Albany, NY's Oldest Building

Johannes(3) Descendants Get Great News

By Donna Liquor, Special to the Times Unino

First Published: August 20, 2006

Thanks to Ruth Potter, OFA Historian and Peter J. Ostrander, OFA First Vice President for making this story available.

Brian Parker of Slingerlands long suspected the rundown Albany building with its leaky roof and bountiful supply of rusty restaurant equipment was a treasure. So, he took a chance and bought it earlier this year. It was a good gamble. Tests have indicated that the former Saul Equipment Co. at 48 Hudson Ave. - or at least part of it - is the oldest standing house in Albany, dating to circa 1728. Until now, the Quackenbush House, built in the 1730s, was regarded as the city's oldest surviving structure.

This is the latest in a long line of restoration projects Parker has spearheaded since buying his first Albany brownstone on North Pearl Street for $4,000 at a tax auction in 1984. When he was an undergraduate at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs studying art and business, Parker never imagined that he'd gravitate toward this line of work. "When I was a kid growing up in the 70's, I watched New York state archaeologist, Paul Huey, dig Fort Orange up" he said. He now believes that was a pivotal experience that sparked what has become a lifelong interest in history and old houses, especially the Capital Region's early Dutch buildings.

After 48 Hudson was secured, Parker, along with the Historic Albany Foundation, worked quickly to have the building recognized both nationally and locally. The city's Historic Resources Commission unanimously recommended the building for local landmark status. Parker commissioned a dendochronology analysis by the Lamont Doherty Earth Sciences lab at Columbia University in which researchers study tree rings in wood used in construction to determine the age of the house. The core samples taken throughout 48 Hudson consistently date the house to 1728. For some time, the house had been known as the Johannes Radliff House. Recent research by local historian, John Wolcott, indicated that the house was in fact built by Johannes van Ostrande, who leased it to Radliff in 1759, the date the structure originally was thought to have been built.

Editor's Note: This article is four pages long and for brevity has been reduced to the above. It is suggested that you take out the "Big Book" and turn to page 415 and read about the early years of Johannes and wife Elizabeth Van Den Berg and their 14 children born in Albany between 1715 and 1739.