By 1860, downtown Troy’s 197 River Street had been home to dozens of businesses and institutions. The large, double-wide commercial building was built in the early 1830s, and appears in the Troy papers beginning in 1834. It was originally a plain brick, Greek Revival style warehouse building, like most of the buildings on the street.
It’s a large building – 31 feet wide, and that gave its owners an opportunity to have two separate entrances, one on either side, and multiple businesses on its four floors. As we learned in the first part of this story, over the years, 197 was home to jewelers, dry goods dealers, book sellers, a railroad office, billiard hall and meeting rooms for the Young Men’s Association, whose library was the precursor of the Troy Public Library.
By 1840, the entire ground floor had become one of Troy’s favorite restaurants: Rockwood’s Alhambra. Upstairs, one of the city’s many newspapers had their presses and offices: the Troy Daily Budget. By 1856, Mr. Rockwood was in Oakwood Cemetery, and his business eventually sold to a Mr. Foster, who seemed to have taken over the entire building for his expanded version of the Alhambra Restaurant and Hotel.
But three years later, business was waning, and Foster sold the building to a Troy entrepreneur named Alexander Lutzelberger. He gave us the building we know today.
My name is Suzanne Spellen. I've been many things: a writer, historian, preservationist, musician, traveler, designer, sewer, teacher, and tour guide; a long time Brooklynite and now, a proud resident of Troy, NY.