The Museum Building

Broadway from State Street: The Museum Building

The northwest corner of Broadway and State in Albany has hosted some kind of round-faced building for a very long time now. Shown here in this old stereographic view is what was called the Museum Building (sometimes, the Marble Column Building). It was built sometime before 1830 and from 1831 on housed the Albany Museum, previously down at the corner of Hudson. The museum had been around in some form or other since 1798.

George Rogers Howell wrote, “At first largely devoted to curiosities and
freaks of nature, the Siamese Twins, Joyce Heth, Tom Thumb and other Barnum
enterprises were exhibited here. Concerts, monologues, lectures and light
entertainments of various sorts were frequently given, and more and more the
place assumed a dramatic character. In 1848 it was considerably enlarged, and
then became the leading, and at times the only place of amusement in the city .
. . The last performance was given here April 28, 1855.”

The building continued on, housing offices and occasional public events. It was replaced in 1904 by a grander, but no less rounded, building that was home to the First Trust Company, and designed by Marcus T. Reynolds, who also designed its neighbor across the plaza, the D&H Railroad Headquarters (now SUNY Central Administration).

Other than the shape of that facade, the rest of Broadway in this view is gone except for a little stretch of buildings just past Pine Street.

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