The house at 204 State Street, in Albany across from the Capitol, had been Sarah McGroarty Stapleton’s home since the summer of 1919, when she married her husband Edward. Born in Donegal, Ireland and raised in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Sarah moved to Albany to attend the Hospital Training School for Nurses. She was 28 years old at the time of her marriage. A decade older, Dr. Stapleton was a respected ear, nose, and throat specialist, recently returned from service as a captain in the Army Medical Corps.
The newlywed couple moved into the quarters above Dr. Stapleton’s medical practice and pharmaceutical laboratory on State Street. Edward met with patients in the first floor office, while Sarah ran the basement laboratory. The following year, their first child , Edward Jr., was born. A second son, Leo, was born five years later in 1925.
After her husband’s death in 1947, Sarah continued to live at 204 State. Following in their father’s footsteps, both sons became physicians. Leo remained in Albany, opening up his own medical practice at 204 State soon after he returned from the Korean War.
In March 1962, New York State seized 204 State Street. In settlement the State offered Sarah $30,000. She declined the offer and took her case to the Court of Claims. “Home is where the heart is…. I haven’t had a happy day since I left 204,” she told the Court. And she insisted that her property had been seriously undervalued, describing in detail the house’s brownstone granite façade and the carved walnut and oak paneled interior. The Court agreed. The State settled with Mrs. Stapleton for $42,500.