Did you know that April 18 is International Day for Monuments and Sites? Celebrated around the world since 1982, this day honors, teaches about, and celebrates the history and heritage around us. As a location with a rich 400-year history, Albany is full of exciting historic monuments and sites to visit. Take a scroll through this blog to learn more about 12 of these sites in Albany County!

Albany County Monuments 

Henry Johnson in Washington Park Albany Rural Cemetery  

Henry S. Johnson Memorial

Erected 1991

Located in Washington Park, this memorial honors the legacy of Henry S. Johnson a soldier who served in the first African American unit of the US Army during WWI. Johnson has ties to Albany, having moved to the city during his adolescence. In 2015, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, presented by President Barack Obama. 

King Memorial Fountain

Erected 1893

Often referred to as the "Moses Statue," this landmark Albany monument stands tall in Washington Park. At the center of this display is a large bronze statue of Moses smiting the rock for water on Mount Horeb. The four statues that surround him represent the four stages of life: infancy, youth, adulthood, and old age. In the springtime, thousands of tulips bloom from the garden beds around the fountain, making it a gorgeous location for a photo-op and a focal point during Albany's annual Tulip Festival

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

Erected 1993

Located in the historic Lincoln Park, this monument honors the legacy of Dr. King and was unveiled in the early 90's with a special ceremony featuring Martin Luther King III, son of Dr. King, as a guest speaker. The memorial is comprised of an 8-foot tall statue of the historic figure and panels of granite engraved with images of Dr. King and quotes from his speeches. Each year the statue is the site of MLK Jr. Day observances including an annual community march led from Empire State Plaza concluding with a wreath laying at the monument.

Albany Rural Cemetery

This historic cemetery is the resting place of many notable figures and the site of many gorgeous monuments of significance. Wander the cemetery grounds to view the Chester A. Arthur Memorial Tomb, presidential gravesite for the 21st US President. Or view the Angel at the Sepulchre monument, a masterpiece created by renowned sculptor Erastus Dow Palmer whose gravesite is located in the cemetery nearby. The sculpture sits atop the grave of Emma Rathbone Turner and was commissioned by her husband upon her death. It is engraved with the words "Why Seek Ye The Living Among The Dead."

Other notable figures buried at this site include Phillip Schuyler, his daughter Peggy Schuyler, suffragist Alice Morgan Wright, 34 members of Congress, 8 presidential Cabinet members, 5 New York State governors, and 55 mayors of the City of Albany.

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Albany County Heritage Sites   

Stephen & Harriet Myers Residence Underground Railroad Education Center Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site 

New York State Capitol Building

48 Hudson Ave- The Van Ostrande-Radliff House

Of all the heritage sites in Albany, none have seen quite as much history as The Van Ostrande-Radliff House. Built around 1728, this home is the oldest standing building in the city of Albany and has seen centuries of the city's story unfold. A visit to this site is a visit back in time to see how the early Dutch settlers lived. It is one of only a handful of Dutch urban buildings to survive in the states. The Historic Albany Foundation is currently working to restore this local landmark and the organization offers tours of the building every First Friday of the month. 

New York State Capitol Building 

A must-stop destination on your visit to Albany, explore the Hall of Governors, Governor's Reception Room, Hall of New York and more. The most expensive government building of its time, the New York State Capitol Building is simply enchanting to see. View the Million Dollar Staircase comprised of 444 steps and 78 intricate portraits of notable figures. A portrait of Ruth Bader Ginsburg was added to the staircase in 2023 marking it the newest addition in over 125 years.

Underground Railroad Education Center

Located within the walls of the Stephen & Harriet Myers residence, this heritage site tells the story of the historic home, once a stop on the Underground Railroad. Stephen Myers gained his freedom from slavery in 1818 and married Harriet, who was born free. In this home they raised four children, offered refuge to those seeking to escape slavery, and rose to prominence as Capital Region abolitionists. The Underground Railroad Education Center works to tell the story of the Underground Railroad, the Black Abolitionist movement, and stories of individuals that are often left untold. Plans are in place to create an Interpretative Center to accompany the residence and serve as a place for exhibitions, events, research and more. 

Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site

Once home to Revolutionary War general and US Senator Philip Schuyler, this site housed elegant social affairs, military strategizing, and political discussions. In the parlor, Schuyler's daughter Eliza married Alexander Hamilton. Tours of the Schuyler Mansion center around the Schuyler family, politics, society, the American Revolution, and the stories of individuals who were enslaved at the estate.

USS Slater

Known as Albany's floating museum, board the USS Slater, the last remaining WWII Destroyer Escort left afloat in the US. It was one of 563 Destroyer Escorts built during the war, and one of eight believed to still exist around the world. Book a guided 30-minute tour for this national historic site and explore its history deck-by-deck learning about the men who lived and fought aboard it. 

Crailo State Historic Site

Built in the early 18th-century this historic home can be found across the Hudson River in Rensselaer. It serves as a museum of the Colonial Dutch in the Hudson River Valley. This site is also known to be the location where the famous song "Yankee Doodle" was penned. During the French and Indian War, British surgeon Dr. Richard Shuckburgh visited the home to have dinner with the Van Rensselaers who lived there. At the time, the site was known as Fort Crailo and would often be used as a fort by locals. Shuckburgh originally wrote it as a way to make fun of the New England soldiers staying there, but centuries later it's a well-loved children's tune around the country. 

Van Schaick Mansion

A nationally significant location, the Van Schaick Mansion in Cohoes was used as a military headquarters for both the French and Indian War and Revolutionary War. It was at this site that plans for the Battle of Saratoga, the turning point in the American Revolution, were formulated. 

Shaker Heritage Society

Tucked in Colonie, explore the grounds of America's first Shaker settlement. Known to be one of the most significant communal religious societies in American history, the Shakers influenced American cultural identity through their craftsmanship, innovation and music. Visit the museum and gift shop first and pick up a guided tour to explore the Shaker buildings, heritage herb garden, barnyard and animals, gorgeous trails surrounding the Ann Lee Pond Nature Preserve, and the Shaker Cemetery.

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