Window Town Albany Ny – Adam Blake Sr. was born about 1773 south of Albany (probably in New York City) and, as a working boy on the Van Rensselaer estate, was brought to Albany as a slave by local merchant Jacob Lansing. (The 1790 NYS census lists 15 slaves in the area.) As an adult, Blake was chief of staff at Van Rensselaer Manor, the home of Stephen Van Rensselaer III (“Last Deputy”). He married Sarah Richards in 1803 at the Dutch Reformed Church (now the First Reformed Church) on North Pearl St. (Notably, this is the same church as Alexander Hamilton’s while he was in Albany, and no doubt their paths crossed.)
Van Rensselaer and Blake’s relationship seems to go beyond slave and master. Blake was a trusted man, but Van Rensselaer did not free Blake until 1811 or later, even though Blake had married a young woman, Sarah Richards, probably another slave. Van Rensselaer in 1803. . failed to free Blake in the past, but gave no explanation.) However, when Van Rensselaer died, Adam Blake led his funeral procession.
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After becoming a free man of color, Blake remained employed by Van Rensselaer, although his obituary mentions his connections with Governor DeWitt Clinton. Blake enjoyed a respected position in the Albany community, both among white and African-American residents; In any case, he was a very nice man (he was called “Beau Brummel of Albany”), a smart and charming man.
Miss Albany Diner
He and his family lived in the 100 block of Third St. between Lark and S. Swan, on the land formerly belonging to the Patroon estate (probably given to him by Van Rensselaer), and several adjoining lots (107, 109, and 111). Blake was a prominent figure in Albany’s African-American community, attending the first African-American school in Albany in the early 1800s. Engaged in exterminating activities; he was one of the notable speakers at the 1827 Albany celebration of the abolition of slavery in New York State, and a leading figure in the 1840 national convention of colored people in Albany.
Blake’s son Adam Jr. was adopted – nothing is known about his birth parents or ancestors. He grew up in Van Rensselaer Manor, where he received his first education at the side of the Van Rensselaer children. He would become one of the most successful businessmen and entrepreneurs of any race in 1800s Albany. While still in his twenties, he worked his way up to the position of head waiter at the famous Delavan House on Broadway. Blake quickly made a name for himself as a restaurateur when he opened his restaurant at Beaver and Green Streets in 1851. Over the next 14 years, he opened two more establishments, the first on James St. and the next on State St., each. higher than. His restaurants were favorite haunts of youth, NYS legislators, and government of all kinds. It hosted private parties, gatherings, balls and picnics. Young Blake seems to have been a wise, kind and tactful host. We have a vision of a man who could entertain the ladies of Albany society with equal ease, or even host a dinner party in the politicians’ rooms—the “prince of caretakers.”
In 1865, Blake acquired the lease for the Congress Hall Hotel, located near the Old Capitol at the corner of Park St and Washington Ave. It was a fictional landmark (Lafayette stayed overnight during his 1824 visit to Albany), but it fell on hard times. . He acquired 3 buildings nearby (Gregory’s Row) and connected them to a hotel and spent a lot of money to give them a grandiose style, the Hall was a great concession – its place was loved by developers, legislators and other politicians for lodging, dining. and hospitality. meetings.
In 1878, the hall had to be demolished for the new Capitol building; Blake was awarded $190,000 in damages by the state of New York. The money was used to open a large hotel on N. Pearl St. that remains to this day. The hotel was built for Blake by the late Dr. James McNaughton (former president of the Albany Medical Society) on land they owned; it was named Kenmore after the Scottish village where McNaughton was born. The hotel was designed by Ogden and Wright, Albany’s leading architects, and no expense was spared.
Museum Association Of New York
Not one to let the grass grow under his feet while Kenmore was being built, Blake took over the management of the Averill Park Hotel across the river in the summer of 1879.
McNaughton’s determination to build the Kenmore for Blake to his specifications speaks volumes for the overall scale of his business and confidence in his potential for success. Although he benefited greatly from his father’s association with Patroon, he clearly possessed natural and innate abilities.
The Kenmore Hotel opened in 1880. It was Adam Blake’s dream – a marvel of modern technology and convenience; It has been called “the best building on Albany’s best street.” It was very successful, not only because of its comfort, but also because of its level of service. It had hot and cold running water (and a fresh water toilet), an elevator, telephones and, of course, a beautiful and elegant dining room.
All his life, younger Adam. he moved easily between the African-American and white communities and, like his father, was highly respected. He studied several young African Americans who ran large hotels in New York State, including the Clarendon Hotel in Saratoga Springs; Leonard Jerome and his family were guests (daughter Jenny married Lord Randolph Churchill and gave birth to Winston.) While James Matthews (the first African-American judge appointed in the United States) was at Albany Law School, Blake hired him as a bookkeeper for Congress Hotel. He used his community status to promote African-American causes whenever possible. In the early 1870s, he hosted and promoted the Fisk Jubilee Singers, a musical group that toured to raise funds for one of Tennessee’s first African-American colleges. A few years later, he became active in the fight to desegregate public schools in Albany.
Washington Avenue Corridor — Historic Albany Foundation
He was known as a generous man who “never turned his back on a stranger or a needy neighbor.” In 1881, a beautiful stained glass memorial window was dedicated to the Israel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Hamilton Street (the oldest African American church in Albany, founded in 1828). The works of Ádám Jr. in the abolitionist movement he is not listed as his father, but the Blake family home is behind Third St. Stephen Myers on Livingston Ave., a major figure in Albany’s Underground Railroad, and at one time Blake at 198 Lumber St. (now Livingston) , 2 doors from the Myers house at 194 Lumber. It is impossible to imagine that there was no father or son who was not involved in the Railways. At the consecration of the church window, dr. William Johnson delivered a eulogy for Blake in which he said:
“He loved freedom and hated slavery. He believed in the equality of all, in the masculinity of all, and in the common brotherhood of all. He was associated with Frederick Douglass, Stephen Myers, Doctors, Smith, and Pennington, and their countrymen, in tireless efforts to abolish slavery. actively participated in the national and national courts of the oppressed and held the honorable position of the country’s League of Equal Rights…
Sadly, Blake died unexpectedly in 1881 at the age of 51. He found no success in his success. At the time of his death, his personal fortune was estimated at over $100,000, a staggering sum for anyone, let alone the son of a slave. For the next seven years, the hotel was managed by his widow, Catherine, who was equally successful in the business and added properties throughout Albany, including the townhouse at 2 Spring St. Near Lark St. The Kenmore Hotel expired in 1887, Catherine exited the hotel business and sold the property and goodwill of the hotel to the new owners for a fixed sum. While the Blakes were connected with Kenmore they lived on Columbia St., but when Mrs. Blake left Kenmore she moved to a beautiful town house (still standing) between S. Hawk St. and S. Swan St., takes its place among some of Albany’s wealthy families, above the Ten Broeck Triangle.
Thanks to Paula Lemire https://www.facebook.com/ARCbeyondthegraves/ and her contributions to researching the lives of Adam Sr. and Jr., downtown Albany is located on the west bank of the Hudson River and within the county’s historic boundaries. thence west to EagleStreet, north to Sheridan and Columbia Streets, and south to Pruyn, Hudson, Beaver and Howard Streets. District
South Pearl St, Albany, Ny
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