I’ve lived in New York most of my life. During that time I’ve been to Albany more times than I can count. I did not know so many things about this city, the capital of New York State, until I began the research for my new book (tentatively titled Cradle to Grave).
Did you know:
In 1609 Henry Hudson went up the river (yes, the Hudson River) and paused at the headwaters not far from the current city to barter with the local tribes. That was just two years after the settlement at Jamestown, Va and eleven years before the arrival of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock. This makes Albany once of the oldest continuously settled towns in the USA.
The Dutch (for this was Dutch territory then) set up a city that primarily relied upon trade, especially trade in Beaver pelts. The Dutch, unlike the English who came after them, were not farmers but merchants. The Dutch influence is still visible in some old building and in many of the names that still exist. (Blauvelt, the Bronx, Van Cortlandt and so on).
Some of the streets in Albany were in place by the 1700’s. The street currently called Broadway, was formerly Market Street and before that Handalaers Street. State Street was Jonkers (or Yonkers) Street and Pearl Street was Pearl Street then too, although it has undergone several name changes in the intervening years. I was particularly interested in Jonkers Street; I grew up in Yonkers.
Also, Albany shared the position of NY capital with New York City and Kingston. I suppose the legislators got tired of traveling around the state because they made a law that the next location would be the permanent capital. Albany became that capital in 1797.
Also Albany, in its original county form, was huge. But other counties soon were carved from it, beginning with Schoharie County in 1796. Who knew?