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This biography is from Landmarks of Albany County, New York, edited by Amasa J. Parker of Albany, N. Y., Syracuse, N. Y.; D. Mason & Co. Publishers, 1897.

Walter Dickson

The subject of this sketch was born at Albany, N. Y. His father, James Dickson, and mother, Margaret Leitch Russell, were natives of Scotland, the former of Peebles, near Edinburgh, the latter of Hamilton, near Glasgow. Walter Dickson is the eighth successive generation of this old Scottish border name. His mother was a descendant of Major Andrew Leitch, who fell at Harlem Heights in 1776, fighting under Washington. Walter's school life was spent at Prof. Anthony's Classical Institute, and the Albany Academy. He excelled in boy's sports, and very early evinced a taste for drawing and construction. William Ellis, then the principal architect in Albany, having seen some of the boy's handiwork, prevailed upon his (Walter's) father to have him study in his office. Later the boy entered the office of William L. Woollett. of Albany, also prominent in his profession, and finally completed his studies in New York city. He held the office of resident architect of the new Federal Building at Albany for years and it was completed under his supervision. Ambitious for a greater field, he associated himself in 1887 with Frederick C. Withers, an old and well known architect of New York city, their practice being largely in public buildings. They are at present erecting many for the city of New York.

Mr. Dickson is a member of twenty years standing of the American Institute of Architects, and also of the Architectural League, and has been president of the Department of Architecture of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences.

From boyhood he has been a student of history and of places of historical interest around him, which his published articles and tales of Old Albany attest to. In fact, antiquities are his hobby. He was placed at the head of historical committee of the Albany Bi-Centennial Celebration of 1886, and it was through his efforts that the memories of many places and events of historical interest in Albany were perpetuated by the the bronze tablets now seen about the city, the importance of which was so eloquently set forth at the time by an eminent Roman Catholic divine, who said: "When the noise of smoke and cannon, and the glitter and music of parade, and the brilliant effusions of inspired oratory will have all passed away, these bronze tablets indelibly inscribed with history will be the only imperishable thing left to tell the story of Albany's Bi-Centennial."

Mr. Dickson has been identified with many of Albany's institutions. He succeeded his father as president of St. Andrew's Society, was president of the Young Men's Association, commandant of, and closely identified with the Albany Burgesses Corps. He was one of the original curlers of Albany, and one of the citizens who introduced the steam fire engine into this city. He was also a member of the Fort Orange Club, and the designer of the great Albany Army Relief Bazaar, and the first president of the first Electric Illuminating Company in Albany. He is at present an officer in the Albany Society of New York, and in addition to the other organizations with which he has been associated, has been for more than thirty years a 33 Mason.

Mr. Dickson married Fanny Louise Guest, of Ogdensburg, N. Y., a descendant of an old Albany family, and has three sons and two daughters. His only sister, Jean Agnes Dickson, was the wife of William H. Tayler, both of whom are now deceased.



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