Header Photo: The City of Albany, New York, 1868, Len Tantillo, 1985, Acrylic on canvas, Collection of Michael B. Picotte
History buffs and art lovers, this one is for you! The Albany Institute of History & Art has a must-see exhibit “A Sense of Time: The Historical Art of L. F. Tantillo,” on display through July 25. Museum visitors will be immersed in over 90 works of art by New York artist Len Tantillo featuring the sites and events that shaped New York State’s history. After visualizing the past by exploring the exhibit, visit the local historic sites and attractions depicted in the paintings! Scroll on for paintings to see on display in the exhibit with the corresponding place to visit in Upstate New York.
Special thanks to the Albany Institute of History & Art for support with this blog post!
Marvel at "Fort Orange, 1635" by Len Tantillo to see what Fort Orange, now present-day Albany, may have looked like. Fort Orange, constructed in 1624, was the first permanent Dutch settlement in New Netherland. After discovering that there were no graphic images of Fort Orange, artist Len Tantillo met with historians and gathered as much information on the fort as possible to bring it to life in a painting. After seeing the painting, dive deeper into Albany's Dutch history by visiting the New York State Museum's exhibit, "a small fort, which our people call Fort Orange," on display through July 16. View artifacts, historical and archaeological research, and film footage from the excavation of the Fort Orange site. The exhibit examines the discovery of Fort Orange and the lasting impact of the historic events that occurred at this Dutch colony.
Left: Fort Orange, 1635, Len Tantillo, 1986, Acrylic on canvas, Collection of Michael B. Picotte
Right: New York State Museum from 2015 by Discover Albany
Union Depot vs. Union Station
The painting "Union Depot" by Len Tantillo showcases Albany's former grand railroad station, Union Depot, built in 1872. The building was an example of Second Empire Victorian architecture with features similar to New York City's Grand Central Station and Chicago's Passenger Depot. In 1899, Union Depot was demolished due to its poor location and the need for more room. Union Station, pictured on the right, replaced Union Depot as the city of Albany's railroad station. Today, the building houses office space and is located across the street from Albany's charming Tricentennial Park. Grab a seat on one of the park benches and admire Union Station's historic architecture.
Left: Union Depot, Len Tantillo, 1992, Acrylic on canvas, Collection of Lois & Stewart Wagner
Right: Photo of Union Depot from 2014 by Discover Albany
During World War 11, the USS Slater DE766 was one of the over 500 Destroyer Escorts constructed. The painting "Contact, USS Slater, 1944" by Len Tantillo depicts the USS Slater while the ship was assigned to Atlantic convoy duty in 1944. Today, the USS Slater is moored on the Hudson River at intersection of Broadway and Quay Street in Albany. It is the last Destroyer Escort remaining afloat in the United States! The historic ship, which has undergone extensive restoration to its World War II configuration, is open for guided tours. Offered every 30 minutes, explore the ship deck-by-deck and learn the stories about the brave men who lived and fought on board the ship.
Left: Contact, USS Slater, 1944, Len Tantillo, 2010, Oil on canvas, Collection of Gordon Lattey and Michele Vennard
Right: Photo of USS Slater from 2015 by Discover Albany
Water Street Shipyard vs. Quackenbush Square
Albany, nestled on the banks of the Hudson River, has been the home of shipyards for nearly 400 years. Len Tantillo's painting "Water Street Shipyard" depicts a long forgotten shipyard that was once located near the foot of Clinton Avenue as indicated on the Simeon DeWitt map of 1797. Today, the intersection of Clinton Avenue and Broadway is home to the charming Quackenbush Square. The shipyard may no longer exist, but a building that was constructed almost a century later in 1873 as a water pumping station is still there. It now houses Albany Distilling Company's distillery, the Discover Albany Visitors Center, CH Evans Brewing at the Albany Pump Station, and the Irish American Heritage Museum. The popular Olde English Pub, housed in the second oldest building in Albany, is also located in Quackenbush Square.
Left: Water Street Shipyard, 1806, Len Tantillo, 2001, Oil on canvas, Private collection
Right: Photo of Quackenbush Square from 2020 by Discover Albany
Mabee Farm Historic Site
Tucked beside the scenic Mohawk River is Mabee Farm Historic Site, the oldest farm in the Mohawk Valley. Schenectady County Historical Society has transformed the historic farm and beautiful riverside grounds into an interactive museum and special events venue. The Len Tantillo painting "The Mabee Farm" features the farm's buildings in the background and depicts Cato, an enslaved man by the Mabee family, plowing a field in the foreground. Learn more about Cato and more stories about the lives of those enslaved at the Mabee Farm from this virtual tour by Schenectady County Historical Society.
Left: The Mabee Farm, 2012, Oil on canvas, Collection of Schenectady County Historical Society
Right: Mabee Farm Historic Site from 2016 by Schenectady County Historical Society
Wolfert's Roost Mill vs. Wolfert's Roost Country Club
The painting "Wolfert's Roost Mill" by Len Tantillo features a unique water-pumping windmill that was once on the property that is now Wolfert's Roost Country Club. During the 1880s, the land along Van Rensselaer Boulevard was owned by Joseph K. "Fritz" Emmet, an eccentric, retired Broadway stage actor who married into Albany society. He developed the land with a large Victorian house, ponds, and meadows, as well as the two unique water-pumping windmills. After his death, the land was purchased by New York State Governor David B. Hill and renamed "Wolfert's Roost." Today, Wolfert's Roost is a prestigious members-only country club that is a popular wedding venue. Unfortunately the unique water-pumping windmills no longer exist, but the grounds are stunning!
Left: Wolfert's Roost Mill, Len Tantillo, 2018, Oil on canvas, Collection of Celina R. Nehme
Right: Wolfert's Roost Country Club Foyer courtesy of Wolfert's Roost Country Club
The Dayliner Albany vs. Dutch Apple Cruises
Len Tantillo's painting "The Dayliner Albany" celebrates the Hudson River Day line's iron-hulled, side-wheeled steamboat named The Albany. The steamboat was built in 1880 and for fifty years took passengers from Albany to New York City. The steamboat was eventually renamed Potomac and continued service until 1948. While the steamboat is no longer operating today, Dutch Apple Cruises offers sightseeing cruises along the Hudson River in Albany! Sightseeing cruises are narrated by a Hudson River Historian who tells tales of Albany and points out landmark sights along the river. Dutch Apple Cruises is a great way to experience the scenic Hudson River and uncover the city's historic connection to the waterway.
Left: The Dayliner Albany, Len Tantillo, 2007, Oil on canvas, Private Collection
Right: Dutch Apple Cruises from 2015 by Discover Albany
Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site
"Schuyler's Guest" by artist Len Tantillo is a speculative painting that depicts Alexander Hamilton, George Washington and Philip Schuyler as they begin their journey from Schuyler's Albany home to the Saratoga Battlefield. After viewing this painting of the trio of Founding Fathers, visit the mansion in the painting's background! Located in Albany's South End, the Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site was home to Philip Schuyler, his wife Catherine Van Rensselaer, and their eight children. See the elegant parlor where Alexander Hamilton married Eliza Schuyler, view Philip Schuyler's law library and learn more about this elite Albany family.
Left: Schuyler's Guest, Len Tantillo, 2017, Oil on canvas, Collection of David & Lauren Hayes
Right: Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site from 2015 by Discover Albany
Lake George Steamboat Company
Len Tantillo's painting "Winter Solstice" showcases the ships of the Lake George Steamboat Company, an approaching snow squall and a frozen Lake George at dusk. Winter is a beautiful time to visit Lake George, but the summer is even more picturesque! From May to October, visitors can experience the beauty of Lake George, nicknamed the Queen of American Lakes, with Lake George Steamboat Company! The company offers a variety of cruises on several ships. Step back in time on the Minnie-Ha-Ha, one of the last authentic steam paddlewheel ships in America, to experience how people traveled the lake over 100 years ago. Cruises are also available on the Mohican, the oldest continually operated passenger vessel in America, and the Lac du Saint Sacrement, New York State’s largest inland cruise ship.
Left: Winter Solstice, Len Tantillo, 2004, Oil on canvas, Collection of Dr. & Mrs. R. Maxwell Alley
Right: Photo of Minnie-Ha-Ha courtesy of Lake George Steamboat Co.