Albany is the termination of our voyage. The seat of government of the Empire State,
venerable for its antiquity, respectable for the great men it has produced, and very
remarkable for the prodigious influence which its political coteries have exercised on the
destinies of this country, this city cannot fail to present many points of attraction to
the inquisitive traveller. A visit to the State-house will afford a rich treat to the
lover of history and the fine arts, as it is the depository of the archives of the State,
and of several valuable portraits of men distinguished in its past history.
Having arrived at the end of our voyage it only remains for us to bid farewell to our readers, wishing them all manner of prosperity, and many pleasant voyages on the noble Hudson.
French trappers were in the area in the mid-1500s, but it was in September of 1609 that Henry Hudson first came to Albany opening up the area for Dutch fur traders. It was soon established as a trading center and fort (Fort Orange). The first permanent settlement was founded in 1623 by a group of Walloon families, French Protestants who left the Spanish Netherlands seeking religious freedom. In 1629 a large land grant was given to Killaen Van Rensselaer. When Peter Stuyvesant was governor of New Netherlands, he ordered a town to be set out adjacent to Fort Orange which was to be known as Beverwyck. After the English took over New York, the name was changed to Albany in honor of the Duke of Albany and York (later James II)
Chartered in 1686, Pieter Schuyler was the first mayor of Albany. By 1750, it had become an important trading center. Robert Fulton's North River Steamboat made the first successful steamboat run from New York to Albany in 1807. The opening of the grand Erie Canal between Buffalo and Albany in 1825 and the city's growth as a major railroad center greatly increased its importance.
In Benson Lossing’s The Hudson From The Wilderness to the Sea he quotes Kalm, a Swedish traveler who was describing Albany in 1748. "‘The houses in this town are very neat, and partly built with stones, covered with shingles of the white pine. Some are slated with tiles from Holland. Most of the houses are built in the old way, with a gable-end toward the street; a few excepted, which were lately built in the manner now used. . .The gutters on the roofs reach almost to the middle of the street. This preserves the walls from being damaged by the rain, but it is extremely disagreeable in rainy weather for people in the streets, there being hardly any means for avoiding the water from the gutters. The street doors are generally in the middle of the houses, and on both sides are seats, on which, during fair weather, the people spend almost the whole day, especially on those which are in the shadow of the houses. In the evening these seats are covered with people of both sexes; but this is rather troublesome, as those who pass by are obliged to greet everybody, unless they will shock the politeness of the inhabitants of the town.’"