Historically, Rapp Road has connected Western Avenue (US 20) with Central Avenue (US 5). Until after World War II, the little-used wilderness road was unpaved and made its way over the sandy soil of Albany's Pine Bush.
Today, "improved" Rapp Road is more heavily trafficked and runs roughly north/south as it passes through three political jurisdictions. It begins on the south at Western Avenue across from Johnston Road near the Grand Union Plaza in Guilderland. There, old Rapp Road has been obliterated and has been replaced by the four-lane Western entry to Crossgates Mall. On the north, it picks up on Washington Avenue Extension near the Polish Community Center; continues past the Rapp Road Landfill; crosses into the Town of Colonie; and becomes Lincoln Avenue - connecting to Central Avenue (Route 5) just west of the Northway interchange.
In between, Rapp Road winds through what is now the western tip of the city of Albany. Originally, Albany's western border was fixed at sixteen miles from the Hudson River. Today, that boundary is less than a mile west of Route 155 - little more than half its original distance. Until, the 1940s, the area was very sparsely inhabited as the pine barrens and sandy soil inhibited agriculture - except for the raising of pigs and poultry.
The community and neighborhood also called "Rapp Road" lies along Rapp Road roughly from Gipp Road to the service road that runs parallel to Washington Avenue Extension. The community was first formed more than 50 years ago. About twenty successors of those original homes remain there today. Most of those pioneers were from Shubuta, Mississippi and "The Promised Land" is their story.