Sunday, February 5, 2012

Assembly Document No. 165, Memorial of O. B. Latham

Documents of the Assembly of the State of New York, Volume 10, by New York (State). Legislature. Assembly

No. 165. IN ASSEMBLY, April 10, 1869.


To the Honorable the Legislature of the State of New York:

Gentlemen—The undersigned, one of the original Commissioners "for the purpose of erecting a new Capitol," respectfully represents to your honorable body that he is impelled by a sense of duty to present his ideas on the plans for the new Capitol, already adopted by a majority of the Commissioners, and on some of the acts of his associates.

Your memorialist begs leave to call attention to the conspicuous fact that, of the eight commissioners chosen from the whole State, to select the best plans for a building which is to last for all time, or at least for a long term of years, and to stand, our glory and pride, not one of them is an architect, and but one has had any experience in erecting structures of such magnitude and expense as this new capitol must necessarily be.

Your memorialist is the only one of the whole Commission who has had any experience in building, and he ventures to say that his having spent his life in such occupation, and his having been engaged by the General Government in constructing public buildings, has given him a knowledge and experience which entitle lus opinions to some consideration.

Your memorialist hopes to show that the criticisms, herewith submitted, upon the plans adopted are founded in sound judgment, and are not made through captiousness, or in any spirit of ill-will to any person; but are the result of careful study, and are made after consulting with architects and with persons whose training and experience entitle their opinions to respectful consideration.

It was a saying of the late witty Sidney Smith, that "every man felt himself fitted by nature to do perfectly well two things, 1st, to drive a gig, and, 2d, to edit a newspaper." To these natural endowments may be properly added, "and to pass judgment on plans for an expensive and elegant public building."

Your memorialist is opposed to the plans adopted, and in favor of those submitted by Messrs. Schulze and Schoen, because, as he hopes to show, the latter are superior in every respect, while the former are unfitted for the purpose for which they were designed. In this opinion he is not alone; every architect and every scientific man, whose education and experience have led him to study the subject, and who has seen these different plans, has, without an exception, expressed himself strongly in favor of the plans approved by your memorialist; and the criticisms herewith submitted are, many of them, the suggestions of the most accomplished gentlemen in this school of science and art. "In the multitude of counselors there is safety;" and the unanimity of opinion among those competent to judge has encouraged your memorialist thus to address your Honorable Body.

Considering the impracticable composition of the Board of Commissioners, it will no doubt strike your Honorable Body as a singular fact, that no formal examination or discussion of the competing plans was ever made by the Commissioners; nor were they ever permitted, though the competitors earnestly and often requested, through your memorialist, as well as in person, so to do— to be allowed to come before the Board to explain the plans submitted by them, and to make such contrasts between their plans, and any others, as would show the merits of both.

It will be seen, by a reference to the act of the Legislature, passed May 19th, 1868, that it was intended that all the plans submitted should be subjected to open, full and careful consideration and scrutiny; and that, in a matter of such great importance to the State, both now and hereafter, nothing should be done unadvisedly. The act is in the following terms:

"The said Commissioners shall review the plans which have been adopted for the new Capitol, and may change and modify the same, or adopt others in their place, as they may deem advisable and proper; provided, however, that they shall not proceed to the construction of the said new Capitol unless they shall be satisfied that the expense thereof shall not exceed, when completed, the sum of four millions of dollars."

It seems to your memorialist that the failure to comply with what is equivalent to a command of your Honorable Body is, of itself, good reason for opening the report of the Board, and for revising its decision, if it should be found necessary or advisable.

Considering the remarkably unscientific composition of the Board, it will not surprise your Honorable Body that the plans submitted by Messrs. Fuller and others should have been adopted, and a large sum expended to carry them into execution, before any detailed estimate, based upon working drawings, had been submitted of the cost of the building. Nor has any such estimate ever been made, nor is one likely to be, although your memorialist, with an eye to the interest of the State, and bearing in mind the provisions of the laws of 1867 and of 1868, restricting the expense of the new Capitol to ($4,000,000) four millions of dollars, did, on the 14th day of August, 1868, offer an amendment to the following resolution, which amendment required a detailed statement of the whole work, in the following language:

"Mr. Pruyn, offered the following resolutions :

"Resolved, That Mr. Fuller, the architect named in the resolution of the Board of this date, report to the Commissioners, in detail, at the earliest day he can properly do so, what, in his opinion, will be the probable cost of the new Capitol, if constructed according to the plans adopted; and that he submit such detailed estimate to the State Engineer and Surveyor.

"Resolved, That the State Engineer and Surveyor be, and he is hereby respectfully requested by this Board to examine and revise such estimate, and to give to this Board his views in regard to the same.

"Mr. Latham moved to amend the first resolution, so that the detailed estimate be made upon detailed working drawings, and specifications of the entire building," which motion was lost, by the following vote:

"Ayes— Messrs. Latham and Hudson.
"Nays — Messrs. Harris, Pruyn, Bice and Terwilliger.
"Mr. Cornell not voting.

"The question being put upon the adoption of the first resolution, it was adopted by the following vote:

"Ayes — Messrs. Harris, Pruyn, Rice, Cornell, Hudson and Terwilliger.
"Nays—Mr. Latham.

"The question being put upon the second resolution, it was adopted by the following vote:

"Ayes—Messrs. Harris, Pruyn, Latham, Rice, Cornell, Terwilliger and Hudson."

Certainly nothing could be fairer or more prudent than this, or more in conformity with his duty to the State. But these gentlemen of the commission did not think so.

A majority of the lawyers and general business men, who compose the Board — Mr. Thayer being absent, and Mr. Cornell not voting— arrogating to themselves all the knowledge which a long training in this professional speciality is required to give, rejected the amendment to theresolution, and directed the work to proceed. * (*See appendix marked "A.")

There is a sad story to tell in this connection. An architect and civil engineer had been employed to make an estimate of the cost of the structure, upon the plans adopted. After a good deal of manipulating, he submitted a report, under the command of his superiors, bringing the estimated cost of the building just within the limit prescribed by the Legislature; but only a few thousand, the estimate being $3,948,677; and omitting several necessary items and costly features of the building, viz : The terrace on the front; the finishing the Senate and Assembly chambers; the finishing theExecutive Chamber ; the towers, and other decorations, * (*See appendix "B.")

Subsequent events placed this person beyond the power of the men who had hitherto controlled him; and he was able to assert his manhood, and "to speak the truth without fear or favor, or hope of reward.'"

As soon as he was free from these bad influences, he addressed a letter to your memorialist, saying that he had grossly under-stated the facts, and that instead of $3,948,677, the proposed building, under the plans adopted, would cost not less than $7,000,000 — seven millions of dollars.

The following is a copy of the letter:

"51 North Peahl Street, Albany, N. Y., 12th Sept., 1868.
"O. B. Latham, Esq., one of the New Capitol Commissioners,

Albany, N. Y.:

"Sir— I have to address you upon the following subjects concerning the new Capitol, and I beg yon will lay this communication before the Board at its next session. Some time ago I addressed the Chairman of the Board an account for professional services rendered the Commissioners by instruction from Mr. Fuller, who informed me that he had been authorized by Mr. Harris to employ me upon his (Fuller's) solicitation. This account was left at Mr. Harris' office and, as yet, it has not been acted upon to my knowledge.

"Last spring I addressed a communication to Mr. Harris (under, instructions from Mr. Fuller) enclosing a detailed estimate of cost of the new Capitol, on the adopted plans. The estimate was made for Mr. Fuller, and under his instructions; and having since carefully examined the figures, I do not consider them correct. I have, therefore, to request the withdrawal of the estimate over my signature. From a careful estimate of quantities, and from what the drawings will show, the building, according to plans adopted, cannot be erected under $7,000,000 ; and I make this assertion to relieve me from any professional blame hereafter in the matter of the estimated cost." I am, sir, your obedient servant,

"Architect and Civil Engineer."

Your memorialist makes no comment on this chapter in the history of the new capitol. There are too many other things of a similar character to permit, in this memorial, anything more than a mention of the facts.

It has been estimated that the total excavation for the foundation and basement of the new capitol will be no more than 74,437 cubic yards. This is probably not much more than half of the amount of earth to be removed. No one can tell what this important item will cost, although it is estimated at ".80 cents per cubic yard." Under ordinary circumstances, when the State is about to undertake any public work, the newspapers are filled, for weeks, with advertisements, calling for proposals for every part of it; and it is awarded, to the last item, to the lowest responsible bidder.

But no such course was adopted here. By a resolution of the Commissioners, your memorialist objecting in vain, Mr. John Bridgford, of Albany, was directed to proceed with the excavation as general superintendent; but no price was put upon the work; and no one can tell what the total cost will be.

The following is a copy of the resolution directing Mr. Bridgford to do this work:

"Office Of The New Capitol Commissioners,
"Albany, September 10, 1868.

"At a meeting of the New Capitol Commissioners, held this day, Mr. Terwilliger offered the following:

"Resolved, That such additional excavation for the foundation walls of the new capitol, and grading the grounds therefor, as may be necessary be commenced, under the direction of the chairman and Mr. Rice, immediately upon procuring the possession of the land, or any portion thereof, appropriated for that purpose by the act of the Legislature of 1863, and that John Bridgford be employed as superintendent of said excavation duringthe pleasure of the Board; his compensation to be hereafter fixed by the Board.

"Adopted—Messrs. Harris, Pruyn and Rice voting aye; Messrs. Latham and Hudson, no; and Mr. Cornell not voting."

The cost of the excavation will unquestionably be very large, and the profit to those concerned, in due proportion.

It may not be generally known, that the earth so taken out at an unknown cost, is used in filling up large and deep ravines within the city limits, owned by Messrs. Bridgford and others, thereby making what was comparatively valueless, useful as city lots, and valuable for building purposes.

It will be seen that here is a double profit; and it is not too much to say, that persons could be found who would undertake this excavation for a very low figure, in consideration of the value to be given to waste land by the earth so taken away.

But the fact that the superintending and controlling of this great work of excavating for the State, this great amount of earth, was given to a favorite of some of the Commissioners, and that no competition was allowed or called for; and that unlimited control of the work was given to Mr. Bridgford, who could employ whom he pleased, and at what prices he pleased, is of itself enough to excite to careful scrutiny.

Again, there is something obscure in the contracts for the Saratoga granite to be used in the foundation. By a resolution of the "Board " passed November 12th, 1868, the purchase of this stone was determined upon by a majority of the Board, your memorialist alone objecting.

The following is a copy of the resolution:

"Office Of The New Capitol Commissioners,
"Albany, November 12th, 1868.

"At a meeting of the Commissioners held this day, the following preamble and resolution were adopted:

"Whereas, Messrs. Jennings & Blake, proprietors of the Mount Vista quarries, near Saratoga, have proposed to furnish, on the cars, granite blocks from their quarry, for the basement of the new capitol, at the rate of ten dollars per cubic yard, or to give the State the free use of the quarry, and let the State do its own work; and whereas, this proposition is much more favorable than any others which have been made:

"Resolved, That the committee on foundation stone are hereby authorized to make arrangements to procure one thousand cubic yards of granite blocks from the quarries near Saratoga, of such size as shall be specified by the consulting engineer and architect, at the best rate which can be agreed upon, not to exceed ten dollars per cubic yard, delivered on the cars at the railroad near their quarry."

It is understood that the price was fixed at ($10.00) ten dollars per cubic yard.

No competition was called for. The contract was made in the dark.

It is now ascertained, so common rumor says, that the contractor, upon his own representation that the price is not adequate, and probably desirous of enjoying all the advantages of Mr. Bridgford's position, has notified the Commissioners contracting with him, that he must be better paid; and that they have directed him to proceed with his job, and they would see that he got all he claimed.
To pretend that under such an administration of the interest of the State, the cost of the new capitol will be confined to ($4,000,000) four millions of dollars, is, of course, mere nonsense or something worse. "Who are to make themselves rich out of this job, "from turret to foundation stone," if it proceeds as it has begun, it may be impossible to say; but it may be the duty of your Honorable Body to inquire. In this connection it may be proper to notice the report of Messrs. Richmond and McAlpine, on the estimate made by Mr. Fuller, of the cost of the work; which report is in the following language:

"Office Of The New Capitol Commissioners,
"Albany, October 13, 1868.

"At a meeting of the Commissioners, held this day, the following communication was received, read and ordered on the minutes of the Board:

"To the Chairman of the Commissioners of the New Capitol, Albany:

"Gentlemen—-The undersigned to whom was referred, by your resolution of September 10th, the estimate of the cost of the new Capitol, as prepared by Thomas Fuller, Architect, have examined the plans and specifications thereof, and respectfully submit their opinion thereon, as follows:

"They have compared the estimated cost of the new Capitol with the actual cost of the City Hall in Boston, which has been constructed in the same style of architecture, but of much smaller dimensions, and find that the said estimate should be increased, by this method of average, at the cost, to about four and a quarter millions of dollars.

"They have particularly examined the plans of the foundations, and believe that the following, changes should be made:

"That the structure should be wholly supported on the natural earth, without resort to piles, by spreading the footings of the walls, according to the weight which will be imposed upon them, in the different parts of the building, and forming these footings of large blocks of stone, well dressed on the beds, and resting on a heavy bed of concrete.

"This plan of foundation will increase the estimate for this portion of the work about two hundred thousand dollars.

"They have also ascertained the cost of the granite which has been used in buildings of a similar character, and applying such cost with the proper modifications to the structure in question, believe that the estimate therefor is adequate.

"They have also carefully examined the detailed plans and calculations of the iron work, and the estimate therefor, and believe them to be adequate.

"They have also examined the other items of the estimate with more or less particularity, but sufficiently so to establish their general accuracy.

"The estimates in question do not include the statuary and ornamental designs shown on the plans, which are not a necessary part of the building, the cost of which is not therefore included.

"In conclusion, therefore, they report that, in their opinion, the New Capitol can be completed on the plans adopted, for the sum of four and a quarter millions of dollars, and if the main tower is carried only as high as the roof, a reduction of three hundred thousand dollars will be made on the estimate, which would not change the usefulness of the building for the purposes designed.


"Albany, Oct. 13th, 1868.

" P. S.—We are of the opinion that four millions of dollars would be an ample price for the complete construction of the whole work according to the plans adopted, if the work should be done entirely by contract.* (*See appendix "C.")


It will be observed that the report, though bearing such high names, is by no means complete or satisfactory. It is founded on the report of Mr. Fuller, and the estimate of Mr. Norman, his employee, which are, in their most important items, identical in phraseology as well as in figures.

Mr. Norman has absolved himself, it will be recollected, from all complicity in this fraud. He says in his letter, which forms part of this memorial, that the contemplated building will cost not less than $7,000,000; and it will be observed that Mr. Fuller's estimate, as well as Mr. Norman's, omits several important items, to-wit: The terrace on the front; the finishing of the Senate and Assembly Chambers; also the finishing of the Governor's grand reception room; the exterior decorations; the statuary, numbering over one hundred groups, and the several flights of stairs throughout the entire building.

The estimate of Messrs. Eichmond and McAlpine is founded on this imperfect report. How such a report, bearing such high names, could have been submitted, may well excite surprise and comment.

The report expressly excludes all ornaments from the building, both in its exterior and interior, including the towers above the roof, and leaves nothing but naked walls to attest the munificence, or the pride, or the art of the Empire State.

It will be observed that Messrs. Richmond and McAlpine say that "they have examined the plans and specifications thereof, and have reviewed the same."

No such specifications ever accompanied any plans submitted by Mr. Fuller that your memorialist has ever seen or heard of, and he confidently asserts that no such were ever made.

Again, these gentlemen who do not pretend to be architects, "compared the estimated cost of the new capitol with the actual cost of the City Hall of Boston, which has been constructed in the same style of architecture, but of much smaller dimensions, and find that the said estimate should be increased, by this method of average, at the cost of about four and a quarter millions of dollars."

The idea of lumping an estimate which claims to have been, but which was not, made in detail, and of averaging the cost of such an immense structure, by comparison with one greatly inferior in size and style, and one designed for other purposes, will appear to every person absurd and preposterous, not to say ridiculous. The two buildings are in different styles of architecture; and between the cost of them, there can be no just comparison.

It is enough to call the attention of your Honorable Body to the cost of the new Court House in the city of New York, which already exceeds four millions of dollars, and is not yet completed, and is a much plainer structure, both in its exterior and interior, and which is not one-fourth as large as the Capitol, according to the plans, is intended to be.

The New York Court House is of marble, and built in the plainer style of architecture. The pretended estimate for the new Capitol is based on the idea of a granite structure. It is well known that elaborate work in granite costs nearly double the same work in marble.

In his letter to "Hamilton Harris, Esq., Chairman, &c, Capitol Commissioners," bearing date Albany, November 12, 1868, Mr. McAlpine says that he "regards the price of ten dollars per cubic yard as very low." It is, indeed, "very low;" so "low" that the contract cannot be fulfilled; and, as has been stated above, it has been practicably annulled, and the contractors are now proceeding, as your memorialist is informed, at no fixed price, to furnish the granite.

And yet in the face of the fact of this practical annulling of the contract, and after the contractor had been directed to proceed with the delivering of the granite on the cars at no fixed price (the contract at ten dollars per cubic yard being practically abrogated and annulled, it having been demonstrated that that price was altogether inadequate) Messrs. Richmond and McAlpine found their report upon this original estimate.

It will be especially noted that the report of these gentlemen gives ten dollars per cubic yard as the price of the granite delivered on the cars at Saratoga.

It costs three dollars per cubic yard to bring the granite to the railroad yard in Albany. It has then to be hauled to a stone yard, and there cut and fitted, and then brought to the capitol grounds and put in place, thus involving a handling of not less than three times, and costing an additional three dollars at least, independent of cutting, fitting and setting in place. This will make an inevitable cost of over twenty dollars per cubic yard.

And yet these gentlemen predicate their report upon Mr. Fuller's pretended estimate of ten dollars per cubic yard for the same laid in the walls.

Can it be that this is a fair specimen of the estimate approved by these gentlemen? And is the building of the new capitol to proceed in this loose and careless way? No one can tell at what price, because none has been fixed.

Feeling the responsibility of his official position, and mindful of his duty to the State, and seeing in what an impracticable and unbusinesslike way this work was proceeding, your memorialist, desirous of knowing what the probable cost of the building would be, and whether it would be confined to the sum originally appropriated, to wit: $4,000,000, did, on the 5th day of December, 1868, offer the following resolution, which, on motion of the Chairman of the Board, Hon. Hamilton Harris, was instantly laid on the table—your memorialist alone voting in the negative:

"Whereas, By an act of the Legislature of 1867, the expenditure for building a new Capitol was limited to four millions of dollars; and,

"Whereas, The Legislature of 1868 did, by a subsequent act, enact as follows: 'The said Commissioners shall review the plans which have been adopted for the new Capitol, and may change and modify the same, or adopt others in their place, as they may deem advisable and proper,; provided, however, that they shall not proceed to the construction of the said new Capitol, unless they shall be satisfied that the expense thereof shall not exceed, when completed, the sum of four millions of dollars.'

"Now, therefore, inasmuch as the Board has no estimate before them showing that the plans adopted for the new Capitol can be built for the sum of four millions of dollars ; therefore be it

Resolved, That all further proceedings and work on the new Capitol be suspended until the meeting of the Legislature, and their further action is had relative to the contemplated new Capitol."

Comment on this proceeding is altogether unnecessary.

Enough has been said to call the attention of your Honorable Body to the acts of the "New Capitol Commission." Further criticism would be superfluous. If what is here stated does not excite to investigation and inquiry, nothing that could be suggested would, probably, do so. But if these statements should lead the Legislature to inquire into the acts of the Commissioners, your memorialist will be satisfied. In any event, come what may, he will have the consciousness of performing his duty.

And he begs to remind your Honorable Body that there is not one of your number who is not as competent to judge of the plans furnished for the new Capitol, and to decide between them, as any of the present Board.

Your memorialist therefore prays that a joint committee of the two Houses of the Legislature may be appointed to investigate the matters herein stated, as alluded to, with power to send for persons and papers, and to examine the plans which have been adopted, and all others competing, and to recommend to your Honorable Body those which, in their judgment, are best adapted to the purposes of a new Capitol.

All of which is respectfully submitted.
One of the Capitol Commissioners.

Criticisms of O. B. Latham, one of the Commissioners for building the new Capitol, upon the plans and design adopted for the same.

The plan of the interior is imperfect, and subject to many of the most serious objections.

By the introduction of a quadrangle, or open court (95x135 ft.) in the centre of the building, the direct communication with the principal departments is destroyed, and as the center of the building is to be located on the center of Hawk street, the open court will not allow direct passage through. And, furthermore, the expense attending the construction of this court will be as great as that for either side of the building.

Again, in the first story, this large open court is immediately surrounded by a corridor, (16½ ft. wide) and at a distance of 25 to 30 feet, other corridors (15 ft. wide) are arranged, running parallel thereto, the space between these corridors is nearly all taken up by unnecessary flights of stairs, (which lead only into the basement) and the four small courts: The only portions of this extravagant waste of room reserved are the two small record rooms, and these it will be seen have to depend upon borrowed light.

The accommodations for the Governor, and those connected with the Executive Department, are in the first story, and in the southeasterly corner. These accommodations should be on the principal floor and in the front, occupying the most prominent and distinguished part of the building.

The extra court room on this floor, in the north-west corner, lacks attending accommodations. Notwithstanding the great amount of space wasted in this story, the best light and ventilation is not secured; as no one of the several corridors extends from exterior to exterior walls; in nearly every instance the corridors are located between the open courts and the rooms, thus affording to them only borrowed light. Then again, the arrangementof this floor is such, and the waste room so great, that a mere shell is formed, and the outer portion of which is all that remains to be appropriated for useful purposes.

From whatever direction one may enter this story, they will find themselves lead abruptly in contact with this central open court; to secure which, seems to have been the greatest object connected with the building.

The passage-ways, between the center and rear flights of stairs, in this story are so narrow that crowding of persons together must necessarily follow when used. And, as a whole, the plan of this story is so evidently bad that there is little, if any, merit to commend it.

The second story, or principal floor, is not the best arranged. The State Library is made to occupy the entire front portion up; when it should be located in the rear, or west end, that being the most quiet and retired part of the building. And, furthermore, when located thus allows direct communication, with ample store and binding rooms, in the basement below. The front is the most important and commanding portion of the building, and should be devoted to the accommodations for the Executive Department and grand reception rooms for the Senate and Assembly.

Again, it will be perceived that this great central court cuts off direct communication between the Senate and Assembly chambers, it being surrounded by public corridors, thus bringing the two chambers in immediate contact with them, whereby the noise and confusion in these corridors must greatly interfere when deliberations are being held.

Many of the rooms in immediate connection with the two chambers are made to depend on borrowed light from above; and the greatest accommodations are not secured, as the Library to the Senate and Assembly chambers are too far removed from them, they being in the extreme westerly angles, or corners, of the building, some two hundred feet from the center of either chamber.

These libraries should be brought in close proximity to their respective chambers.

The reading-rooms for the Law Library are too small, and badly lighted and ventilated, they being about eighteen feet square, each depending on one window for light. These rooms are improperly located; "in other words," they are merely ante-rooms for the adjoining water closets.

The reception rooms for Senators and Members of the Assembly are located on the westerly side of the chambers; these rooms would be much more convenient and pleasant were they located in the corner pavillions, on the front.

The plan of the principal floor is deficient, in being so arranged as to deprive the building of a great feature of interest and usefulness; i. e., "a grand central hall or vestibule, which would afford direct communication to the principal departments, and used as a repository for art," where historical paintings of the State may be seen, and statuary of its patriotic and eminent men placed; that, by their silent presence, all will be inspired to imitate their virtues, and resolve to increase the prosperity and dignity of the State, and thereby add to the power and glory ef the nation.

The general arrangement of most of the rooms, and corridors, and courts, in this story is such that the greatest convenience and accommodations are not obtained; neither is the best light and ventilation secured.

The walls to the attic story, in the intermediate sections, recede off of the main walls six feet, and thereby have to depend on the floor beams and girders for support. This is bad construction; and as this recessed part has to be roofed in with gutters, snow and ice will accumulate thereon, making leakages into the rooms below.

In the plan of the attic story there is much room wasted, nearly 5,000 superficial feet, in order to secure borrowed light into the cloak and other rooms in the story beneath.

The ingress and egress to the galleries of the Senate and Assembly chambers are insufficient, and will cause much inconvenience to spectators, and great annoyance to the legislators.

There are twenty-four committee rooms in this attic story, and nineteen of this number have only one window in each for light; also, a greater portion of the committee rooms in other parts of the building, and rooms for official purposes, are limited to one window in each for light.

Again, only that portion of this attic floor connected with the exterior walls is made available for official purposes.

The design shows in its exterior a want of harmony, and gives the effect of eight distinct buildings, but not the effect of a harmonious whole.

A great error is committed in this design by making the corner pavilions more prominent than the central portion in either of the facades; in a building of such magnitude and importance the central portion should be predominant.

The central section recedes in its several stories, with a succession of balconies, producing a subordinate and inferior effect in comparison with the corner pavilions.

The attempt to obviate this difficulty on the Washington avenue side of the building, by flanking the middle section with towers, to serve as buttresses, fails to secure the desired effect, as the face of the central section recedes as far as the intermediate sections of the facade, even the crowning of the central section with a pediment, is not sufficient to give it prominence, as the rest of this facade in the intermediate sections has an attic constructed much bolder than the said pediment. The towers of this facade are decidedly too lofty for the structure, and instead of acting as ornaments make the lowness of the building more apparent. In this connection, it is proper to state that a pediment of such magnitude requires a greater projection beyond the main wall, in order to be effective.

The terrace in front extending from State street to Washington avenue and being 70 feet wide and 10 feet high, will cover from view, when not standing on it, nearly the whole of the basement story.

To construct this feature, it will be attended with great expense, and with some of the most serious objections, considering the extremes of our climate it will require constant repair.

By the introduction of piazzas instead of porticos, the grand and stately effect of the exterior is destroyed, and the true index to the interior is also lost. These piazzas require the basement walls to be repeated, thus creating great expense, and thereby preventing direct light and ventilation to a large portion of the most important part of the building; and furthermore their floors will be exposed to the elements, and, as a consequence, water will percolate through, destroying the ceilings underneath, and making damp and unhealthy passageways.

The flights of steps leading from the terrace to the center piazza, reduce the light and destroys the look-out from the basement windows.

By this combination of terrace and piazzas, with their attendant flights of steps and stairs, the building is deprived of an indispensable necessity, to wit: "A grand carriageway."

The grecian roof with a balustrade, as in this design should never be built in this climate, snow and ice will accumulate in the rear of it, breaking the roofing and gutters, and the damage consequent is apparent to all. All roofs of this character have proved failures on the public buildings in Washington, and especially on the present capitol building. The base of the main tower is heavier in character than any portion of the lower stories of the building.

The next section has near its corners buttress-like projections crowned with groups of statuary. In all good works of architecture, it will be found that under such circumstances the buttresses are on the top united, and one group is placed on them, in order to secure the effect of strength, which in this case is entirely neglected. The upper section has the same fault in another way; the cornice is interrupted by the four arches, and the effect which should be secured, viz., that the cornice should act as a band or belt to withstand the spreading tendency of the dome, is lost.

This section is constructed on a circular plan, whereas the dome on the top is an octagon. The perspective view shows figure groups on the diagonal sides of the dome, for which the space is insufficient.

In this tower the circular form rests on a square, and is surmounted by an octagon; whereas, the true principles of architecture require that the square should be followed by the octagon, and the octagon by the circle.

The dome of this tower is crowned by the eagle, the emblem of the Nation; whereas, this is a building of the State of New York, and the crowning ornament of the building should he emblematical of the genius of the State.

The building from the west end, in fact, only two stories in height, with an attic, will have a too squatty appearance, considering its enormous width.

The site selected for the new capitol is an elevated one (upon a hill side), and the front of the building has to face a rapid descending grade. Considering this fact, "the design should secure that close study of the principles of sight in its combination, that whatever might be the point ofview, the structure would readily present itself from the ground line to the uppermost portion thereof.

"It is a singular fact indeed," that the exterior design which has been adopted, is better suited for a location quite the reverse of the one selected; i. e., were the building to be located at the foot of State street, many of the objections to it would be removed.

Considering the size of the building, and the small amount of room secured in the plans for useful purposes, this, of itself, is sufficient reason fortheir condemnation.

Therefore, in consideration of the above, and the several objections before stated, the plans and designs which have been adopted, prove themselves to be a great failure for a State capital, in a practical and artistic point of view.

[Assem. No. 165.] 2


Office Of The New Capitol Commissioners,
August 14, 1868.

At a meeting of the Commissioners, held this day, Mr. Cornell offered the following resolution:

Whereas, The Hon. James S. Thayer, one of the members of this Commission, having been absent from the country during all of the time since the organization of the Commission; and, whereas, Mr. Thayer is expected to return home by the first day of September next; and, Whereas, it is desirable that all the members should be present at the consideration of the plans of the new Capitol, therefore

Resolved, That the question of reviewing the plans shall be postponed until the next meeting of this Board, to be held on the 9th day of September next, for that purpose.

The question being put upon the adoption of the resolution, it was lost by the following vote:

Ayes—Messrs. Latham, Cornell, Hudson.
Nays—Messrs. Harris, Pruyn, Rice, Terwilliger.

Mr. Hudson offered the following resolution:

Resolved, That the Board adopt new plane for a new capitol.

Which resolution was lost by the following vote:

Ayes—Messrs. Latham and Hudson.
Nays—Messrs. Harris, Pruyn, Rice and Terwilliger; Mr. Cornell not voting.

Mr. Harris offered the following resolution:

Resolved, That the plans for the new Capitol heretofore approved by the late Boards of Capitol Commissioners and Land Commissioners, and also by the Governor, having been reviewed by this Board, be and the same are approved of by this Board as the plans for the new Capitol, with such alterations and modifications thereof to be made hereafter as may be considered desirable.

Mr. Hudson moved to amend the resolution by striking out the words'"and approved of," which motion was decided in the negative.

The question being upon the adoption of'the resolution offered by Mr. Harris, it was decided in the affirmative as follows:

Ayes—Messrs. Harris, Pruyn, Rice and Terwilliger.
Nays—Messrs. Latham, Cornell and Hudson.

Mr. Rice offered the following:

Whereas, Messrs. Shultze and Schoen, architects, claim to have rendered valuable services, in perfecting plans for the new Capitol, and for which they claim that they have not been compensated; therefore

Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed to investigate this subject, with full power to make a final settlement with said architects, subject to the approval of this Board.

The question being upon the adoption of the resolution, it was decided in the affirmative, and Messrs. Rice, Hudson and Terwilliger were appointed such committee.

Mr. Harris offered the following resolution:

Resolved, That Thomas Fuller be employed as architect of the new Capitol during the pleasure of the Board, at a salary to be hereafter determined by this Board, and that if at any time it shall be deemed necessary to employ a consulting architect, that the Chairman of the Board be authorized to employ Mr. Arthur Gilman.

Mr. Hudson moved to lay the resolution upon the tables, which motion was lost by the following vote:

Ayes—Messrs. Latham, Cornell and Hudson.
Nays—Messrs. Harris, Pruyn, Rice, and Terwilliger.

The question being upon the adoption of the resolution, it was decided in the affirmative by the following vote:

Ayes—Messrs. Harris, Pruyn, Rice, and Terwilliger.
Nays—Messrs. Latham, Cornell, and Hudson.

The foregoing is a true copy from the minutes.

Acting Clerk.

Appendix. B.

Albany, N. Y., 26th March, 1868.

To the Hon. Hamilton Harms, Chairman New Capitol Commissioners, Albany:

Sir—By request of the architects to the new Capitol, I have made a careful estimate of the cost of the "new Capitol," according to the approved design.

In preparing this estimate I have been assisted, both in extracting the quantities and arriving at the prices, by thoroughly competent mechanics, and I can confidently assert that the results are correct:

Concrete, (including floors)................81,150
Brick Work.................... ..........364,320
Granite (with interior columns marble)...1,137,546
Marble stairs and platforms.................54,260
Carpenter, Painter and Glazier.............217,525
Heating (Baker).............................90,000
Iron, including metal statuary (Cheney)*.1,200,000
Gas, including four meters & 8 stop-cocks....5,000

Grand Total..............................$3,782,677

I have taken New York prices for the heating, $90,000, but I have had a tender from a party in this city, of the highest standing, to finish the heating work for $75,000, and is prepared to give ample security for the performance of the work. I have the honor to be, sir,

Your obedient servant,

The foregoing is a true copy of the original.

D. J. Pratt,
Acting Clerk of the New Capitol Commission.

(* This does not include iron columns in interior of building, estimated, by Mr. Cheney, of New York, it about 1160,000.)

No. 165. Appendix. C.


Office Of The New Capitol Commissioners.

Albany, September 10, 1868.

At a meeting of the Commissioners held this day, Mr. Fuller, architect, submitted the following estimate of work and material for the new Capitol:

"Estimate of work and material in new Capitol, 10th September, 1868.

74,437 cubic yards excavation, at 80c................$59,549
104,000 lineal feet piling, at 40c....................41,600
9,400 cubic yards concrete, at $9.50..................89,300
5,700 cubic yards masonry in footings, at $10.........57,000
16,827 cubic yards sub-basement walls, at $10........168,270
12,290 cubic yards main tower (block stones),
at $18...............................................221,220
21,383,000 brick, at $18.............................384,894
175,594 superficial feet granite ashlar, at $2.......351,188
68,750 superficial feet projections, cornices,
&c, at $4.50.....................................309,375
294 columns, at $250..................................73,500
160 column caps, Doric, at $40.........................6,400
160 column bases, at $20...............................3,200
132 column caps, Corinthian, at $250..................33,000
132 column bases, at $30...............................3,960
262 pilaster caps, Doric, at $25.......................6,550
262 pilaster bases, at $10.............................2,620
228 pilaster caps, Corinthian, at $150................34,200
228 pilaster bases, Corinthian, at $15.................3,420
138 pilaster caps, Attic, at $40.......................5,520
138 pilaster bases, Attic, at $20......................2,760
78,320 superficial feet sand stone,face to cant, at $1.50....................................117,480
104 columns, at $187.50...............................19,500
52 column caps, Doric, at $18.75.........................975
52 column bases, Doric, at $7.50.........................390
52 column caps, Corinthian, at $112.50.................5,850
52 column bases, Corinthian, at $11.25...................585
56 pilaster caps, Doric, at $18.75.....................1,050
56 pilaster bases, Doric, at $7.50.......................420
56 pilaster caps, Corinthian, at $112.50...............6,300
56 pilaster bases, Corinthian, at $11.25.................630
108,014 superficial feet tiling at $1.75.............197,421
93,200 sup. feet centering at 15c. 13,980 less 1-6 for mater........................11,650
Centers for groined arches.............................1,900
132,345 superficial feet flooring sleepers at 32c.....42,350
272 doors.............................................18,568
16 windows, including glazing, &c....................784
100 windows, including glazing, &c................15,000
264 windows, plate-glass.............................110,880
130 windows, plate-glass..............................22,750
103,988 superficial yards plastering, at 60c..........62,392
36 , 430 lineal feet cornices, at $1.00...............36,430
36,000 lineal feet skirting cement, at 50c............18,000
4,137 cubic.yards concrete in floor, at $9.25.........38,267
Steam heating.........................................90,000
Plumbing and gas. fitting.............................30,000
Iron, including girders, arches roofing,
sky-lights, painting and glazing...................1,217,567



A true copy from the minutes of the Board.
D. J. Pratt,- Acting Clerk.

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