Category Archives: Hackett Blvd Building

Easter 1967

On this Easter morning we share two slides taken on Easter Sunday fifty years ago, March 26, 1967.

Easter Sunday 1967

Easter Sunday 1967

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here are four undated photographs, mostly likely from Easter, and possibly also from Easter Sunday 1967. The rector, J. Raymond McWilliam, is clearly visible. Does anyone recognize the server or the other priest?

Altar, possibly Easter 1967

Altar detail, possibly Easter 1967

Procession, possibly Easter 1967

Altar party, possibly Easter 1967

 

 

 

 

Palm Sunday 1967

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, the first day of Holy Week. Today we share five slides taken fifty years ago, on Palm Sunday 1967, the congregation’s first Palm Sunday in the new building. The high altar had been consecrated on Maundy Thursday of the previous year.

The first slide shows the nave, at the beginning of the service.

Palm Sunday 1967

Then we see two servers at the rear of the nave preparing for the procession. Can anyone tell us who these two are, or identify the chorister just behind them?

Palm Sunday 1967

Next, we see the rector,  J. Raymond McWilliam, reading the gospel from the liturgical north end of the altar, as was then the custom.

Palm Sunday 1967

The final two slides show Father McWilliam receiving the offering. We have been able to identify only two others in these shots: of the men facing the altar, the two on the left are Herb Brown and Jim White. Can anyone identify others in the pictures?

Palm Sunday 1967

Palm Sunday 1967

 

Child’s Hospital and the Good Samaritan Center

For the past 51 years, St. Paul’s address has been 21 Hackett Boulevard, at the corner of an inconspicuous street called Samaritan Road. Samaritan Road is not much to look at now, but its name is the last reminder of the Good Samaritan Center, a group of Diocese of Albany institutions that once clustered along it.

Between 1966 (when the Hackett Boulevard church was completed) and 1999, our building was paired with Child’s Hospital, the two buildings balanced on either side of Samaritan Road. When ground was broken for our building on July 26, 1964, you can see the then-new Child’s Hospital building directly to the west.

Groundbreaking at Hackett Boulevard, 26 July 1964

Groundbreaking at Hackett Boulevard, 26 July 1964

To understand the significance of the hospital and the entire Center, however, we need to look farther back, because in many ways, the Good Samaritan Center was the recreation of an earlier complex of diocesan institutions created in the late 19th century by Bishop William Crosswell Doane on Elk Street near the Cathedral of All Saints.

William Croswell Doane, Bishop of Albany (courtesy Library of Congress)

William Croswell Doane, Bishop of Albany (courtesy Library of Congress)

The Elk Street complex represented Bishop Doane’s plan for a cathedral with ancillary “institutions of learning and mercy that will gather about it.” This outgrowth of the social gospel was similar to the way in which his father, Bishop George Washington Doane, had surrounded his cathedral in Burlington, New Jersey with a group of institutions concerned with education and health care, particularly for the needy.

Child's Hospital Elk Street (credit: Albany Public Library Pruyn Collection)

Child’s Hospital Elk Street (credit: Albany Public Library Pruyn Collection)

The Elk street institutions were incorporated in 1871 as “the Trustees of the Corning Foundation for Educational and other Christian Work.” The corporation’s goals were “the establishment, maintenance and management in the City of Albany of a school or schools, and other educational, religious, and charitable works and institutions, with a church or chapel and other convenient buildings in connection therewith; the same to be maintained and conducted in accordance with the doctrines, discipline and worship of the Protestant Episcopal Church in said Diocese of Albany.”

Child's Hospital Elk Street

Child’s Hospital Elk Street

Child’s Hospital’s name requires some explanation. You might reasonably think it was called Child’s because most of its clients were children, but that is not the case. Nor was it named for a wealthy Mr. or Mrs. Child who endowed it. No, Child’s Hospital was named for the order of Episcopal nuns who ran it from 1874 until 1949.

Mother Helen Dunham, Mother Superior of the Sisterhood of the Holy Child Jesus

Mother Helen Dunham, Mother Superior of the Sisterhood of the Holy Child Jesus

The Sisterhood of the Holy Child Jesus was founded by Doane and Helen Dunham in 1873. Its constitution included this description of its goals: “The objects of the Sisterhood are to provide for the care of the sick, and the sound training and teaching of children, and as God shall give the means and the opportunity, to undertake such other works of charity and mercy, as our hands shall find to do.”

The institutions that they managed on Elk Street near the cathedral were St. Agnes School (founded 1870), Child’s Hospital (founded 1874) and St. Margaret’s House for Babies (founded 1883). All of these institutions were located on the north side of Elk Street, between Hawk and Swan.

Elk Street Diocesan Institutions in 1892

Elk Street Diocesan Institutions in 1892

When it was founded, Child’s Hospital was the only hospital for children between New York, Montreal, Boston and Buffalo. While it was affiliated with the Episcopal diocese, Child’s services were offered without regard to religious affiliation, and many services were offered free of charge. In addition to routine patients, Child’s Hospital also served children who needed long-term care for chronic conditions.

Child's Hospital Elk Street (credit: Albany Group Archive)

Child’s Hospital Elk Street (credit: Albany Group Archive)

Child's Hospital Elk Street (credit: Albany Public Library Pruyn Collection)

Child’s Hospital Elk Street (credit: Albany Public Library Pruyn Collection)

If you grew up in Albany and remember the old Child’s Hospital, you probably also remember why you (or a sibling) were there. For Albany children in the first half of the twentieth century, Child’s Hospital was the place for tonsillectomy. In 1950, Child’s set a tonsil-pulling record: 102 pairs in a single month.

The Sisters’ trio of institutions on the corner of Elk and Hawk began to break up in the 1930s. In 1932, with several of the buildings threatening to slide down into Sheridan Hollow, the diocese offered to sell all three buildings to the State. The State declined that offer, but St. Agnes’ School moved to Loudonville that same year, and St. Margaret’s House (by then known as St. Margaret’s House and Hospital for Babies) moved to the former Pest House (used by the city for isolating those with contagious diseases) in 1936. This site, located halfway between New Scotland Avenue and what is now Hackett Boulevard, would become the Good Samaritan Center campus.

St. Margaret’s official mailing address was 100 New Scotland Avenue, but it was much more easily reached from an unpaved section of Hackett Boulevard. A rough path then led the visitor north up the incline. This rough path became Samaritan Road.

1953 topographic map of Albany's University Heights section (credit andyarthur.org)

1953 topographic map of Albany’s University Heights section (credit andyarthur.org)

Child’s Hospital, however, remained on Elk Street for another twenty years. The Sisterhood ran the hospital until Sister Lydia’s death in 1949. Bishop Oldham then brought the Order of St. Anne from Kingston; they administered the hospital until 1958. In 1959, the Episcopal diocese again offered to sell the property to the State to build a much-needed parking lot. The State accepted this offer, and the diocese closed the Elk Street building in summer 1959. The building was demolished in August 1960.

Knickerbocker News August 22, 1960

Knickerbocker News August 22, 1960

With the closing of the last of the Elk Street institutions, Bishop Frederick L. Barry had a vision of a similar grouping of Episcopal institutions near the St. Margaret’s site. The location was selected both because it was near to St. Margaret’s, but also because the land was not settled and was easy to purchase. Before construction of the buildings, much of the land was used by squatters for garden plots.

Bishop Frederick L. Barry

Bishop Frederick L. Barry

As described in the Knickerbocker News for February 4, 1960, pride of place for the Good Samaritan Center was to be given on the Hackett Blvd entrance to the new Child’s Hospital and a chapel. The remainder of the 17 acre complex was to include a home for the elderly, a nurses’ residence and possibly nursing school, an addition to St. Margaret’s House, an administration building, and possibly a doctor’s building.

Knickerbocker News February 4, 1960

Knickerbocker News February 4, 1960

The first element to be built the Center was the new Child’s Hospital. This was accomplished speedily, and it received its first patient on October 23, 1961.

For unknown reasons, plans for the chapel did not progress. This was all for the best for St. Paul’s, because in September 1962 New York State bluntly informed our vestry that the congregation would not be able to stay on Lancaster Street. The vestry chose to relocate to the proposed site of the chapel at the Samaritan Center.

Over the next decade, other elements were added to the center: Nelson House (the home for the “well aged”), the Child’s Nursing Home, additions to St. Margaret’s House and a doctor’s building.

Good Samaritan Center (credit: Albany Churchman, March 1981)

Good Samaritan Center (credit: Albany Churchman, March 1981)

St. Paul’s and Child’s Hospital were Episcopal partners, siblings on Hackett Boulevard for our first 33 years on Samaritan Road. The Diocese of Albany sold Child’s Hospital in 1999, and it became the Albany Medical Center South Clinical Campus. The profits from that sale (over 10 million dollars) went to create Episcopal Charities of Albany Inc., which now provides “health care services and health care-related educational and religious programs” at the Spiritual Life Center in Washington County.

St. Margaret’s still sits on Samaritan Road, although it has long since become an independent institution. The diocese’s sale of Nelson House to the Albany College of Pharmacy in 2003 leaves only the street name to remind us of the Center. Perhaps we should change St. Paul’s address to 1 Samaritan Road as an appropriate nod to our history, and to the history of a laudable diocesan effort.

The Windows of St. Paul’s: Epiphany

"The Visit of the Wise Men to the Manger Cradle"

“The Visit of the Wise Men to the Manger Cradle”

This window, titled “The Visit of the Wise Men to the Manger Cradle,” was given in memory of Andrew Barton Jones and of his wife, Alice Tucker Jones by their children, and dedicated on Trinity Sunday, May 18, 1913. The window was designed by Frederick S. Lamb and executed by J. & R. Lamb, New York.

Detail of "The Visit of the Wise Men to the Manger Cradle"

Detail of “The Visit of the Wise Men to the Manger Cradle”

Andrew B. Jones (19 May 1840 — 29 May 1909) was a St. Paul’s vestryman  from 1892-1902 and warden 1902-1909. He and Alice Tucker Jones (13 May 1843 –10 Jun 1891) had five children, one of whom was also a long-time member of the congregation.

Sydney Tucker Jones

Sydney Tucker Jones

Like his father, Sydney Tucker Jones (1878-1958) was a St. Paul’s vestryman and warden, serving forty years in those roles, most of them as senior warden. He married  Gwenola Smith, and the couple’s daughter Alice Tucker Jones married George A. Taylor, St. Paul’s rector from 1932 until 1948.

George A. Taylor

George A. Taylor

The Windows of St. Paul’s: Christmas

It’s Christmas Day, and a proper time to appreciate the rose window in St. Paul’s chapel, which reproduces a painting titled “Madonna and the Holy Children, Jesus and John.”

"The Madonna and the Holy Children, Jesus and John"

“The Madonna and the Holy Children, Jesus and John”

The rose window was originally installed in St. Paul’s Memorial Chapel on Lancaster Street, and dedicated on March 29, 1942 by G. Ashton Oldham, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Albany.

Memorial Chapel, Lancaster Street

Memorial Chapel, Lancaster Street

It was given in memory of Randall J. LeBoeuf, St. Paul’s vestryman from 1914 to 1930, and warden from 1930 until his death in 1939. LeBoeuf (born 1870) was an attorney specializing in banking and corporate law, the founder of the Albany Trust Company (later First Trust Company) and a justice of the New York Supreme Court.

Randall J. LeBoeuf

Randall J. LeBoeuf

Did you notice the brilliant blue glass that surrounds the figures? The Times Union for March 27, 1942 tells us the story of  that glass, which was shipped from England to Boston during World War II:

The first ship carrying the glass was torpedoed in the Atlantic, but was beached and the cargo saved. The glass was placed on another ship which also was torpedoed and again the cargo was reloaded, and this time the glass arrived at its destination. When delivered, the packing case was still wet and on it was painted, “Great Britain Delivers the Goods.”

A small miracle that the glass arrived safely, and that on a Christmas Day almost seventy-five years later it still graces our chapel!

 

The Flora Myers Brady Gavit Memorial Organ

St. Paul’s worshiped in the building on Lancaster Street for a century, and we tend now to think of that building, through the haze of memory and legend, as our ideal church home. But even at its purchase in 1862, the building was considered a compromise. A few years before, in 1860 – 61, the congregation (then housed in a former theater on South Pearl Street) had decided to move into the newly-opened western part of the city. The vestry negotiated the purchase of property for a new church, hired an architect, and offered the old church for sale. Those plans were dashed by the bank failures of May 1861. William Rudder, St. Paul’s rector from 1859 until 1863, describes the crisis, and its solution:

But being now, as it were, without shelter, it was necessary at once to find some place of worship. It so happened that the authorities of a Dutch Reformed Congregation were engaged in building a house of worship at this time; but they, too, were brought to a stand by the financial problems of which I have spoken, and the unfinished building was offered for sale. Your vestry felt that, under the peculiar circumstances in which they were placed, they could not do better than purchase this building. They did so, and adding a chancel, endeavored to make it as churchlike in appearance as possible, and suitable to the requirements of our worship.[i]

William Rudder

William Rudder

John Henry Van Antwerp

John Henry Van Antwerp

The vestry’s and Rudder’s lack of enthusiasm is palpable. But the vestry purchased the Dudley Reformed Church on Lancaster Street in May 1862 with financing arranged by junior warden John H. Van Antwerp, cashier of the New York State Bank. The congregation held the first service there in September of that year.

St. Paul's, Late 19th century

St. Paul’s, Late 19th century

Yet only fifteen years later, at the congregation’s fiftieth anniversary celebration in 1877, Rudder asked if perhaps the congregation was ready to take up the 1861 vestry’s goal “to build a new church edifice in a better and more advantageous situation.” and to erect a building “worthy of the position and resources of the parish.” [ii] If they did so, he encouraged the 1877 vestry to “[s]how forth the largeness of your Christian zeal and love by the extent and richness, the trust and perfection of your work.”[iii]

The congregation chose not to take up Rudder’s challenge, but they could not ignore the Lancaster Street building’s deficiencies, chief among which was the design of the chancel. While Rudder and the 1861 vestry had attempted to make the nave “as churchlike in appearance as possible,” the chancel they had added was recognized as inadequate. In 1902, the year of the parish’s 75th anniversary, our rector William Prall suggested five improvements necessary for the survival of the parish, two of them related to problem with the chancel: to remodel the chancel and bring the choir to the east end of church “where it properly belongs.”[iv]

William Prall

William Prall

Prall was unable able to accomplish these goals during his term as rector from 1900 to 1905, but they were taken up by his successor, Roelif Hasbrouck Brooks, who arrived in the spring of 1906. As a start, Brooks recommended improvements to the church building including the chancel. That fall, he appealed “to the congregation, urging them to repair and beautify their church by memorial gifts.”[v]

Roelif Hasbrouck Brooks

Roelif Hasbrouck Brooks

By the parish’s 80th anniversary in November 1907, Brooks had already accomplished much of this beautification, including Prall’s recommendation to remodel the chancel:

Since then [the appeal of autumn 1906] two windows had been put in place, two were now being constructed, a baptistery had been erected, the chancel enlarged, the organ reconstructed, two tablets had been erected and the credence table rebuilt. Meantime the Sunday-school had doubled its offerings for missions, the parish had met its apportionment and had also made various gifts for charities.[vi]

St. Paul's Chancel before 1901

St. Paul’s Chancel before 1901

St. Paul's Chancel in 1911

St. Paul’s Chancel in 1911

We do not know how the organ was “reconstructed,” but whatever improvements were made could not hide that fact that it was 74 years old. Brooks must have hoped that the church could afford a new organ to complete the restoration. The organ in use in 1907 was only St. Paul’s second, purchased in 1841, shortly after the congregation moved to the Pearl Street theater. Originally built by Thomas Robjohn (under contract with Firth & Hall of New York City), the instrument was rebuilt in 1857 by William A. Johnson, with the upgraded instrument inaugurated on Christmas Day 1857. Johnson also moved the instrument to Lancaster Street in 1864. William J. Stuart of Albany made major enhancements in 1892, including a new manual, pedal, chest, couplers and combination pedals, but by 1907 it must have been a very old looking (and sounding) organ. Brooks had plans for major enhancements to the church’s liturgy and worship space, including the creation of a boys’ choir, and moving the organ to the renovated chancel. He had the new chancel: a new organ would fit with these plans very nicely!

Years passed, and Brooks must have thought about who was capable of buying the church a new organ. His leading candidate would have been the wealthiest member of the congregation, Marcia Ann Myers Brady, who was already a major donor. Mrs. Brady had been a member of the congregation since 1872, and she raised their six children in the church. Her daughter Flora was baptized at St. Paul’s in 1879, attended our Sunday School and was married to E. Palmer Gavit by Dr. Prall, in 1901. Mrs. Brady’s other daughter, Marcia, was married to Carll Tucker at St. Paul’s in 1908.

Marcia Ann Myers Brady

Marcia Ann Myers Brady

Marcia Ann Myers Brady’s husband, Anthony N. Brady, was a practicing Roman Catholic who may never have seen the interior of St. Paul’s. Mr. Brady had started as a small businessman in Troy and Albany, but by the first decade of the twentieth century he had accumulated an immense fortune by investing in utilities and public transportation across the country. The firms he founded are the direct predecessors of such corporate giants as Consolidated Edison and Union Carbide, among others.

Tragedy struck Marcia Ann Myers Brady’s family in October 1912, when her daughter Flora died at age 35 in a fiery train wreck that also killed her sister-in-law and sister-in-law’s sister. Then a year later, Marcia Brady’s husband died, leaving an estate of over $72 million dollars, which in that period in New York was second only to that of John Jacob Astor.

Flora Myers Brady Gavit

Flora Myers Brady Gavit

This enormous fortune was divided between Marcia, her surviving children, and her namesake, Flora’s daughter Marcia Ann Gavit, age 6. Responding to Brooks’ desire for a new organ, Mrs. Brady chose to make a double gift to the church: $14,000 to cover the entire cost of a new organ, and $20,000 to the Flora Myers Brady Gavit Memorial Organ Endowment Fund,  its “[i]ncome to be used, one-half for the maintenance of [the] organ, and one-half to create a fund for the installation of a new organ when such shall be required.”

The new instrument was dedicated on Palm Sunday, March 28, 1915. Built by the Hutchings Organ Company of Boston, it was a three-manual electric organ, with thirty-five speaking stops, nine couplers, two tremolos and a set of chimes.

Program, Service of Dedication for Gavit Memorial Organ

Program, Service of Dedication for Gavit Memorial Organ

The Flora Myers Brady Gavit Memorial Organ

The Flora Myers Brady Gavit Memorial Organ

Plaque for Gavit Memorial Organ

Plaque for Gavit Memorial Organ

This was not the end of the Brady family’s generosity. After Marcia Ann Myers Brady’s death in 1921, her children, son-in-law (E. Palmer Gavit) and granddaughter (Marcia Ann Gavit) established a $60,000 trust in her name, with “the income to be used as the result of an expressed wish of Mrs. Brady to perpetuate the gifts she was accustomed to make during her lifetime for the support of the Parish.”

The Flora Myers Brady Gavit Memorial Organ Endowment Fund  continued to fund repairs and enhancements the Flora Myers Brady Gavit organ over the next fifty years. The 1915 instrument was first rebuilt in 1940 by Ernest M. Skinner & Son of Methuen MA, with guidance from our organist and choirmaster, T. Frederik H. Candlyn. The official opening of the “rebuilt and enlarged Flora Myers Brady Gavit Memorial Organ” was held on September 15, 1940. The enhancements included a new console with “modern electrical mechanism,” new stops (4 on the great, 5 on the swell, 4 on the choir and 5 on the pedal) and a new organ loft. “Many readjustments have likewise been made in the older organ to improve its speaking quality and tone.”[vii]

Program, Reopening of Rebuilt and Enlarge Gavit Organ 1940

Program, Reopening of Rebuilt and Enlarge Gavit Organ 1940

T. Frederick H. Candlyn at St. Paul's organ.

T. Frederick H. Candlyn at St. Paul’s organ.

The organ was again rebuilt “with tonal changes” by the M.P. Möller company in 1952. At that time, the organ was described as having 3 manuals, 4 divisions. 46 stops, 35 registers, 38 ranks and 2,521 pipes.[viii]

Only a dozen years later, New York State took the Lancaster Street building as part of the 98 acres needed to build the South Mall, now known as the Empire State Plaza. Any items not removed by the congregation before they left the building became State property The people of St. Paul’s had to make some difficult decisions about what could be taken and used in their new building, and the organ was one of those items left behind.

By early 1964, the vestry decided to purchase an organ by Casavant Frères for the new church on Hackett Boulevard, and to allow the State to sell the 1915 organ. Clarence Hollister (St. Paul’s organist and choirmaster from 1955 until 1967) estimated the old organ’s value at $60,000, but said that St. Paul’s had received an estimate of $32,000 to recondition it. Hollister’s opinion was that “I can’t see putting $32,000 into an old organ, which I’m not particularly fond of anyway.”[ix] One wonders how the organ could have deteriorated that much in the twelve years since the 1952 M.P. Möller revisions. It seems more likely that its deficiencies were a matter of changing styles in organ sound rather than actual deterioration.

Clarence Hollister at St. Paul's Organ

Clarence Hollister at St. Paul’s Organ

On June 3, 1964 the State issued a “Prospectus for the sale of organ at St. Paul’s church,” containing specification #CB639 for a “Three manual Hook & Hastings Organ with additions by Ernest M. Skinner.”[x] In July 1964, it was purchased by Christ Church (Episcopal) in Schenectady for the sum of $2,060.[xi]

More than a century after it was founded, the Flora Myers Brady Gavit Memorial Organ Funds continue to pay for maintenance of the Casavant organ. The funds, now known as the Gavit Organ Replacement and Gavit Organ Maintenance Fund, paid for a major repair only a few years ago, when organ pipes were beginning to lean precariously over the tenors and basses in the choir’s back row. We hope that Mrs. Brady would have approved.

Pipework for St. Paul's Casavant Frères Organ

Pipework for St. Paul’s Casavant Frères Organ (photo credit: Amy van den Broek)

[i] “Sermon of the Rev. William Rudder, D.D.,” in The Semi-centennial  Services of St. Paul’s Church, Albany, N.Y. (Albany: The Argus Company), 37.

[ii] “Sermon of the Rev. William Rudder, D.D.,” 36.

[iii] “Sermon of the Rev. William Rudder, D.D.,” 40-41.

[iv] “Past, Present and Future: a Sermon Preached January 26, 1902 in Commemoration of the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of the Founding of the Parish of St. Paul’s, Albany, N.Y. by the Rev. William Prall, D.D., Ph.D. Rector” (Albany: Weed-Parsons Printing Co., n.d.), page 17.

[v] “Tablet Unveiled in St. Paul’s, Albany N.Y.,” The Churchman 26 Oct 1907, volume 96, number 16, page 649.

[vi] “Tablet Unveiled in St. Paul’s, Albany N.Y.”.

[vii] “Service of Dedication: Flory Myers Brady Gavit Memorial Organ in in Saint Paul’s Church, Albany, New York” Archives of St. Paul’s Church.

[viii] OHS Database http://www.organsociety.org/database/SingleOrganDetails.php?OrganID=49048 retrieved 31 Oct 2016.

[ix] Albany Times-Union 21 Jun 1964.

[x] Office of General Services, Office of South Mall, South Mall Project Site Acquisition and Clearance Files. New York State Archives, 16209-91, folder “Demolition – St. Paul’s Church.”

[xi] Schenectady Gazette 09 Jul 1964.

Architect’s Model of the Hackett Boulevard Building

We have already seen two color slides of the architect’s model of the Hackett Boulevard church. Through the generosity of a former parishioner, we now have three additional photographs of the model as it was displayed to the congregation following Sunday services, probably in 1963.

In the first photograph we see Kenneth Eells, chairman of the building committee on the left, and the rector, Father J. Raymond McWilliam, on the right. Can anyone tell us who the two women in the middle are?

Architect's Model of the Hackett Boulevard building. Kenneth Eells (left) and J. Raymond McWilliam (right)

Architect’s Model of the Hackett Boulevard building. Kenneth Eells (left) and J. Raymond McWilliam (right)

Architect's Model of the Hackett Boulevard building

Architect’s Model of the Hackett Boulevard building

Architect's Model of the Hackett Boulevard building

Architect’s Model of the Hackett Boulevard building