The City of Albany, New York, is the capital of the U.S. state of New York. Albany is the 11th largest city in the state of New York, the third largest city in New York (behind New York City and Buffalo), and the 146th largest city in the United States.
Located on the Hudson River, Albany was a major transportation hub. Nowadays it’s a beautiful city with high rise districts, quaint neighborhoods, and a thriving arts and culture scene. And it’s just a short ride from NYC!
This page is a collection of old photos and film that capture images of Albany’s history in the twentieth century.
Old Photos of Albany, New York, 1890-1915
This is a wonderful collection of old photos showing a range of places in the city from 1895 to 1915. Each clear, crisp photo is accompanied with the location and approximate date.
Old Photos of Albany, New York (1890-1915), posted to YouTube by oldstuff4all
It’s dramatic to see the change in street vehicles between 1900 and 1915. Horses and carts, once sedately clopping past men in suits and women in long skirts, suddenly found themselves contending with trolley buses and dozens of big black cars. Above the streets, a network of electricity wires ran between poles.
Memories & Old Photos of Delaware Avenue
In the 1980s Louise Krasniewicz created this slideshow of old photos and reminiscences for Albany Public Library. The oral histories from former residents take us from the end of the 19th century through to the mid 20th century.
Delaware Avenue: Recalling the Early Days, posted to YouTube by Albany NY Library
Hear what it was like to grow up in this relatively rural section of the city, before it transformed to a more connected, urban neighborhood.
Old Albany Market, 1930
You’ll notice straight away that this 1930s footage is a bit blurry. But it’s a rare glimpse of ordinary working life in Downtown Albany almost a century ago.
Old Albany Market, 1930, Posted to YouTube by New York State Archives
It’s a very male dominated workplace. Just three decades after cars appeared on American streets, already the horses and carts have disappeared from market life.
The 4 minute 33 second footage was recorded in 1930 in 16mm film, and recently digitised by the New York State Archives.
World War II
It’s a great shame this hour of footage is silent, because it records a wide range of wartime city events during World War II. In the final scenes recorded in 1965, war veterans decorate graves with American flags and flowers.
War-Time Albany 1940-1945, 1965, posted to YouTube by New York State Archives
Recorded by the Amateur Motion Picture Society of Albany in cooperation with the Albany City and County War Councils, “War-time Albany” captures:
- scrap metal drives
- rationing meetings
- military parades
- volunteers creating Bundles for Britain
- Russian Relief Society
- bond mobiles
- book collection for servicemen
- aircraft recognition school
- boxing at Steamboat Square
- victory gardens
- victory mail
- the 4th War Loan Drive featuring Bing Crosby and other Hollywood stars
- an army airshow at Albany Airport
- military equipment moving through the city by train
- 18th ward Roll of Honor
- Captain Eddie Rickenbacker speaking to the Legislature
- model of Voorheesville Holding and Reconsignment point
- and newspaper headlines proclaiming the end of the war
Places seen during the film include Washington Park, the State Capitol Building, Madison Theater, City Hall, Department of Education Building, Steamboat Square, and downtown Albany.
A 1960s Childhood Remembered
Pat Serafino fondly remembers her childhood on one of Albany’s long-lost streets.
Albany NY 1960s.mpg, posted to YouTube by OrganicPlastic
Wallace Rally in Capitol Park, 1968
On October 10, 1968, Segregationist candidate George Corley Wallace (August 25, 1919 – September 13, 1998) held the Wallace Rally in Capitol Park.
Bob Paley’s photographs show crowds of supporters, protesters, and police ready for confrontation.
Posted to YouTube by OrganicPlastic
Wallace, the four-time governor of Alabama, ultimately became the fourth longest-serving governor in US history. None of his attempts to become presidents succeeded.
This video shows Bob Paley’s photographs of the event. The soundtrack is compiled from various other events to provide context to the photos.
Opening Crossgates Mall, 1984
March 1984 saw the opening of the Crossgates Mall. This video shows workers getting the mall ready for opening day, and a great flood of customers wandering around looking a bit bemused.
Crossgates 1984 Grand Opening, posted to YouTube by Crossgates Mall.
Snow in December 2007
Snow started falling at 10.30am on December 13th, 2007. Watch the weather transform the local streets.
The First Day of Snow in Albany New York, posted to YouTube by plesmond
Albany’s History on Facebook
Facebook groups and pages are a great way to discover more about the images, memories and events of the places you know and love.
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