Admiring the Beautiful History That Still Stands In Troy

October 25th, 2019 by

A waterfront view of Troy, NY during the summer time.

DePaula Ford isn’t far from some of the most historic buildings in the country. Along with Albany and Schenectady, Troy, NY, is part of the prestigious Capital District region. During the Industrial Revolution, businesses and innovation took off in Troy, making it the fourth wealthiest city in American during that time. As a result, lots of structural landmarks still exist in Troy, including classic Victorian architecture in private homes and churches. Next time you’re stopping by the dealership, be sure to take a ride through our majestic downtown. Visit Troy to view some impressive real-life remnants from the past.

The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

This private research university was founded in 1824. It is the oldest technological university in the English-speaking world. Since its founding, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has served as a model for several other colleges. It’s six main schools contain 37 different departments. A variety of majors that are offered include engineering, computing, business, design, and liberal arts. When Stephen Van Rensselaer first established the school, the tuition in 1825 was a mere $40 per semester. Later, in 1890, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute became home to one of the first Latin American student organizations, founded by international students studying at the institute. 

Several fires over the years required the campus to be rebuilt. It was expanded in the style of the Colonial Revival. One noteworthy design element is an impressive, ornate granite staircase that is located on the west end of campus. After World War II, continued expansions included more French Second Empire architecture. The National Register of Historic Places recognized the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1973. On a sunny day, campus is a great place to take a stroll. Seeing the old buildings can transport you back to a time and place when America was a young, but thriving and growing, industrial empire.

The Hart-Cluett Mansion

Also recognized by the National Register of Historic Places, the Hart-Cluett Mansion was built in 1827. Located on 57 Second Street in Troy, it still serves important functions for the community to this day. The mansion is open to visitors as a historic house museum. It is used as part of the main office of the Rensselaer County Historical Society. This Federal-style townhouse is decorated with limestone and marble details. Given that many other homes from this time period have been demolished, the Hart-Cluett Mansion gives visitors a rare chance to take a peek into an early 19th Century New York Mansion.

Russell Sage College

In 1916, RSC was founded by the well-known suffragist Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage. She named the college after her husband, Russell. With a combination of Liberal Arts and professional career training, this “school of practical arts” was intended to encourage women’s independence at the time. Men were ultimately included on campus as well, with the creation of an “emergency men’s division,” which was established during the 1940s.

Students are walking around a college campus during the fall time in Troy, NY.

The ten-acre campus is also part of Troy’s historic district. Along its two blocks, you can find walled gardens, formal courtyards, and Victorian gates. The 19th-century brownstones are still used as modern-day dormitories. Visitors can shop at the various antique stores and jewelry shops along the campus. A bowling alley, coffee shops, and the nearby public library are also worth seeing during your walk through the unique and historic architecture throughout campus.

The Troy Public Library

Described as “one of the finest examples of Italian Renaissance style in this country,” the Troy Public Library is another historic site in itself. Library patrons can admire the Tiffany Glass window, which depicts Aldus Manutius, the Venetian scholar and printer. The exterior south and west walls are composed of authentic, white Vermont marble. Rusticated walls on the first story provide a textural contrast to the smoother, distressed Ashlar masonry on the upper story exterior. Three windows facing the Second Street side are surrounded by a highly detailed ornament. From all angles, there are delightful reminders of past generations who once called Troy their home.

The John Paine Mansion

Constructed in 1896, the John Paine Mansion was once the most expensive home in Troy. It’s estimated construction was priced at $800k. After serving as a personal residence for John Paine, and later his son, the mansion was eventually left to the Russell Sage College. From 1940-1951, it was used as an alumni house and as a classroom for art and music classes. The mansion was later exchanged to the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Today, it serves as the home to a Non-Profit Organization, the Castle Alpha Tau Foundation.

The mission statement of the Castle Alpha Tau Foundation is to “Renovate & preserve the architectural, historic, & civic value of the building more commonly known as 49 Second Street, Troy, NY 12180, currently registered with the New York State Historical Preservation registry, & to increase historical preservation awareness through educational programs open to the community.” Throughout the year, you can find public programs hosted at the mansion, including the annual Victorian Stroll. This joyful, free holiday festival features over one-hundred live performances throughout downtown Troy. Attendants can finish up their holiday shopping while stopping to appreciate the beautiful, old buildings that make Troy such a special place.

Posted in NY, Troy