- McKownville houses - times of
development, the oldest houses on each street: (II) South side
of Western Avenue
Many of the houses in the older parts of McKownville were built over
90 to more than 100 years ago. While some of them have been modified
by additions, most are recognizably not far removed from the
original designs, and (except for parts of the south side of Western
Avenue) are located in their original varied neighborhood
This page presents the earliest one or two houses on each street, or
segment of Western Avenue, to give an idea of the variety of these
oldest houses and the time when building started in this area of the
hamlet. It also gives a summary of when most of the other houses
were constructed in the particular street, or segment of Western
For specific information on an individual house:
Lists of the town assessors build dates for each of the houses in
these streets included in this compilation of yearly city directory
principal occupants 1931-1961:
(.ods) open document format
Listings of the principal occupant for each house compiled from the
various census returns 1915-1940 and the 1931, 1940 city directory
open document format spreadsheet file.
Western Avenue, south side, between the City of Albany-Town of
Guilderland boundary and Brookwood Avenue
Most of the houses and small shops that existed in this section
suffered demolition in the late-1950's to mid-1960's, and
replacement by utilitarian commercial buildings and deserts of
parking lot. For example the Helme house,
formerly at 1230 Western, was one of the first to go. Two structures
from pre-1950 times still exist, one (at 1204 Western) converted
from residential to small commercial use, the other (1222/1224
Western) still rented accommodation.
Avenue, built about 1920.
Upper Hillcrest Avenue
Most of the houses on this street had been built by 1930, and more
than half of them by 1920. According to the town list, the oldest
house dates to 1901, although 1909 is the earliest date that can be
inferred from the census and city directory person listings. The
name of the street was plain Hillcrest Avenue to at least 1960, and
was apparently changed to reduce mail sorting confusion (with
streets in Watervliet and Latham).
9 Upper Hillcrest
Avenue, built 1909.
Many of the houses on Arcadia were built in the 1925-30 interval,
but a few are older, the oldest probably built in 1909.
Numbering of the houses was modifed by adding 100 sometime after
1960, also to help the mail sorters; however, former numbers 20, 21,
22, 23, 24 were changed to 121, 123, 125, 127, 129 (because they are
all on the odd side...)
110 Arcadia Avenue, built 1909.
Brookwood Avenue houses were mostly built 1926-30. One of the
subdividers of this street, John H Bloomingdale, lived at 8
Brookwood until 1930.
8 Brookwood Avenue, built about
Western Avenue, south side, between Brookwood Avenue and McKown
William McKown built in 1887-90 two almost identical Queen
Anne-style houses on the corners of McKown Road and Western Avenue.
The one in which he lived to the end of his life in 1924, and in
which his two youngest daughters continued to live until 1947 was
located on the eastern corner, at 1436 Western Avenue.
In 1948 the purchasers had the house moved to a new foundation at
its present location, 1 McKown Road, where the house can still be
seen. Other houses along this largely residential stretch of the
south side of Western Avenue were built in the late 1920's to
1428 Western Avenue, built about
Westlyn Court and Westlyn Place
Most of the houses were constructed in the early 1950's; 1 Westlyn
Ct was occupied from 1938, and 4 Westlyn Ct from 1945.
Westlyn Court was called Westlyn Avenue in the 1930's.
The oldest house on McKown Road, the origin of the name, was the old McKown
farmhouse, before its destruction in 1970. For a while, until
it too was destroyed by "developers", the Queen Anne-style house
dating from about 1887 at 1438 Western Avenue,
on the western corner of McKown Road, was the successor least
modifed in its exterior. Although moved a short distance from its
original position, the McKown's house at 1 McKown Road now
is the oldest structure on the road. Along the north part of McKown
Road, there is one building, now known as 18 Westlyn Place, that was
occupied by 1925, and recorded in the directories and censuses from
that time as "behind" 1436 Western Avenue.
1 McKown Road, built in 1887 at
1436 Western Avenue; moved in 1948-9 to the present site.
Western Avenue, south side, between McKown Road and Schoolhouse
No houses still used as residences survive on this section of the
south side of Western Avenue. The old McKown Hotel and tavern
built in 1793 by William McKown was located here just east of the
Fuller Road intersection, until it burned down in 1917. The
veterinary office at 1506 Western Avenue is probably expanded from a
house which appears to have been occupied since before 1920. In 1940
it was the home of John Warmuth, who started the veterinary practice
Early settlement in the 19th century occurred on farms along
Schoolhouse Road, known then and until after 1925 as White Church
Road. The McKownville
Schoolhouse itself was constructed in the 1870's, and survived
on the corner lot at the intersection with Western Avenue until
1973. It is not clear whether any of the remaining houses on the
northern section of Schoolhouse road were built before 1900. The
town assessor's office lists the house at 36 Schoolhouse as built in
1800. If true, this would now be by far the oldest house in
McKownville, but the style of the house suggests that around 1900
might be a more plausible building date. The lot was sold by William
H Witbeck sometime between 1907 and 1912, but it is not clear
whether the house was already built, or that it was an unbuilt lot.
It is clear that WH Witbeck sold another lot early in 1910 on which
the house now at 50 Schoolhouse Road was built, finished and
occupied by the census date (1st June) in 1910.
36 Schoolhouse Road, built about
1900? (the town lists it as 1800).
50 Schoolhouse Road, built 1910.
Apart from the old farms farther south along Schoolhouse Road (e.g.
Augustus Ziehm at old number 8, which was in the Woodscape
Apartments area), census and directory records show that occupation
of the houses near the north end started by 1910. And, yes, the
house numbers were changed on this road also, sometime after 1960,
using a conversion scheme that is a complete mystery (e.g new 36 =
old 1; new 50 = old 3).
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