Country Club Garage, photo 1960's
The Country Club Garage, located at 1238 Western Avenue, demolished and succeeded in the mid 1970's by the Across-the-Street Pub.
Photo probably taken in the 1960's; gasoline at 30.9c per gallon.
This building and the business is mentioned by Fred Abele in an article in the Altamont Enterprise 27 January 1983.
The McKownville Fire Department kept their first vehicles in the basement at the rear of this building from 1926 to 1935. For most of this time, this consisted of the original 1918 "chemical engine" trailer remounted on a Packard car chassis, the modification and assembly done by the owner of this garage, one Oliver Wendell Holmes.
A letter in 1983 to the Altamont Enterprise from Mr. Newton Ronan contains reminiscences of growing up in McKownville, including memories of this garage and its owners, and of the fire department; he says Mr Holmes in the 1930's owned the largest tow truck in the Capital District.
In the picture, the Sunoco logo on the sign is the design later than 1954. The street light is the same design as can be seen now (look on Google Streetview), possibly on the very same utility pole at the eastern corner of Upper Hillcrest Avenue! The garage was built all the way up to the edge of the lot and the Hillcrest Avenue western street boundary (map below), so much of it was covering what is now the pub's parking/driveway area.
The garage took its business name from being located near the Albany Country Club; there is no evidence we have seen of ownership by the Club of this business. The garage was sold to Peter Lampman sometime in the mid-1930's (Ronan's letter also mentions him), and a small ad in the Altamont Enterprise in November 1937 indicates that it was then selling Dodge and Plymouth cars, but it was most of the time a repair and gas station business.
      Enterprise 11 Nov 1937 small ad

There was an astonishing proliferation of gasoline/service stations along this part of Western Avenue in the 1920-50 interval, reflecting the primary nature of US Route 20 (Western Avenue here) in the pre-interstate road network. The property maps and the city directories show that in 1932, there were four garage/filling stations here within half a mile of each other. In 1952, there were no fewer than seven of them between the Albany city line and Fuller Road. In March 1936, the McKownville Improvement Association minutes record a recommendation to the Town Board to restrict the number of gas stations; this may have been one of the issues that from the mid-1940's prompted the Association repeatedly to urge the Town to establish zoning regulations, and a Planning Department, which did eventually happen in the early 1950's.

Extract from Sanborn fire insurance map of 1934 (survey probably 1933), annotated to highlight the Country Club Garage, built to the lot line,
and showing the original notation that the McKownville FD were using it.
lot map 1933 Hillcrest-Western

return to McKownville older buildings photo index page
return to McKownville Improvement Association index page