1421 Western Avenue
The house at 1421 Western Avenue; built by William H Witbeck in or just before 1910.

This house was most probably the first to be built in the McKown Hotel Farm land purchased by William H Witbeck from William McKown in 1907. William H Witbeck lived here for the rest of his life after it was built, in 1910 or perhaps the year before. This house and its large lot are, with a few others* already sold by him, excluded from the sale in 1912 to his son Benjamin F Witbeck and partner Arthur F Pitkin of the remainder of the "Country Club Highlands" development, which William H Witbeck initiated. In a real sense this building and William H Witbeck, its first owner, originated the early to mid-20th century suburban residential area along the north side of Western Avenue between Fuller Road and the Guilderland Town line to the east.
There is an additional building on this lot, behind the main house. There is some uncertainty about when this second house was built, as it does not occur as a separate record in most of the censuses, nor in most of the annual city directory entries available from 1931 and later. The style of this second building is similar to the main house, stuccoed, with inset timbering, so it probably was built at about the same time, or not long after. Because census records of 1915 and 1925 (NY) and 1920 and 1930 (US) have one or more of William H Witbeck's sons and their families at this household, it is inferred that some of them were living in the second house, and that it was built essentially at the same time as the main house.
William H Witbeck died in 1935; his son Arthur W Witbeck lived here until his death in 1954, with Arthur's widow Mary remaining here until 1957. After this, the property was owner-occupied for a few years; at present it is all rented.

*William H Witbeck made the original subdivision of "Country Club Highlands" in 1909, but it took until September 2, 1910 for the map (number 736, map book/drawer 25) to be registered and filed at the Albany County Clerk's office. On this map, the lot in which 1421 Western Avenue was built is not numbered, although its original eastern boundary, the eastern end of William H Witbeck's purchase from William McKown, is shown. On this map, lots numbered 1-20 extend to the eastern side of Norwood Street; William H Witbeck sold part of the not numbered area east of these to Frank and Lydia Koons and on which those people built in 1916 the house at 1423 Western Avenue. He sold another unnumbered part and lot 1 to Edwin Hunting, who built the house at 1425 Western Avenue in 1913. WH Witbeck also sold lots from this original map on the lower end of Norwood Street, where house numbers 1, 3, 2, and 4 Norwood were built, number 4 being the oldest house, built in 1911.
In June 1912, Arthur Pitkin and Benjamin Witbeck, and their wives, bought the unexcluded areas of the McKown Hotel Farm from William H Witbeck and substantially changed the plan for the County Club Highlands development, filing a "Revised map of Country Club Highlands" (number 808, map book/drawer 27) on 31 December 1912. On this map, the lots sold by William H Witbeck in the previous two years, and the lot with his house at 1421 Western Avenue already built on it, excluded from the sale, are those areas within this revised map of the development not given lot numbers.

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