Section: HOME,  Page: G1

Date: Sunday, March 7, 1993

Real estate agents often refer to the Winchester Gables subdivision as

"Little Hollywood," because of the high concentration of Spanish-style

homes reminiscent of an earlier time in Tinseltown.

Situated along the rectangular block bounded by West Erie Street and

South Main, Woodlawn and Hansen avenues, these predominantly stucco single-

family homes with red tile roofs lend a surprising architectural element to

this section of Pine Hills. Most of the other houses in Pine Hillsare large

colonial, Tudor or Victorian houses, many of them divided into multifamily


The Spanish-style houses were built by Daniel H. Winchester, when he

was with the J.B. Lyons Printing Co. in the 1920s (known later as the Williams Press), where he worked as a purchasing agent. Although Winchester wanted to

have 60 lots, the property was subdivided for 55. "My grandfather always had a strong interest in architecture, and the

Spanish stucco style was one of his favorites," said Winchester`s grandson, G. Steven Draper of Troy. "He called it one of the Old World`s most facinating

styles. Although this style was popular out West, we really don`t know where

my grandfather got his inspiration from for these stucco Mediterranean-styled houses."

Terry Winslow, director of Hudson Mohawk Industrial Gateway Tours,

which occasionally leads tours through the area, said the houses, built by

Willig and Acker, originally sold for $10,000 to $18,000.

Prospective buyers could choose a stucco, brick or shingle exterior.

The stucco finish was by far the most popular, judging from the number.

Today, 60-year-old maples line the streets, complementing the graceful landscaping of each property. Garages are situated to the rear of the houses

and are accessible by way of private alleyways.

Draper`s grandfather lived in the large brick house which was the

original model, and Draper`s mother grew up there. Today, that house is owned by Stephen and Gale Phaff.

"This is a wonderful neighborhood to bring up children," said Gale,

whose six children range in age from 16 years to 3 months. "It`s a very

charming area, and the houses are different from most. We like to walk to the synagogue, and there`s Little League in the park nearby. We know many of our

neighbors who often stop and talk to our children if they are outside."

Few changes have been made to the exteriors of the 27 dwellings that

ended up being built. (Winchester sold the rest of the lots off to another

builder.) Many owners have put metal awnings over the windows, while other

have maintained or replaced the original canvas awnings. Baths and kitchens

have been updated, but for the most part, the wrought-iron lighting fixtures, steel casement windows, arched doorways, textured walls and wood-burning

fireplaces still exist.

"My husband Ken (Baker) and I purchased one of these homes less than a year ago, because they`re a little ecclectic and functional at the same time

like being situated on one floor and the high ceiling in the living rooms,"

said Eileen Murray, a housing underwriter for the state Division of Housing.

"We like it because it`s an easy neighborhood to live in. We can walk

to New Scotland or Madison avenues to shop and over to Buckingham Pond, which is a few blocks west of here. In nice weather, I also like to walk to work.

It`s about three miles from here to downtown."

POPULATION: Not available.

POLITICS: Democratic.

TAXES: The tax rate per $1,000 of the assessed value for city and

county for 1992-93 is $142.04 and school taxes for 1991-92 are $175.65.

SCHOOLS: Children attend School 19 for grades K-6; Hackett Middle

School for grades 7-8; and Albany High School for grades 9-12.

HOUSING: Approximately $100,000 to $150,000.

POLICE, FIRE, HOSPITALS: City police, fire and hospitals.

TRANSPORTATION: CDTA buses run from downtown along Madison and New

Scotland Avenues.

AMENITIES: Among the shopping options along the two avenues are gas

stations, pharmacies, liquor and wine shops, libraries, florists, laundromats, banks, a blend of restaurants from Chinese to Italian, a supermarket,

bookstore, churches, a children`s theater, movie theater, small grocery stores and pizzerias.