The Albany Academy

A School for Boys

An Academic Achievement

The Albany Academy is still around today. It was established in 1813 to follow Benjamin Franklin’s dream of establishing a school for young men. Many in Albany, NY saw so many schools, over 300, being established in New York State and they yearned to have their sons have the same opportunities for an education. In 1812, the mayor of Albany decided it was time to create such an institution. One year later, the Albany Academy for Girls was also instated (The Albany Academy, 7). However, the city had to raise the money to create such a prestige institution. Through donations and fundraising done by the city, the school began to be built in 1815. The architect who was chosen to design the school, also designed the capitol building six years prior (The Albany Academy, 8).

Prior to being built, the Academy used an old tavern as their schoolhouse with about eighty students taking courses (The Albany Academy, 9). The school took off with a running start. Students could choose three different “paths:” General Education, English, and Mercantile. These were extremely intensive courses and over the years, became extremely prestige. It was noted that the curriculum even rivaled Yale, and our best colleges today (The Albany Academy, 10).

The students were also encouraged to engage in extra circular activities. There were sports such as football, track, hockey and baseball (which was the first sport, included in 1886). Football, did not have a great start. It is mentioned that football had a hard beginning. It was started in 1887. The Academy’s first game was against Union College, which creamed the Academy at a score of 140 to nothing. Later, swimming was included as a sport and an indoor pool, called “the tub,” was built in 1905. However, there were other activities for those who were not the most athletic. The Academy had a Glee Club, choir, and other musical clubs which were encouraged as well (The Albany Academy, 19-20).

As noted before, the Albany Academy is still thriving. However, it is not located where we are now. In the 1930s, the Academy moved locations in a decision which was called, “painful but inevitable” (The Albany Academy, 21). The new Building, located at Delaware and Hudson, was designed to incorporate some of the old school’s elements, as well as new designs. This may be best seen in the entrance, which is a duplicate of the old building. Governor Franklyn Delano Roosevelt laid the cornerstone of the school. Sadly, after the school was built, there was a huge economic, the Great Depression. The Academy was not able to pay off their debts for the school until the middle of the 1900s (The Albany Academy, 22).

A few years later, the school had another decision to make, whether or not to merge with the Albany Academy for Girls. After long debate called, “one of the most turbulent periods in Academic history,” the school decided against the merger (The Albany Academy, 25). They believed it may have caused financial problems for the new school. In addition, parents, faculty, and alumni were against the merger for various reasons (The Albany Academy, 24-25).

Street Address:

Academy Park

Cite this Page:

“The Albany Academy,” Albany Walks for Health, accessed October 18, 2019,

Related Tour


Share this Story