Monday, April 7, 2014

The Albany History Page

A compilation of links, blogs, and other resources which I have found useful or interesting in my ongoing exploration of local history online (and off).

The Albany History Page

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Monday, January 27, 2014

Albany's Origins At Risk

As a follow-up to yesterday's post, this article is another must-read piece on the threat to Fort Orange.

Oil Plant Could Destroy 1614 Dutch Fort In Albany NY

Please read, share, and show support for our heritage.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Clark Tavern

This rubble, photographed on August 6, is the last remnant of the 18th-century Clark Tavern which stood at the corner of Madison Avenue and Lark Street until late last week.

The Tavern was built by Paul Clark around 1796.  Paul was the son of Patrick Clark and seems to have established his tavern around the time of his father's death.  He had previously lived in what is now the Bushwick area of Brooklyn and returned to Albany when he inherited property from his father, including this lot.  At the time, there was little or no development in this part of Albany.  Madison Avenue appears on contemporary maps as Wolf Street and would be known as Lydius Street before receiving its current name.   He also expanded his interests to include orchards which were best known for apple trees and was a founding member of Albany's Horticultural Society. 

Upon his own death in 1831, his tavern was described as "famous" in works such as Joel Munsell's Annals of Albany.  He was buried in the State Street Burying Grounds which were located just northwest of his property in present-day Washington Park and later removed to the Church Grounds at Albany Rural Cemetery. His gravestone is featured here.

Over the years, it was occupied by various businesses, most notably a pharmacy which remained until the 1970s.  In more recent years, it was home to the Tandoori Palace.  Damaged by a severe storm in 1950, it eventually lost its upper stories and its brick walls were covered with a thick painted plaster.  It was not even included in the excellent guide to local buildings, Albany Architecture edited by Diana S. Waite.  The Clark Tavern was, in a sense, lost long before demolition began late last week

I can remember the pharmacy quite well from my childhood, but despite living doors away for my entire life and being very interested in historic places, I was never aware of the actual age of this familiar building until this summer.  Which is not to say I didn't suspect the building of being a little older than it appeared with its wrought-iron wall-ties that seemed at odds with the ugly plaster.  During Art On Lark, I was handed a small flier about the building by a man I later recognized as John Wolcott, an advocate of historic preservation. 

A new building is planned for the corner of Madison and Lark which will include residential and retail units.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Tory Execution Place

The above is an excerpt taken from Part 2 of Joel Munsell's The Albany Annual Register for 1849-1850 which, according to the description on its title page, served not only as a city directory, but also contained "contributions to the history and antiquities of the city and other matters of interests."  Among other things, the volume contains lists of 18th-century Dutch Reformed Church burials, a biographical sketch of General Philip Schuyler, various statistics relating to city commerce, an account of the China voyage of the sloop Experiment, engravings of notable houses already demolished at the time of printing, and this reminiscence  about the execution of Tories during the Revolutionary War.