Looking down Washington Ave in 1888

A post shared by NYS Capitol & Plaza (@nyscapitolvisit) on

The NYS Capitol & Plaza Instagram account posted this pic the other day. It's from 1888.

We were struck by how some things about the view down Washington Ave are exactly the same -- and others less so. The current version of Albany City Hall is about five years old in this photo. And, of course, the Capitol is there.

But the streetscapes leading up to those landmarks feel so much more close and tightly packed than they are today.


Does anyone know the name for the style of roof on the building on the left (with the bay window & awning)? There are several examples in Center Square, is it Dutch inspired?

@ B - It is called a Mansard roof but I am unsure of the origins. At least the name will help you research it if you want!

I believe it is called a Mansard Roof.


That section of Washington Avenue has both gained and lost...

The style of home is called French Second Empire. It has a lot of crossover with the Italianate that directly preceded it, the main difference being the steep mansard style roof.

I was recently looking through the photo collections in the Albany Institute library and there are many pictures of the various businesses that lined these blocks before the old State Education Building and, later, West Capitol Park were built.

They're so interesting to look at. Some are so clear and detailed you can see people in upstairs windows or read signs on store doors.

One picture (in the always amazing Albany....The Way It Was Flickr albums) is especially fascinating - a very pretty young woman standing in front of a confectioner's shop.


Hotel Borthwick on the right - I have the owner's walking stick.

So much better-looking in those days.

Well now that Vampire Weekend song makes more sense. Thanks all!

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Recent Comments

Washington Avenue definitely needs more than one lane in each direction, but that doesn't mean it can't be redesigned. They can reduce the size of the lanes, add a median, and add a protected bike lane where the shoulder of the road now lies. I agree, however, that the entire Harriman loop would have to be redesigned and that includes those over-passes, so this would be an extremely expensive undertaking if they want to do it right. But there could be significant development on the land that is now wasted by asphalt that could offset that cost and bulk up the tax base for the city.

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