Jump to the intro.

This is not a comprehensive collection. There's a lot to see over at the APL's online collection on New York Heritage.

old_signage_APL_Albany_New_York_Commercial_Streets_Maiden_Lane_and_North_Pearl_Street.jpg
Maiden Lane and North Pearl Street, 1892
"Great Reduction in Prices Prior to Removal to 52 N Pearl St. May 1st" (maybe "moving sale" wasn't a thing yet).

old_signage_APL_Albany_New_York_Commercial_Streets_50_North_Pearl_Street.jpg
50 N. Pearl Street, 1900

old_signage_APL_Albany_New_York_Businesses_1922_Kenney_GR__Co_North_Pearl_Street_corner_of_Van_Tromp_Now_occupied_by_B_Lodge_and_Co_1949.jpg
North Pearl Street at Van Tromp, 1922

old_signage_APL_Albany_New_York_Commercial_Streets_North_Pearl_Street_Between_Maiden_Lane_and_Steuben_Street.jpg
North Pearl Street between Maiden Lane and Steuben Street, 1926

old_signage_APL_Albany_New_York_Commercial_Streets_132_State_Street.jpg
132 State Street, undated (maybe 1920s or 30s)

old_signage_APL_Albany_New_York_Businesses_South_Pearl_between_State_and_Norton_East_Side.jpg
S. Pearl between State and Norton, undated (guessing 1930s or 40s)

old_signage_APL_Albany_New_York_Commercial_Streets_94102_South_Pearl_Street.jpg
94-102 S. Pearl Street, undated
"Underpriced Shoe Store"

old_signage_APL_Albany_New_York_Businesses_Hyman_and_Hess_508510_Broadway.jpg
508-510 Broadway, undated (maybe 1930s)
Hyman & Hess was a women's clothing store.

old_signage_APL_Albany_New_York_Businesses_Drislane_Building_North_Pearl_Street_West_Side_North_of_Maiden_Lane.jpg
Drislane Building, North Pearl Street, undated (maybe 1930s or 40s)
That "Knickerbocker" sign is great.

old_signage_APL_Albany_New_York_Commercial_Streets_20_South_Pearl_Street.jpg
20 S. Pearl Street, undated
Love that name -- "Champagne's Radio."

old_signage_APL_Albany_New_York_Commercial_Streets_Orange_Street_and_North_Pearl_Street.jpg
Orange Street and N. Pearl Street, undated (maybe the 1940s?)
Check out the storefront for Danker Florists on the left -- the business is still in operation, now at Central Ave and North Allen.

old_signage_APL_Albany_New_York_Commercial_Streets_Maiden_Lane_Looking_West.jpg
Maiden Lane, between Pearl and James, looking up the hill, undated.

old_signage_APL_Albany_New_York_Commercial_Streets_South_Pearl_Street_and_State_Street.jpg
S. Pearl Street and State Street, 1945.
We've written about the Waldorf cafeteria before -- "There'll be good, fresh coffee at the Waldorf Lunch today. It's always the same."

Signs of storefronts past

20 South Pearl storefronts 20th century

While talking with Schuyler Bull this week about his plans to re-open the Fort Orange General Store downtown, he mentioned hearing stories from his grandmother about how downtown Albany was at one time the place to shop.

And that's apparent when you flip through old photos of the area, like the "commercial streets" group of the Albany Public Library History Collection.

It's interesting to see how many shops were once packed into buildings around downtown Albany. But the thing we often end up gawking at is the old storefront signage. There's a certain style about it that makes today's signage just seem sort of... plain.

So we thought it'd be fun to go through the APL collection of photos and pull out a bunch of examples of downtown Albany storefront signs from the early 20th century...

Look up

Photos are above in large format -- click or scroll all the way up.

Comments

I love these old photos of downtown Albany! I still (vaguely) remember shopping there in the '60s with my mom.

pretty cool

Fantastic. I loved the street light / clock sign on this pic, North Pearl Street between Maiden Lane and Steuben Street, 1926.

Lol looks like Albany was nice a long time ago. What happened?

These are great photos - thanks. I believe one of them, however, is mislabeled. It reads "S. Pearl St. between State and Norton." I'm fairly certain that should be "State and Morton."

@Greg Patrei

State and Norton is correct. Norton still exists as a small side street on the east side of South Pearl a few doors south of State. It's little more than an alley now.

As a side note - Aaron Burr had a law office on Norton Street.

Loved seeing my grandfather's store front:
CHAMPAGNE'S RADIO.

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