Montgomery Ward(s)

Looming nine stories above the flat plain of the Hudson River and visible for miles around is the former Montganery Wards building, constructed in 1929. It was located almost midway between downtown Abany and Troy so that the streetcar fare from each city would be the minimum local fare of 5¢. Originally nine floors of retail and catalog sales, it was remodeled c. 1965 and the upper six floors were converted to solely catalog sales. At that time, the first floor was altered and the adjacent parking garage constructed. The Wards building is the most outstanding example of Art Deco retail design in the Capital District. The concrete structure has virtually no decorative detailing on the interior but the exterior is embellished with bas reliefs in typical Art Deco patterns. Note also the tower which is reminiscent of the tower of the Alfred E. Smith State Office Building in downtown Albany, which we will pass later in the tour. The complex, which has one million square feet, is waiting for redevelopment. A White Tower restaurant stood directly across from the main entrance at the bus stop. It was torn down late in 1988 as the material for this tour was being assembled.

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