Created By: Upper Madison Improvement Group
As Albany's expanding streetcar network allowed people to live farther from their workplaces, families looked to move out of the crowded city center. A pair of lawyers named Louis Pratt and Gaylord Logan were one jump ahead of the trolleys. In the late 1880s, they teamed up with some associates to buy a couple of farms west of Allen Street, and they began selling off plots as the Albany Land Improvement and Building Company. They named their development Pine Hills.
Compared to most downtown residences, Pine Hills lots were huge. Light and air could enter the houses on all sides, and the separate lots eased fears about the spread of fire. Quality was another selling point: Albany Land Improvement put a lot of money into infrastructure such as paving, drainage, sidewalks, and trees. And they restricted commercial uses of the properties – including a provision against selling "intoxicating liquors" west of Allen Street. The Albany Land Improvement Co. promoted Pine Hills as “the most healthful and desirable residence section of the city.”
A number of prominent Albany residents – bankers, lawyers, businessmen – took Pratt and Logan up on their deal, buying lots and building houses along Pine Avenue and Allen Street. But the developers' plans sputtered: The Albany Land Improvement Co. was wiped out in the financial panic of 1893. The bank foreclosed on their loan, and Pratt and Logan's lots were sold off on the cheap. For the Pine Hills neighborhood, it was a temporary stop; those streetcars were coming, and other speculative developers were waiting to take the throttle.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Pine Hills