New York State Capitol Tour
November 7, 2020
Updates in progress…
Photographs and charts by David Smitherman
The New York State Capitol tour was made in 2020 during the pandemic so there are no interior photographs. I hope to return and complete this tour at a later date. In the mean time here are some exterior photographs and some histories on what I could see. Figure 1 shows the southwest entrance elevation as seen from the Empire State Plaza.
The New York State Capital is located in Albany New York which is located in the eastern part of the state near the Hudson River. The surrounding areas have beautiful rolling hills and mountains that provide a significantly different environment from that of New York City to the south. The Capitol building was built in the late 1800s over an unusually long construction 30 year period when completed in 1899. This was due in part to the demands on the design, funding, and changing administrations resulting in the use of four different architects. The resulting design appearance is credited primarily to third architect on the project, Henry Hobson Richardson, noted in later years for what we call the Richardsonian Romanesque architectural style, Figure 2.
During my visit on November 7, just four days after the presidential election the previous Tuesday, there was quite a commotion gathering in the East Capitol Park, Figure 3. There was a street corner preacher blaring out over a loud speaker and crowds gathering in different parts of the park with various protests both for and against Trump.
I worked my way around the crowds and was able to get this photograph of the east corner of the capitol, similar to one of the original renderings of Richardson’s design, Figure 4. The original design included a dome that was not built due to poor soil conditions and structural issues with the building construction. Various references indicated that there was considerable fill in the area to raise the grade which may have contributed to the problem. There is a courtyard in the center of the building where the tower was supposed to be built, so it still might be possible to construct this domed tower at a later date.
The capitol grounds includes several sculptures of interest…
References: Photographs and slides by David Smitherman, and data collected from onsite inscriptions and brochures, Wikipedia, and Google Maps.