Created By: Upper Madison Improvement Group
The Aurania Club was a venerable Pine Hills tradition — and a tale of turn-of-the-century nimbyism.
In 1901, the trustees of the Albany Hospital for Incurables thought this growing section of town would be a good spot for their new facility. Neighborhood residents did not agree. “Anxious” was how the Albany Evening Journal put it, as in, “The people of the Pine Hills … are anxious to have the hospital authorities select some other site.” The neighborhood association formed a committee to push hospital officials and the mayor to build elsewhere — and some nearby homeowners pooled funds to purchase the property the hospital wanted. They incorporated as the Aurania Club, a neighborhood social club, and built their clubhouse on South Allen at Yates Street in 1902. For decades to come, the rambling wooden house with broad verandas was the site of innumerable dinner-dances, card parties, smokers, teas, New Year’s Eve galas and other highlights of the uptown social calendar.
In 1964 the club’s headquarters burned in a suspicious fire. The only part of the clubhouse that could be saved was a 1928 brick addition that contained the ballroom; that section is still standing today. Club members rallied, razed the rubble and built a low, modern brick clubhouse that opened in 1965. In 1984, remaining members voted to sell the property to the Elks.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Pine Hills