Our final stop is here, at Ten Broeck Mansion. Located in the center of a small part of Albany known as ‘Ten Broeck Triangle,’ this Federal style home was built in 1797 by Elizabeth Ten Broeck (a Van Rensselaer by birth) for her husband, Abraham Ten Broeck, after their home on Market Street was destroyed in a fire. They named the new mansion ‘Prospect.’ The land on which the mansion was built was leased by Elizabeth from her brother, Patroon Stephen Van Rensselaer.
Abraham Ten Broeck was the grandson of Wessel Ten Broeck, who established the Ten Broeck family’s fortune by becoming a respected businessman in the Albany area. The family was also of Dutch descent, as Wessel Ten Broeck’s father, a baker, had emigrated to Albany from the Netherlands sometime between 1638 and 1664. Abraham continued to practice his family’s business, trading wood, and owning a substantial amount of property throughout Albany. He also served as an Alderman, member of the City Council, Brigadier General during the Revolutionary War, delegate to the Second Continental Congress, member of the New York State Senate, and Mayor of Albany from 1779-1783. Additionally, following the premature death of Elizabeth’s brother, Patroon Stephen Van Rensselaer, in 1769, Abraham became the co-administrator of the Manor of Rensselaerwyck.
Like the Schuylers at Schuyler Mansion, the Ten Broecks did not occupy Ten Broeck Mansion for the majority of the home’s existence. After Abraham and Elizabeth Ten Broeck’s deaths in 1810 and 1813, respectively, the home was heavily renovated so that it matched the then popular Greek Revival Style. In 1848, the mansion was purchased by English banker and philanthropist, Thomas Olcott, who renamed it ‘Arbour Hill,’ a title familiar to most Albany residents today. The Olcotts added a degree of the Victorian influence of the late nineteenth century to the mansion through the addition of a butler’s pantry on the first floor and bathrooms on the second floor.
Ten Broeck Mansion’s existence spurred the development of the surrounding area, still known as Arbor Hill, which flourished into a wealthy business district. From approximately 1840-1890, the nearby merchant class surrounded the mansion with new homes of the Greek Revival, Italianate, and Second Empire styles, many of which still stand.
In 1948, after exactly one hundred years of being passed through the Olcott family, Ten Broeck Mansion was given over to the Albany County Historical Association, which has since utilized the mansion as a historic house museum, teaching the history of both the Ten Broeck and Olcott families.