Lot 418 (Yesterday)1797 The premises on the western side of Fifth Street in the City of Troy initially known as Lot 418 was originally owned by Jacob D. Vanderheydan. Between the years of 1797 and 1862 the property was occupied by many different individuals. Some of the more colorful people were John Quigley, John McCann, Charles B. Prescott, Ebenezar Prescott, Blandina Dudley, Ebenezar Wiswald, and Daniel Wight.
Lot1819 Fifth Avenue (Today)1862 On the afternoon of May 10, 1862 Lot 418 was engulfed in the "Great Fire of Troy" when sparks from a locomotive ignited a wooden bridge at the foot of Federal Street. Aided by a gusty wind, the flames spread over a large portion of downtown Troy, destroying all the structures that had previously stood in the area. Within days, property changed hands and rebuilding began.
The house with its ornate trim, the large carriage house and courtyard form an important urban complex. Across the street were lots 1818 - 1834 which was the site of the well-known brownstones that created "Doctors' Row". They were demolished in 1967 to provide land for a proposed medical center which was never built.
1878 Edward Murphy Jr., Mayor of Troy (1875 -1883) and US Senator (1893-1899), purchased this house from Joseph Wilkinson, built shortly after the fire, and resided here until his death in 1911. His wife Julia lived here until her death in 1915 and their children until 1921. Edward Murphy was also an astute businessman who owned the Troy Daily Press, Troy Gas Co., Troy Real Estate and was a partner of Kennedy Murphy Brewing & Malt Co. with William Kennedy (located at the corner of Ferry St. and 6th the site of the former Ahearn apartments).
1921 The Burns family took possession and moved J. W. Burns Sons Fifth Avenue Funeral Chapel here. Cornelius "Connie" F. Burns (1860 - 1938), was the son of John J. and Ellen Gorman Burns. Following his father's death in 1881, he worked with brothers John, David and James in the undertaking business started in 1835 by their grandfather John Burns, an Irish immigrant. John and David died less than two years after their father's death in 1883 and Connie continued the family business with his brother James.
Connie, Troy's most colorful and personable mayor, was first elected to four terms in 1911 and returned to the family business in 1920 but re-entered local politics again in 1927 to serve another four terms. Connie will be remembered for his intense devotion to Troy where he coined the slogan "Troy for All and All for Troy". His sister, Nellie Burns, the youngest of five children lived here until her death in 1960. John J. Tower operated the funeral chapel for the Burns family while Connie was ill and after he passed away in 1938.
1960 John J. and Estelle Tower purchased 1819 Fifth Ave. and continued operating J.W. Burns Sons Funeral Chapel with the help of his son, John A. "Tony" Tower who began his career in 1961. After John J. passed away in 1966, his son Tony continued operating as "John A. Tower Funeral Chapel" until he retired the business in 1978.
1978 Edward O'Haire, who married John J. and Estelle Tower's daughter Estelle "Chic", and John E. Ryan purchased this brownstone as the home of their business, Ryan & O'Haire Insurance Agency.
2002 Steven and Susan Bouchey purchased what is considered one of the most elegant brownstones in Troy. Steven then relocated both of his firms, Bouchey Financial Group and Bouchey & Clarke Benefits, to Historic Downtown Troy. Since 1878, this distinguished brownstone has been owned by only four families which is why it is still so well preserved.