This elegant home was located south of the core city and was built by attorney Peter W. Yates. It sat on a hill north of the Beaverkill. On the other side of the ravine was Schuyler Mansion. Its construction date is not known but it still was unfinished in 1784 when it was referenced by a visitor! During the 1790s, Peter W. Yates lived in a large home surrounded by orchards and outbuildings.
It was the subject of a painting by St. John Honeywood done about 1795 and is shown prominently on the maps made by Simeon De Witt during the same decade. It also was featured in an architectural drawing.
In 1788, his new holdings were valued substantially on the first ward assessment roll. In 1799, the real estate of Peter W. Yates was assessed at $20,790 - making it second only to neighboring Schuyler Mansion in value.
It later was the residence of Governors Tompkins, De Witt Clinton and Seward. In 1838, Governor William H. Seward described his new Albany home.
Moving to Albany in 1846, a later resident became the "first bishop of Washington".
In June 1856, "the old Yates Mansion on Broad Street" was purchased by Thomas W. Olcott for $16,000 for the use of the principal of the Female Academy.
Yates Mansion was one of the landmark homes of early Albany. The built environment of early Albany is considered more broadly in a theme essay entitled "Homes for the People."
Painting by St. John Honeywood - a law student in Yates's office, done about 1795 and in the collection of the Albany Institute of History and Art. Reproduced in the Journals of Lt. John Enys. Article on the property.