|Remember this? It's a lie.|
I mean deep-down-into-the-bowels-of-your-very-being, sure of something? The kind of sure of something, that when it falls apart you feel like a guy on America's Funniest Videos getting wham-oed in the gonads during a pinata mishap.
Tonight, the U-Haul building in Albany whamo-ed me in the gonads. Hard.
You see, I was convinced that the blocky building on the yellowed, Albany city directory advert from 1857, just had to be the same as the blocky, multi-colored building with the U-Haul truck on its roof.
|J.W. Hill ruins everything.|
Wait a minute, that building doesn't look anything like the U-Haul building...
I was going to tell you that by 1850, John Taylor had been brewing in Albany for nearly 20 years. Taylor's business, like many others in the city, had boomed because of the Erie Canal. By the late 1840s it had become apparent that Taylor's Green Street brewery was not able to meet demand at 40 to 50,000 barrels per year. It was time to expand, and expand he did. In 1851 Taylor would open a new brewery at Arch Street and Broadway—John Taylor & Sons Brewery—a brewery capable of producing 200,000 barrels of beer a year—which made it the largest in the United States, at the time.
The main brewery building housed—among other brewing apparatus—365 cedar "pontoons" capable of clearing 2,600 barrels of ale (for more on that, check out Martyn's post on the Taylor pontoons.) This building—as well as a seven-story storage building, a malt house, a steam-aided cooperage, main office and a 10,000 volume library—sat on a two acre lot with direct access to the Hudson River. In fact, the brewery had elevators to move grain directly off boats moored on the pier below the brewery.
By the Civil War the brewery was using pressurized kettles capable of boiling 600 to 1000 barrels of wort—a technology that was cutting edge in the mid-1860s. The brewery employed 200 people and provided half-salaries to the families of those men under its employment who chose to enlist in the Union Army, while also promising employment upon their return. It wasn't all pleasant on the riverfront, however. In June of 1863 rioting dockworkers ransacked the building, sending brewery workers fleeing for their lives and causing thousands of dollars of damage. Then, in September of that same year, the patriarch of the brewery died. Things didn't go all that smoothly from that point on, for the newly dubbed John Taylor's Sons Brewery.
By 1870 all four of Taylor's sons—John, Edmund, Joseph and William—had also passed. In 1871 the brewery was sold to extended family members, and in 1887 the brewery would change hands again, and was renamed the Taylor Brewing and Malting Company, and operated under that name until it's closure in 1905. By 1908 the facility was no longer being used as a brewery. A number of business operated in the complex afterwards—from refrigeration and ice to a bottling facility—but the main building was held vacant by the new owners.
That's all true—and everything would have been hunky-dory had the Albany Hardware & Iron Company not come along in the early 1920s and torn down the defunct brewery, and built a new "fire-proof" building in its place. Stupid new building.
So, in the end I was wrong—and you'd think I'd be used to that, by now. But, as a matter of self-condolence, at least Alan was wrong, too.