Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

I would gladly at any time accom- manding one. The Capitol square, pany a committee on a tour of inspec- which embraces all the land between tion of this great structure, and I take Eagle street on the east and Capitol this opportunity to state that I have place on the west, and between Washdone everything in my power to re-ington avenue on the north and State construct such portions of the building as had given way, in a manner to make the work permanent, and the present indications are that in every instance the new work has been a success."

THE LEGISLATURE MOVES IN. The Capitol was first occupied by the Legislature January 7, 1879, the Senate meeting on the second floor, in the room originally intended for the Court of Appeals, the Assembly in the Assembly Chamber. The same evening a grand reception was given by the citizens of Albany, when 8,000 people were present. Gilmore's band, of New York, and Austin's orchestra, of Albany, furnished the music. The supper was served under a canopy in the

central court.

The formal occupation took place on the evening of February 12, 1879, when in presence of both houses of the Legislature, the Court of Appeals, the State officers and others, assembled in the Assembly Chamber, prayer was offered by Rt. Rev. William Croswell Doane, D. D., and addresses were delivered by Lieutenant-Governor William Dorsheimer, Speaker Thomas G. Alvord and Hon. Erastus Brooks. The Senate Chamber was first occupied March 10, 1881. Other parts of the building have been occupied as they have been made ready for the various officers and departments.

street on the south, is 1,034 feet long by 830 feet wide, and contains 7 84-100 acres. The elevation of Capitol place is 155 feet above the level of the Hudson, and the ground falls off to the eastward 51 feet. In front, State street stretches away toward the river, one of the broadest and handsomest avenues in the country.

The size of the structure impresses the beholder at once. It is 300 feet north and south, by 400 feet east and west, and with the porticoes will cover three acres and seven square feet. The walls are 108 feet high from the water table, and all this is worked out of solid granite brought, most of it, from Hallowell, Maine. There are other buildings which, in the mere matter of area, exceed this one. The Capitol at Washington, for instance, covers a little over three and a half acres, but it is of marble and of sandstone painted white. The new City Hall in Philadelphia covers nearly four and a half acres, but that is also of marble. The government buildings at Ottawa, Canada, are of sandstone. All lack the massive effect which this great pile of granite produces. Its outer wall, at the base, is 16 feet 4 inches thick.

The central court is 137 by 92 feet, extending an open space to the sky, and admitting much needed light and air. Above the six dormer windows that open on the court, and that are above the fourth or gallery story, are sculptured the arms of six families that have become more or less distinguished in the history of the State.

DESCRIPTION OF THE BUILDING. Some writers upon architecture say that the white granite Capitol with its The Stuyvesant arms are on the towers reminds them of the famous north side, west. The carving is as Tag Mahal in India. Others think it follows: Party per fess argent and a superb reflection of French archi- gules; in upper a hunting hound tecture. The situation is a most com- in pursuit of a hare. In lower a stag

current. Crest, a demi stag issuing from these entrances are beautifully from a royal crown. Motto, Jovi ornamented with stone work. Here, præstat fidere quam homini.

[ocr errors]

upon this first floor, are situated the offices of the State Treasurer, the Superintendent of Public Works, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Superintendent of Prisons, the Superintendent of the Insurance De

The Schuyler arms are on the north side, middle. The carving is as follows: Vert a cubit arm habited issuing from the sinister base point holding a falcon proper. Crest, a falcon proper gorged with a fillet, partment, the State Board of Charistrings reflexed. ties, the Commission in Lunacy and The Livingston arms are on the the Fish Commission. The Assembly north side, east. The carving is: stairway, of white Dorchester freeQuarterly, first and fourth quarter stone, is reached from one of the corriargent three gilli-flowers; second dors and the Senate stairway, of quarter quarterly first and last gules a Corsehill red sandstone, is reached chevron argent, second and third from another. Both of these stairazure three martlets; third quarter or, ways are of remarkable beauty and of a bend argent between six billets. splendid design. Crest, a demi Hercules with club in dexter band and the sinister strangling a serpent. Motto, Si je puis.

The Jay arms are on the south side, west. The carving is: Argent a chevron gules, in chief a demi sun in splendor, between two mullets argent below, in base a rock proper surmounted with a large bird close. Crest, a cross calvary.

The Clinton arms are on the south side, middle, and are carved as follows: Argent six cross crosslets, fitchee, three, two, one, on a chief two mullets, pierced. Crest, a plume of six ostrich feathers on a ducal crown. The Tompkins arms are on the south side, east. The carving is: Argent on a chevron gules between three birds close, as many cross crosslets. Crest, a unicorn's head armed and maned and gorged with a chaplet laurel.

The carving can best be seen from the upper stories.

The first or ground story, which is nearly on a level with Washington avenue and State street, is a handsome one. Entering either from State street or Washington avenue, the eye rests upon massive granite columns supporting the floors of the rooms above. The long corridors which branch off


The second floor of the Capitol is distinguished for the handsome offices in it of the Governor, the Secretary of State, the Comptroller, the Attorney-General, the Adjutant-General, the Statutory Revision Commission, and the State Board of Health. Added to these, facing the great central court of the building, are well-lighted committee rooms of the Senate and the Assembly. The Executive Chambers, or the Governor's rooms, are in the southeast corner on the second or entrance floor. On the way to this portion of the Capitol one is struck by two very important differences in construction between the southern corridors and the corresponding passages on the north side of the building. These differences consist in the use of colored marbles here for wainscoting, and in the admission of light by windows rising from the top of the wainscot above the level of the eye, and surrounding the doors leading into the various committee rooms that receive direct light. effect of the wainscot is of great richness and variety, and it also seems substantial and enduring. The richness and variety of color is truly won


the offices of the executive attendants and the billroom by small doors in the paneling, and altogether the room is well adapted to the reception of persons having business to transact with the Governor and his assistants. Upon the walls of this Executive Chamber hang portraits of Governor George Clinton, Governor William H. Seward, General LaFayette, General George Washington, Governor Hamilton Fish, Governor William C. Buck, Governor Edwin D. Morgan and Governor Roswell P. Flower.

The rooms of the Secretary of State, in the northeastern corner of the building are also handsome. There one finds portraits of former holders of the office of Secretary of State. Among these portraits are those of Chauncey M. Depew, Hilton G. Scribner, Azariah C. Flagg, John A. Dix, Joseph B. Carr, Diedrich Willers and Frederick Cook. The offices of the State Comptroller are in the northwestern angle of the building, where they communicate by a private stairway with the State Treasurer's

derful, and it contains in low tones rounding the panel. There are conmore combinations than the most venient arrangements to connect with elaborate palettes of a painter could reach in a lifetime. The most prominent tints are shades and hues of red, and these are relieved by numberless colder tones, grays and browns predominating. The marble has been selected with a harmonious scale of color, and is put together in simple slabs, the joining edges of which are beveled perpendicularly and are held in place by a slightly convex string molding and a cap of brown stone, which, where they abut upon the doors, are daintily carved into terminal bosses, while the whole rests upon a molded base of. brown stone. This wainscot is more pleasing than any combination of tiles could be, but its effect would be entirely thrown away were it not for the means adopted for lighting the corridors through the windows mentioned above. Commissioner Perry, during his term of office, also put plate glass in all the doors opening upon this corridor, so as to give it far more light than it originally possessed. The main room used by the Gover-office upon the floor beneath. In the nors of the State is at the southeastern corner of the building. It is a room of admirable proportions; 60 feet long by 40 feet in width. The walls are wainscoted to a height of 15 or 16 feet with mahogany, arranged in square panels surmounted with a band of carving and a carved molding above. The space between this and the ceiling of mahogany is covered with hangings of Spanish leather, which harmonize, in its soft tones of golden brown and red and olive, with the mahogany. On one side of the room is an enormous fireplace having a shelf and The third floor is where the visitor several emblematic panels of elabor- finds the halls of the Legislature-the ate carving above it. The ceiling is Senate Chamber and the Assembly composed of beams, which divide the Chamber. There is a beautiful corrispace into panels, having rails perfo- dor running along the court, between rated in the form of a quatrefoil sur- | it and the Senate Chamber. It is lined

Comptroller's office are numerous portraits of the Comptrollers of the State. Among them are portraits of William L. Marcy, William A. Allen, Lucius Robinson, Frederick P. Olcott, Ira Davenport, and Frank Campbell. The AttorneyGeneral's room, at the southwestern corner of the building, is "a symphony in red." It is a beautifully proportioned rooms of a red color. There one finds portraits of former AttorneyGenerals, among them Charles F. Tabor, General John Cochrane, and Denis O'Brien.

and vaulted with gray sandstone, and desk, which rises to the spring of the has a row of sandstone columns in its window arches, but does not cover the center, above which there is a double- semi-circular window-head, which, arched vault extending to either wall. like the others, is filled with many-hued Upon this spacious corridor open the opalescent glass. The stained glass main doors leading to the Senate Cham- has been used not only to add brilber. liancy of color, but to avoid the glare The Senate Chamber had for its of light that has proved so objectionarchitect the leading American archi-able in some of the other rooms. tect of the time, H. H. Richardson, These windows are arched, and the of Boston. The space in which he stone moldings above and below had to work was 60 feet in breadth, them are carved with intricate and nearly 100 in length, and about 50 in delicate patterns of interwoven, laceheight. He has reduced the plan of like forms, and a carved band of stone the room to a nearly square form, cut- | divides the lower part of each window ting off from either end of it the lobbies, from the semi-circular upper light. above which are placed the galleries, The capitals of the angle columns are opening on the chamber proper. These more heavily cut into conventional lobbies, opening from the corridors, forms, taken from oak leaves and other are simple in treatment, yet by a foliage. The wall space between the slight similarity in detail they, in a windows, as far up as the spring of the measure, prepare the eye for the Sen- arches, is of Knoxville (Tenn.) marble, ate Chamber itself. They are wain- a reddish gray stone, not highly polscoted with light marble, arranged ished, though having a smooth finish. panelwise in slabs and rails, and are ceiled with quartered oak. From the west lobby opens the LieutenantGovernor's room, comfortably fitted up with a carved and polished mahogany wainscot and fireplace, and an oak ceiling supported on corbels of marble. By the arrangement of the galleries over the lobbies, the actual floor space of the Senate Chamber proper is reduced to about 60 feet by 55. Entering on this floor by the main doorway from the vaulted corridor above described, one first sees the south wall, from which the chamber is semi-translucent whites, cream colors, lighted by three large openings rising sea water, olive and ivory. These from a level with the floor and six tints are broken and waved by lines, lesser openings near the ceiling. Two striæ and splashes of raw Sienna of the large windows are filled with coloring, rosy brown, and numberless disks of stained glass, which shade shades of other neutral browns, some from browns and rubies near the floor inclining toward red and some toward through olives and golden hues to the green, and even blue, while the surface semi-circular tops, which are filled everywhere varies in play of light with varied iridescent and opalescent and shade of semi-opacity and translutints. The central window is obscured cence. The various slabs, no two of by the reredos behind the president's which are alike, are arranged with a

Above the three arches of the lower windows for about 12 feet (perpendicularly) the wall is paneled with Mexican onyx. These panels are cut into slabs three feet square and are separated, or rather framed, by slightly convex rails of Sienna (Italy) marble, the mottled reds, yellows and browns of which contrast with the tints of the onyx. For additional support the slabs are backed up with slabs of ordinary marble. The variety of color displayed in the onyx is very remarkable, the prevailing tints being mottled and

[graphic][merged small]
« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »