Daily Archives: January 26, 2015

The Five Precinct Station-houses

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A little more from the “History of the Police Service of Albany,” 1902:

With an adequate and efficient police force to run down and apprehend wrongdoers, Albany is by no means handicapped by insufficient or badly appointed station-houses. It is quite as important to keep a criminal in custody as it is to arrest him, and realizing this, it seems to have been the aim of each Police Commission and Commissioner of Public Safety to keep all of the precinct station-houses in the Capital city in perfect repair. . .

There are five precinct station-houses in Albany, and one of them, the Second precinct building, on account of its dimensions, architecture and conspicuous location, is included in the list of the city’s imposing edifices . . .

1stPolicePrecinct1901.pngThe first precinct station-house is located at No. 59 South Ferry street. It is a brick structure several stories high and is in the heart of the precinct it is spoinsor for. Eight cells, strong and large, constitute the rooms of detention. The building, previous to its purchase to its purchase by the city, was a private residence. [Incredibly, it still stands, once again a private residence.] Before it was used as a station-house it was materially strengthened and practically remodeled. The buildings utilized previous were two in number: the first was located on Arch street, the second on South Ferry street below Green street. The present building was taken possession of in 1867.

2dPolicePrecinct1901.pngThe Second precinct station-house, known as police headquarters, is located on South Pearl street, at the corner of Howard street, and was erected in 1870. It is a red brick structure, five stories high, and occupies half a block. It has a cell capacity of eighteen. It is in this building that the Chief of Police, the Commissioner of Public Safety, the Chief of the Fire Department and many other city officials have their offices. The Police Court rooms and the City Court rooms are also located in the building, together with the offices of the judges who preside over them. It is a modern building in every respect, having been recently altered and improved. Prior to 1870 the building on the corner of James street and Maiden Lane was used as a station-house . . .

3rdPolicePrecinct1901.pngIt was in the early “sixties” that a private residence on Broadway, north of Livingston avenue, was purchased by the city and altered into a station-house, which was subsequently to be the Third precinct headquarters. The old station-house was located on Jackson street. The new building was a great improvement over the old one, and to-day it may be favorably compared with any of the other precinct headquarters in point of security. The Third is considered to be one of the most difficult precincts to handle in the city, owing to its wide territory. It has, however, been as ably patrolled as have the other sections of the city, and it cannot be said that crime is more frequently committed in the Third than in any other precinct. [The later Third building on North Pearl, built in 1910, is one of Albany’s most endangered landmarks.]

4thPolicePrecinct.pngThe Fourth precinct station-house is the most modern of the buildings used in Albany as police headquarters. It was erected scarcely more than eight years ago from plans which combined the ideas of health, comfort and strength. It is of red pressed brick, and is located on Madison avenue, just east of Lark street [still standing, the former home of Metroland and now private housing], within sight of the Albany county penitentiary. For many years the Fourth precinct station-house was located at the corner of Lancaster and Dove streets, and in the center of one of the wealthiest portions of the city.

FifthPolicePrecinct.pngIt was in the year of 1876 that the officers and patrolmen doing duty in the Fifth precinct received orders to transfer their uniforms and police accessories from a frame building on Central avenue, which, up to that time, had answered the purpose required, to a brick structure of much more imposing appearance. The new home of the officers and policemen of the Fifth was, and is still, located on the south side of Central avenue, just above Perry street [now North Lake]. It is much the same style of building as the Third precinct station-house.