One Hour in Albany for the Tourist in 1900 – Take the Pine Hills Trolley

Whether the tourist comes to Albany by boat or by rail, but a few steps are required to reach historic ground. If by rail on the Central (New York Central Railroad), a turn to the left on passing out of the new depot (Union Station) brings the visitor quckly to Steuben St. where stood the old North Gate of the city at which Simon Schermerhorn shouted the first news of the Schenectady Massacre (1690).

If by boat directly in front and to the left on stepping on the wharf is the site of old Fort Orange where treaties where established and the first courts held in early days, and north of which the first church (the Dutch Church) was erected.But whether coming by boat or by rail the visitor’s way lies directly into the broad business street called Broadway, formerly known successively as Traders, Court and Market Streets. Leaving the boat in early morning, say 7 o’clock and bound of course for Saratoga or the North, the popular D & H trains [the Delaware and Husdon Railroad) does not start until 8:30 and there is easily an hour to spare for sight-seeing.

The path lies to the right up Broadway. The few blocks to State St. are alive with business and have been for hours. At the third right hand corner a prosaic red building occupies the site of the Second City Hall where the “The Declaration of Independence” was first publicly read in Albany (that building was demolished to construct the D & H Building in 1914). On the opposite side of the street, a block beyond, is the home of the famous old Argus which has been a giant in the newspaper world since its founding 1813.

The next short block ends at State St., a broad thoroughfare leading straight up the hill at the top of which is the Capitol shining in the sun.

The gray granite structure at the corner of State and Broadway is the Goverment Building containing the post office and federal offices. Where now is the broad intersection of the two streets was the second Dutch Church.

A passing electric car (trolley) marked “Pine Hills” offers a ready means for a quick view of the city. From the start of the foot of State St. the tourist passes between blocks of handsome and substantial businesses that are the seat of the city’s business and financial life.

On the left towers the Commerical Bank building. At the next corner on the right (James St.) the Mechanics and Farmers bank occupies the site of the home of Anneke Janse, once owner of the Trinity Church property in New York City. Below the Bank is the Evening Journal Building where is pubished the well know Republican newspaper of which Thurlow Weed was edior.

Just above this corner is the fine old building occupied by the State Bank.

The car stops for a moment at the next cross street (Pearl) and a glimpse may be had of another business center.

The County bank building at the left occupies the site of the birthplace of Philip Schuyler. At the right is the site of the first brick builiding erected in North America. Opposite is the brown stone of the Tweddle Building which marks the place where Philip Livingston, one of the signers of the Declaraton of Independence, was born and where Webster’s famous almanac and spelling book were printed and the first Albany newspaper (“The Albany Gazette”) was published.

To the North of this building on Pearl St. is the beautiful home of the Albany Savings Bank, fashioned like an old Greek Temple, occupying the site where once stood the Vanderheyden Palace made famous by Washington Irvng in “Bracebridge Hall”.

The car passes on the right the Hotel Ten Eyck, occupying the site of the old Corning Mansion. About opposite this corner (Chapel St.) in the middle of the State St. stood the first English church on ground granted by patent from King George.

The Albany Club and the Press Club occupy commodious buildings on the left side of the street. St. Peter’s historic church at once attracts attention at the next crossing (Lodge St.) It marks the site of the North East bastion of the old Fort Frederick. Beyond it to the right can be seen the Masonic Temple and still further on the opposite side of the street is St. Mary’s Chruch.

Opposite St Peter’s Church on State St. is the State Museum, popularly known as the “Geological Hall” and down the cross street on the opposite side is the OddFellows Temple at (Lodge and Beaver).

The short remaining block is notable chiefly for the fact that the first railroad depot [the Mohawk and Hudson Railroad] stood a few doors on the next corner (Eagle St.) on the right hand side. As the car sweeps around the curve into Washington Ave. (once King St. and Lion St.) a passing glimpse may be had of the Cty Hall, the State House, and Albany High School at the right hand and, across the handsome park, of the famous old Boy’s Academy.

This park also is historic ground, and it was in the Academy that Prof. Joseph Henry conducted electrical experiments which went far toward making telegraphy (and the telephone) a possibiity.

A good view of the Capitol and its approaches can be had as the car is passing, and there is nothing else to distract from this noble edifice.

On the way up the avenue, at the second crossing (Swan St.) at the right may be seen one block over All Saints Episcopal Cathedral.

Just above this corner on the left, standing well back from the street, is the Fort Orange Club, occupying a fine old mansion in which Aaron Burr once lived. All along the avenue are substantial residences and it is shaded by handsome elms.

The next corner is Dove St., and almost at the end of the block is Harmanus Bleecker Hall and adjoining on the corner of Lark St.is the state armory (Washington Ave. Armory). As the car turns sharply to the left a view may be had of the broad open space with its triangular Park where Central and Washington Avenues meet Townsend Park.

Up Central Ave the car line continues fully two miles westward.The ride over Lark St. is also through a residential section. Soon a turn to the right brings the car into Madison Ave. Far off to the left may be had a view of the Helderberg and Catskill Mountains. At the right on the corner of Willett St, Washington Park begins. Some distance beyond this corner at the right may be seen the State Normal College and the street contains many handsome residences.

As the car speeds along the tourist will find every foot of the way interesting, Across the park at its third entrance may be seen the King Fountain – the colossal figure of Moses “smiting the rock”.

As the second carriage entrance is passed, off at the left appears the massive grouped buildings of the Albany Hospital (on the New Scotland Road])

Thereafter both sides of the wide avenue are filled with handsome residences which continued in the section around the place where the railroad end (Quail St.)

The time from the foot of State St. to end of the trip has been but 20 minutes and since leaving the boat, but 35 minutes have been used

From the “The Albany Tourist Guide”, James Whish, Fort Orange Press. 1900

Julie O’Connor

The Madison Movie Theater

The Madison Theater in Pine Hills has been a fixture in the neighborhood for 90 years, since its opening in May, 1929. That opening was a gala event.

The theater debuted with “Desert Song”, a block buster from the Warner Co. , which built the new theater and would own it until 1975 (as well as the Strand on North Pearl and what is now the Landmark Theater on Delaware Ave.) “Desert Song” was the first “talkie” musical (music by Irving Berlin), was filmed in two-part Technicolor, and co-starred an impossibly young Myrna Loy.

This Madison wasn’t the first Madison movie theater in Pine Hills. The first opened c. 1914 on West Lawrence (about where the Price Chopper is today). By 1917 it became the Pine Hills Theatre, and closed by 1930.

Movie goers wanted luxury and comfortable seats and glitz- more than hard wood seats to watch silent films. They flocked to new movie palaces for more of a real “theater” experience. The new Madison quickly became a favorite. It was a “second run” theater. If you didn’t get a chance to see a movie at the flagship Strand downtown you could catch it at the Madison. It was and is more than a neighborhood theater. During the Depression, like most movie theaters, it provided an escape, and served the same in World War II.

The Saturday morning cartoon shows in the 1950s and 1960s are the stuff of legend, attracting hundreds of kids from all over the city. The Back to School programs (free pencil box.. Yay!) drew screaming hordes of children. The building was re-modeled a couple of times in the 1950s and 1960s.

By the 1970s it was one of only 3 movie theaters (the others were the Delaware and the Hellman on Washington Ave.) in Albany. There was increased competition from theaters in the suburbs, many near the shopping malls, in Colonie. And then came the era of multiplex cinemas, and the Madison struggled to re-invent itself, now faced with competition from the VCR and movie rentals. And yet it has held on, experimenting with live entertainment, and new owners have re-invented the movie experience.

Julie O’Connor

Albany’s Dorothy Lathrop – Award Winning Author and Illutrator

What if I told you there was a woman from Albany who brought joy to thousands of children across the world for almost 100 years and will continue to do so?

Her name is Dorothy Pulis Lathrop and she was an award-winning illustrator and writer of children’s books.

Dorothy was born before the turn of the last century in 1891. Her parents, Cyrus Lathrop and Ida Pulis Lathrop, came to Albany in 1888. Cyrus was originally from Connecticut, son of a bookseller. Ida was from Troy – the school teacher daughter of a carpenter. In the early days they lived at 230 Washington Ave. (just above Henry Johnson Blvd.), where Cyrus ran a thriving business that re-supplied restroom laundry in restaurants and other businesses. There were 2 daughters (Gertrude – whom we will discuss at another time) and Dorothy.

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2.2Meanwhile, Ida painted; she was a self-taught artist of great skill. (Her paintings are in the permanent collections of a number of museums) and the last time one of her pieces came up for auction – at Christie’s’ about 25 years ago, it went for $15,000. By the early 1900s Ida had nationwide fame.

Cyrus was a man of great faith and concern for the well-being of his fellow man, especially children. He’s said to have volunteered frequently at the City Mission when he first came to Albany. In 1892 he was one of the founders of the Albany Boys Club and soon became its president and executive director. This lead to a series of appointments in NYS government, overseeing charitable organizations – from orphan asylums to hospitals – across the State. He remained in state government for the rest of his life.

In the early 1900s the Lathrops moved to one of the new villas on South Allen St. in Pine Hills. The house was designed by Ida and included two rooms for her art studio. The large backyard was filled with the apple trees and the family’s petting zoo: porcupines, sheep, turtles, raccoons, goats, chipmunks and squirrels. While Cyrus traveled for work Ida and the girls stayed at home, painting and playing with the animals.

Dorothy graduated from Albany High School and went on to study art at Columbia in NYC. She returned to Albany and taught art for a couple of years at Albany High School, getting some free-lance magazine work, but she was determined to have a career as an illustrator. She returned to art school in Philadelphia and New York and then started pounding the pavements in New York City, portfolio in hand. One of her stops was at the new and tiny publishing firm, Alfred Knopf. Knopf was a year younger than Dorothy, eager to try new talent and snapping up European authors to publish in America.

3.jpgKnopf paired her with Walter de la Mare, an English poet and writer best known for his children’s books these days. Their first partnership was “The Three Mulla Muggars (a/k/a – “The Three Royal Monkeys”. He believed fervently in children’s natural inclination to live in a world of fantasy. Lathrop’s illustrations lead the reader into that realm and let them run wild. (Dorothy developed a close relationship with de la Mare; they collaborated on another 5 books.)

4She was off and running – at the beginning of prolific award-winning career. She illustrated almost 50 children’s books (and wrote of many of them herself) that drew on her love of animals and nature. In 1929 she was the co-winner of the Newbery Medal (the Medal is awarded by the American Library Association for “the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children” ) with writer Rachel Field for “Hitty, Her First Hundred Years”. It’s a wonderful story of a doll who travels the world for a century and writes her memoirs. (Hitty – the actual doll, owned by Rachel Fields and inspiration for the book, spent time on display in Harmanus Bleecker Library in Albany in 1930.)

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Two years later Dorothy was a Newbery runner-up for “The Fairy Circus”, which she wrote and illustrated. (I inherited all the Lathrop books from my mother and uncles. This may be my favorite; a group of fairies who put together a circus with all the little woodland creatures in their world, but I’m positively mad for all Lathrop’s books.)

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9In 1938 she was the first winner of the Caldecott Medal (awarded by the American Library Association) for the “most distinguished American picture book for children” for ”Animals in the Bible”. She said in her acceptance speech, “I can’t help wishing that just now all of you were animals. Of course technically you are, but if only I could look down into a sea of furry faces, I would know better what to say.”

 

 

1Dorothy continued to work in the realm of children’s lit into her 60s, but in the early 1950s she turned to non-fiction as well. In “Let them live” (1951) she was one the first to warn against the destruction of the natural habitats and eco-systems that support wildlife.

Dorothy called Albany home until the mid-1950s She was a founding member of the Albany Print Club (her specialty was wood block prints, although she was proficient in all media); her papers are in its permanent collection. Sometimes, she could be found reading her books at story hour in some of the local library branches. In 1954, Dorothy and Gertrude moved to the Falls Village, Ct., but still spent considerable time in Albany. Her work, and that of Gertrude, a sculptor, was displayed at the Institute and other venues. (The Institute has the work of Ida, Dorothy and Gertrude in their collection.)

12I have a dim recollection of seeing Dorothy at the John Mistletoe book store (originally on Lark St. – subsequently it moved around the corner to Washington Ave.). The Mistletoe was first owned by her good friends Eleanor Foote and then Mary and Ed French. It had a great children’s section and from time to time Dorothy would appear at events. She was a tall, kind and soft-spoken woman who seemed more a home with kids than adults.

Dorothy died in 1980 at the age of 89 in Falls Village. She’s buried with her sister and parents in Section 27, Lot 46 of the Albany Rural Cemetery.

She once wrote: “How I came to write and draw for children I do not know. Perhaps it is simply that I am interested most of all in the things many of them like best–creatures of all kinds, whether they run, fly, hop, or crawl, and in fairies and all their kin, and in all the adventures that might happily befall one in a world which is so constantly surprising and wonderful.”

Here’s a list of the books Dorothy Lathrop illustrated:

  • A Little Boy Lost. Hudson, W. H. (author), Knopf, 1929.
  • An Angel in the Woods. Lathrop, Dorothy P. (author), Macmillan, 1947.
  • Animals of the Bible. Lathrop, Dorothy (author), Lippincott, 1937.
  • Balloon Moon. Cabot, Elsie (author), Henry Holt, 1927.
  • Bells and Grass. De La Mare, Walter (author), Viking, 1965.
  • Bouncing Betsy. Lathrop, Dorothy P. (author), Macmillan, 1936.
  • Branches Green. Field, Rachel (author), Macmillan, 1934.
  • Childcraft in 15 Volumes. Lathrop, Dorothy P. et al. (author), Field Educational Pub., 1954.
  • Crossings: A Fairy Play. De La Mare, Walter (author), Knopf, 1923.
    Devonshire Cream. Dean, Agnes L. (author), Unity Press, 1950.
  • Down-Adown-Derry: A Book of Fairy Poems. De La Mare, Walter (author), Henry Holt, 1922.
  • Fierce-Face: The Story of a Tiger. Mukerji, Dhan Gopal (author), Dutton, 1938.
  • Follow the Brook. Lathrop, Dorothy P. (author), Macmillan, 1960.
  • Grateful Elephant. Burlingame, Eugene W. (author), Yale University Press, 1923.
  • Grim: The Story of a Pike. Fleuron, Svend (author), Knopf, 1921.
  • Hide and Go Seek. Lathrop, Dorothy (author), E.M. Hale, 1931
  • Hitty: Her First Hundred Years. Field, Rachel (author), Macmillan, 1947.
  • Kaleidoscope. Farjeon, Eleanor (author), Stokes, 1929.
  • Japanese Prints. Fletcher (author), Four Seas Press, Boston, 1918.
  • Let Them Live. Lathrop, Dorothy P. (author), Macmillan, 1961.
  • Made-To-Order Stories. Canfield, Dorothy (author), Harcourt Brace, 1953.
  • Mopsa the Fairy. Jean, Ingelow (author), Harper & Brothers, 1927.
  • Mr. Bumps and His Monkey. De La Mare, Walter (author), Winston, 1942.
  • Presents for Lupe. Lathrop, Dorothy P. (author), Macmillan, 1940.
  • Puffy and the Seven Leaf Clover. Lathrop, Dorothy P. (author), Macmillan, 1954.
  • Puppies for Keeps. Lathrop, Dorothy (author), Macmillan, 1944.
  • Silverhorn: The Hilda Conkling Book For Other Children. Conkling, Hilda (author), Stokes, 1924.
  • Snow Image. Hawthorne, Nathaniel (author), Macmillan, 1930.
  • Stars To-Night: Verses New and Old for Boys and Girls. Teasdale, Sara (author), Macmillan, 1930.
  • Sung under the Silver Umbrella. Education Association For Childhood (author), Macmillan, 1935.
  • Tales From The Enchanted Isles. Gate, Ethel May (author), Yale University Press, 1926.
  • The Colt from Moon Mountain. Lathrop, Dorothy P. (author), Macmillan, 1941.
  • The Dog in the Tapestry Garden. Lathrop, Dorothy P. (author), Macmillan, 1962.
  • The Dutch Cheese. De La Mare, Walter (author), Knopf, 1931.
  • The Fair of St. James. Farjeon, Eleanor (author), Stokes, 1932.
  • The Fairy Circus. Lathrop, Dorothy P. (author), Macmillan, 1931.
  • The Forgotten Daughter. Snedeker, Caroline Dale (author), Doubleday, 1933.
  • The Happy Flute. Mandal, Sant Ram (author), Stokes, 1939.
  • The Light Princess. Macdonald, George (author), Macmillan, 1952.
  • The Little Mermaid. Andersen, Hans (author), Macmillan, 1939.
  • The Little White Goat. Lathrop, Dorothy P. (author), Macmillan, 1935.
  • The Littlest Mouse. Lathrop, Dorothy P. (author), Macmillan, 1955.
  • The Long Bright Land. Howes, Edith (author), Little Brown, 1929.
  • The Lost Merry-Go-Round. Lathrop, Dorothy P. (author), Macmillan, 1938.
  • The Princess and Curdie. MacDonald, George (author), Macmillan, 1927.
  • The Skittle Skattle Monkey. Lathrop, Dorothy P. (author), Macmillan, 1945.
  • The Snail Who Ran. Lathrop, Dorothy P. (author), Stokes, 1934.
  • The Snow Image. Hawthorne, Nathaniel (author), Macmillan, 1930.
  • The Three Mulla-Mulgars. De La Mare, Walter (author), Knopf, 1919.
  • The Treasure of Carcassonne. Robida, A. (author), E.M. Hale, 1926.
  • Who Goes There? Lathrop, Dorothy P. (author), Macmillan, 1935

Labor Day 2017 – the Faces of Albany Labor; We Built This City

If  you want to see more pics, take a deep dive in our Flickr site: AlbanyGroup Archive

 

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A History of Albany’s Pine Hills

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(Drafted in 1977, Author Unknown)

2,2Until the turn of this century, the Pine Hills district of Albany (an area bounded by Manning Boulevard, Lake, Woodlawn and Washington Avenues) was a sparsely settled region. Fifty years earlier the chief development and activity in the area centered on “The Point”; the intersection of Madison and Western Avenues, and the Great Western Turnpike. It was at “the Point” in 1831 that this country’s first scheduled passenger train boarded for the Albany-Schenectady run.

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After 1841, when the depot was moved to downtown Albany, “The Point” became less important The Great Western Turnpike (now Western Avenue), a plank-covered toll road chartered in 1799 and connecting Albany and New York City with the West, was also a significant transportation route. This road carried many travelers, including cattlemen of western New York State, who drove their animals to the port facilities of Hudson River for shipment downstate. To accommodate the turnpike and locomotive traffic, the Rising Sun and Sloan’s Hotel, among others, were built along these lines. Overall, a rural landscape with a scattering of building characterized the area.

4.4By 1871, only 1 shop and 8 wooden dwellings stood along entire south side of Washington Avenue between Quail and Allen Streets, while Madison Avenue was a little more densely settled; 33 buildings and 1 church along the same distance. Most of these buildings were located on the large farms that predominated regionally. The major institution in the area was a school for orphaned boys founded by Christian Brothers in 1853 on the side of the present-day LaSalle School.

Soon after the American Civil War, construction of Washington Park was undertaken. The reasons given for building the park included the beliefs that “cleanliness, fresh air, the presence of vegetation are essential to health; … that a beautiful park in any city is a great moral power and does more than any criminal courts or policeman to repress crime.” According to one city official it was done because “a park would greatly benefit our city and contribute to the enjoyment and comfort of our citizens while it would be evidence that our city is embedded with some of the spirit of progress that is necessary for it in order to become a rival of other municipalities and offer inducements encouraging instead of repelling emigration.” By February of 1871, the appointed Washington Park Commissioners realized a need for the “bringing of the north, south and center of the city, into easy and intimate approach to the park grounds when completed.”

From among several studies commissioned for this purpose, they ultimately adopted a plan for a boulevard, which was to encircle much of the city. For various reasons, the only portion of this drive to be completed was the section of Manning Boulevard located within Pine Hills. (This roadway was originally called Northern Boulevard; it was later renamed for Daniel Manning, a former park commissioner and Secretary of the Treasury under President Grover Cleveland.)

Construction of the Northern Boulevard began on January 1, 1876. The Mayor and Chief of Police submitted the names of “men needy and in positive want” who would otherwise have been “a charge of the city poor fund, with no labor performed to show for it” to the Park Commissioners from these lists they hired work crews. The man were paid a “living wage” of $1.50 per day and entire crews were frequently changed “to insure a more general distribution of the work and a more equable distribution of the funds.” Such changes often caused the suspension of all roadwork for several days. Despite these delays, a mile-long section of the thoroughfare was completed in 1878. The width varied from 66 to 150 feet; the street was bordered by trees, paved sidewalks and bridle paths.

At about the same time and in response to the long-standing complaints and petitions of the property owners about the condition of the plank road, the commissioners decided to transform Western Avenue into a grand approach to the park. The 40 feet wide turnpike was paved with granite block; water, gas and sewer mains were installed; and Norway maples were planted at intervals of forty feet. The Park Commissioners retained responsibility for street cleaning and tree-trimming; to aid them, laws were passed prohibiting the hitching of horses to trees and the driving of animals along the road or sidewalks.19

Although these road improvements attracted pleasure drivers and horse racers, they did not spur any immediate population growth in Pine Hills. An ordinance of 1878 prohibiting land owners on Western Avenue from permitting “any cattle, sheep, pigs, geese, hens or ducks … to run at-large upon the same (Western Avenue),” was indicative of the rural character of the area. The major portion of Albany’s population remained settled below Eagle Street.

6As a result of the development of Washington Park and expanded transportation lines, new construction after 1875 centered on the park and continually moved westward. In 1875, the horse car line, Albany’s “rapid transit system” (similar to a trolley but drawn by animals), was extended up Madison Avenue between Lark and Quail Streets. Eleven years later the line reached Partridge Street, indicating some demand for service in the area. However, the trip was so long and difficult because of the rough terrain, that it required over an hour of time and several changes of horses.

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13 845 madison 1900 steve riderBy 1886, the horsecar line passed by the newly developed “Brady Row” and “Paigeville”, rows of wooden structures located on Madison and Western Avenues (near Ontario Street) which housed the working-class families of the West Albany railroad shops.

 

 

1.2A more fashionable residential area above Partridge Street began to develop in the 1880’s. One example of the changes then taking place was the growth of the area bounded by Partridge Street, Western, Madison and Main Avenues. This land was once called “Twickenham”, the farm of Andrew E. Brown, a well-known citizen of Albany. Each spring Brown moved his family of ten children from their home at #2 Clinton Place to their “country” residence. Brown commuted to his downtown office through the summer. In the 1880’s following Andrew Brown’s death, his heir subdivided Twickenham and sold the smaller lots.

Rapid development took place; eight new residences were constructed along Madison Avenue (#943-979) between 1884 and 1889. These homes were freestanding and rather good examples of the Queen Anne- style then in vogue. They were built by families such as the Goodes, Hagamans and Keelers, prominent in Albany business circles. These people were attracted to the rural quality of the Pine Hills where it was still possible to meet with neighbors at Keeler’s Lake for hockey, ice skating and tobogganing on the nearby hills.

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1.1About 1889, two lawyers, Gaylord Logan and Lewis Pratt, attempted a rather farsighted development scheme. Borrowing $100,000 from a local bank, they purchased the McIntyre and Hawkins farms, roughly the area bounded by Allen and Cortland Streets, Washington Avenue and Manning Boulevard. They subdivided the land into generous lots of 50′ x 200′ each; mapped out streets; planted trees; paved roads with Trinidad asphalt; laid flagstone sidewalks; installed tile drains, water and gas mains.

The transportation to the area was improved in 1890 was the trolley lines were electricity to Partridge Street. By 1891, the Albany Land Improvement Company (Pratt & Logan) were ready to auction “villa lots at Pine Hills” for $840 each. Pratt and Logan were the first to designate this area as Pine Hills, named for several groves of pine trees on the hilltops of Western Avenue. The extensive promotional material for the area stressed its street improvements, healthful surroundings, available rapid transit, the villa residences, and its covenants “which will forever prevent the use of the property for business purposes or the sale of intoxicating liquors.” With these restrictions, Pratt and Logan were the forerunners of the concept of zoning in Albany. Unfortunately for the lawyers, the country slid into a depression in 1893. Demand for land and new homes dropped, the bank foreclosed on the mortgage, leaving the two entrepreneurs’ property-less. The bank later sold the land at prices much lower than the actual value.

9 steamer 10Despite the personal failure of the two promoters, the Pine Hills future as a fashionable semi-suburban area had been established. “Detached villas” built from the plentiful wood supply of the Adirondacks continued to go up, now at an accelerated pace. By 1900, there were 31 wooden and 3 brick structures on the south side of Madison Avenue between Partridge and Allen Streets: 16 wooden, 4 stone and 2 brick buildings on the north side. Similarly, on Western Avenue the total number of structures between Partridge and Allen Streets had jumped from 6 in 1890 to 27 in 1900. Other improvements in the growing neighborhood included the construction of Engine House #10 at the “The Point” in 1891 and School #4 at Madison Avenue and Ontario the following years.

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The less prosperous sections of Pine Hills had also grown: Brady Row consisted of 21 wooden row houses in 1890; Paigeville had 17 wooden and 2 brick dwellings.

3The predominantly Catholic families who inhabited these areas founded St. Vincent’s Church (now Albany’s largest Catholic Parish) in 1887. The congregation met in a wooden structure on the southwest corner of Madison Avenue and Partridge Street, which had been purchased from a Baptist group.

12.3In 1897, St Andrew’s Episcopal Church was erected at the south corner of Main and Western over objections by some members that the site was too remote.

By the end of the century a fair-sized community populated the Pine Hills. In 1900, concerned citizens gathered to form the Pine Hills Neighborhood Association; their aim was to improve the area and foster a community spirit. “Improvements” included the solution to problems such as “the dumping of dead horses to lie unburied just west of (Manning) Boulevard.” A serious “problem” was the encroachment upon the areas by institutions considered undesirable by the majority of Pine Hills’ residents.

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10 3 In 1902 the Aurania Club was founded in direct response to the proposed buildings of the Hospital of the Incurables in the area. The club vigorously raised the necessary funds, purchased the disputed site from the hospital and built a clubhouse on the property. This response was similar to that take against an attempt to construct a school for the deaf and dumb at North Pine Avenue and Lancaster Streets in the 1890’s. At that time, the citizenry had successfully opposed the idea, citing the school as commercial in character. The Pine Hills residents evidently meant to adhere to the restrictions on the use of the area originally proposed by Pratt and Logan.

16     However, commercial enterprises were not kept out entirely. In 1902, Matthew Tiernan, began operating the Pine Hills Pharmacy at #1116 Madison Avenue. Within a few years, Johnston and Linsley’s Grocery was established. Public facilities were expanded in 1906 with the construction of School #16 on North Allen Street and the extension of the trolley car line to Manning Boulevard.

15By 1910, many of the sand hills that had formerly been used for winter sports activities had been terraced into lawns of residences along Allen, Morris and Yates Streets in addition to Main and South Pine Avenues. Madison Avenue was rather densely built-up on both sides of the street between Quail and Allen Streets. Western Avenue contained 56 structures and 1 church on its south side and 59 buildings plus the boy’s asylum on the north side (Quail to Allen Streets). Washington Avenue, however, remained rather sparsely settled with only 26 structures on both sides of the street and the over the same distance. Here, cemeteries and large tracts of vacant land prevailed.

 

 

done 4The war years slowed the growth of the Pine Hills although St. Vincent’s elementary school was founded in 1917. The post-war boom years were the great stimulus to expansion. In 1921, Vincentian High School was established. Four years later, a new speculator to the area, William Kattrein of the Watervliet Tool Company, purchased the farmland near Marion Avenue. Kattrein proceeded to build and sells homes on the development.

7 pine hils

4 1920sIn the same year, buses replaced many of the trolley lines in the area, although the trolley west of Allen Street remained in operation until 1946. The two decades from 1910 to 1930 had seen continued construction and growth along Madison and Western Avenues. Washington had experienced a building boom; over 100 structures lined it in 1930, where only 26 had stood in 1910.

9 moran hall st. roseA new element entering the area was the College of St. Rose. Founded in 1920 as a “small, independent, liberal arts college: for women, the school began with only 19 students and one building, #979 Madison Avenue. However, the school steadily expanded. A history of the college states that:

“…. The accumulation of extensive property was gradual. Sometimes it was acquired through necessity which meant an expenditure in excess of its worth … Other pieces were acquired when neighbors (not always congenial) sought location elsewhere; then there was the rare occasion when a real buy in the real estate presented itself. Not always were the administrators of Saint Rose able to acquire this property and many purchases were sponsored by the Provincial House of the Sisters of St. Joseph at Troy, N.Y.”

The college also began to undertake entirely new building programs; in 1923-24, St. Joseph’s Hall (# 983 Madison Avenue) was constructed as a classroom-laboratory facility. In later years, other classroom and dormitory buildings would be constructed, occasionally at the expense of older buildings existing on the property.

Today, ten of thousands of automobile pass by the “The Point” each day. Commercial establishments are common, even predominant, along some sections of Madison Avenue. Many of the former “villas” have been converted to multi-family dwellings housing over 15,000 persons, including 5,000 families in the area. Although they have lost the battle of retaining an exclusive, fashionable suburb, the Aurania Club and the Pine Hills Neighborhood Association remain active. Furthermore, the College of St. Rose, now coeducational, appears to be flourishing, having recently undertaken several major building projects. Unfortunately, the influx of students (from various local colleges) seeking off-campus housing is causing some of the Pine Hills’ residents to look for homes elsewhere. The Pine Hills has few pine trees left and is no longer remote. The suburb has become part of the city and now faces all the challenges attendant upon urban life.

Late 1920s -1940s

12.7

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17

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1950s -1970s

14.2

2219

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20

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10