Marcus T. Reynolds (1869–1937)
Detail of Spire and Lantern, Albany Evening Journal Building, 1916
Digital scan of drawing
53 x 27 inches
Collection: John G. Waite Associates, Architects, PLLC

Marcus T. Reynolds (1869–1937)
Family Coat of Arms, Filyp Pietersen Schuyler, 1650, 1916
Digital scan of drawing
10 x 10 inches
Collection: John G. Waite Associates, Architects, PLLC


Marcus T. Reynolds (1869–1937)
Elevation Section & Plan of Building
for the Delaware & Hudson Co., 1914

Digital reproduction of drawing
66 x 26 inches
Collection: John G. Waite Associates, Architects, PLLC

Delaware & Hudson and

Albany Evening Journal Buildings

Few Railroads companies have built headquarters for themselves that could be taken for a state capitol, but that is exactly what some visitors to Albany assume the Delaware & Hudson and Albany Evening Journal complex to be – so imposing is its size, so dominant its tower, so rich its ornamentation, and so prominent its location at the foot of State Street. Also, unlike most railroad company headquarters, the building is Gothic in style. That it sits where it sits and looks the way it looks is largely due to two men who frequently sat at the same poker table: Marcus T. Reynolds and his friend, William Barnes, Jr., the Republican political boss of Albany. They had as a collaborator Colonel Leonor F. Loree, president of the D & H in one of its greatest periods of expansion and a remarkable figure in the history of railroads.

Click here to browse several POINTS OF INTEREST on the D&H building.

Now the administrative center of the State University of New York, the Delaware & Hudson and Albany Evening Journal Buildings form a complex structure that consisted of at least six main parts. At the north end, hidden behind the nineteenth-century Federal Building, was a long, sparsely decorated warehouse of reinforced concrete that no longer stands. South of the warehouse site rises a square block with a corner turrets and a steep roof. A diagonal arm, five stories high, stretches southeast to connect the square block to the central tower of thirteen stories. These four parts of the building were constructed in 1914-15. When the building opened, it was already too small to house all the D & H employees, and so another five-story arm was immediately designed to rise south of the central tower. At the south end of that arm, a second tower rose to house the Albany Evening Journal, whose owner, William Barnes, had decided in 1915 to build a new headquarters, connected to that of the D & H. The entire building, completed in 1918, was 660 feet long.

…..While Reynolds mined the veins of historical architecture in a way consonant with Hamlin’s* theories, he simultaneously made use of a particular American tradition of commercial architecture exemplified by Richard Morris Hunt’s design for the Delaware & Hudson Building on Cortland Street, New York, of the 1870’s. Reynolds’s concept of the office building owes a lot to the Hunt design. Hunt’s D & H Building had the same strong piers, thin tripartite frames for the windows, low arches terminating in vertical bays, dormers in the roof and strongly marked pavilions at the edges. Reynolds seems to have chosen to follow this specific American type of office building design to anchor the railroad in its own architectural past.

…..In the early twentieth century, when the D & H Building became the centerpiece of a new Albany, the city was a busy river port for freight and passenger service, as well as the major railroad center that connected New York and Boston to the Great Lakes cities of Buffalo, Cleveland and Chicago, and, through them, to the vast territories of the western United States. Of the six railroads that served Albany, the most important were the New York Central and the Delaware & Hudson. The New York Central tracks came up the east side of the Hudson and crossed the river just north of State Street to enter Union Station, a Beaux-Arts design of 1898 by Boston firm of Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge. The Delaware & Hudson tracks, running along the west bank of the river, created south of Union Station a tangle of streets and quays that made boarding the boats that joined Albany to New York a dangerous occupation.

Travelers arriving by water or rail from New York had a grim first view of the city. The river bank was marred by rag-tag industrial buildings, decaying piers and raw sewage rotting in the basin of water at the foot of State Street (the basin had been created by a pier built out in the river in the 1820’s, after the opening of the Erie Canal). One of William Barnes’s chief objectives, from the moment he took power, was the improvement of the whole Albany river front. The D & H Building is the final result of those plans.

* A.D.F. Hamlin a teacher of Reynolds at Columbia, argued for “the appropriation of the style to the specific purpose of the building.” The position, therefore, of Style Follows Function.

Johnson, Eugene J. Style Follows Function, Albany, New York: Washington Park
Press Ltd. and Mount Ida Press, 1993, pages 77 and 78.