Albany is a 400-year old city with many fascinating tales of historical legends, infamous bootleggers, literary luminaries, and other "famous faces" walking the streets. Keep reading for exciting stories about the time that these "famous faces" spent in Albany. We will also highlight local spots related to these figures that you can still visit today.
While well-known as the father-in-law to Alexander Hamilton, Revolutionary War General Philip Schuyler is a famous New Yorker in his own right. A lifelong resident of Albany, Schuyler served as a member of the New York State Assembly, and was elected to the Continental Congress in 1775. Angered by British colonial rule, he joined the Continental Army in the summer of 1775, and helped the colony overthrow the British. Following the American Revolution, he was a Senator for the state of New York. Read on to learn about historic sites and local spots related to Philip Schuyler that visitors can explore today!
Schuyler Mansion was home to Philip Schuyler, his wife Catherine Van Rensselaer, and their eight children. The Georgian-style structure showcases Schuyler's interest in English architecture. The family called the mansion "the Pastures" and at the time its location (south of the city of Albany) overlooked the scenic Hudson River. The home was lived in from 1763 to 1804, and even saw the famous marriage of his daughter Elizabeth to Alexander Hamilton in one of the parlors. Explore the Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site on one of the focus tours offered this summer, Women of the Schuyler Mansion and When Alexander Hamilton Called Albany Home.
Philip Schuyler’s wife, Catherine Van Rensselaer, was born and raised across the river from Albany at Crailo State Historic Site. Crailo was built in the early 18th century by Hendrick Van Rensselaer, grandson of Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, the First Patroon. Hendrick was Catherine’s grandfather. Crailo is now a museum of the Colonial Dutch in the Hudson River Valley. The cellar kitchen features a giant open hearth fireplace that is still used to create delicious dishes today during special events.
Albany City Hall, a unique Romanesque-style building, has a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. It is the seat of government for the city of Albany and is definitely worth a visit while on a Philip Schuyler-inspired expedition of Albany. When approaching the building, you won't be able to miss a towering statue in front of its steps. Crafted by sculptor J. Massey Rhind in 1925, it is a statue of Philip Schuyler himself! Break out those cameras and snap a quick selfie with the Revolutionary War General.
The second oldest building in Albany, the Quackenbush House, is now home of the popular Olde English Pub. During the American Revolution, the home belonged to Col. Henry Quackenbush who fought in the Battle of Saratoga in 1777. Quackenbush escorted British captive General Burgoyne to Albany. They briefly stopped at the Quackenbush House for refreshments before continuing the journey to Schuyler Mansion, where Burgoyne was imprisoned. The Quackenbush House is one of the few remaining buildings in Albany that still stands from the time that Philip Schuyler would have walked the city’s streets. Raise a pint to Schuyler inside the storied walls, or dine al fresco in the beautiful gardens out back.
Philip Schuyler's final destination was Albany Rural Cemetery, one of the most historic cemeteries in Upstate New York. He is buried there along with his daughter Margarita “Peggy” Schuyler and her Patroon husband (and founder of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy) Stephen Van Rensselaer III. Visitors are welcome to visit Philip, Peggy, and Stephen. They are located in Lot 1, section 14 of Albany Rural Cemetery. The Schuylers are in good company with one president (Chester A. Arthur), 34 members of Congress; 8 presidential Cabinet members; 5 New York State governors; and 55 mayors of the City of Albany also buried in the cemetery.
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