Ten Broeck Mansion
The Ten Broeck Mansion was built in
1798 for Mayor Abraham Ten Broeck, who also served as
a Major General of the Albany militia during the American
Revolution, and his wife, Elizabeth Van Rensselaer,
after a fire destroyed their Albany home. Ten Broeck
leased five acres in what then was the Township of Watervliet
from his brother-in-law, the Patroon -- Stephen Van
Rensselaer. It was there he built a Federal-style house
with sloping lawns and formal gardens.The mansion, named
"Prospect," commanded a sweeping view of the
Hudson River and its daily traffic of barges and schooners
along the busy trade route.
The Ten Broeck family was already
five generations into New World residence by the time
Abraham came of age and had become prosperous and prominent
in public affairs. In 1775, he served as a delegate
to the Second Continental Congress. In 1777, as a brigadier
general, he commanded the New York Militia at the famous
Battle of Saratoga. From 1779-1783 he served as both
mayor of Albany and as a member of the State Senate.
Governor George Clinton appointed Ten Broeck the first
judge of the Court of Common Pleas, in 1781.
Among Ten Broeck's non-governmental
accomplishments were serving as the first president
of the Bank of Albany, first president of the Albany
Public Library, and as a trustee of Union College. Ten
Broeck enjoyed Prospect for a scant 12 years before
his death in 1810. His widow, Elizabeth, lived there
another three years, until her death.
Over the next 30 years after 1798,
the character of the house changed. It was refurbished
and renovated in the then-fashionable Greek Revival
style. Theodore Olcott purchased the residence in 1848
and renamed it Arbor Hill, after the surrounding area
which today is an Albany neighborhood known by that
name. The Olcott family, one of the most prominent in
Albany banking and civic improvement circles, was responsible
for the addition of the first-floor butler's pantry
and the second-floor bathrooms, both of which reflect
the Victorian style of the late 19th Century.
The Mansion's dominance spurred new
development in Arbor Hill, with a new wealthy merchant
class building homes near their businesses, utilizing
the late Greek Revival, Italianate, Second Empire and
other styles from the late 1840s to 1890.
In 1948, after 100 years of Olcott
family ownership, the Mansion was presented by the heirs
of Robert Olcott to the Albany County Historical Association.
The mansion, first created as a country estate but now
tight inside of the Albany urban setting, is presented
to reflect the ownership of Thomas Olcott containing
collections of furnishings and decor of the late 18th
and early 19th centuries.
Surrounding the mansion are lush gardens
created to reflect the hsitorical context of the mansion
Guided tours 10 a.m.-4
p.m. Thurs.-Fri. and 1-4 p.m. Sat.-Sun. from May-December.