By KATIE HOPSICKER
COLONIE — Picture yourself standing outside Colonie Center mall. You are surrounded by noise and movement: cars sitting stoically in a massive parking lot maze, people walking in and out of built up business buildings and restaurants, and the constant chaos from Central Avenue and Interstate 87. One hundred years ago, you would have been standing on a golf course.
Now look west. You would have seen farmland, a few small buildings, and past Sand Creek Road, three important homes. One home was torn down to become the Days Inn and International House of Pancakes. One home became Herman’s Sporting Goods, and later Barnes and Noble.
And the last home? That home belonged to the Platt family.
Built in 1948 by Edward and Natalie Platt, the home stayed in the family, with son Peter and his wife Jean moving into the house in 1966. The Wolf Road natives stayed there until 1969 and lived right next to the family business: Platt’s Dairy. The dairy was opened in 1939 and continued to operate until 1999, when it was leased to Buca di Beppo.
In the book “Wolf Road: A Century of Development,” written by Peter Platt, Jean Platt and Richard Naylor, the operations of Platt’s Dairy were explained: “Milk was purchased from local farmers and processed. It was then distributed to area homes, schools, and businesses. In 1951 the Platt’s opened a dairy store featuring 35 different flavors of homemade ice cream.”
It continued, “the dairy continued to operate until 1968 when processing operations were discontinued. Platt’s continued to be a distributor of dairy products until 1983. On July 4, 1970, Platt’s moved into its new building which featured a complete delicatessen and an ice cream store plus a catering operation.”
The Platt family’s influence was integral to the development and success of Wolf Road. Not only did they live and work on Wolf Road., but their book helped tell the stories of many family businesses like their own.
Unfortunately Peter and Jean Platt have both passed away, but co-author Richard Naylor spoke on their success and their dedication to the history of Wolf Road.
“I think Peter and Jean were very proud of this book. It meant a lot to them,” said Naylor.
He explained that the book started with a library presentation, featuring a collection of old photos from the area. Naylor knew that he “didn’t want to lose” the history shown, so they came up with an idea to make a PowerPoint of the pictures.
However, after collaborating with the Platt’s, Naylor knew “this was much more than a PowerPoint presentation.” The book was born.
From a house next to the country club, to Platt’s Dairy, to Platt’s Place, and finally to the industrious and successful metropolitan Colonie street, Wolf Road would not be where what it is today without the development and roots of family businesses like Platt’s.
For more pictures and information about the history of Wolf Road, check out “Wolf Road: A Century of Development.” It is available at most libraries in the area.