The federal-style brick house built by William Amsdell about 1840,
located at 1188 Western Avenue.
In the 19th century McKownville extended farther east, in a
triangular area south of Western Avenue and east of the Krumkill
stream branch which passes under the road by the University
entrance. The map below shows the change, which
occurred when the City of Albany annexed the area, along with a much
larger piece of the Town of Bethlehem, in 1916. Up to that time,
this house was in the Town of Guilderland, and in McKownville.
William Amsdell was a brewer, and from 1841 ran the Guilderland Brewery near this building,
probably until shortly before he died in 1864. From 1854 two of his
sons, George and Theodore, set up a brewery among the many that were
located in Albany in the mid-late 19th century, and which prospered under their direction. This house
was either sold or rented by the time of the 1865 NY census, to John
Weaver, but Amsdell Bros. is marked in this place on the map of Guilderland in the Beers portfolio of 1866,
and the Amsdell sons appear to have continued to run it as a brewery
for some time after this date (see this map
from 1876). It seems likely that this brewery supplied beer to
McKown's Hotel and tavern, and the
other hotels in Guilderland along the Great Western Turnpike,
avoiding some of the tolls which Albany breweries would have had to
Left - Part of the Beers 1866 map of
Guilderland, showing the area of McKownville,
and the Amsdell Bros building marked on the south side of the
just east of the Krumkill stream east branch, and within the Town of
Right - 1927 USGS topographic map, annotated: solid red -
present Albany city line, since 1916; dashed red - Albany city line
longer dashed blue - Guilderland boundaries prior to 1871; shorter
dashed blue - Guilderland-Albany boundary 1913-1916.
The triangular piece south of Western Avenue originally in
Guilderland was annexed by the City of Albany in 1916. solid blue -
Guilderland-Bethlehem town line.
Below - part of GH Hopkins 1876 map
of Albany. Near the lower left corner a brick house and an outhouse
east of it are shown belonging to George and Theodore Amsdell. The
brick house is in the right position to be 1188 Western Avenue.
The occupants of this house after 1865 are not clearly identifiable
until, in the 1900 census Charles Albright, farmer and milk dealer,
is the owner. He remained here up to 1923, when he sold to Bernard V
Sheehan, a salesman and buyer, so it then ceased to be a farmhouse.
From 1953, the occupants were individuals renting three apartments,
which continues to the present.
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