Albany Business College Albany N.Y.

The Albany Business College was a private, for profit  educational insitution and  was a maintain of the city for over a century.  It was established in 1857  as a subsidiary of Bryant and Stratton in 1857 by C.E. Prentice, John Carnell and Benton Hoit.   In later years it severed its affiliation with Bryant and Stratton and was privately owned.

It was originally located at 51-53 North Pearl St.  In 1889 it moved into a grand building, designed by Edward Ogden at  the corner of North Pearl and Columbia Streets in downtown Albany.  

The College moved  twice more in the 2oth century; first to Washington Ave,. 19 133 and then to Central Ave outside the City limits,  to an old Vallee’s restaurant site in the 1970s.  It closed in 1988, and was purchased by Bryant and Stratton, coming full circle.

ABC, as it as known, was sort of a family tradition. A great grandfather from Cohoes attended in the 1880s, a great uncle graduated in 1890, a great aunt in 1918 and another  uncle in 1956.

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c 1915
K91929
C, 1895
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c. 1910
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c. 1910
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c 1920

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c. 1905
abcl 1909 - 3221 collge tailor
1909
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c. 1910
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c. 1910
1912_Employment_Desk_Albany_Business_College
Employment Desk 1912
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c 1895

abc 1927 - 6667 1

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abc 1967 - 0008

If you are on Facebook, consider joining “Albany.. the way it was.”, a FB Group devoted to memories of Albany, NY.  Here’s the link.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/375351089205442/606197369454145/?notif_t=group_comment

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Echoes of Pine Hills/Madison Ave Albany NY

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Corner of Madison and Partridge c 1973
Dutch Oven Bakery   1938
Dutch Oven Bakery 1938
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Lake and Madison c 1920s

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School 4 Madison and Ontario
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c. 1953
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Madison looking east near Ontario, Vincentian on right and School 4 on left
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1950s

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Steamer 10
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1940s
1915
1915
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1967
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c. 1955
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early 1950s
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Mike Flanagan.. second owner of Petit Paris Restaurant mid 1960s and musician extraordinaire.
The Westerly Apts.. S. Main Ave.  Constructed in the early 1900s
The Westerly Apts.. S. Main Ave. Constructed in the early 1900s
The Betty Schuyler Restaurant
The Betty Schuyler Restaurant 1940s

 

Joe's Maitre'D
Joe’s Maitre’D
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c 1959
Madison between Quail and Ontario, north side c 1973

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Service station/Garage corner of W.Lawrence and Madison 1930s

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Walter's  c. 1958
Walter’s c. 1958

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Old NYS Museum Albany NY

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The old NYS Museum in the wonderfully iconic State Education Building was a garden of earthly delights. Tens of thousands of  NYS school children visited  the museum during its 60 some odd years, until it closed when the “new” Museum in the Cultural Center in  the Empire State Plaza opened in the 1970s.

9353424451_b4ce44d14f_zBut for the children of Albany, especially the baby boomer kids of  the ’50s and ’60s,  the Museum was special. It was a source of infinite wonder; it was our own very, very  cool playground.   The Museum was on bus lines; it  was located within walking distance of  two ethnically diverse neighborhoods, Arbor Hill and the South End,; both teeming with children.  And it was free.   When kids in Albany sighed, “I’m bored”,  many an Albany mother replied, “Go to the Museum”.  That was  the big deal about the old Museum.. it was kid friendly.

Rotunda NYS Education Building
Rotunda NYS Education Building

The Museum was on the 5th floor; to get there you passed though the grandeur of the State Ed Building.   The exterior of the building is magnificent and imposing with its massive 36  Corinthian column colonnade.  But it’s even more  gorgeous inside.  The scale is part of it; but it’s also a stunning example early 20th century Beaux-Arts architecture. The central rotunda with a barrel vault ceiling and stupendous chandelier are awe-inspiring. It never failed to take my breath away.  Even the rowdiest kids calmed down, lowered their voices and stopped fidgeting,  sensing they were in the presence of something special. 960x540 (1)

When you reached the Museum floor, the first thing  you saw was a replica of the Gilboa prehistoric forest, filled with ancient fossilized tree stumps and  wonder of wonders, a waterfall.  I don’t know about other kids, but for me, it was so peaceful, it was the equivalent of a Zen garden.

Picture-23-600x364But then the fun began.  The old  Museum was really a museum of natural history. Just up the street was the Albany Institute of History and Art. It had an excellent collection of old Dutch paintings, china, furniture and artifacts, and 2 Egyptian mummies!  But other than the mummies, the Institute held little attraction for most of us kids.  So when I think about the old Museum,  it’s impossible not to think of the movie, Night at The Museum.

Where you went next depended on your mood.. did you want to go visit the Iroquois Indian diorama exhibits?  I remember the first time I saw them; I swear it was if the pages of a National Geographic had come alive. There were Native American artifacts… huge pots and best of all, arrow points and arrowheads. Arrowheads were part of our Akbany childhood. Between digging in back yards and playing in the residential, commercial and public constructions sites that dotted the city for 2 decades, kids were always finding, them.  They were a staple of school “show and tell”.  But the Museum placed them in context.. you  understood that cool thing you found dated back thousands of years.  And then you looked back at the Iroquois exhibits and began to have a better understanding of the people who used them.

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You could visit the huge Cohoes mastodon; one of three on display. or maybe a stroll through the  taxidermy  animal collection (which I found sort of creepy.)  The paleontology collection was amazing.. rows upon row of cabinets of miilion year old fossils,  There were botany and biology exhibits; beautiful illustrations of the birds, flora and flowers we saw in our yards and park, and those funky mushrooms we saw growing in the woods.

mastdon

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The fossilized sea life and shells were pretty nifty. I  still love a curvaceous wentletrap or a nautilus.

wnetletrap

NautilusCutawayLogarithmicSpiral

G-11366Every time I visited, there seemed to be something new.. or something I’d missed. I first fell in love with

Pyrite
Pyrite

sedimentary rocks; fascinated by the layers and strata in limestone and shale.  But there were so many choices.. the sparkling Herkimer Diamond, the “man made diamond”, iridescent quartz of all hues, meteorites, minerals and rocks that shimmered like gold or looked like coral.

The was a tall (maybe 4′)  pillar of rock salt that showed the tongue depressions of decades of New York school children who had licked it.  And we licked it too, just like our parents and aunts and uncles had done before, (I always called it Lot’s Wife.)

There was a bunch of rocks that glowed in the dark in a small room.  Recently someone said that the State Museum was the perfect “group date” for young teen kids in Albany.  You could go into the little dark nook and steal a first kiss.  The Museum had it all.

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A friend’s father was the building superintendent of the State Ed Building; I’m still jealous.

If you are on Facebook,  you might want to join the  Facebook Group, “Albany …the way  it was”, to share  your memories of Albany, NY with others. Here’s the link.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/375351089205442/606197369454145/?notif_t=group_comment

The Altamont Fair – Albany Agricultural Society

The first Fair was sponsored by the Albany Agricultural Society in 1813.

From then until 1892, fairs were held in Albany and other surrounding towns, including Bethlehem Center and Slingerlands.

The Altamont Driving Park and Fair Association was incorporated on May 20, 1893. The Board of Directors voted to establish a grandstand (which would be the first permanent structure on the fairgrounds) and also instructed him to draw up plans for a front gate.

Within a month the Board of Directors also approved the purchase 24.5 acres of land in Altamont originally owned by George Severson now held in trust by Isaac Reamer to be known as the “Altamont Fair Grounds.” This is the site of the present fairgrounds.

The first fair to be held at the Altamont location was from September 12 through 15, 1893. Admission was 25 cents for adults, and the net receipts for the four days was $884.13. A racetrack was built in front of the Grandstand, and horse racing was held at the first fair and continued at the Altamont Fair until the mid 1990’s.

In 1896 the Board of Directors appointed a committee to travel to the Cobleskill Fairgrounds to obtain plans and cost estimates of duplicating Cobleskill’s two story Fair Building to be used at Altamont for the “exhibition of Domestic, Manufacture Art and Fancy Work and Fruits and Vegetables.” On August 26, 1896 the Board examined the completed Exhibition Hall and voted to approve and accept the structure, which thy felt had been built with “superior workmanship.” This building is now known as the Flower & Fine Arts a Building and has recently been named to the State and National Register of Historic Sites.

In 1897, the Altamont Driving Park and Fair Association changed its name to the Albany County Agricultural Society and Exposition. Over the next 20 years, more property was acquired and more buildings were constructed, including the Poultry Building in 1899  and a Ladies’ Building (now the Vegetable Building )

In  addition to the the  agricultural, animal  and domestic arts competitions and  exhibitions, the Fair has, through the years, incorporated other attractions. Auto racung was started in 1915 and continued through the 1990s.  Other feature events included wrestling, boxing, a rodeo, a fall out shelter exhibit in the 1960,  dramatic  readings  and plays, an Atlas Missile exhibit in 1962 and, in 1964, a raffle for a house.  Of course, Fair queens have been crowned. Here’s smattering of Fair ads from the 1920’s through the 1960s.

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Altamont Fair 1927
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Altamont Fair 1937
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Altamont fair 1950
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Altamont Fair 1951
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Altamont Fair 1959
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Altamont Fair Fallout Shelter Display 1960
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Altamont Fair 1962
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Altamont Fair Home Giveaway 1964
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Altamont Fair 1965
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Miss Altamont Fair 1968

 

If you are on Facebook,  you might want to join the  Facebook Group, “Albany …the way  it was”, to share  your memories of Albany, NY with others. Here’s the link.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/375351089205442/606197369454145/?notif_t=group_comment

 

The Albany Billiard Ball Company

The Billiard Ball factory was in my neighborhood when I was growing up.  It was located on Delaware Ave. just south of Whitehall Rd.  There’s a strip mall today.  It was a fixture of my childhood, belching smoke  (God only knows what was in it.)

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John Wesley Hyatt (1837-1920) was the inventor of the celluloid billiard ball. Celluloid, besides being the base of photographic film, was a substitute for ivory, long the prime substance in billiard ball manufacture. The Hyatt “composition” ball, with a celluloid base, dominated the sport until the 1960s.

It went out of business in the mid  1980’s.

Early Photo of Factory

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Women inspecting and packing billiard balls in the 1930’s.

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Marker Identifying site of factory. 

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The Billiard Ball Factory c 1985  (Courtesy of the Albany Times Union.)
The Billiard Ball Factory c 1985 (Courtesy of the Albany Times Union.)
Billiad Ball Co  factory workers late 1970s  (Courtesy of the Albany Times Union.. Bob Richey Photo Archive)
Billiad Ball Co factory workers late 1970s (Courtesy of the Albany Times Union.. Bob Richey Photo Archive)
Billiad Ball Co  factory workers late 1970s  (Courtesy of the Albany Times Union.. Bob Richey Photo Archive)
Billiad Ball Co factory workers late 1970s (Courtesy of the Albany Times Union.. Bob Richey Photo Archive)
Special U.S.  Bicentennial Billiard Ball (Courtesy of Joseph Caruso, whose mother workedin the factory at That time.)
Special U.S. Bicentennial Billiard Ball (Courtesy of Joseph Caruso, whose mother worked in the factory at that time.)

The Colonie Summer Theater

The Colonie Summer Theater was THE place for summer entertainment in the Albany area in the 1960’s.  It went by many names over the years: the Colonie Musical Theater,  the Colonie Summer  Theater, the Colonie Colosseum,   and the Starlite Theater, but to locals, it was always “The Tent”.  It was the  place many baby boomer kids saw their first theater production or professional musical act.   It was theater in the round .. there was a sense of intimacy.   When it opened, there were only about 2,000 seats. It was summer theater at its best.

Some nights it was hot and steamy and still,  but there always seemed to be a slight breeze blowing through the flaps of the brightly striped orange and green iconic tent. Other nights, the excitement of the show vied for attention with the crashing and booming of  thunder and flashes of lightning.

tent 1958   colonie

1958

My family went  to the Tent at least 3 or 4 times each summer. The memory of the sights and smells of The Tent are right up there with Coppertone, swimming pool chlorine and orange Popsicles when I think of summer.

I was raised in a family with a love for  theater, especially musical theater.My brother and I were weaned on Rogers and Hammerstein LPs and gorgeous Technicolor movie musicals.  But nothing prepared me for the my first real musical theater at The Tent.  It was  thrilling and exciting,,, there was a sense of immediacy that was wonderful.  The actors and actresses entered down the aisles… right next to where you were sitting. In that small venue, it was almost like they were performing just for me.  The sound of the pit band was bright and clear.

The Tent was started by Eddie Rich, a New York City producer, in 1958.  He created  a venue that brought headliners and somewhat colibniw 1958past their prime headliners from all over, and from all aspects of show business; actors, singers, dancers, musicians.  The first production was Damn Yankees.  We went. I remember being gob smacked, and wandering around the neighborhood for at least a week singing “Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets, and little man, Lola wants you” at the t0p of my lungs, anywhere and everywhere.

My most vivid memory is a performance of Brigadoon, the Lerner ad Lowe  musical about a small village in Scotland that appears magically, once every 100 years, and then vanishes again.   There is a chase  scene in Act II.  When it began in the Tent… the performers used very inch  of the theater, running up and down the aisles; we became part of the performance.  It was if there was no distance between us.. we, the entire audience and the  actors were one. For an 11 year old, it was one of the most thrilling experiences, something only avilable in such an intimate setting.  

colonie 1958

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Rich died in 1968, but the theater continued. Joe Futia took over operations and built a new, permanent structure in 1969 that replaced the old tent, but it was still theater in the round.  Even in the new building.. the farthest seat was  just over 50″ from the stage. The actual “theater’ events became  fewer over time,- but I recall seeing Gypsy and The Solid Gold Cadillac with Martha Raye in the 1970s.   Futia was terrific at booking the hottest bands and comedians of the time, at the peak of their celebrity.. Blood, Sweat and Tears, Eddie Murphy, Iron Butterfly  in one night gigs, but there were also Las Vegas style acts, like Wayne Newton, Tom Jones and Jerry Vale,  with week-long runs.

In the late 1970s, a revolving stage was constructed.  The acts started to change – a lot of country/western; there were boxing matches.  There were no more week-long productions. I think the headliners were getting ‘bigger” and didn’t want to play a smaller venue.

And then abruptly in the late 1980’s The Tent closed its doors.. mid-season.  The operators at the time canceled all remaining shows – leaving angry ticket holders. It re-opened for the 1988 season.. under the aegis of Northeast Concerts.  The first act was a double bill – Three Dog Night and America.  The Tent was now the Starlite Theater.

But the next decade was a struggle – there were several owners and it never managed to become financially  feasible again.  The halcyon years of the 1960’s and even the 1970’s were gone.  The baby boomers were occupied elsewhere.. with children and mortgages, and there were other options fro summer entertainment throughout the Capital Region and the Berkshires.

The last season was 1997; the Starlite never re-opened. It fell in to sad disrepair and was finally demolished in November 2012.

Notices and memorablia from some of the Tent performances:  1958- 1971.

 

1958-1959

colonie 1958 (2)colonie  1959  oklahomacolonie  bells 1959colonie  1959 jamaica

colonie rusell 1959

1958 1

1959  4

1959

1959N 3

CAN CAN 1958merry widow 1959

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1960-1962

colinie 1962 wildactecolonie 19601960  1colony 1962

Albany NY Knickerbocker News 1961 - 7485

Line at “The Music Man”  1962

music man 1962

colonie 1962

colonie 1962 (4)

colonie 1960 3

colonie 1961

colonie 1962 (2)

1960

Schenectady NY Gazette 1960 Grayscale - 2039

1963 -1966

Troy NY Times Record 1963 - 4543

colonie 1965

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colonie 1966 (2)

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colnie 1966

Albany NY Knickerbocker News 1966 - 7113

colonie 1966

Albany NY Knickerbocker News 1966 - 5712

Schenectady NY Gazette 1966 Grayscale - 7055

1967

colonie 1967 (3)

colisum dave clark five

Albany NY Knickerbocker News 1967 - 2330

1968

Albany NY Knickerbocker News 1968 - 6389

colonie 1968

Troy NY Times Record 1968 - 7401

Troy NY Times Record 1968 - 7304

1969/70

Schenectady NY Gazette 1969 Grayscale - 9351

Schenectady NY Gazette 1969 Grayscale - 6965

Schenectady NY Gazette 1969 Grayscale - 7383

Schenectady NY Gazette 1969 Grayscale - 7845

Schenectady NY Gazette 1969 Grayscale - 8300Schenectady NY Gazette 1969 Grayscale - 8679

1971

Troy NY Times Record 1971 - 5108

Muhlfelder’s Albany NY

Muhlfelder’s was a woman’s clothing store on North Pearl Street in downtown Albany. It was established in the early 1900’s, and closed the early 1970’s. It was  known  for good quality, moderate to expensive clothing.  It was one of the few clothing stores that had an extensive cosmetics department, as well as excellent costume jewelry and hats.

(Ads from the Albany Evening Journal and the Albany Knickerbocker News via fultonhistory.com.)

1914

1 easter mulffleders 1914

1916

 

1 a 1muhlfelders 1916

1918

1.a muhlo 1918

1919

2 muhl 1919 (1)

1930 4 muhl 930

5 muhl 1930 (2)

6 muhl 1930

7 muhl 1930 2

1932

7.a muhl 1932

1937

8 1937 Muhlfelders

9 muh 1937

1940

10 muhl q1940

1943

10 c Troy NY Times Record 1943 - 1847

1945

11 a muhl 1945

11 easter muh 1945

1948

12 amuhl 1948   4

12 cmuhldelfers 1948

12 d muhl 1948 3

12 easterrmuhl 1948

12 emuhl 1948 2

12b mul 1948 4

1950

14 a MUHL 1950

14 MUHL  1 1950

15 MUHL 3 1950

1952

16 mugl 195217 muhl 1952 2

18 muhl 1952 3

1955

19 a string gloves Mulfelder 1955

19 muhfelders 19551

20 muhfelders 1955 2

21 muhfelder 1955

1957

21 a muhlfelfer 1957

1958

22 easter1958 - 2740

1960

22 a muhl 1960 2

22 d muhl  1960 3

23 muh 1960

1962

24 a muhl  hat 1962

1963

25 mugl 1963

26 muhl 1963

1966

26 a muhfldeders 1966

1967

27 muhl 1967 2

28 muhl 1967 3

29 muhl 1967

30 muglfelders