Old Albany Days

In the spring of 1857, a group of 6 settlers from Albany, New York, arrived in Kansas territory to create their own settlement. There was no railroad into the territory then, so the settlers walked over 100 miles from Kansas City to reach their land claims. That fall, 40 more settlers arrived, and the little community began to grow. The following year, they got their own post office. At first, mail delivery was done on horseback, and later by stagecoach. In 1859, the town streets were formally laid out, and a one room cottonwood schoolhouse was built.  In 1861 the first store was built with several shops and a few attached apartments. It also became a community center. Growth continued in the following years with a boarding house, livery stable, grocery store, creamery, sawmill, hotel, and blacksmith shop.  From 1857 until slavery was abolished, Albany also served as a “station” for the underground railroad. Runaway slaves were hidden during the day near the livery stable, in the woodshed behind the store, or in a cave near Pony Creek. At night, they were guided further north to the next town, and ultimately into Iowa. In 1870, a railroad survey crew looked over the Albany area as a possible route for the St.Joseph and Denver Railroad, but due to the hilly ground, it was decided that the railroad would go 2 miles south. Not to be left behind, most of Albany moved as well. Business and houses were picked up, put on log sleds, and transported by oxen team. Only the school remained in its original location, and one home.

The school closed in 1962, it was purchased along with the surrounding land by the Albany Historical Society.  In an effort to recreate the old town of Albany, the society added a donated unused railroad station, a one room school transported from a nearby community, and a donated 75 year old blacksmith shop. In 1969 the William Most family donated an original home and outbuildings still located on the old Albany site. Many additional buildings were built to house a growing collection of antique cars, tractors, and farm equipment.

Each fall, a 2 day event, Old Albany Days, showcases old time methods of threshing, cider pressing, corn shelling, weaving, spinning, and much more. I attended last Sunday and it was a feast for the eyes, as well as for my camera. I took over 500 pictures – yikes! There were so many demonstrations to see.

The sawmill drew a large crowd to watch as “workers” manhandled logs into position onto a sled on a track,

which was then moved toward the rotating saw-blade for cutting into boards.

Here’s a close up of a board being sawed:

I toured the old William Most house. A older couple lived here until the mid 1960s, and then the house was donated to the historical society. Many of the furnishings are original. The house had been occupied at a time when Albany was a thriving community.  Here’s the kitchen. Love the drying rack attached to the stove pipe over the wood stove.

This is such a neat old lamp.

What a pretty wash bowl and pitcher.

These lady’s undergarments were worn over corsets, and under dresses. I love the lace edging.

I took this picture looking down the stairs and included my feet to show how narrow the staircases were in old houses. Cost of home building was more important than fashion.

These days all cars look the same to me, but take a look at these stylish old beauties.

Love the tail fins.

And this truck is just cuter than a button.

This lady was making a rug on a loom with strips of fabric.

While this lady was spinning mohair into yarn.

A couple of old well hand pumps were set up for children to work. They had a blast. Kids and water, you know.

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——>Up Next: There’s much more to see from Old Albany Days: Wheat threshing, corn shelling, more antique cars, cider pressing, a local blue grass band performs, and more.

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