When visiting Albany, chances are you’ll want to see what we’re most famous for—our historic architecture. Our four national historic districts are home to the most varied collection of architectural styles in the state. There are more than 800 historic buildings in three of the districts, dating from the 1840s to the 1940s, and all located within an area of approximately 100 square blocks.
Self Guided Albany Historic District Tours
If you’re itching to dive into history and want to spend the day touring the area with your family, “Seems Like Old Times” is our free guide to Albany’s historic architecture. This publication covers four of Albany’s nationally registered historic districts. It includes maps with suggested walking routes and detailed descriptions of the buildings you’ll pass along the way, plus a key to Albany’s architectural styles. Read the full PDF version of “Seems Like Old Times.”
You can also download individual district tour maps in the “Albany’s Historic Districts” section below, or access “Seems Like Old Times” on your phone by downloading our app, Albany Explorer, which includes additional self-guided tour information on our historic districts, covered bridges, as well as places to eat, stay and shop while in Albany. Click here for more on the Albany Explorer app and how to access it.
Our historical roots run deep; if you’re here in the summer or during the winter holidays, join us on one of our enjoyable and educational historic home tours. Check the “Annual Historic Tours” section below for more information.
Covered Bridges Tours
Linn County is home to a collection of historic covered bridges. These peaceful reminders of the past are perfect for family picnics, biking trips and day trips from Albany. A 30-mile loop takes visitors from Albany to five of the covered bridges closest to us. Travelers with more time can continue on to see three more bridges in the full Linn County Covered Bridge Tour. Download a PDF with turn-by-turn directions: Covered Bridge Tour.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the Summer and Christmas events have been changed to exterior tours and scavenger hunts. When such restrictions are lifted, the interior portion of the events will begin again. Keep watching this site and our Covid-19 information banner at the top of the opening page of our website for updated information concerning restaurants and lodging.
Summer Home Tour
Albany’s summer Tour of Historic Homes and Buildings is held the last Saturday in July. This tour features historic homes and includes buildings such as the United Presbyterian Church, Downtown Carnegie Library, Albany Regional Museum, Monteith House Museum and the Albany Historic Carousel & Museum. It is a self-guided tour and many of the homes and buildings are within walking distance of each other.
Visitors can tour the homes in any order they like. Homeowners and Hosts/Hostesses will be available to answer questions about restoration efforts, historic house maintenance and why they chose Albany as home. Some may have their yards or gardens open as well.
Watch the summer 2019 Home Tour video and get a feel for what it’s like.
Enjoy an old-fashioned holiday celebration in Historic Albany, Oregon. The Christmas Tour is customarily held the second Sunday in December. Visit several beautifully decorated historic homes and buildings that include churches, museums, the Carnegie library and the chance to experience the sights and sounds of a Victorian-style holiday. For updated information check our events calendar or telephone 541-928-0911 or 800-526-5526, and email email@example.com. Another way to find out about the dates and times is by signing up for our monthly event newsletter. Subscribe and discover.
History Through Headstones Tour (subject to Covid-19 changes)
If you’re fascinated by the history waiting to be explored in pioneer-era cemeteries, attend the History Through Headstones Tour sponsored by the Albany Regional Museum. Guides will lead a walking tour through Albany’s historic cemeteries, telling the stories that the headstones and artwork only hint at. The tour is held each summer. For more information, call (541) 967-7122.
Albany’s Historic Districts
Albany is home to four historic districts, more than 800 historic buildings, and the most varied collection of architectural styles in the state. The best way to learn about Albany’s historic districts is to come see them for yourself–but if you can’t see them in person, here’s a little information to get you started.
This district is named after Thomas and Walter Monteith, two Scotsmen who traveled west from Albany, New York, in the 1840s and built the first frame house in the city in 1849. That house has has now been restored as the Monteith House Museum and looks almost the same today as it did when the Monteiths lived there, even including some of their original furnishings.
Other highlights of the Monteith District include stunning churches such as the Whitespires Church, (1891), known for its soaring spire and Carpenter Gothic architecture; and the United Presbyterian Church (1912), a Gothic-style stone building modeled after an English Gothic Cathedral. Both churches feature original stained glass windows. Don’t-miss residential architecture in the Monteith District includes the Cathey House, a 1906 Georgian Revival at 730 Washington. With its two-story portico and square columns, it’s sometimes called “The White House.”
Named after Abner Hackleman, a settler from Iowa who crossed the continent with oxen in 1845, the Hackleman District covers 28 square blocks and has more than a dozen architectural styles. It contains Albany’s oldest existing church building, the St. Paul’s Methodist Church, at 238 Third Ave S.E., as well as the first plaster-walled house in Albany, the Goltra House (1893) at 331 Montgomery S.E. The walls were first coated with a mixture of lime, sand, water and horsehair, then covered with plaster of paris shipped from Oregon City, 70 miles away.
Some of Albany’s largest and most ornate homes are in the Hackleman District, including the Chamberlain House at 7th and Baker, home of Oregon Governor and U.S. Senator George Chamberlain. At 40 feet high, it’s the tallest home in Albany. The Ralston House on the opposite corner features ornate sunburst details, stained glass windows, and an angled balcony.
Albany’s commercial history began in 1848, when the Monteith brothers opened a general store in their house on the edge of the present downtown. Today’s downtown features a collection of buildings dating from that time up through the early 1900s, and includes a variety of architectural styles. Historic buildings remain in use today as restaurants, shops, and offices.
Notable buildings include the Flinn Block, 222 First Ave. W. (1887), known for having one of the most ornate French Second Empire Facades in the Northwest; and the Straney and Moore Livery Stable, 321-323 Second Ave. W (1892), a fanciful Queen Anne style building.
Albany’s Municipal Airport is the oldest airport in the Northwest and the second-oldest airport in the world. It was established in the fall of 1909, just six years after the Wright Brothers’ first powered airplane flight at Kitty Hawk, N.C. The only airport older than Albany’s is the College Park, Md. airport established in August 1909 by the U.S. military for the Wright brothers’ aviation research. Albany’s airfield is the oldest airport in continuous service on its original site in western Oregon, and the only airport in Oregon to be on the National Register of Historic places.
It’s still in operation today and located at 525 SE Aviation Way.