Ten Broeck Mansion
9 Ten Broeck Pl Albany, NY 12210
The Ten Broeck Mansion was constructed in 1798 for Brigadier General Abraham Ten Broeck and his wife, Elizabeth Van Rensselaer Ten Broeck. Built in the Federal style, the home underwent several changes throughout its time as a private residence. In the 1830s, owner James King made a number of additions in the popular Greek Revival style of the time, most recognizable in the columns flanking the pocket doors that separates the two parlors. The home’s longest residents were the Olcott family, who purchased the house in 1848 and owned it through the 1940s. The house underwent necessary modern upgrades, including the addition of three indoor bathrooms on the second floor in the 1880s, electricity, and new heating systems. The Albany County Historical Association (ACHA) has served as owner and steward of the mansion since 1948. The ACHA continues to reinterpret spaces in the home to reflect the various times of occupancy, from the late 18th century through the early 1900s.
The Ten Broeck Mansion tells the stories and experiences of Albany residents through two centuries of its history. Here, you can walk in the footsteps of some of the area’s most powerful and prominent decision-makers and financial experts, high society women and their children, the enslaved men and women of the Ten Broeck family, and the predominantly Irish working class who served the Olcotts.
Regular tours are available May-October, Thursdays and Fridays from 9am-4pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4pm. Tours begin on the hour and the last tour begins at 3pm. Other times available by appointment. In addition to tours, the ACHA offers a range of innovative programs and experiences at the Mansion throughout the year. Information can be found at tenbroeckmansion.org or by calling 518-436-9826.
HIDDEN WINE CELLAR Perhaps one of the Mansion’s most interesting and well-kept secrets is its once-hidden wine cellar. Since the 1840s, occupants of the mansion have housed collections of rare, fine wines in the cool, dry room in the home's cellar. Thomas Worth Olcott purchased the home
in 1848 and installed the cellar to house the family's collection. During the frequent social gatherings and parties hosted by the Olcotts, guests such as 8th president Martin Van Buren would imbibe selections from the impressive stores. In 1919, nationwide Prohibition was imminent. The bottles would have been protected from the law and grandfathered in, but fear of losing the prized collection led Dudley Olcott to seal off the room, still stocked with Bordeaux and other European wines dating back to the 1860s. The wine cellar remained hidden for over 50 years, still doing its job by protecting the Olcott collection.
The details of the next part of the history vary depending on who you ask, but the core of the story remains the same: faced with financial troubles in the 1970s, the ACHA was considering selling the home when a worker discovered a false wall in the cellar and revealed the incredibly valuable and secret Olcott collection. The sale of the still-drinkable bottles helped to relieve the financial pressures by raising $100,000. In 2007, the ACHA held a "restocking party" and accepted donations of bottles for the cellar.
Today, the Ten Broeck Mansion is home to America’s oldest privately owned continually operating wine cellar.
Learn more at: http://www.tenbroeckmansion.org/
by Samantha Hall-Saladino, Executive Director, Albany County Historical Association & Ten Broeck Mansion