Let’s leave Albany for a while and look at the Electric City. Another view from the Tichnor Collection at Digitalcommonwealth.org, this time of Schenectady’s State Street, looking east from the railroad overpass, with Broadway/North Center Street crossing. This was likely late 1930s or early 1940s (car dating nerds, help us out). Immediately to the left, Jay Jewelry, which later moved west of the overpass. Just the other side of North Center Street was the F.W. Woolworth. The stores beyond that are a little hard to make out, but the taller one on the block was the Wallace Co. department store. If you squint, way up the left side of the street, you can see a sign for the Plaza Theater, which opened in 1931 and was demolished in 1964, a pretty short run for a house that some considered grander than Proctor’s.
On the right side, the corner building was the Hotel Hough, which appears at this time to have housed Rudolph Jewelers on the ground floor. The Hough survived (as a building) until relatively recently, and was demolished to make room for BowTie Cinemas. The tall tower just beyond it was the home of Clark Witbeck hardware, which sold routine hardware but also was involved in railroad supplies. (Mr. Witbeck’s tomb in Vale Cemetery is an Egyptianate wonder.) Some of the smaller businesses are hard to pick out beyond that, but the Proctor’s theater sign is prominent. Past that, another sign, for Richman Brothers, a men’s and boy’s wear store.
Up the middle of the street, trolley tracks — though it looks like buses are running along them. There are islands in State Street, diverting traffic around the trackisings, in a layout that is surprisingly similar to how it looks today.
In rare good news, the vast majority of the buildings in this picture still stand today, though there have been some changes. The Woolworth’s looks dramatically different, as do the buildings just to the east of it, and as we said, the Hough is gone, but the rest of this scene doesn’t look so different today. Click on the pic to see it large!