Albany's old soles

Shoe case.JPG

300 years of shoes worn or made in the Capital Region

This weekend we wandered over to the Albany Institute of History and Art to check out "The Shoe Show." While we loved the very cool and conceptual "shoe art" that's part of the traveling exhibition, the local history geek in us was really drawn to the Albany Institute's own collection of old shoes worn or made in the Capital Region.

We couldn't help but wonder about the people who wore and made these shoes. Where were they worn? And what did they say about the people who wore them.

The exhibit isn't huge, but there are some neat shoes and it does make you think a bit.

Here a peek...

Considering the weather and terrain in the Capital Region, some of these shoes must have been for indoor use only. Like these fancy dress slippers meant for a party or ball. Which got us thinking about fancy dress balls in Albany. Where were they? Who had them? Who went?

The Red Shoes

The pink shoes

These were from the 40s, and they're not much more practical. But we can just picture the outfit they went with and the woman who wore them:

Shoe case

These may have been our favorite pair:

Baby boots

We found a few pair of guys shoes, like these 1950s alligator numbers:

Men's alligator shoes

And from the 70s, these "Annie Hall" womens flats inspired by the 1940s:

Calve shoe 1970's.JPG

The Old Soles exhibit and the Perfect Fit show run through January 2.

Yep, the Albany Institute of History and Art advertises on AOA. We thought the shoes were interesting, and something you'd want to see.

Find It

Albany Institute of History and Art
125 Washington Ave
Albany, NY 12210

Comments

Oh goodness how did I miss this! Ahhhh! I want to hug the ones from the 40s.

I know what I am doing tomorrow!!!!

The inmates of the Albany Penitentiary were employed extensively in the manufacture of shoes. A private manufacturer contracted with the penitentiary for the labor and produced large numbers of cheap shoes, as many as 2500 pairs per day, that were primarily sold into the southern market. They were known by a racially derogatory name.

There were a number of other shoe manufacturers through the decades, of various sizes and names. In 1876 the shoe manufacturers in Albany included Willard Bellows' four-story factory on Broadway; Woolverton & Company; Fearey Manufacturing Company; East New York Boot and Shoe Manufacturing Co.; M.W. Dodge; Shoemaker & Pabst; and Herrick & Freeman, which claimed the distinction of being the first company in America to use steam power in the making of shoes.

As for the balls, they were at the fabulous hotel ballrooms -- the Kenmore, Keeler's, the Delevan, the Ten Eyck. There wasn't a weekend for decades when there wasn't a band and dancing in any or all of the hotels in downtown Albany, or any other city in the state.

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

What's All Over Albany?

All Over Albany is for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. In other words, it's for you. It's kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who can help you find out what's up. Oh, and our friends call us AOA.

Search

Recently on All Over Albany

The week ahead

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (chilly), to spooky tours,... (more)

Gawking at the new Schenectady train station

In a bit of a surprise the new Schenectady train station opened this past Wednesday, a few weeks ahead of the announced schedule. The $23... (more)

A little push up the hill

Wrapped into my update this past week about what it's been like to use a bike as one of my primary ways of getting around... (more)

A collection of castle day trips

This part of the country is dotted with castle-like structures, full of history, mystery, romance, and fairytale. Here's a handful of castles that are within... (more)

Classics of Science Fiction at The Linda

A multi-day get-together called Classics of Science Fiction will be at The Linda in Albany November 1-4. Blurbage: Guests include authors, artists, podcasters, cosplayers, business... (more)

Recent Comments

I ride every day to work, and also after work for exercise. I love the concept of being a person who happens to ride a bike. There's a level of bike riding, with the high performance gear and sleek clothing, that makes riding seem like its not for everyone. I try to avoid markers like that, and always wear regular clothing/shoes/backpack with dumpy-looking bike. One concession is bike gloves.

Gawking at the new Schenectady train station

...has 4 comments, most recently from Walter Clark

A collection of castle day trips

...has 1 comment, most recently from Jsc

A little push up the hill

...has 2 comments, most recently from Ryan H

Today's moment of mural

...has 3 comments, most recently from Rich

A year later I'm still using a bike to get around town -- here are a few thoughts about how that's worked out

...has 13 comments, most recently from Randal Putnam