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The ship canal is bound to come, and it is as certain as the sun shines that a ship canal will greatly help Albany. The invention of the Dutton hydraulic lock will revolutionize canal construction. In an age of great mechanical invention there had been no changes or improvements in the building of canal locks. The form and design of Leonardo di Vinci was still used. This involved such prodigious expense it could hardly be expected that backed even by the general government, a ship canal could be constructed to unite the waters of the great lakes with the waters of the Atlantic ocean. But unless the value of Mr. Dutton's invention has been vastly overestimated, it is only a matter of time when vessels loaded on the lakes will sail for Europe without breaking cargoes en route.
business of the two railroads that parallel its shores. A ship canal would prodigiously increase that traffic. So even if it should come to pass that an electric railroad will transport passengers between New York and Albany in one hour and a half, the value and the necessity of the waterway route in no degree will be impaired.
Whatever is done in that line can not fail to help Albany. "We learn in geography," says Berthold Fernow in "Albany; Its Place in the History of the United States," "that a range of lofty mountains traverses the United States from North Carolina northward to the St. Lawrence. This Appalachian range allows access to the Atlantic ocean, to various rivers, the Hudson, the Delaware, and the Susquehanna, but none of them navigable for boats until within a short distance of their mouth, except the Hudson, which can be navigated by considerable craft as far as Albany or 150 miles from the sea. It was, therefore, necessary when a connection with the great lakes and the Atlantic seaboard was considered, the Hudson should be chosen.
The value of water routes will always remain unimpaired no matter what part electricity and steam play in transportation. Great cities will continue to grow on the banks of navigable streams, and that the natural route must always be a determining factor in the transportation question is found in what is constantly occurring before consideration was our own eyes. There is a common shorter distance between the complaint that the traffic of the settlements then growing up in Hudson river has been ruined. the west and the Hudson, as comMany persons contend that it is pared with a possible Mississippi useless to spend more money on route. From Buffalo, at or near the the canals, as they are unable then contemplated commencement longer to compete with the railroads. of the canal, it is about 300 miles to The railroads endeavor to deepen Albany; from Buffalo to Montreal that impression, but, nevertheless, 350 miles, and from Montreal to the in spite of their wonderful develop-mouth of the St. Lawrence 150 ment and of their great competition, miles. From Buffalo to New Orin spite of the fact that the fleets leans by the lakes and the Illinois of sloops and schooners which once river 2,250 miles. The upper lakes, whitened the waters of the Hudson Superior, Michigan and Huron, have have disappeared, the volume of no other outlet than into Lake Erie; traffic on the river is yet many hence the trade coming to settletimes greater than the combined ments on these lakes had to go east
velop our own interests in respect to the great systems of inter-communication which traverse our State without conferring like benefit on the great western communities of Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Missouri."
ward to find a better market. The distances of towns then in existence tell their own story. Chicago is distant from Albany 1,050 miles; from New Orleans about 1,600 miles, and from the mouth of the St. Lawrence also about 1,600 miles; from Detroit to Albany the distance is In this manner did that great and 550 miles; to the ocean by way of sagacious statesman go to the very the St. Lawrence, 1,050 miles; to heart of the subject of internal New Orleans, by way of Cleveland improvement. The question which and down the Muskingum, 2,400 | affects SO vitally the fortunes miles. The mountain range men- of Albany, is one that concerns the tioned touches the Hudson a comparatively short distance below Albany. It would have been folly, and caused needless expense, if it had been attempted to reach the navigable Hudson through this range, and as the shortest way is usually the best, Albany had to be chosen as the eastern terminus of the Erie canal."
The exigencies of engineering may dictate a connection of the waters of the great lakes by way of Lake Champlain, but no matter what route is selected Albany can not fail to be greatly benefited. Here, as formerly, the traffic of the great west must pass, and with the restoration and improvement in canal traffic, there must come vast benefit to the city. It occupies a position the value of which can not be impaired. Whether steam, electricity, the railroad or the steamboat, be the major propelling power, Albany must be the gainer. A ship canal would go a long way toward rehabilitating its fortunes and it seems to be as certain that a ship canal will be built as anything can be. The subject is not one of local concern or local pride. It is a great, broad, national, beneficent undertaking. "I am rejoiced," said Governor Tilden in the course of a speech delivered in Utica, "that it is impossible for us to protect and de
whole general subject of western trade. It is one that is already discussed there with growing enthusiasm. It was pressed with energy at a time when it was supposed that the immense expense which would have to be incurred by the adoption of the old style of locks, was necessary; and now that the knowledge spreads that an invention has been perfected which will sensibly reduce the cost of the structure, it is certain that the agitation for deepened canals will become greater than ever.
The future of Albany then, it may be said, is brighter than was its past, solid and substantial though old Albany has been. A revival of its shipping interests will affect a great transformation along the river front. Where now there are rotting wharves and dismantled warehouses; streets given up to the idle lounger - where there is an entire absence of those scenes of bustling excitement that once made the piers and docks of Albany the center of a lively trade - there will be a return of all that was once beheld there. Again there will be lines of boats tied up to the docks; the streets will be lively with tl:e crowd coming and going; the old rookeries that have been given over these many years to rats or used merely for storage purposes,
camp.' More than once, however, has a foreign enemy, after fixing his destination for Albany, been either arrested and turned back in his career, or visited the desired spot in captivity and disgrace."
Albany has become a great inland city and time will invest it with qualities which will add to its greatness. There need be no doubt about its future. Its movement constantly has been in one direction — that toward progress and development. In the more ancient parts of the town there are the marks of old age which are found wherever man lives and has his being. This is in accordance with an unalterable law. But the new Albany is pushing and modern fair to the eye, with all that makes latter day life pleasant, profitable and restful. It is in the older part of the town that the Al-signs of decay are found, but in the favorite residential section, which, following the march of empire, has pushed to the west, are found the evidence of modern opulence and splendor.
again will be occupied by wide- seen the 'smoke of an enemy's awake business men. Manufactories will spring up; new interests and industries will be attracted; public spirit will assert itself; and the Albany of the future will realize the dreams of those who, in establishing the Capital city at the headwaters of the Hudson, dreamed that it might become one of the greatest cities in the land. Ninety-nine years have elapsed since the capital was established here, and 22 years after, in 1813, Benjamin Silliman, professor of chemistry in Yale College, showed the regard in which the town was held, when after a short visit he wrote as follows: "Albany is the great thoroughfare and resort of the vast western regions of the State; its streets are very bustling; it is said that 2,000 wagons sometimes pass up and down State street in a day; it must hereafter become a great inland city. * bany has been memorable in American history. It was the rendezvous and the point of departure for most of those armies which, whether sent by the mother country, or raised by the colonies themselves for the conThe old town, with its quaint hisquest of the Gallo-American dotory, its curious customs and minions, and of the savages so often, during the middle period of the peculiar people, has almost passed away. A whole history might be last century, excited, and more than written on this subject. Indeed hisonce disappointed the hopes of the tories and sketches most interesting Empire. It was scarcely less conspicuous in the same manner during and valuable have been prepared on the war of the Revolution, and dur- this topic alone. But, as observed ing the late war with Great Britain. | above, that is not the subject which Few places on this side of the At- now engrosses attention. It is the lantic have seen more of martial new Albany - the Albany of to-day array, or heard more frequently the-the pleasure-seeking, business-purdreadful note of preparation.' Still (except perhaps in some of the early contests with the aborigines), it has never seen an enemy; a hostile army has never encamped before it; nor have its women and children ever
suing, wide-awake Albany of these last days of the Nineteenth century
the Albany with a bright future which will make good all the promises of the past - that now interests and commands attention.
THE NEW CAPITOL.
History of the Great Building - Its | be instructive to compare this building Architects - Capitol Commissions with others. The Capitol at Albany is
300 feet north and south by 400 feet east and west, and with its porticoes will cover three acres. The walls are 100 feet high from the water table. The cost so far is over $21,000,000, and several millions more are required, according to estimate, to finish it.
The Capitol at Washington covers a little over five and one-half acres, is built of marble and sandstone, painted white, and the art work on it can not be surpassed. It cost altogether $11,725,478.
The public buildings at Ottawa, three in number, are massively built at a cost of about $5,000,000.
The Capitol of the State is the most imposing building in Albany and commands the finest site. The city of Albany is built upon several hills, which rise above the western bank of the Hudson river, almost at the head of navigation upon that river. Perched upon the highest of these hills stands the Capitol, a gigantic structure of white granite, with red-capped towers. Travelers upon the Hudson River railroad, or upon the Boston and Albany railroad, upon approaching Albany, see before them a mass of buildings covering a hillside. There are church spires, and tall office buildings, dwellings and the superb City Hall of Albany. Crowning the pyraThe new Capitol at Hartford, Conn., mid of other buildings, there stands is a fire-proof building of white marble. out the big State Capitol, massive and Its size is 295 feet front by 187 feet gigantic, a huge mass against the sky deep; total height to the top of the line. Large as it is, its size is exag-crowning figure, 256 feet; cost, $2,256,gerated into immense proportions by its elevated position above all the other city buildings.
The Michigan State Capitol is 345 feet in length by 191 feet in depth, and extreme height to the top of the dome 267 feet. It covers one and onesixth acres, and cost $1,430,000.
The new City Hall in Philadelphia covers nearly four and one-half acres and is of marble.
HISTORY OF THE CAPITOL.
The old Capitol of the State, which stood in the little Capitol Park, just east of the present new Capitol, was constructed in 1806, at a cost of only The Legislature of the State has $110,000. It was occupied until 1879, met in Albany since 1797. when the Legislature moved into the first it assembled yearly in the Stadt present magnificent structure. The Huis at the corner of Broadway and new Capitol, up to the close of the Hudson avenue, then in the old Capifiscal year ending September 30, 1895, tol upon State street hill, and lastly had cost the sum of $21,468,336.30. It in the new Capitol, also upon State will have cost, it is estimated, when street hill. Agitation for a new Capifinished, nearly $24,000,000. It will tol began about 1860; it then being
obvious that the old Capitol was of the city of Albany should deed over inadequate size. Upon April 24, 1863, the land proposed, providing for the James A. Bell, who was a Senator appointment of three commissioners, from the Eighteenth Senate district, and appropriating $10,000 for the then composed of the counties of commencement and prosecution of the Jefferson and Lewis, as chairman of work. On the 14th of April, 1866, the the Committee on Public Buildings of city having made good its offer at the State Senate, offered a resolution, an expense of $190,000, an act was which was adopted, that the Trustees passed ratifying and confirming the of the Capitol and the chairman of location of the Capitol, and May 3d of the Committee on Public Buildings be the same year, Hamilton Harris, John authorized to procure suitable plans V. L. Pruyn, of Albany, and O. B. for a new Capitol and report to the Latham, of Seneca Falls, were apnext Legislature. The committee pointed New Capitol Commissioners. obeyed orders and submitted plans for On the 22d of April, 1867, an act was a new Capitol, drawn up by Thomas passed appropriating $250,000 for the Fuller, of the firm of Fuller & Jones. new Capitol, but providing that no Mr. Fuller had designed the new Par-part should be expended until a plan liament buildings at Ottawa, Canada, for a new Capitol had been agreed and had been very successful in that project. Two years passed, however, before any action was taken upon these plans. A committee of the Legislature in the meantime solicited invitations from various cities for the
Capitol. New York proffered a site upon the Battery, in City Hall Park, in Tompkins Square, or any other public square, and besides offered to build the new Capitol free of expense to the State, and in addition, to build an executive mansion upon Fifth avenue, opposite Central Park. The cities of Buffalo, Oswego and Ithaca declined to make any offer, but good offers came from Yonkers, Saratoga, Athens and Argyle.
The first committee (appointed April 24, 1863) had suggested in their propositions for plans that they should be made with reference to the square about the old State Capitol, as the site for the new one. The city of Albany now offered to convey to the State the lot adjoining, occupied by the Congress Hall block, or any other lands in the city required for the purpose.
On the 1st of May, 1865, an act was passed (Chapter 648) authorizing the erection of a new Capitol, whenever
upon not to cost when completed more