History of Albany, NY: Oldest Town in New York

Settled in 1614 by the Dutch as a trading post, Albany later grew into a small city. It is considered the oldest town in New York state and one of the oldest towns in America.

The following is a timeline of the history of Albany, NY:

1608:

Henry Hudson explores the area and claims it for the Dutch. It becomes a part of the Dutch colony of New Netherland.

1614:

  • Albany is settled by the Dutch as Fort Orange, in honor of the House of Orange from the royal family of the Netherlands.

1624:

  • Fort Orange is built on what is now the junction of I-787 and U.S. routes 9 and 20.

1626:

  • A skirmish takes place between the Dutch settlers and the Mohawks on the site now occupied by Lincoln Park.

1652:

  • Governor of New Netherland, Peter Stuyvesant, proclaims that Fort Orange should become the village of Beverwyck.

1664:

  • The English capture the colony of New Netherland and Beverwijck is renamed Albany in honor of the Duke of York and Albany.

1686:

  • On July 22, Albany is official incorporated as a city in the Province of New York.

1728:

  • The Van Ostrande–Radliff House, a Dutch Colonial-style house, is constructed on Hudson Avenue.

1736:

  • Quackenbush House, a Colonial / Dutch Colonial-style building, is constructed on Broadway.

1754:

  • Albany hosts the Albany Congress, where Benjamin Franklin proposes the Albany Plan, an attempt to form a union of the 13 colonies, but it is rejected.

1765:

  • The Schuyler Mansion, a Georgian-style building, is constructed on Catherine Street.
Old Schuler [i.e. Schuyler] Mansion, Albany, NY, circa 1900 – 1910

1780:

  • On December 14, Alexander Hamilton marries Eliza Schuyler at the Schuyler Mansion on Catherine Street.

1787:

  • Cherry Hill, a Dutch Colonial-style house, is constructed on S. Pearl Street.

1790:

  • The population of Albany is 3,498.

1797:

  • The Ten Broeck Mansion is constructed on Broeck Place.
  • Albany officially becomes the capital of New York State.

1799:

  • The First Church in Albany is constructed on Orange Street.

1800:

  • The population of Albany is 5,349.

1810:

  • The population of Albany is 10,762.

1815:

  • The Old Albany Academy Building, a Federal-style Brownstone, is constructed on 135 Academy Road.

1820:

  • The population of Albany is 12,630.

1825:

  • The Eerie Canal is completed which connects Albany to Buffalo.

1830:

  • The population of Albany is 24,209.

1831:

  • On September 24, the Albany and Schenectady Railroad, which is one of the first railroads in the U.S., begins operation.

1840:

  • The population of Albany is 33,721.

1842:

  • The New York Court of Appeals Building, a Greek Revival-style building, is constructed on the corner of Eagle Street and Pine Street.

1845:

  • The Nut Grove, a Greek Revival-style house also known as the William Walsh House, is constructed on McCarty Avenue.

1847:

  • The Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence, a Greek Revival-style house, is constructed on Livginston Avenue.

1850:

  • Church of the Holy Innocents, a Gothic Revival-style building, is constructed on N. Pearl Street.
  • The population of Albany is 50,763.

1852:

  • The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, a Gothic Revival-style building, is constructed on Eagle Street.
  • The Sunshine School, a brick Italianate-style building, is constructed on Lincoln Park.

1856:

  • The New York State Executive Mansion, a Queen Anne-style house, is constructed on Eagle Street.

1860:

  • The population of Albany is 62,367.

1867:

  • St. Mary’s Church, an Italian Romanesque-style building, is constructed on Lodge Street.
  • The Whipple Cast and Wrought Iron Bowstring Truss Bridge on Mill Road.

1869:

  • The Walter Merchant House, an Italianate-style building, is constructed on Washington Avenue.

1870:

  • The population of Albany is 69,422.

1873:

  • The Albany Pump Station is built on Broadway.

1876:

  • St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, a French Gothic Revival-style building, is constructed on State Street.

1879:

  • The Old Post Office, a Renaissance Revival-style building, is constructed at the intersection of State Street and Broadway.

1880:

  • Albany City Hall, a Romanesque Revival-style building, is constructed on Eagle Street.
City Hall, Albany, New York in 1897
  • The population of Albany is 90,758.

1886:

  • The YMCA Building, a Romanesque-style building, is constructed on N. Pearl Street.

1888:

  • Cathedral of All Saints, a Gothic-style building, is constructed on South Swan Street.

1890:

  • The Washington Avenue Armory is constructed on Washington Avenue.
  • The population of Albany is 94,923.

1899:

  • The New York State Capitol, a Romanesque Revival-style building, is constructed on State Street.
New York State Capitol, Albany, NY in 1901
  • The United Traction Company Building, a Renaissance-style building, is constructed on Broadway.

1900:

  • Union Station is constructed on Broadway and served as the city’s railroad station.
  • Lincoln Park is built in the South End of Albany.
  • The population of Albany is 94,151.

1902:

  • The Albany Felt Company Complex, a Neoclassical brick building, is constructed on Broadway.
  • The Benjamin Walworth Arnold House and Carriage House, a Colonial Revival-style building, is constructed on Washington Ave.

1904:

  • The Albany Trust Company Building, a Renaissance Revival-style building, is constructed on State Street.

1909:

  • The A. Mendelson and Son Company Building is constructed on Broadway.

1910:

  • The population of Albany is 100,253.

1911:

  • The New York State Education Building, a Beaux Arts-style building, is constructed on Washington Street.

1912:

  • The Hook and Ladder No. 4, a Dutch Colonial Revival-style building, is constructed on Delaware Avenue and serves as the town’s fire station.

1914:

  • The Emmaus United Methodist Church, a Collegiate Gothic building, is constructed on Morris Street.
  • The New Scotland Avenue (Troop B) Armory, a Tudor Revival-style building, is constructed on New Scotland Avenue.

1918:

  • The Delaware & Hudson Railroad Company Building, a Gothic-style buidling, is constructed on Broadway.

1919:

  • First Congregational Church of Albany, a Colonial Revival-style building, is constructed on Quail Street.

1920:

  • The population of Albany is 113,344.

1923:

  • The Harmanus Bleecker Library, a Classical Revival-style building, is constructed on Dove Street.

1924:

  • The University Club of Albany, a Colonial Revival-style building, is constructed on the corner of Washington Ave and Dove Street.

1930:

  • The population of Albany is 127,412.

1931:

  • The Palace Theatre, an Art Deco-style building, is constructed on Clinton Ave.
  • The St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, a late Gothic Revival-style building, is constructed on North Main and Madison.

1932:

  • The Philip Livingston Magnet Academy building, a Colonial Revival / Art Deco-style building, is constructed on Northern Boulevard.

1934:

  • Bleecker Stadium is constructed on Clinton Ave.
  • The James T. Foley United States Courthouse, an Art Deco-style building, is constructed on Broadway.

1940:

  • The population of Albany is 130,577.

1941:

  • Miss Albany Diner, an Art Deco-style building, is constructed on Broadway.

1950:

  • The population of Albany is 134,995.

1960:

  • The population of Albany is 129,726.

1970:

  • The population of Albany is 115,781.

1980:

  • The population of Albany is 101,727.

1990:

  • The population of Albany is 101,082.

2000:

  • The population of Albany is 95,658.

2010:

  • The population of Albany is 97,856.

2020:

  • The population of Albany is 99,224.

Sources:
“City History.” Albany.org, albanyny.gov/512/City-History
“History of Albany.” Albany.org, albany.org/things-to-do/albany-heritage-tourism/history/

About Rebecca Beatrice Brooks

Rebecca Beatrice Brooks is the author and publisher of Historic Sites USA. Rebecca is a freelance journalist and history lover who got her start in journalism working for small-town newspapers in New England after she graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.A. in journalism.

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