APL Collection of Historic Albany Photos Now Online

APL has an awesome collection of historic Albany photos that are now available to view online! We are working with New York Heritage, a free online portal designed for researchers and history buffs, to showcase two small APL collections: “Views of Albany” and “Urban Renewal in Albany.”

“Views of Albany” showcases a selection of black and white photographs that are mostly from the early 20th century. This collection shows us the homes, churches, businesses, weather events, transportation, streets, and people of Albany’s past.

“Urban Renewal in Albany” is an album of photographs and captions that was handmade in 1976 by Florence L. Powell, a historical research assistant for the city of Albany.  The album has before-and-after pictures of the Clinton Square area of Albany (where Broadway and North Pearl Street meet Clinton Avenue) during the urban renewal era.  The photographs document the demolition of buildings, the reshaping of streets, and the construction of Interstate 787 and the Leo W. O’Brien Office Building.  The captions contain background information on the history and people associated with the places pictured, as well as Powell’s assessment of the effects of urban renewal on Albany.

APL is working to digitize more of our collections. The full Pruyn Collection of Albany History is housed at the Main Library and includes documents about urban renewal, the South Mall construction, city and state government, and African American history. The Pruyn Collection includes thousands of books, photographs, city directories, newspapers, documents, census records, city council minutes, maps, and more.

Please send questions to localhistory@albanypubliclibrary.org or call 427-4303.

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