Menand Park Historic District
The Menand Park Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document.  Adaptation copyright © 2008, The Gombach Group.
Menand Park Historic District included Tillinghast Avenue and the south side of Menand Road. These two blocks are composed of an unusual collection of Bungalows and Prairie style houses designed in the period from 1913 to about 1925. Most of them are characterized by low sloping gable roofs with wide overhang and exposed rafters. The porches are generally recessed, but are occasionally enclosed, and are supported by massive brick or cobblestone piers. Chimneys are mostly made of cobblestone, and some are covered by stucco. Dormers are prevalent. The exteriors are carefully sided with stained shingles, and alternate between thin and wide rows.
Due to alterations involving modern synthetic sidings which cover historic fabric important to the architectural aesthetics, enclosure of porches and window replacement, only a portion of "Menand Park" has been identified as a historic district. The eastern portion of Tillinghast Avenue retains the best integrity as well as exhibiting a good cross-section of house styles built early in the development's history. Later houses tend to be less innovative and distinctive in their design. Most of the houses in the district retain their original garages. There are 22 contributing buildings in the district.
"Menand Park" was an early twentieth century development created for this newly emergent suburb of Albany. It was developed by Charles S. Aldrich, a Troy lawyer, and Esther Stevens (she and her husband lived in #1 Tillinghast Avenue). While it seems that Vanderhyden Corporation from Troy built the structures, it is uncertain whether an architect was responsible for their design.
Architecturally, these buildings represent the merger of the architectural ideas developed by Frank Lloyd Wright and the West Coast architects of the "craftsman movement," including the Greene Brothers, Irving Gill, and Gustav Stickley. One can see Wright's ideas in these buildings in their gently sloping roofs, low proportions, and natural colors and textures. Despite the fact that the early California craftsman and bungalow houses, such as those designed by Greene and Greene, were originally designed for wealthy tastes, the designs soon became adapted for more popular usage. The designs for typical bungalows were first published by Gustav Stickley in the monthly magazine the Craftsman, between 1908 and 1911. The design used for "Menand Park" may have come from such a source.
These buildings represent an early diffusion to the East of the concept of "suburbia" as it developed in the turn-of-the-century in California. The Californians' informality in living patterns served as a model for a new national culture based on detached suburban houses and automobiles. The houses themselves represent physical evidence of the cultural change that was occurring in the United States after the Victorian Period.
Jordy, William H. American Buildings and their Architects: Progressive and Academic Ideals at the Turn of the Century (Garden City: Doubleday and Company, 1972).
Albany County Clerk's Office
Town of Colonie Assessor's Office
Interviews with local property owners.