding school in Catskill and later attended The Albany Academy and St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire before entering Williams College. He graduated in 1890 and went to the architectural program at Columbia University's School of Mines, and then returned to Albany to set about finishing the city.

In 1893, Reynolds took on the reconstruction of the Sigma Phi fraternity house, of which he was a member, at Williams College. His Van Rensselaer connections gave him access to parts of the old Van Rensselaer Manor House, which was at that point in disrepair, having been vacated in 1875. He designed for Sigma Phi a new house similar to the Van Rensselaer mansion, and was able to salvage some of the exterior stonework and window trim from the old Albany house. (Interior elements of the manor house are in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.) Views of the old Manor House and the Sigma Phi house can be found at this link; sadly, the Sigma Phi house was demolished in 1973. One reason the Van Rensselaers were no longer interested in the old manor site was that it had become part of the lumber district and was overrun with industry, and the decision to tear down the mansion was coincident with the construction of Reynolds's first Albany commission, the Albany Terminal Storage Warehouse on Tivoli Street, in 1893. William Van Rensselaer owned the company. The building still stands, but had lightning struck its architect in that year, we wouldn't be remembering him today.

United_Traction_Company_Albany.jpgThe Manor House had been abandoned, but people named Van Rensselaer still needed places to live. Reynolds's next Albany commission were the Van Rensselaer houses at 385-389 State Street, just across from Washington Park near Willett, and still one of the most distinctive houses in Albany. Then, just to get away from old money for a little while, he worked on the remodeling of the Albany Country Club on Western Avenue in 1898. Then he built what was for a long time almost the northernmost limit of civilization on Broadway, the United Traction Company building at Columbia Street, a lovely landmark that stood alone, cater-corner from Union Station, among desolate parking lots for decades.

 There were other private homes, and the Superintendent's House at the Albany Rural Cemetery (1899). He built the much-lamented Pruyn Library at North Pearl and Clinton, and the Canon George Carter House (1902, 62 South Swan St.), before returning to the family well, building the Van Rensselaer Apartments at Madison and Lark Street (1904). But at this time he was also building some of the most notable downtown Albany structures that stand to this day.

First among these was The Albany City Savings Building at 100 State Street (1902). He built the first National Savings Bank Building at 70 State Street, now lost. Then came the New York State National Bank at 69 State Street, which preserved one of Philip Hooker's facades within an early skyscraper, and moved it up the street to boot (1904), and the First Trust Company building (1904, 35 State Street), at the corner of State and Broadway, still sometimes known as the Museum Building for the structure that preceded it, which looked similar (1904, with Reynolds additions in 1908 and in the 1930s). He built The Hampton Hotel (1906, 40 State Street), and the iconic Hook and Ladder No. 4 (1910, Delaware Avenue at Marshall St.).

D&H bldg 1From 1912-1918, he built what is probably his crowning glory, the Delaware and Hudson Railroad Building. This was the headquarters of one of the region's railroads; it never served as a station, although it had a freight warehouse directly to its north. Commonly reported to have been based on the Cloth Hall in Ypres, Belgium, the D&H Building rivals the State Capitol at the top of the hill in grandeur, and exceeds it in unity. It was built at what was then a very busy intersection, and part of the plot's design was to include a loop for trolleys in front of the building, in what was then known as The Plaza. The building shut off the waterfront from view; as it was heavily commercial at the time, that wasn't considered a bad thing. The building was constructed north to south, expanding with the years; the final, southernmost section was built for the Albany Evening Journal, though it can really only be told apart from the railroad headquarters by the small figures celebrating the history of printing.

 The Evening Journal was only there for a few years before it was absorbed by the Times-Union in 1924. The D&H lasted there into the 1960s. A plan for the building to become the headquarters of the expanding State University of New York developed in 1972, but it took until 1978 before SUNY finished renovations and took over the site, along with the neighboring Federal Building.

 After the D&H, Reynolds built two more notable downtown structures, the Municipal Gas Company Building (1916, 126 State Street) and the addition to the Albany City Savings Institution (1924, 100 State Street) that included its signature tower. Further afield, he built the Albany Industrial Building, later home to the Argus Litho (1915, 1031 Broadway), Public School No. 4 (1924, Madison Ave. and Ontario, now gone), Hackett Junior High School (1927, 45 Delaware Ave.), and both the new Albany Academy (1931, Academy Road) and renovations to the old Albany Academy (1930, Academy Park). He also designed the Gideon Putnam Hotel in Saratoga Springs and buildings in Catskill, Amsterdam and New York City.

 Reynolds died March 18, 1837. He is, appropriately, buried in Albany Rural Cemetery.

Albany Architects: Albert W. Fuller

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When talking about Albany's leading architects, it never seems like Albert W. Fuller gets his due, and yet he had a huge influence on the look of Albany through the years, and had commissions and influence across a wider geographic range than many of the  others.

Fuller was born in 1854 in Clinton, New York. He came to Albany and trained as a draftsman in the offices of Ogden & Wright, where he worked from 1873 to 1879. He opened his own office; his early commissions included the Albany County Bank Building at 6 South Pearl (1882, demolished 1927) and the Van Slyke House (1881, 756 Madison Ave.). 

Y.M.C.A._-_Albany,_NY.jpgIn 1883 Fuller entered partnership with William A. Wheeler, an Albany native who had studied in Boston. They worked together through 1897, and right from the start they had commissions well beyond Albany -- the Henry C. Pierce House in St. Louis, the Academy of Music in Newburgh, the Methodist Episcopal Church in Hoosick Falls, and other buildings in Plattsburgh, Denver and more. Closer to home, they built some of the Capital District's greatest structures: Albany's YMCA Building (1887, 62 N. Pearl St.), the Gardner Earl Memorial Chapel and Crematorium (1888, Oakwood Cemetery, Troy), the Soldiers and Sailors Monument (1891, Troy), and the Masonic Temple (1895, 67 Corning Place). They also built some of our most fondly remembered losses: Harmanus Bleecker Hall (1888, 161 Washington Ave.), and the Silliman Memorial (1897, Mohawk and Seneca streets, Cohoes). They made a little mini-industry out of building YMCAs, putting them up in New Britain, CT and Montreal, and a much bigger industry out of building schools. In Albany, they built Public Schools 10, 6, and 24, as well as the Normal Schools in Plattsburgh and Oneonta, an auditorium at the Northfield (MA) Seminary, Silliman Hall at Hamilton College, and Grant Hall (formerly Alpha Delta Phi) at Union College. And there was much, much more. Among the other Albany buildings still standing: McKinney House (1889, 391 State St.), Andrew Baker House (1892, 129 S. Lake Ave.), the Fourth Precinct Police Station (1891, 419 Madison Ave.), Alden Chester House (now the Ronald McDonald House, 1891, 139 S. Lake Ave.), St. Peter's Episcopal Rectory (1895, 107 State St.). And there were even more. They were a busy 14 years.

Centennial Hall.pngDon't know why Wheeler was out the door, but he was. On his own, Fuller built the beautiful and still standing Centennial Hall (1898-9, 7 Pine St.), and Public Bath No. 1 (1900, 665 Broadway). He also had work in Watervliet, Glens Falls (the City Hall), Warrensburg, and Richmond, VA. From 1900 to 1909, his former draughtsman William B. Pitcher was a partner in the firm, and in that time Fuller designed a few more buildings you may have been around and about, such as P.S. 12 (1901, 27 Western Ave.), the Gibson and Walker houses (1901, 415 and 417 State St.), the James McCredie House (1901, 403 State St.), and the Albany Institute of History and Art (1906, 125 Washington Ave.). This time also saw plenty of out-of-town work, including the libraries in Amsterdam and Johnstown, Trinity Episcopal in Watervliet, the Guy Park Avenue School in Amsterdam, and Hackley Hospital in Muskegon, Michigan.

After Pitcher left, Fuller just kept on going, with even more commissions around the state and beyond, and even more of the buildings we still most strongly associate with Albany: the Berkshire Hotel (1912, 140 State St.), the Kinney & Woodward Building (1916, 74 State Street, now a boutique hotel), Public School 19 (1917, 395 New Scotland Ave.), the Harmanus Bleecker Library (1924, 19 Dove St.), the University Club (1925, 141 Washington Ave.), and Albany Law School (1928, 80 New Scotland Ave.). Fuller died in 1934, still at work.

In 1882, Fuller published a book titled "Artistic Homes in City and Country: A Selection of Sketches Prepared in the Routine of Office-Work and Now Amplified and Enlarged." In his preface, Fuller wrote:

In offering these to the public, it is my desire to give some practical hints which may be of use to those who wish to make their homes not only comfortable, but artistic, and without involving any greater expenditure. The rapid progress which has been made within the past few years in both the external and internal treatment of our homes very forcibly illustrates the desirability of seeking the services of an architect, rather than endeavoring to have one's own ideas carried out by those unskilled in the profession. While it is not expected that these designs will meet the requirements of others than those for whom they were planned, still they will form a basis from which sketches can be made suitable to location and the wants of those desiring to build.

The volume includes lovely fantasies of Edwardian homes like this one:


Albany Architects: The Ogdens

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In the middle part of the 19th century, Albany took on a new look that was largely the work of father and son architects by the name of Ogden and their partners. Edward Ogden, born in England in 1826, came to Albany at the age of 13. He apprenticed as an architect with fellow Englishman William Woollett Jr. through 1849, and rose to partnership with Woollett from 1856 to 1870. Then he joined in partnership with another Englishman, Frank P. Wright from 1871 to 1889. Son Charles Ogden, an 1874 Albany Academy graduate, got his name on the firm in 1891, and when Edward died in 1900, it was Charles who carried on the business.

The impact of the various iterations of the Ogden firms on Albany is nothing less than stunning, even though substantial works have been lost. Here are just a few of their works.

first_dudley_observatory.jpgAmong the lost landmarks of the William Woollett and Edward Ogden period: the original Dudley Observatory (1856), the Tweddle Building (1860), the original School 12 (1858). But still standing: the Church of the Holy Innocents (1866) at North Pearl and Colonie streets, Our Lady of Angels (1869) at Central Avenue and Robin Street, and the Emmanuel Baptist Church (1871) at 275 State St.

Later, the firm of Ogden and Wright made a tremendous impression. They built a number of schools: No. 15 at Franklin and Herkimer, 1871; No. 11, still standing at 409 Madison, 1873; the first Albany High School on Eagle Street, 1876; the New York State Normal School on Willett Street, 1885; and the Albany Business College, 1887, which still stands on the northeast corner of North Pearl and Columbia. They also built the Kenmore Hotel (1878) and the John Myers Block (1884) that collapsed in 1905. A number of their private homes survive, including the Marshall Tebbutt house (483 State St., 1887), the Bainbridge Burdick house (935 Madison Ave., 1890), the Eugene Hartt house (407 State St., 1890), and the William B. Elmendorf House (1001 Madison Ave., 1890).

Brides'_Row,_144-170_Chestnut_Street,_Albany,_NY.jpgFrom 1891, the firm was known as Edward Ogden and Son, which continued to create a series of signature buildings. Unfortunately, their School No. 4 (Madison and Ontario, 1893), J.B. Lyon Block (Hudson Ave., 1893), St. Andrew's Episcopal (Western and Main, 1897), the Albany Railroad Co. (Quail St., ca. 1898), the Drislane Store (144-170 S. Pearl, ca. 1898), and the Municipal Gas Building (112 State St., 1899) are all gone.  But many are still standing: The James McKinney House (now St. Andrew's Society, 150 Washington Ave., 1891), the YMCA extension (Steuben and Chapel, ca. 1894 -- the front was built earlier by Fuller and Wheeler), the Convent of Our Lady of Angels (183 Central Ave., pre-1895), Madison Avenue Presbyterian (820 Madison, 1897), and the beloved Brides Row (144-170 Chestnut St., ca. 1900).

Day Line buildingFrom 1900 on, the firm was Charles Ogden. His first independent building was the American Cigar Co. factory (Arch and Grand, 1901), which still stands but isn't much of a testament to architectural ability. He also built St. John's Church (Green and Westerlo, ca. 1908), renovations to Keeler's Restaurant at 56 State Street (now gone), the Hudson River Day Line Ticket Office (351 Broadway, with Walter Van Guysling), St. Anthony's Church (Grand and Madison, 1908), Fuld & Hatch Knitting (Liberty and Hamilton, 1913). Perhaps his most recognizable works are the former Academy of Holy Names at 628 Madison Ave. (1914), right across from Washington Park and now part of Albany Medical Center, and the Albany Home Telephone Company (Howard and Lodge streets, 1903), which for many years housed a restaurant named after the building's architect, Ogden's. 

From 1916 on Charles Ogden was partnered with the Gander firm (Joseph, John and Conrad), with which he did alterations to Richardson's Albany City Hall, including a new steel and fireproof roof. This late in his life it is difficult to tell what is Ogden and what is Gander, and his continuing contributions to Albany's look is less clear. Charles retired in 1926 and died in 1931.

Albany Architects: Philip Hooker

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There could hardly be an architect who had more of an impact on the look of Albany as it grew into a substantial city in the early 19th century than Philip Hooker. He was widely respected, influential in politics and society Hooker's classical stylings let the city start to rise above its simple Dutch bricks and tiny frame houses. Unfortunately, so much of Hooker's work is gone now that it's possible to forget his importance.

NorthDutchChurchAlbany.pngPhilip Hooker was born in Rutland, Massachusetts (Worcester County) in 1766, the first child of Samuel Hooker and Rachel Hinds. Samuel was a carpenter who moved his family to Albany around 1772. How Hooker came to be an architect, and whether he spent time in New York City learning the profession, is not clear. The first building that we know he designed was a doozy: what is now called the First Church in Albany, earlier known as the North Dutch Church. (Old as the church is, its pulpit is even older; it dates to 1656 and is the oldest pulpit in the United States.) And as you can see, the front entry was originally different from the one we know today.

Soon after, he built the second building at Union College. West College, located on the corner of Union and College streets in Schenectady, was begun in 1798 but not finished until 1804. The building was sold to the city and county for use as offices, courthouse and jail. Union bought it back in 1831, then sold it to the city again in 1854. In 1890 it was demolished to make room for a school; today the site is merely a parking lot with an historical marker. Around this same time he also built a State Arsenal in Albany, long since razed.WestCollegeUnionCollege1804.png

Hooker's work proceeded at a tremendous pace in the first decade of the 19th century, with commissions in Albany for St. Peter's Episcopal Church (razed 1859), and the South Dutch Reformed Church; and St. Paul's Episcopal in Troy and Trinity Episcopal in Lansingburgh. He also built the New York State Bank (some of its elevation survives to this day, moved up the hill from its original location), the Bank of Albany (gone), and the Mechanics and Farmers Bank (also gone). He built the first dedicated Capitol Building in 1809 (gone), the old Albany City Hall (gone), and the old Albany Academy building (happily, still standing in Academy Park, headquarters of the city school district). His private homes fared better than his institutions:  the Aiken house in Rensselaer, as well as Hyde Hall in Cooperstown and Roscoe Conkling House in Utica, still stand, as well as what is now the Fort Orange Club (attributed to Hooker, anyway). His parents having moved to the Utica area, Hooker's work can be found out there as well, and at Hamilton College's chapel.

Remnants of Hooker's Capitol building were recovered just a couple of years back in the ravine of a local country club; I'm not sure whether the plans to display them have yet come to fruition.

He died in 1836, at the age of 69. Hooker is buried at Albany Rural Cemetery, though like his State Bank building, he didn't start out where he is now. He was originally buried at the State Street Burying Grounds.

There is a thorough book on Hooker from about 20 years ago, still available.

George D. Babbitt

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Babbittad.pngBabbitt & Co. was once one of Albany's greatest clothiers. When they took out this ad in 1913, the business was 13 years old and their store was located at 451-453 Broadway, just about at the intersection with Maiden Lane. By 1927 they had moved up to 67 North Pearl. Neither of their buildings still stands.

George D. Babbitt, who made his home at 32 South Allen Street, "was one of Albany's and the State's most public-spirited and progressive citizens." In addition to his long history in the fur and clothing business (beginning with Bardy, Babbitt & Co. in Fairhaven, VT, in 1884), he was an early advocate of automobiling (he was president of the Albany Automobile Club) and a supporter of the canals. He organized the Albany Chamber of Commerce. When the First World War came, he served on a YMCA Executive Committee raising funds, on the Mayor's Advisory Committee, the Executive Committee of the First Liberty Loan, and chairman of the Merchants' Committee for the War Chest. Born in Vermont around 1855, he died in 1919.


Flint Granite

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FlintGranite.pngThe Flint Granite Company had its office and works at the Albany Rural Cemetery. As noted in this 1902 ad, it succeeded the James Gazeley company which was established in 1861. Arden A. Flint came from Barre, Vermont, the granite memorial capital, and took over Gazeley's business around 1898. It also consolidated the businesses of C.B. Canfield (New York), Railway Granite Co. (Barre), Sanborn Granite Co. (Utica), and J.W. McMullen (Schenectady).

A 1905 booklet of their work can still be found, and it turns out Flint made some of our favorite memorials, in Albany Rural Cemetery, Troy's Oakwood Cemetery, and more.


In 1909, "Stone" ("A Monthly Publication Dedicated to the Stone Industry in All Its Branches") reported that "Arden A. Flint, who founded and was for nine years  general manager of the Flint Granite Company, Albany, N.Y., has severed his connection with that company. He becomes general manager of the Empire Monument Company, with offices in New York and Albany. The company will cut and manufacture granite at its quarries in Barre, Vt. . . . Mr. Flint is one of the best-known granite men in the business." He was killed in an automobile accident in 1912.

The Rise of the Individual Cup

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This has nothing to do with Capital District history, but having run across this 1911 article from Municipal Journal & Public Works, I thought I should share this vision of a world that wasn't filled with plastic bottles:

Portland Urges Using Individual Cups

Portland, Ore. - Individual drinking cups not only are becoming popular, but they are a necessity in Portland these days, and will be more so next summer. There is a State law which abolished the cup chained to the fountain in public places, but as yet there are not enough "bite the bubble" fountains to appease the public thirst. This necessitates the individual cup, the kind carried in the pocket. By next summer, before a man leaves home in the morning he will put a clean handkerchief and a clean paper cup in his pocket before going to work. One concern has ordered 50,000 paper cups, which will be distributed for advertising purposes. Paper cups are of infinite variety and of various cost. Eastern department stores sell one kind at 12 for a dime, and in the big stores of the East, the cups are held in a container, working on the penny-in-the-slot principle, and are sold for a cent each. Some cups retail for a nickel, but these have a wire handle and are short and squatty. Most of the paper cups are made of oil paper and lie flat, being without a bottom. Those with a bottom cost a trifle more. One of these paper cups is supposed to be thrown away after a drink has been taken, but a cup can be used for a week, with reasonable care. By the end of a week it has become dirty from being carried in the pocket. Collapsible metal cups are bieng sold largely to school children, although most of the schools have a "bite-the-bubble" fountain, and these fountains are also installed in many cafeterias. The paper cup has not taken a hold in Portland yet.

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  • Carl: Thanks. I suspected it was likely the Executive Mansion, but read more
  • nassaulocalhistory: Third picture could be the rear of the Governor's Mansion. read more
  • i am Related to the Roosevelts makes Me Proud. read more
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