Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Albany (New York)

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ALBANY, the capital of the State of New York and the county-seat of Albany co. It is situated on the west bank of the Hudson river, about 145 miles N. of New York City. It is at the head of the navigation of the Hudson river and is the terminus of the Erie and Champlain barge canals. Six railroads radiate from it to every part of the country. It is the terminus of the Boston and Albany railroad and the division terminus of the main lines of the West Shore, the New York Central, and the Delaware and Hudson railroads. The city has direct steamboat communication by day and night lines with New York and Hudson river points, while the Erie and Champlain canals give water communication with the interior of the State and the west and north. The excellent shipping facilities of the city have made it an important commercial center. It is the second largest express and third largest mail transfer in the United States. Albany is a distributing point for the large oil companies, mail-order houses, machinery companies, and other corporations which do a national business.

Albany is an attractive city both in site and as a result of careful city planning, which, in recent years, has transformed certain portions. There is an extensive park system with parks conveniently located to meet the needs of the various sections of the city. Among these are Washington Park, 90 acres, and Lincoln Park, 78 acres. The city maintains free public baths and other recreational features. The water and sewer systems are of the latest approved design. There are excellent hospitals, including three large general hospitals, and a number of special hospitals.

Albany is well equipped with public school facilities. There were in 1920, 23 grammar school buildings and a high school building costing $1,000,000. There are housed in these buildings over 12,000 people. In addition to the public schools there are many well-equipped private and parochial schools. In the city are 12 libraries, not including the State Library, which contains over 525,000 books. There are 75 churches, some of them of great architectural merit. Among the most notable public buildings are the State Capitol, City Hall, Union Station, State College for Teachers, county court house, the State Hall, State Education Building, and the State Library and State Museum. In addition to these there are many handsome business buildings.

The industries of the city are varied. It has the oldest and largest baling press factory in the world, as well as the largest factory devoted to the manufacture of car-heating apparatus. It has also the largest toy factory in the United States. Other industries are the manufacture of billiard balls, patent stove specialties, writing paper, underwear, locomotives, gas ranges, beds, dies, cart wheels, chemicals, lumber, printing products, shirts, etc.

The assessed valuation of real estate of the city is about $100,000,000, with a personal valuation of about $10,000,000. There are four banks of discount, two trust companies, and seven savings banks, in the latter a deposit of nearly $100,000,000.

The first permanent site of Albany was made in 1614 by a company of Dutch traders who established a station at Castle Island under the name of Fort Nassau. The station was removed later to the mainland. In 1623 eighteen Walloon families sent by the Dutch West India Company settled on the present site of the city. In the same year Fort Orange was erected near the site of the present Steamboat Square. The settlement suffered severely from Indian attacks but continued to grow steadily. It received its name in 1664 from the Duke of York and Albany, afterward James II. It obtained a city charter in 1686 and became the capital of the State in 1797. Albany was selected for the convention of the First Provisional Congress which formed “a plan for a proposed union of several colonies.” Pop. (1890) 94,923; (1900) 94,154; (1910) 100,253; (1920) 113,344.