by Christopher Powers
Michael N. Nolan was born in County Carlow, Ireland, on May 4th, 1833, and immigrated to the United States at the age of ten. He attended the public schools in Albany. He studied law with a local attorney, but went to California during the Gold Rush without attaining admission to the bar. In California, Nolan was employed on the street railway system of San Francisco and soon became manager.
Nolan returned to Albany where he engaged in business as a brewer. Eventually, he became the partner of the son of the original owner, James Quinn, in the Schaefer Brewery on Montgomery Street in Albany. Afterwards, Nolan became director of the National Savings Bank of Albany. He then served as fire commissioner of Albany from 1869 to 1878. Nolan was a Democrat, and in May 1878 he was elected mayor of Albany. He was mayor of Albany from May 1878 to June 24, 1883, when he resigned. Michael Nolan was the first Irish Catholic mayor of Albany.
After he resigned from his position as mayor of Albany, Nolan ran for Congressional office in the House of Representatives. He was elected as a Democrat to the 47th United States Congress representing the Sixteenth District of New York. Nolan served from March 4, 1881 to March 3, 1883. He did not seek reelection to Congress and instead was reelected as mayor of Albany, a position he held until his resignation on June 24th, 1883. Nolan also was a candidate for Presidential Elector for New York in 1896.
Nolan died in Albany on May 31, 190, and is buried at St. Agnes Cemetery, Menands, New York.