Monday, April 14, 2014

Walter Van Guysling

As an architect, Walter Van Guysling is certainly not as well known as Marcus T. Reynolds whose prolific designs can be found throughout there area or Philip Hooker whose historic designs included the Old Capitol and the Albany Academy.  But anyone familiar with downtown Albany knows Van Guysling's work.  He designed the 1907 Hudson River Day Line office which later became the French restaurant L'Auberge.  He also remodeled the R.B. Wing & Son facade on Broadway with a whimsical white whale painted on its gray stucco.  

A descendent of an old Dutch colonial family, Walter Van Guysling was born in Albany on September 23, 1877. He took an early interest in architecture and began working for local architects (including Reynolds) at the age of sixteen.  In addition to the Day Line and Wing building, he designed a number of private houses in and the now-crumbling Third Precinct Police Station.  Another notable Van Guysling design is the imposing Collegiate Gothic building on Trinity Place in the South End.  Built in 1914 as the Philip Schuyler High School, it has since been converted to apartments.  

Van Guysling's career was, unfortunately, cut short by his death at the age of forty-nine.  The cause of death on the Cemetery's burial index card is given as lethargic encephalitis.  He was buried with his wife's family on the South Ridge.  His stone is the one shown in the bottom left of the photo below.  The stone to the right of his belongs to his wife, Grace Perry Van Guysling.

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