A century ago, Elk Street was one of Albany's handsomest streets. The elegant houses here were home to some of Albany's most notable families such as the Pruyns, Townsends, Vanderpoels, Rathbones, and Van Rensselaers. An aunt of author Henry James lived along this street. Several governors did, too. Franklin Roosevelt lived at Number 4 during his tenure as a state senator.
Today, many of these fine old houses are, for the most part, well-preserved and are occupied by offices.