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THE CONNECTICUT MAGAZINE.
HARVARD COLLECE LICRARE
APR 18 1899
THE CONNECTICUT CAPITOL.
BY WILLIAM HARRISON TAYLOR.
of this country were given an enduring object lesson in the possibilities of municipal architecture by having the ideal made reality in the white city on the shore of the great lake at the Chicago World's Fair. The encomiums that have been lavished upon the projectors and executors of those plans are well deserved, and the beauty and symmetry of it all will remain a joy forever in the hearts of the American people. Twenty years previous to this time the people of Connecticut planned for a state house, which was destined to prove as remarkable an example of a model building, for the purpose designed, as was that prototype of buildings before this. what a city might be, so forcibly impressed upon us in the summer of 1893. The location so favorable, happily chosen by most excellent judgment, for
N 1893 the people our Connecticut Capitol building, the style of architecture, so perfectly adapted to the location and the thoroughness, honesty, and economy with which the building operations were carried on and completed, are cause for congratulation for the people of the state and all who were identified in its construction.
The first regular session, in its entirety, of the General Assembly that was held in the new Capitol was in 1879, but for a few days just prior to adjournment of the previous session the members met in the first time they new building, the assembled there being on March 26, 1878. Richard D. Hubbard was then the Governor, Francis B. Loomis, Lieutenant Governor, and Charles H. Briscoe, Speaker of the House.
Connecticut had had four state house Previous to 1719 the state owned no building for its especial use. The records do not say where the legislature met, but it is believed to have met in some church.
The second Connecticut state house was the brick one on the Green in New Haven, built in 1763.
The third one was Hartford's present city hall, before referred to, commenced in 1792 and finished in 1796. At the May session of the Assembly in 1793, the sum already provided having been insufficient to complete the building, the building committee were authorized to hold and manage a lottery to raise $5,000. The scheme, however, failed, as they did. not realize the required amount. The total cost was $52,480. The architect was Col. Jeremiah Wadsworth. The bricks used in this building were made in Elmwood.
The old building is rich in historical associations; there the famous Hartford Convention assembled in 1814, and the
Constitutional Convention in 1818, when our present constitution was adopted. There General Lafayette was received with military honors in 1824 and there the supreme court room has been the scene of many celebrated cases argued by our most able lawyers. Upon the occupancy of the new Capitol this building was turned over to the city of Hartford.
The next building erected by the state for legislative purposes was on the Green in New Haven; begun in 1827 and finished in 1830. With an imposing front of massive Doric columns it was a famous landmark there until 1887, when it was removed. The architect was Ithiel Towne, and total cost $41,500. The last session held there was in 1874, after which it was turned over to the city of New Haven.
plans for a building, not to exceed $900,000 in cost. Five sets of drawings were sent in, but the commissioners were unable to decide from among them, and a new competition was invited. Eleven sets of plans were submitted in response, one of which was agreed upon, and a contract was made with J. G. Batterson to erect a building for $875,000. Foundations for the building had already been put in, and the work well under way when the General Assembly at the May session, 1873, ordered all work stopped and authorized the governor to appoint a new commission with authority to draw on the comptroller for $500,000, in addition to the previous appropriation. The new board decided it was best to proceed with
tution of a dome for the clock tower of the first design. The improved plans were submitted to the General Assembly of 1874 and the following act was passed in relation to the appropriations needed for the completion of the building, according to the altered plans: "Resolved by this of Assembly, That the further sum $1,000,000 of any moneys in the hands of the treasurer of this state be, and the said sum is hereby appropriated, for the purpose of completing the new State House. And the president of the Board of Capitol Commissioners is hereby authorized to draw his orders upon the comptroller for the above amount, as it may be needed for the construction of said building, provided that no
the existing plan with such modifications as $400,000 of said appropriation shall be
greater amount than
drawn in one year.
"Approved July 22, 1875."
would give a thoroughly fire-proof building, and an alteration of the design, the most significant change being the substi