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.

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.

The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

Recently on All Over Albany

A quick recap of the week

Here are a few highlights from the past week on AOA: + Eric asked about the experiences families have had with Albany schools -- and... (more)

Stuff to do this weekend

It's Memorial Day weekend. Time to fire up the barbecue grill and kick off the unofficial start of summer by doing fun stuff. This week... (more)

A few bits about that big, new mural going up on the side of the Quackenbush Garage in Albany

Maybe you've noticed the new mural going up on the south face of the Quackenbush Garage in downtown Albany. Here's what's up with that, along... (more)

A restaurant for regular group meetings?

Anne emails: I am a member of a service group that meets 2 evenings a month, during the week. We are looking for a restaurant/food... (more)

New York State city and town populations 2016

The Capital Region has some of the state's fastest growing towns in terms of population percentage change. That's one of the bits from new population... (more)

Recent Comments

I've found that anecdotes from neighbors, friends, or internet "strangers" can only take you so far. If you haven't already, I strongly recommend you get out there and visit these schools during the school year, during the school day to get a feel for things. In the last few months, my wife and I have made a series of visits to our local elementary, middle + high-school. During those visits, we had the chance to talk to multiple teachers and see the kids "in action". It was very VERY telling in a lot of ways - both good and bad.

A few bits about that big, new mural going up on the side of the Quackenbush Garage in Albany

...has 5 comments, most recently from Jamie

Fields Sculpture Park at Omi 2017

...has 3 comments, most recently from Jamie

A restaurant for regular group meetings?

...has 6 comments, most recently from Jamie

Stuff to do this weekend

...has 3 comments, most recently from JK

Where to get an Apple laptop fixed?

...has 8 comments, most recently from Greg