Pine Hills

Landmarks and history of an Albany streetcar neighborhood

Pine Hills

Albany, New York 12207, United States

Created By: Upper Madison Improvement Group

Tour Information

This self-guided walking tour highlights two of the Pine Hills neighborhood’s greatest assets: its walkability and its historic character. Explore part or all of the route as you like; the app makes it easy to return later and pick up where you left off.

The tour is a project of the Upper Madison Improvement Group and the Pine Hills Neighborhood Association. It was created by Akum Norder, author of the upcoming book The History of Here: A House, the Pine Hills Neighborhood, and the City of Albany, set to be released in February 2018 from SUNY Press Excelsior Editions.

For more on Pine Hills residential architecture, see the walking tour in Albany Architecture (Diana Waite, ed.), available in many local library branches and sold via Mount Ida Press or Amazon.

Whether you’re a longtime resident, a newcomer, or a visitor, we hope you’ll enjoy learning about the landmarks and history of Albany’s Pine Hills.


Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

1
Great Western Turnpike and toll-gate

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, a number of turnpikes unfurled from Albany, beckoning settlers to explore the new republic. You're standing near one of the most important. Western Avenue began as the Great Western Tur... Read more
2
Manning Boulevard

The story of Manning Boulevard begins more than a mile away, in Washington Park: Both were part of a nineteenth-century city beautification plan. In the 1870s and 1880s, planners imagined Washington Park as the jewel in a ring of greenspace... Read more
3
South Manning Boulevard

The land between Western and New Scotland avenues was dotted with gullies and swampy patches that shaped – and slowed – its development. Case in point: Warren's Pond. According to old accounts, the pond occupied a ravine that stretched ... Read more
4
Original Pine Hills development

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.... Read more
5
School 16

As the Pine Hills grew in the early years of the twentieth century, neighborhood parents complained to the Board of Education that in bad weather, School 4 (3/4 mile away at Madison & Ontario) was too far away for their children, even ... Read more
6
The Junction

As the state historic marker suggests, this unassuming site looms large in American railroad history. The first steam-powered passenger train in the country left from the junction of Lydius Street and the Great Western Turnpike in 1831. (Wh... Read more
7
Aurania Club.

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 facili... Read more
8
Steamer No. 10

Steamer 10, designed by prominent Albany architect Albert Fuller, became part of the Albany Fire Department in September of 1892. That the neighborhood had earned its own fire station by the early 1890s reflects its growth – and the growt... Read more
9
Madison Theatre

“One of the finest residential theatres in New York State”: That's what a trade magazine wrote about the Madison not long after its grand opening. It was one of the first theaters in the nation that was designed and built to show that m... Read more
10
Pine Hills mural (1977, updated 2012)

How do you paint “community”? That was the question Constance Dwyer Heiden faced in 1977, when she took on the task of creating a City Arts Office-sponsored mural on the side of what was then Mack's Drugs. Heiden, who grew up on North M... Read more
11
Ridgefield Park

In the mid-1880s, a group of local swells was looking for a place to play sports. They bought this parcel along Partridge Street and constructed a baseball diamond, a cricket pitch, a bicycle track, and more, opening these grounds as the R... Read more
12
1000 Madison Avenue (former Pine Hills library)

One of the most fondly remembered addresses in all of the Pine Hills, this stately Victorian was home to a branch of the Albany Public Library for many years. Well-worn stairs and the smell of books -- for a few generations of Pine Hills ch... Read more
13
994 Madison: The Hawley property and the “glass school"

For many years, the pupils of Vincentian Institute’s grade school met near here to study under roofs of glass, in hopes of maximizing their exposure to what administrators believed were the health-giving rays of the sun. This house at 994... Read more
14
The College of Saint Rose

This home at 979 Madison, today a part of The College of Saint Rose, was once the whole college. The house was the first property purchased by the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet for the establishment of a college for Catholic women. ... Read more
15
Vincentian Institute

Vincentian Institute, the parochial school operated by St. Vincent de Paul parish, opened in this building in 1917. It added a grade per year until the school offered K-12 education, with the first high school class graduating in 1925. The ... Read more
16
School 4 (location of Pine Hills Park, Madison at Ontario)

An absent school built to serve a now-forgotten neighborhood: This stop is about things you don't see. In the nineteenth century, this area was known as Paigeville, a working-class Irish and German neighborhood that used to fan out along Ma... Read more
17
Alumni Quadrangle

Educational institutions loom large in Pine Hills history. Here's more proof: Alumni Quadrangle, a dormitory complex that's part of the University at Albany, SUNY. The institution that eventually became UAlbany was founded in 1844 as the St... Read more
18
St. Vincent’s Male Orphan Asylum (LaSalle School)

Founded in 1854 amidst a wave of cholera deaths, St. Vincent’s Male Orphan Asylum provided a home, an education, and vocational training to orphaned and abandoned boys. (A sister facility, for girls, was at 106 Elm Street.) Its founder ... Read more
19
Maternity Hospital and Infant Home

Look just under the roofline on the north side of the pastoral center, and you can still make out the words “The Anthony N. Brady Maternity Home.” Opened in 1915 and funded by a large donation from Brady, a wealthy local businessman, t... Read more
20
The Sunken Garden

A little more than a century ago, an open creek ran through here – and not the kind you'd want to go wading in. For years, as one contemporary account put it, the creek “carried away practically all of the sewage of the Pine Hills distr... Read more

 

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