Vintage bottle means vintage house stays

A bottle of wine discovered in 1970 by archaeologists in Albany's Ten Broeck Mansion and later sold at an auction generated sufficient funds to preserve the structure for future generations, according to Sue Kastan, executive director of the Albany County Historical Association (ACHA), owner of the historical dwelling.

Today, the Ten Broeck Mansion in Albany offers visitors a view of a home representing the elegant lifestyle of a rich Dutch clan in the late 1700 to 1800s.

It was built in 1798 and called Prospect because of its commanding view of the Hudson River. It was built as a retirement home for the Ten Broecks, a prominent family of the era. Abraham Ten Broeck served the city, state and country in various roles during Albany's Colonial years. He was a military commander during the Revolutionary War; Albany's mayor from 1779 to 1798; a state senator; judge; and first president of the Bank of Albany and the city's public library.

Prior to his marriage in 1763, Abraham was an apprentice in business with his brother-in-law, Robert Livingston, famous in his own right.

"He married Elizabeth, nee Van Rensselaer," said Kastan, "and in 1748, they built the house on 5 acres of land outside the city leased from his wife's family who were patroons."

Elizabeth's parents lived in the Van Rensselaer Manor House located north of Albany along today's Broadway.

The couple had two daughters and one son. One of the women married and moved to Stillwater, and her sister remained a spinster.

By the 1800s, said Kastan, in addition to the couple and their children, 10 black slaves also lived in the house. By 1810, Elizabeth had released six. Ten Broeck died in 1810 and Elizabeth, three years later. There were several owners of the mansion after that.

Originally, the mansion was constructed in the Federal style, rectangular and unadorned. In the 1830s, when James King became the new owner, he converted the exterior to the Greek revival design by adding columns in the front and rear entrances.

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