Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Little Taste Of History (8)

Albany has many points of interest that we can learn about. Here are just a few:

The First Dutch Reformed Church: Located at SW. corner of N. Pearl and Orange Sts., begun in 1797, is the fourth building of the congregation, organized in 1642 and therefore the second oldest Protestant church body in America that has had a continuous existence. Philip Hooker not only furnished the design for the structure but also acted with Elisha Putnam as 'undertaker' (contractor). Hooker's original design, based on the Hollis Street Church in Boston by Charles Bulfinch, called for a fine pedimented portico with four brick Roman Doric columns, the whole flanked by twin baroque towers. The interior was severely plain. In 1858 the building underwent extensive alterations: the entrance portico was replaced by a projecting Romanesque block, and the steeples were covered with slate; within, the flat ceiling was masked by plaster groined vaults, windows received stained glass, and the walls were covered with medieval ornament. The unusually wide central aisle is due to the retention of a seventeenth-century Communion service in which the whole congregation is seated at a long table placed in the aisle. The Oaken pulpit was carved in Holland in 1656. The box pew used by Theodore Roosevelt while governor of the State is marked with a bronze tablet.

The City Hall: Eagle Street between Maiden Lane and Pine St., erected in 1882, was designed by Henry H. Richardson in his characteristic modified French Romanesque style. The pyramidal-roofed tower houses the city carillon of 60 bells, the largest of which weighs 11,200 pounds. In the mayor's office is a portrait of the first mayor, Peter Schuyler, painted in London in 1710 by Sir Godfrey Kneller.

The Schuyler Monument: Standing on a circular plot in front of the city hall, is the work of J. Massey Rhind. Philip Schuyler (1733-1804), born in Albany, supported the Revolutionary cause. He commanded the defenses of the northern frontier from 1775 until he was replaced by General Horatio Gates just before the Battle of Saratoga. Burgoyne and ranking British officers were his guests at the Schuyler Mansion for a week after the surrender. He played an important part in the earliest efforts to make the State's waterways navigable between the Hudson and the Great Lakes and in the chartering of Union College. Daniel Webster said Schuyler 'was second only to Washington in the services he performed for his country.'

Washington Park: Bounded by State and Willett Sts. and S. Lake and Madison Aves., occupying 90 acres, dates from 1865 and is Albany's largest park. It contains five miles of elm and maple-shaded drives bordered by lawns landscaped with flower beds, flowering shrubs, and larch groves. Near the Madison Avenue side of the park, facing the lake is the King Fountain, with figures in copper, by J. Massey Rhind, presented to the city in 1879 by Henry R. King in memory of his father. The figures represent Moses and his followers at the rock of Hebron. East of the King Fountain stands the Robert Burns Statue, designed by Charles Calverly and erected in 1888. The seated figure is of bronze on a base of polished Scotch granite, set on a slightly elevated circular mound and overhung by maple and elm trees. At the northern end of the park, near the Northern Boulevard and State Street entrance, is the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial, erected by the city in memory of its Civil War heroes. (10)

Sources Utilized to Document A Little Taste Of History


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