Edward Langford, who became a veteran Central Avenue businessman, was born in England shortly after his mother returned from a visit to America. His family moved to Albany when he was 17, and he attended Albany Business College.
Mr. Langford and his partner, the late John Selfridge. worked at the old Helmes Brothers furniture store, later the site of Mayfair Inc. They decided to go into business for themselves, along with a third partner, Griffith W. Griffiths, opening one of the first furniture and storage businesses in Albany.
Their first plant was at 83 Central Ave. in the quarters of George Krueger. a cabinet maker whose products still are in many Albany homes. That was in 1900. They specialized in furniture sales, with storage being just a sideline.
Business flourished and in 1907 the partners constructed a building at 72-74 Central Ave. (later Western Auto) but that soon proved inadequate for their needs, and so in 1911 they moved to 97-101 Central Avenue, on the site of an old malt house. It was a four-story brick structure with another floor and a half below ground level. The building was designed by Charles Ogden of the firm of Ogden and Gander, who followed the lines of a similar structure in New York City.
Seven years later, they liquidated their sales stock, devoting the entire building to the more profitable storage. By this time Mr. Griffiths was out of the picture.
Mr. Selfridge, who was the salesman of the operation, died in 1933.
Mr. Langford, who was the businessman, became treasurer of the Central Avenue Civic and Merchants Association in 1943; he died in 1959.
In 1958, the business was bought by Standard Furniture, who retained the name and built a new front. It remained Selfridge & Langford Company until closing in 1978.
One of the more interesting incidents during his career as a storage plant operator, Mr. Langford recalled, was after an elderly housemaid decided to store her furniture. “On her death a short time later, rumor got around that cash and securities valued at several thousand dollars were missing from the estate. Her lawyer decided to examine the stored furniture which was shout to be put up for sale. The hunch was correct, Mr. Langford recalls – a bag containing the money was found sewed inside an overstuffed chair.
The building is now home to the NYS Division of Parole, Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.