Were it not for the striking metalwork atop the door on a four-story brownstone, the structure at 150 Washington Ave. in Albany, NY, would have gone unnoticed in a city full of beautiful old edifices.
In the grillwork is a bronze cast of St. Andrew, one of the Twelve Apostles, carrying a cross amid leaves and branches, on a block. The image stands in front of a banner which bears the words “St. Andrew’s Society”.
For more than 200 years, the St. Andrew’s Society of the City of Albany (NY) has aided people near and far, from denizens of the New York capital to inhabitants of the distant Scottish Highlands.
The society was begun in November 1803 when 41 “Scotchmen,” as they called themselves then, met at the corner of State and North Pearl streets in Albany to found the city’s St. Andrew’s Society, named for the patron saint of Scotland.
At the time Albany was a frontier settlement, with just 5,500 residents.
The founders were merchants, physicians, clergymen and politicians, men who sought to begin an organization for “social and benevolent purposes.”
“They enjoyed life, but they could not stand still when fellow Scots were in need,” according to information found on the society’s website.
The society’s motto is “Relieve the Distressed.” In its first 100 years, it concentrated on immigrant Scots who needed help to find shelter, money and assistance in finding work.