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Today in UA History: 50th Anniversary of Great Campus Pond Flood on Western Avenue

Fifty years ago on March 21, havoc was created during construction of the University at Albany's new uptown campus when the retaining wall for the pond burst,Pond Flood sending millions of gallons of water, large, thick chunks of ice, and trees cascading across Western Avenue, into homes and businesses and stranding one homeowner's car in a tree well south Pond Flood of Western Avenue. ("Flood Hits Western Avenue," Knickerbocker News, Late Edition, March 21, 1963).

The University at Albany's uptown campus was built as part of Governor Nelson Rockefeller's program to improve the State University system in the early 1960s. Rockefeller commissioned Edward Durell Stone to create a master plan and oversee the construction of the new campus resulting in one of the largest modern academic campuses in the United States. Unlike traditional campuses that grow and develop over time, the Uptown Campus was conceived and constructed all at once, over a short period of time, designed and overseen by a single architect. The groundbreaking took place in 1962, and by 1971 all of the buildings were complete and operational.

The site of the uptown campus was at one time known as the Albany Country Club. Founded in 1893 by a private group, Country Club the new country club was an instant success, and quickly won the support of prominent Albanians. In addition to golf, by 1930, the club offered tennis, and later dammed a pond (named Kuyl or Kill) for swimming and skating. Country Club The damming was done by erecting a 300 foot earthen and wooden dam in exactly the same location as the Campus or Indian Pond is located today. It was the Country Club dam that gave way in March of 1963. For more information on the history of the Uptown Campus site see the "Ask Geoff" column of the Fall 2012 UAlbany Magazine: www.albany.edu/ualbanymagazine/fall12_ask_geoff.shtml


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