Albany, located in the heart of Orleans County, is south of Newport and west of I-91 with one main road, Route 14. The Black River flows north through town parallel to Route 14 and empties into Lake Memphremagog in Newport. Albany is bounded by the towns of Irasburg to the north, Glover to the east, Craftsbury to the south and Lowell to the west. A column of 21 wind generators, each 450 feet tall, are visible from most areas of Albany, towering above the neighboring ridgeline of the Lowell Mountain Range.
A township charter was granted and Albany’s boundaries were set in the 1780s. The town government was organized March 27, 1806. Albany’s first gristmill, first sawmill and first woolen mill were established in the 1820s, leading to a population spurt in the 1830s.
The Vermont Historical Gazetteer, published in 1877, provided a glowing description of Albany: “A fine agricultural town, hard to be beat, in the neatness and arrangement of its farm dwellings and out buildings, especially along the Black River valley road. The prospect this valley affords those who are passing over the well-known ‘Old Centre Road’ of a pleasant summer’s day, can seldom be equaled in the state. Other parts of the town exhibit equal evidences of thrift and wealth. Their forests of cedar, and apple and sugar orchards, their rich and fertile soils, their inexhaustible beds of the richest muck and shell-marl, open up to those parts of the town the means of present profit and future fertility and wealth. Industry and economy are the marked characteristics of the inhabitants, spiced strongly with the usual amount of generosity and hospitality of rural life; and interwoven with these may readily be detected the refinements of genuinely refined society. The rough edges of pioneer life and settlements have been rounding off, and more congenial and conciliating temperaments succeed the old-fashioned, ‘rough and ready’ style of neighborly intercourse.”
Today Albany’s residents have to travel out of town to shop, as well as work, unless they make their living from the land or are otherwise self-employed. Albany is one of a number of Northeast Kingdom towns that provide a window to the past – a living reminder of what Vermont used to be.