The Cohoes Armory

The Cohoes Armory was designed by Isaac Perry and built in 1892-93. Perry designed about thirty armories in upstate New York. As the first official "State Architect", his initial duty was to design the State Capitol. In a 1997 article, The Capital District Business Review reported that many of New York’s armories date from the 1870s–1890s, "the era when horse cavalry was the supreme light tactical unit" per Walt Wheeler, spokesman for the New York National Guard. These castle-like structures were used as training centers and staging areas for reserve troops and contained huge rooms that served as indoor parade grounds.

Cohoes’ Company B of the 105th Infantry was accepted into the National Guard on February 14, 1876. During the Industrial Revolution, the National Guard was often used to quell union riots. Company B first went on duty in July 1877 during a railroad strike in Troy.

The Cohoes Armory housed the Seventh Separate Co., which was reorganized in 1898 as a component of the Second Regiment for service during the Spanish American War. Company B, as part of the 27th Division, was called into active duty during both World War I and World War II. The Guard vacated the Armory in 1964. It was purchased by Oscar Cramer in 1972 and converted into a commercial retail space known as Cramer’s Armory. It was sold to a corporation and moved out of Cohoes in 1997. Four years later, Cramer’s went out of business and in its January 29, 2001 editorial, The Record referred to the closing as losing an old friend. Cramer’s sold uniforms, shoes, and tuxedos along with other apparel. Among its many customers were General Electric, Town of Colonie, nurses, schools, police and fire departments and blue-collar workers. There have been new owners since Cramer’s left but it’s good to remember the history of this imposing structure and hope that it may be preserved.

Fall 2001

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