Home of the Irish Potato, Part II

Our thanks to Mike and Mary Ryan for their help with this post. The first part of our story emphasized continuity: Over several decades, William F. Ryan Sr. built a produce business that his son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren have carried on to this day. The second part is about change, the events that prompted the…

Old 79

Our thanks to Jennifer Lemak and Miriam Sumner for their help with this post. Beginning with missionary Charlotte (Neely) Resper’s 1927 revival meeting at Union Missionary Baptist Church, Albany’s First Church of God in Christ is rooted in Mississippi and the Great Migration, when millions of African Americans left the rural South for Northern cities….

Scene from a South Mall Bar

In July 1963—a year after South Mall demolitions began—Times Union reporter William Kennedy stopped in Charlie Milham’s Grill, on the corner of Madison and Mosher, to hear what area residents and business owners had to say about the State’s redevelopment plan. Phil Milham, a brother of the owner, was tending bar that day. Behind him…

More about Mrs. Abarca

Readers of this blog may recall that Francisca Abarca—along with her tenants and two youngest children, Anna and Antonio—was the first South Mall-area resident to be displaced by the State. On July 12, 1962, a wall in her Hamilton Street home collapsed after the demolition of a vacant structure next door. The 55-year-old mother of…

The First—and Second—South Mall Demolition

On the morning of July 11, 1962—after months of delay due to the City’s lawsuit—the State of New York began demolishing South Mall properties posthaste. The first demolition was a press event. To the applause of several hundred onlookers—including neighborhood residents, like Mrs. Scanese (pictured above)—Gov. Nelson Rockefeller operated the controls of a 60-ton crane….