How much do you know about our historic city of Albany?

 Albany Trivia

Q:   Where was the song Yankee Doodle first penned?
A:   Crailo during the revolutionary war

Q:  Name two things that were invented in Albany.
A:  Perforated toilet paper and the first plastic compound for billiard balls
Q:  Who was Albany named after?
A:   Albany was named after the Duke of York’s Scottish title, “Duke of Albany.”

Q:  The oldest pulpit in America, which was carved in Holland in 1656 can be found where?
A:  The Dutch First Reformed Church

Q:  Who is buried beneath the front vestibule at St. Peter’s Church?
A:  George Augustus, Lord Howe, killed in 1758 in an attack on Ticonderoga during the French and Indian War  (General Howe)

Q:  What was read at the corner of State and Broadway, in front of the SUNY Plaza, for the first time in New York State?
 A:  The Declaration of Independence

Q:  What was the name of the first successful steamboat that made its run from New York City to Albany in 1807?
 A:  Robert Fulton’s The North River Steamboat later known as the Clermont

Q:  How long did it take to complete the existing Capitol Building?
A:  Building began in 1867 and took over 30 years to complete at a cost of more than 25 million dollars

Q:  For a period of time, who lived in the pink house just off North Pearl Street next to McGeary’s?
A:  Herman Melville

Q:  How much did the Empire State Plaza cost to build?
A:  The $1.7 Billion Empire State Plaza sits on 98 acres, with more than 900,000 cubic yards of concrete, and with 232,000 tons of steel put in place.  The Empire State Plaza interconnects 11 buildings with the State capitol, shops, banks, cafeterias, and restaurants.  (1965-1978)

Q:  How much does the Half Moon weathervane on top of the SUNY building weigh?
A:  The weathervane, weighing in at around 800 pounds, is the largest working weathervane in North America.

Q:  In 1848, what caused 600 homes in the Mansion Hill neighborhood of Albany to burn down?
A:  A woman’s bonnet which caught fire in a barn

Q:  What is the connection between Alexander Hamilton and Phillip Schuyler?
A:  American statesman Alexander Hamilton was married in 1780 to Philip Schuyler’s daughter Elizabeth at the Schuyler Mansion in Albany. (father-in-law)

Q:  What Albanian killed Alexander Hamilton?
A:  Aaron Burr opened his Albany law office in 1782.  Burr later killed Hamilton in a duel.

Q:  How much do the tides of the Hudson River vary?
A:   South of Troy, the Hudson River is not really a river, but an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean, with tides of up to 6 feet and trace salt content.

Q:  Why does the state Capitol have 17 steps approaching its western entrance and 77 steps approaching its eastern entrance?
A:   After the year 1777, when New York replaced its colonial government with the current state government.

Q:  New York’s Capitol is the oldest in the United States not to have what of any kind?
A:   A dome or tower of any kind. 

Q:  When Theodore Roosevelt was governor, how did he exercise every morning?
 A:  By running up and down the Capitol’s front steps.

Q:  What amusement park ride was invented by an RPI graduate?
A:  The Ferris wheel was invented by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute graduate George Ferris, and there is evidence that Ferris gained the inspiration for his creation from the Burden Iron Works water wheel, which was the largest water wheel in the county.  The wheel measured 60 feet in diameter, was 22 feet wide, and had 36 buckets for moving water.  Ferris’ original amusement park ride had 36 seats.

What four NYS Governors became President?
1) Grover Cleveland
2) Theodore Roosevelt
3) Franklin D. Roosevelt
4) Martin Van Buren

What three NYS Governors served as Vice President?
1) Levi P. Morton
2) Theodore Roosevelt
3) Nelson A. Rockefeller

Q:   Who was the murderer at Cherry Hill?
A:    In 1827, a handyman at Cherry Hill by the name of Jesse Strang, fell in love with Elsie Whipple, a member of the family. Strang shot Elsie’s husband, killing him. Strang was convicted and hanged in the last public execution in Albany.

Q:  What was Washington Park originally the site of?
A:  The State Street Burial Ground.  When Washington Park was designed, approximately 40,000 bodies had to be transferred to the Albany Rural Cemetery in the 1840’s.
Q:  How many miles long is the NYS Thruway?
A:   559 miles long, the longest toll expressway in the world

Q:  What is the State Flower?
A:  Rose

Q:  What is the State Bird?
A:  Blue bird


Albany Fun Facts:

* Santa Claus, and the first celebration of the feast of St. Nicholas in America, probably originated in Albany (imported from the Netherlands). The first mention of Santa Claus anywhere in America is in the Van Rensselaer papers in the State Education Dept. collection of historic manuscripts. There are records of Ft. Orange and Beverwyck celebrating the arrival of St. Nicholas with his sleigh and reindeer and coming down the chimney to put presents in childrens' stockings, going back prior to the 1650s. 

* The fable of A Bakers Dozen originated in Albany, probably back when it was Beverwyck. 

* Don’t miss the boat, and “time, tide, sodawater and steamships wait for no man” started with the Albany Dayline steamboat. 

* Albany is the oldest continuous settlement in the original 13 English colonies. We had a fort built here prior to 1614. Jamestown was settled in 1607 but abandoned in 1699. Today Jamestown is a national park and archaeological site with no buildings. The Puritans didn’t land in Massachusetts until 1620. 

* The very first passenger railroad in America was the Mohawk and Hudson River Railroad. It ran from the intersection of Western and Madison Avenues into downtown Schenectady.  Erastus Corning was the President and Stephen Van Rensselaer was the largest stockholder. 

* Minnie Temple, the model for Isabel Archer (Nicole Kidman) in Portrait of a Lady, lived with the James Family on Pearl Street in Albany. She was the cousin of author Henry James.

* Isaac Jogues escaped from his Indian captors in Albany and boarded a ship back to Europe. 

* General William Jenkins Worth, who Ft. Worth Texas is named after, lived in Albany (actually Broadway in Colonie). 

* William Paterson, Governor of New Jersey, whom Paterson New Jersey is named after, lived his last years in Albany and is buried in ARC.

* Judge (later Governor), John Tayor and his son-in-law Dr. Cooper lived at 50 State Street in Albany.  It was at his house that Alexander Hamilton uttered the derogatory remarks about Burr that lead to the duel.

* The first time that Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd, Clara Harris, Henry Rathbone, and John Wilkes Booth ever saw each other was in Albany. Senator Ira Harris, his first wife Clarissa, his second wife, Pauline, and Henry Rathbone were from Albany. The Lincolns were visiting on their way to Washington and Booth was performing at Albany’s Gaiety Theater.

* Toilet paper was invented and patented in Albany.

Weather Fun Facts

  • July is the average warmest month.
  • The highest recorded temperature was 103°F in 1936.
  • January is the average coolest month.
  • The lowest recorded temperature was -28°F in 1971.
  • The maximum average precipitation occurs in June.


Albany Average Highs and Lows
  High Low
January  31  13 
February  34  16 
March  45  25 
April  57  36 
May  70  47 
June 78 55
July 82 60
August 80 58
September 71 50
October 60 39
November 48 31
December 36 20