Union Station (Albany, New York)

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Albany Union Station
An ornate stone building with three tall arched entrances and a clock in the middle of the top
The former Albany Union Station, 2010
Union Station (Albany, New York) is located in New York
Union Station (Albany, New York)
Union Station (Albany, New York) is located in the US
Union Station (Albany, New York)
Location 575 Broadway Albany, New York[2]
Coordinates 42°39′5″N 73°45′0″W / 42.65139°N 73.75000°W / 42.65139; -73.75000Coordinates: 42°39′5″N 73°45′0″W / 42.65139°N 73.75000°W / 42.65139; -73.75000
Built 1899–1900[3]
Architect Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge; Norcross Bros.
Architectural style Beaux Arts[4]
NRHP Reference # 71000516[1]
Added to NRHP February 18, 1971

Union Station, also known as Albany Union Station, is a building in downtown Albany, New York on the corner of Broadway and Steuben Street. Built during 1899–1900, it originally served as the city's railroad station but now houses bank offices.[3] It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1971.[1]

Its NRHP application asserted:

Perhaps no other building has been so important to the growth of Albany during the twentieth century as Union Station. It was designed in 1899 by Shepl[e]y, Rutan and Coolidge, the successors to the firm of H.H. Richardson and the designers of the newly completed South Station in Boston and Union Station in Springfield, Massachusetts. The construction was carried out by Norcross Brothers, who were considered to be one of the finest contractors of the period.[3]


Union Station in 1904

The station received 96 trains per day in 1900 and 121 per day during World War II.[3] It was the Capital District's main railroad station until December 1968. Built primarily to serve the New York Central's passenger trains, it also hosted the services of the Delaware & Hudson. In 1968 the Albany-Rensselaer Rail Station opened across the river in Rensselaer.

In 1986 Peter Kiernan, president of Norstar Bankcorp Inc, moved the headquarters of the Fortune 500 bank from Guilderland, New York, to Union Station in Albany, and contracted the architecture firm EYP Architecture & Engineering to complete a $14.5 million renovation of the historic building.[5] This renovation of Union Station is documented in a book that also details the history of the station.[6] During construction a bottle was discovered hanging on a nail behind a plaster wall ornament; inside was a note dated August 12, 1900. Signed by "AA Johnsen. Foreman," the note mentioned the names of the workers and companies involved in the original construction. It listed the workers' wages as 45 cents per hour.[7] Kiernan then placed a new time capsule regarding this construction behind another plaster ornament on an upper floor.[7] Union Station was renamed Norstar Plaza, and when Norstar Bancorp merged with Fleet Financial Group Inc of Providence, Rhode Island, in 1988, Norstar Plaza became one of two headquarters (with Providence) of the new company.[8] Kiernan died later that year, and in 1989 the corporation renamed the building Peter D. Kiernan Plaza in his honor.[8] At the end of 1999, shortly after Fleet purchased BankBoston to become FleetBoston Financial, the new company decided to spend a total of $25 million on new software, hardware, and electrical, heating, and cooling systems for the building.[9]

In 2004 Bank of America bought FleetBoston and kept the building.[10] The next year, the bank sold Kiernan Plaza to American Financial Realty Trust and leased the building back.[2] In 2008 American Financial Realty Trust was bought out by Gramercy Realty Corp. and in October 2009 Bank of America decided to consolidate its operations at Kiernan Plaza with others in Albany by moving them to a State Street building also owned by Gramercy, with no job losses.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b Kevin Harlin (2004-12-04). "Former Fleet properties sold". Albany Times Union. Retrieved 2009-04-21. 
  3. ^ a b c d Liebs, Chester H. (July 1970). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Albany Union Station". Retrieved 2011-07-10.  and Accompanying two photos, exterior, from 1905 and undated
  4. ^ Waite, Diana S. (1993). Albany architecture: a guide to the city. Mount Ida Press. p. 106. ISBN 0-9625368-1-4. 
  5. ^ Brad Kelly (2009-09-17). "Old station to give way to new era". Albany Knickerbocker News. Retrieved 2009-04-21. 
  6. ^ Finnegan, Thomas. "Saving Union Station Albany, New York: An Inside Look at Historic Preservation." (Washington Park Press, 1988). ISBN 0960546073.
  7. ^ a b Laurie Navilia (1987-01-23). "'Time in a bottle' details builders Union Station note detailed". Albany Knickerbocker News. Retrieved 2009-04-21. 
  8. ^ a b Mark Suchecki (1989-09-14). "Norstar Plaza to be renamed for Kiernan". Albany Knickerbocker News. Retrieved 2009-04-21. 
  9. ^ Jo-Ann Johnston (2000-04-20). "Building of old, commerce of new". Albany Times Union. Retrieved 2009-04-21. 
  10. ^ Kevin Harlin (2004-07-17). "Kiernan Plaza secure as Bank of America". Albany Times Union. Retrieved 2009-04-21. 
  11. ^ Churchill, Chris (2009-10-21). "A Landmark Soon to Fall Empty". Times Union. Hearst Newspapers. p. A1. Retrieved 2011-07-10. 

External links[edit]

  Former services  
Preceding station   New York Central Railroad   Following station
toward Chicago
Water Level Route
Terminus Boston and Albany Railroad
Main Line
toward Boston
toward Weehawken
West Shore Route Terminus