The Banks of Albany

As I’ve ranted before, banks were once truly the backbone of the community, and every growing city was proud of its lending institutions. They regularly reported their assets and how much they had invested in the community. In 1844, the busy city of Albany had eight banks, all conveniently located in pretty much the same …

Albany Medical College

The Albany Medical College was chartered Feb. 16, 1839; “the charter empowers the trustees to confer the degree of doctor of medicine on the recommendation of the faculty, and three of the curators. The college edifice which is of brick, three stories high, 120 feet front by 50 feet deep, belongs with its grounds, to …

Albany Female Academy

Another of the gems that is no longer there, the Albany Female Academy was on North Pearl Street. According to Wilson’s Albany City Guide, “This beautiful and classic edifice was erected for the purposes of a Female Academy in the year 1834, and is one of the greatest ornaments of our city . . . …

Barnum Blake, Bonnetteer

Or “bonnetter?” Either way. In 1844, Barnum Blake made bonnets, Florence straw and silk and velvet bonnets. He had French and American artificial flowers, ribbons, etc. He was located nearly opposite the new Delavan House hotel and the Eastern and Western railroad depots (for a “union” station was still a long way off). I’m a …

Cheap Publications

“Cheap” tends to have a pejorative connotation these days that it did not in 1844, when Erastus H. Pease was happy to let Albanians know that his book store dealt in cheap publications. But he also dealt in classical and school texts, maps and globes, blank books, paper and stationery of all kinds, and drawing …

Rural Routes

Are there still rural routes? In the old days, if I wanted to send a letter to my aunt in West Glenville, I’d address it to her name, R.D. (rural delivery) #3, Amsterdam. The mailman who had that route was just expected to know who lived where – no road name was required. Imagine. In …