Lark Street, ca. 1970

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Lark Street, Albany, 1970I posted this on Flickr a couple of years ago, a very random shot found among my grandmother-in-law's photographs. A very weird shot, in that we can't imagine what they were up to in that part of town; there are a couple of others just as random. I'm now pretty convinced this is Lark Street, the intersection you can see is Spruce Street, and the deadhead in the upper left is Clinton Avenue. A little detective work showed that the only sign that is legible, for Alco Roofing, goes with a business that was located at 186-188 Elk Street in 1965. Whether they moved or had another office, or perhaps connected through the back yard to an address around the corner on Elk Street, who knows. Click here for the modern-day Google Streetview.

The "Bazaar Shirt" of Van Gaasbeek

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1888: "The Empire State - Its Industries and Wealth" featured sketches of businesses across the state, including many in the capital. Among them was a sketch of the firm of W. Van Gaasbeek, manufacturers of the celebrated "Bazaar Shirt." Celebrated, it may have been, but what it was isn't clear.

W. Van Gaasbeek & Co., manufacturers of the celebrated "Bazaar Shirt" and Dealers in Fine Furnishing Goods, No. 556 Broadway (Opposite Delavan House.) - The leading fashionable shirt-makers, and fine furnishing goods dealers of the capital are Messrs. W. Van Gaasbeeek & Co. Directly opposite the Delavan House, it is convenient to the best residential sections, the capitol, etc., and Messrs. Van Gaasbeek & Co., command the largest circle of patronage of any concern in this city. Mr. W. Van Gaasbeek started the business in 1872, in partnership with Mr. Schwartz. The present firm was formed in 1878, Mr. Van Gaasbeek taking into co-partnership his sons Messrs. John and Edward, young men of marked ability, progressive policy and unremitting enterprise. They are the designers and makers of the nationally celebrated "Bazaar" shirt. In many features of cut, fit and finish, as well as regards fine materials and perfect laundering, these shirts stand unrivalled in the United States trade, and are leaders at retail here in Albany, while the firm have developed a heavy wholesale trade all through New York state, Vermont, Massachusetts, South, and as far west as California. The public will find the "Bazaar" shirt far in the van as regards every feature of excellence. They also manufacture collars and cuffs of the finest linen, and in every way superior goods. In their large and elegantly fitted-up store, 120 feet in depth, they carry complete lines of men's fine furnishing goods, including all the best makes of underwear, socks, ties and neckwear of fashionable novelties, handkerchiefs, etc. To Albanians, there is no need of commendation; to strangers and the country trade at large we strongly recommend it as the best place to buy either at wholesale or retail. The senior partner was born in Schoharie County, and has been an honored resident of Albany for the last fifty years; he was in the dry goods business as partner, and then sole proprietor for fully twenty-five years before embarking in the present trade.

No worries, Hoxsie will be back

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Valley Forge Gen Hospital matches.jpgAs you may know, Hoxsie is on the move. His personal history is all in boxes. Fear not, daily nonsense will return very soon. In the meantime, enjoy this little artifact from very near our new home, from a simpler time when hospitals gave out matches. So you could smoke.

The end of the Argus

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Argus closeup.pngThe Editor and Publisher magazine edition of January 15, 1921, noted the sudden closing of The Argus, possibly Albany's oldest newspaper at the time.

Albany Argus Ends Career of 108 Years

Sold to Knickerbocker Press and Merged with Jan. 14 Issue -- Argus Staff Dropped on Two Days' Notice

Albany, N.Y., Jan. 12 -- Announcement was made today of the sale of the Argus to the Press Company, but the consideration has not been made public. The last issue of the Argus will appear Friday. The Argus editorial staff will not join the Knickerbocker Press and were given two days' notice that their services were no longer required.

The Argus Company will retain its entire printing plant for increased job and book printing.

The Argus was founded by Jesse buel in 1813, a judge of Common Pleas in Ulster county. He was backed byninety citizens, who styled themselves "Godfathers" of the paper. It was issued twice a week until 1824, when it became a daily and its name was changed to the Argus and Daily Gazette.

Calvert Comstock became publisher in 1855 and made it a Democratic organ of national fame and a supporter by Martin Van Buren, William L. Marcy, Silas Wright, John A. Dix and other party leaders.

The Argus building, pictured above, remains at Broadway and Beaver. The commercial printing operation, Argus Litho, eventually occupied a gigantic factory complex at 1031 Broadway that unfortunately is on Historic Albany Foundation's endangered historic resources list.

AlbanyIceCream.jpgA 1918 edition of "The Ice Cream Journal" contained this treatise on "Women in Our Industry," by C.D. Monroe of The Albany Ice Cream Company. It's a little hard to read without applying modern sensibilities, but just remember, 96 years ago, those were different times.

It was in June, 1918, that we started to employ women in the manufacturing department of the Albany Ice Cream Company's plant, at Albany. We had decided to make a new brick of ice cream. Within a short time the sales of this product had grown so large that we found it would be necessary to change our methods of wrapping, get more help, or stop taking orders. We had never thought of employing women in the manufacturing end of the plant, but now something must be done.


We advertised in the newspapers for women, and selected four, whom we instructed in the work of cutting and wrapping brick ice cream, and they started at the work. They made good, and our trouble and worry about help in this department was at an end. At first we furnished a man to bring the brick slabs from the hardening room, and after the package was complete, to return them to the cold room, but in a few days after the women became acquainted with the work they did this without any assistance from the men.

We were convinced that women were a valuable asset to our business, and so did not confine them to the brick department alone, but put them in the freezing and mixing departments, and we instructed them as to the proper time to draw off a batch of cream. We found they would watch the temperatures more carefully, get better results than the average man employe.

One woman who had been with us only a few days, was christened the "Truck Horse" by her companions - she would do anything a man could do. If the shipping department was rushed, it was a common occurrence to find her filling tubs with ice, or even assisting to load them on the wagons, and one day when we were short of drivers, she offered to take out a wholesale wagon.

Our factory women employes all report for work at 8 a.m., and work until 5 p.m., with one hour out for lunch. Since cold weather they have clubbed together and cooked their own lunch in the factory, and the men and women eat together and pay the expense on a pro rata basis.

The employing of women has most certainly had a decided effect for the better on the morals of the male help - where we would frequently hear swearing and loud talking, now that is all eliminated. The men have more respect for the women, and that fact, alone has proven to us that women in our industry have come to stay.

Previous to the shortage of help, we always employed men in our factory as porters, but, for the last year, women have been employed with entire satisfaction. They are much neater with their work, and more ambitious than men, and seem to take a personal pride in keeping the factory clean.

The question of salaries paid, depended almost entirely upon the employe herself. We usually started at $8.00 per week for six days' work, and as they became more efficient we advanced their wages accordingly, the average wage being about $12.00 per week.

In closing, I must not overlook the fact that most of us are using women in our industry as clerical help, telephone operators, and stenographers, and our experience has been that if you secure the services of reliable and competent women for office work, they discount the male help. One of our most important positions, I believe, and one where a great amount of good or damage is done, is that of switchboard operator. To be efficient, she must be thoroughly acquainted, not only with your business, but with your city and your customers - able to at all times make quick decisions and answer inquiries intelligently. A woman employe, with such qualifications, I do not believe you can replace with a man.

As regards the employment of women in the capacity of cashiers, or to settle with your drivers, I cannot call women a success in this position. It requires a man, one who is stern and democratic, especially to cash up with the class of drivers that most of us have.

My verdict is, that we shall continue to employ women in our brick department. Men, I believe, should be used in other departments, as the nature of the work is too laborious for women.


What-nots AND bric-a-brac

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Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 8.11.17 PM.pngI don't know anything about Adams of 91 and 93 North Pearl St., but in 1891 they were having a big sale on every kind of furniture, not to mention what-nots and bric-a-brac. You can hardly even find a bric-a-brac store these days.

The A.M.E. Church

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The Albany Hand-book, 1881:

African Methodist Episcopal Church, The, is at 365 Hamilton st. Colored folks worship here, but white people are also welcome so long as they behave themselves.

Numbering must have changed, as this can't be any other than the First Israel African Methodist Episcopal Church, built in 1854 at what is now 381 Hamilton St. Not sure what that finger-wag about white people behaving themselves meant.

Academy Park

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Again from The Albany Hand-Book of 1881, of which we can never get enough:

Academy Park, consists of one and eighty-two one-hundredths acres, bounded by Elk and Eagle sts., Washington ave., and Park place, and just now is in a dilapidated condition. As soon as the old Capitol is removed, and Capitol Park laid out anew, Academy Park will also be improved. A little distance west of this spot used to be a ravine running north and south, where, tradition says, tories, in the time of the revolution, were stripped of their coats, hats and shoes, and a bandage put over their eyes, in which condition they were executed and buried on the spot. It was in Academy park that the building of the Army Relief Bazaar was erected in 1864.

The old Capitol was around until 1883, although the new Capitol was far from finished. Academy Park, of course, is today still one of Albany's most delightful little public spaces.

The Abattoir

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From The Albany Hand-Book of 1881:

Abattoir, The, or public slaughterhouse is situated on Brevator st., nearly three miles west of the City Hall. Slaughtering is prohibited (except by consent of the Common Council) within the limits of 160 rods west of Allen st., on the west; Warren st., Delaware ave., Second ave. and Gansevoort st. on the south; the city line on the east; and North Ferry, Van Woert sts., Lexington and Livingston aves. on the north. The ordinance, however, is not strictly observed, and many of the butchers have their own slaughter-houses. The question whether the power given the city government by the Legislature to regulate slaughter-houses, included the power to prohibit them has been raised, and decided in the affirmative by the Court of Appeals.

Shocked am I, to learn that Brevator Street goes back that far, because in 1881 it was a long way from anything in the city.

Hoxsie exists...

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He's just very, very busy. Consider this a week off.

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