The history of our building, unique in its specifics, is an example of the general history of many adapted / restored buildings in Albany.
It was originally constructed as the carriage house for the Benjamin W. Arnold mansion, located on the corner of State Street and Sprague Place. With his simply fronted but imposing home, Arnold succeeded in impressing the public of his day. His was the first fully electrified home in Albany. Using the fortune he had made in the lumber business, he even equipped his new home with an electric elevator. The carriage house, of course, was not so elaborate. But it seemed to satisfy the Arnolds' chauffeur, William Deragon, who lived in it for almost forty years. His departure in 1945 was one of necessity, when the third Mrs. Arnold, by then a widow, died, and her properties were liquidated.
The contents of the mansion were auctioned, and the house was sold to the State University of New York. It became a men's dormitory until 1955, when it was purchase by the Albany Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church. Arnold's original gardens were made into a parking lot, and the second floor of the mansion was remodeled for office space. The Chancery continues to be located there.
The carriage house was purchased by Roemer and Zeller, Auto Electricians, in 1945. They were headquartered here until 1974. The building remained vacant and neglected until 1978, when it was purchased and renovated for the use of Austin and Co.
DDA purchased the building in 1996. We rehabilitated the balustrades and the interior finishes. We take great pride in occupying a building which holds historic prominence and relish the link to the past to the great architect, Stanford White.
It's been a history of style and utilitarianism. We intend to continue both traditions.
Learn about the Original Architect of our building
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