Continuing with Ignatius Jones's 1850 recollections of Albany before it had grown into a mid-19th century megalopolis, or at least one of the principal cities of commerce in the expanding nation. When Jones first came to Albany in 1800, it was undergoing a certain amount of tension between the old Dutch families that had founded the town and an influx of Englishmen from New England and New York.
English: An etching of Dutch-style rowhouses in Albany, New York, United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
"Albany was indeed dutch, in all its moods and tenses; thoroughly and inveterately dutch. The buildings were dutch -- dutch in style, in position, attitude and aspect. The people were dutch, the horses were dutch, and even the dogs were dutch. If any confirmation were wanting, as to the origin and character of the place, it might be found in the old dutch church, which was itself always to be found in the middle of State-street, looking as if it had been wheeled out of line by the giants of old, and there left; or had dropped down from the clouds in a dark night, and had stuck fast where it fell.
"All the old buildings in the city -- and they constituted a large majority -- were but one story high, with sharp peaked-roofs, surmounted by a rooster, vulgarly called a weathercock. Every house, having any pretensions to dignity, was placed with its gable end to the street, and was ornamented with huge iron numericals, announcing the date of its erection; while from its eaves long wooden gutters, or spouts, projected in front some six or seven feet, so as to discharge the water from the roof, when it rained, directly over the centre of the sidewalks. This was probably contrived for the benefit of those who were compelled to be out in wet weather, as it furnished them with an extra shower-bath free of expense."
The spouts, apparently, became a bone of contention between the newer English and the older Dutch:
"But the destined hour was drawing near. The Yankees were creeping in. Every day added to their number; and the unhallowed hand of innovation was seen pointing its impertinent finger at the cherished habits and venerated customers of the ancient burghers. These meddling eastern Saxons at length obtained a majority in the city councils; and then came an order, with a handsaw, to 'cut off those spouts.'"