The Rev. Peter Havermans, about the year
1850, founded an asylum for orphan boys at No. 237 Fourth
Street. Having erected, in 1854, a large three-story wooden
building on the east side of Fifth Street, between Washington
and Adams streets, he gave it the name, St. Mary's Male
Orphan Asylum, and removed the children to it.
On Saturday night, May 5th, 1866, it
was set on fire intentionally by one of the boys in the
institution, and was burned to the ground. The orphans,
about two hundred in number, under the charge of the Christian
Brothers, were temporarily cared for by a number of charitable
people until the erection of another building on the same
site was completed; the material of the military barracks,
on the grounds of the Rensselaer County Agricultural and
Manufacturers Society, forming the greater part of the
The present asylum, on the north-east
corner of Bedford and Hanover streets, was then building;
the corner-stone of which was laid by the Right Rev. J.
J. Conroy, Bishop of Albany, on June 24th, that year.
On its completion, in 1868, the children were removed
to it. The brick building is four stories high, and commands
a fine view of the city. Seventeen trustees control its
financial affairs, and a large corps of the Brothers of
the Christian Schools has the care and education of the
two hundred and more boys, between the ages of two and
twelve years, who are at present inmates of the institution.
About two hundred day scholars attend the school connected