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

The return of the blue snowflakes

The Albany Pine Bush is an unusual example of an inland pine barrens, and it's one of the few homes to an unusual inhabitant: The... (more)

New York State Bike Summit

The first New York State Bike Summit will be at the Hearst Media Center* September 15. Blurbage: This Summit will provide a forum for advocates,... (more)

Walking Myrtle Ave, end to end

One of the best ways to get to know a city is to walk it. That's true for cities in which you've just arrived --... (more)

Here's how New York State's new paid family leave program will work

New York State's new paid family leave program will allow people to start taking leave January 1. And this week the Cuomo admin released a... (more)

Cleanup/investigation continue in Madison Avenue fire, calls for GE to continue Hudson cleanup, dates set in for Kaloyeros/Percoco trials

Madison Avenue fire Cleanup continues at the site of a fire that destroyed four homes on Madison Avenue in Albany on Monday night. Authorities have... (more)

Recent Comments

Whenever I drive into the Warehouse District, things get eerily quiet. If I get out of my car, I can't see anyone else around, and I get the sense that Nipper is watching me... sometimes I feel like I can just barely see his tail wagging out of the corner of my eye. That's crazy, right? I always get an urge to pick up a tree branch and throw it... but there aren't any trees. When I feel the first playful bite on the back of my leg, that's when it's time to get back in the car and drive. #nipperisalive

Drawing: Murder Mystery Night at Takk House

...has 37 comments, most recently from mg

Walking Myrtle Ave, end to end

...has 13 comments, most recently from Beyj

"This may seem like an obsession, but it is not. This is the residue of an obsession."

...has 1 comment, most recently from acw

Troy Summer Square starts this week

...has 1 comment, most recently from S

Word(s) on the street

...has 11 comments, most recently from Randal Putnam