One of these things is not like the other.

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Thomas Samuel Vail house.jpg
I'm always delighted when I find that some great old building that's in the Historic American Buildings Survey still exists on our city streets, so when I ran across this lovely edifice, listed as the Thomas Samuel Vail house at 46 First Street in Troy, I was pleased to learn that it not only exists, but serves a dignified role as the residence of the President of the Sage Colleges. The house was originally built by George Vail, an early merchant and industrialist in Troy who had his hands in banking, steamboats and railroads. He built this house at the corner of First and Congress streets in 1818, and it survived the great Troy fire of 1820. At some point it must have passed to Thomas Samuel Vail (the relationship is not clear).

So knowing that it's still there, I did what I always do and went to Google Street View to check it out. At first I thought, well, it sure looked darker and dingier in the old days. And, I realized, brownstonier. And then I realized that the entire facade is, in fact, different. I'm not sure when the brick was added, or when the lintels were painted, but it gives a strikingly different appearance today than in George Vail's time.

The ironwork, happily, appears to be original (or at least dates to the undated photo). There's a picture of the lovely curved interior staircase at the Library of Congress.

Vail house today.png
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