Exploring Albany's inglorious past and dubious future

The Hotel Klondike

The Hotel Klondike once occupied 523 Western Avenue, on the northeast corner of Western and Allen. Built in 1891 by Frederick Bareis, it appears to have been similar to Pauly’s Hotel, i.e. a saloon with rooms upstairs. There were horse stables for patrons, and Bareis even managed to get the water board to install a horse trough in front of his building.

Establishments were prohibited from selling alcoholic beverages west of Allen Street, so the Klondike was cannily situated to be the last watering hole before leaving town (and the first one upon arrival in town). It was the only hotel in Pine Hills.


A family squabble for the property erupted upon Bareis’ death in 1906, while Charles E. Rockenstyre, the estate executor, sold the place to James F. Patterson of Schenectady for $14,000. Three years later the property was partitioned and part of it sold to satisfy Bareis’ heirs; the Klondike, however, remained in business.

At some point between 1909 and 1914, Patterson sold the Klondike to Michael Crist. It was a rough and tumble place, with numerous disturbances, robberies, and arrests for selling beer on Sundays. As late as 1921, the Klondike was still a lawless speakeasy, occasionally raided by prohibition enforcement agents.

Crist eventually closed the Hotel Klondike and converted the building into apartments. In 1939, complaining that the noise from buses and trucks on the busy streets were scaring off tenants, he asked to be rezoned from residential to business. Crist specified his desire to open a beauty shop on the site, but local residents and businesses (who feared Crist would open a gas station and supermarket) ganged up to nix the request. (In the hearings, James G. Brennan, member of the Albany Port Commission and city engineer of Albany when the zoning codes were formulated, stated, “We do not need beauty shops in Pine Hills. Our ladies don’t need them.”)

Possibly some time in the 1940’s, the place was demolished, and a vacant lot sat there for over a decade. Wish I had a picture!

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