Hoxsie’s taking it easy for the holidays, and mostly presenting you with pretty pictures. Here’s another from the Ryerson & Burnham Archives of the Art Institute of Chicago, a view from between 1880 (when this was built) and 1890 of the Albert V. Bensen Residence that stands at 439 State Street in Albany, across from Washington Park. It was designed by Albert Fuller of Fuller and Wheeler, who had more than a few of Albany’s public schools to his credit as well. Fuller trained under Ogden & Wright, and also built the YMCA at Pearl and Steuben, and the Albany Institute of History and Art.
Don’t know much about Albert Bensen, for whom the home was built. He was a member of The Holland Society, Dutch descendants dedicated to the collection and preservation of the early history of New York, city and state. In 1903 he was, along with Albert Fuller, a director of the Mutual Fire insurance company of Albany. He was an officer of the Albany County Bank, and was on the Board of Water Commissioners for the city in 1898.
Unusually quick update!
A sixth cousin twice removed, or possibly a fifth cousin thrice removed, forwarded this information on Albert Van Voast Bensen, who may have made his fortune in wallpaper paste:
“(VII) Albert Van Voast, only son of Richard Van Vranken and Mary A. (Becker) Bensen, was born in Schenectady, New York, August 16, 1842. He was educated in the public schools of Schenectady and graduated from the Union school of that city. In 1860 he located in Albany, New York, which has ever since been his home. He established a tea and coffee business in that city, which he developed to large proportions and to which he devoted himself with all the energy of his nature until 1908, when he retired. During these years he acquired other and varied business interests. For thirty-four years he was secretary of the Albany County Savings Bank and trustee of that well known, solid and conservative institution. He is president of the Diamond Paste Company; vice-president of the Albany County Bank, director of the Albany Mutual Fire Insurance Company, and trustee of the Albany Homeopathic Hospital. Through his Van Vranken ancestry he gains admission to the Holland Society and belongs to the Holland Society of the City of New York. He is a member of Mt. Vernon Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, Fort Orange Club of Albany, and attends St. Peter’s Church, of Albany. He married, February 14, 1878, Harriet Allen, of Albany. Children, all born in Albany:
1. Albert Van Voast, educated at the Boys Academy; graduated at Williams College, class of 1901; member of the Kappa Alpha fraternity; he is a merchant of New York City.
2. William Wendell, educated at Boys Academy of Albany; now engaged in business in Albany.
3. Louise Allen.”