East of the (former) Holt-Harris
property, the easternmost lot of the Christian LaGrange tract
was a separate privately-owned property, and not taken by the State
when it took the adjoining Country Club property in 1961. But it was
sold to the Faculty-Student Association in 1965, and the northern
part became for a while the property of the Albany Collegiate
Interfaith Center. In 1977, the southern part was given to the
University, and in 1987 the University purchased the northern part.
Map of Lands of the
heirs of Christian LaGrange (deceased), 1881; lot 8 of
The map shows Cynthia A LaGrange as the owner in 1881.
1st January 1877 - John B LaGrange and others sold lot 8 to Cynthia
Deed book 301 page 69.
(and John B LaGrange bought the adjacent lots 6 and 7 from
Cynthia A LaGrange and others, also on 1st January 1877)
20 November 1907 - Cynthia A LaGrange sold lot 8 to Susan Barkhuff
Deed book 567 page 100.
24 November 1914 - Susan Barkhuff sold lot 8 to Thomas F Woods.
Deed book 630 page 227.
Woods built a house on this lot, collecting and using lumber and
fittings from various historic Albany houses and old commercial
properties. It was reported in Joyce
Durgerian's 1966 article about this house in the Turnpike Record
that he used it as a recreational retreat but never lived here for
long intervals. As a result, there are no census or city directory
records of occupancy to constrain the building date, which could
have been not long after Woods bought the land in 1914.
Judge Holt-Harris lived in it briefly for a year or so before his house nearby was
built in 1948-49.
Thomas F Woods died 17 December 1949, and his will devised the
property to his son Thomas S Woods.
30 January 1954 - Thomas S Woods sold the southern part
(approximately 2/3) of lot 8 with the house to Alfred L and Helen C
Deed book 1390 page 125.
18 January 1960 - Thomas S Woods sold the northern remainder
(approximately 1/3) of lot 8 to Alfred L and Helen C O'Brien.
Deed book 1639 page 1.
3 June 1965 - Alfred L and Helen C O'Brien
sold all of lot 8 and the house to Faculty-Student Association of
State University of New York at Albany, Inc.
Deed book 1831 page 479.
The Faculty-Student Association used the house to provide
accommodation, and it was occupied by the Dean of Students in 1966
when the Turnpike
Record news article was written, and the interior photos
taken. We have not located any photo of the exterior of this house.
Photos by Jim Lund
7 January 1969 - an Option Agreement between the Faculty-Student
Association and the Albany Collegiate Interfaith Center was signed,
for the purchase of the northern part of lot 8.
Deed book 2029 page 35.
14 May 1971 - the northernmost part of lot 8, a rectangle 265 feet
long on the west and east sides, 1.605 acres, was conveyed to Albany
Collegiate Interfaith Center
Deed book 2029 page 27.
This deed contains the restriction: "This conveyance is also
made on the express stipulation that the land hereby conveyed
shall be continuously used as a religious center by and for the
students, faculty and employees of State University of New York at
Albany, and such restriction shall be a covenant which shall run
with the land."
This house was originally accessed along the driveway from Waverly
Place, past the house of Judge Holt-Harris, although the option
agreement of 1969 states that there was also vehicle access from the
then adjacent SUNYA parking lot. In 1974, the University
announced that they were thinking of converting the house to
offices. The McKownville Improvement Association expressed
a firm opinion to the Town Supervisor and to the University
administration that the residential area should not be invaded in
this manner. Judge Holt-Harris being a university trustee probably
helped a lot to squash this idea.
21 September 1976 - an easement was agreed for University Auxiliary
Services over part of the Albany Collegiate Interfaith Center parcel
to access and maintain the well, pump house and water line for the
Deed book 2121 page 387.
26 April 1977 - University Auxiliary Services at Albany Inc. (as
successor to Faculty-Student Association of State University of New
York at Albany, Inc.) gift to the People of the State of New York,
the southern part of lot 8 (592.58 feet, 3.606 acres). This mentions
the water supply easement of 1976, perhaps suggesting the house was
still standing. The boundary recitation in this deed confuses north
and south, and east and west; a geographically dyslexic lawyer!
Deed book 2132 page 1019.
At a later date, not well recorded
(probably before 1980), this house was demolished by the University.
It is not known whether any of the historic fittings or lumber were
rescued, nor what happened to them if any were preserved from
destruction. We have not found any published report of the
destruction of the house by the University.
13 July 1987 - Albany Collegiate Interfaith Center sold to the
People of the State of New York (Trustees of the State University of
New York) the northernmost part of lot 8, a rectangle 265 feet long
on the west and east sides, 1.605 acres, for $46,000. The Interfaith
Center had not built any structure on this lot. This sale occurred
just after the Interfaith Center had sold the adjacent lot to
Holt-Harris, after the destruction by fire and demolition of
the Barnes Lodge in
Deed book 2344 page 55.
25 October 1987 - a minor correction to this deed; Deed book 2351 page 927.
These contain this statement: "Being and intending to convey the
same premises as conveyed by Faculty-Student Association of State
University of New York at Albany, Inc. to Albany Collegiate
Interfaith Center, Inc. by deed dated May 14, 1971, and recorded
June 9, 1971 in Liber 2029 cp 27."
[but contain no mention of the religious use restriction, nor of the
access and water supply easements in that deed]
On construction about 1995 of the RACC (recreation and convocation
center building now known as the SEFCU arena), the University
perimeter road was relocated into this area of lot 8, and a high
berm was bulldozed west of the road, past the former site of the
Woods House, to shield Judge Holt-Harris' house from the lights and
traffic noise of the road, now running much nearer to his house than
before, and from the lights and activities at the arena and the
adjacent parking lot.
Air photo taken 2001 showing lot outlines with LaGrange lots 6, 7,
and 8 labelled. The former positions of the Thomas F Woods House,
and of the Barnes Lodge (later Chapel House) shown by the red
squares. When the photo was taken, the Holt-Harris house (HH) and
the Nicholas Lane house (NL) were still standing.
lot outlines and air photo basemap obtained 24 Nov 2021 from:
of Guilderland interactive mapping site
return to older houses and buildings of McKownville