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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.
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.
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 unThe value of water routes will al- til within a short distance of their ways remain unimpaired no matter mouth, except the Hudson, which what part electricity and steam can be navigated by considerable play in transportation. Great craft as far as Albany or 150 miles cities will continue to grow on the from the sea. It was, therefore, banks of navigable streams, and necessary when a connection with that the natural route must always the great lakes and the Atlantic be a determining factor in the seaboard was considered, the transportation question is found in Hudson should be chosen. Anwhat is constantly occurring before other consideration was the 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 Jonger 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
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 550 miles; to the ocean by way of the St. Lawrence, 1,050 miles; to New Orleans, by way of Cleveland and down the Muskingum, 2,400 miles. The mountain range mentioned 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
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."
In this manner did that great and sagacious statesman go to the very heart of the subject of internal improvement. The question which affects SO vitally the fortunes of Albany, is one that concerns the 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 the crowd coming and going; the old rookeries that have been given over these many years to rats or used merely for storage purposes,
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
again will be occupied by wide- seen the 'smoke of an enemy's awake business men. Manufactories camp.' More than once, however, will spring up; new interests and has a foreign enemy, after fixing industries will be attracted; public his destination for Albany, been spirit will assert itself; and the Al- either arrested and turned back in bany of the future will realize the his career, or visited the desired dreams of those who, in establishing spot in captivity and disgrace." 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 the town there are the marks of old town was held, when after a shortage which are found wherever man visit he wrote as follows: "Albany lives and has his being. This is in is the great thoroughfare and resort accordance with an unalterable law. of the vast western regions of the But the new Albany is pushing and State; its streets are very bustling; modern - fair to the eye, with all it is said that 2,000 wagons some- that makes latter day life pleasant, times pass up and down State street profitable and restful. It is in the in a day; it must hereafter become older part of the town that the a great inland city. signs of decay are found, but in the bany has been memorable in Ameri- favorite residential section, which, can history. It was the rendezvous following the march of empire, has and the point of departure for most pushed to the west, are found the of those armies which, whether sent evidence of modern opulence and by the mother country, or raised by splendor. the colonies themselves for the conquest of the Gallo-American dominions, and of the savages so of ten, during the middle period of the
The old town, with its quaint history, its curious customs and
peculiar people, has almost passed away. A whole history might be last century, excited, and more than once disappointed the hopes of the written on this subject. Indeed histories 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 It is the Few places on this side of the At- now engrosses attention. 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 suing, wide-awake Albany of these (except perhaps in some of the early last days of the Nineteenth century contests with the aborigines), it has the Albany with a bright future never seen an enemy; a hostile army which will make good all the promhas never encamped before it; norises of the past - that now interests have its women and children ever 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 - Cost of the Structure Year by 300 feet north and south by 400 feet Year The Beautiful Rooms in east and west, and with its porticoes the Building - The Cost of Fin- will cover three acres. The walls are ishing It. 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 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 pyramid of other build there stands out the big State Capitol, massive and gigantic, a huge mass against the sky line. Large as it is, its size is exaggerated into immense proportions by its elevated position above all the other city buildings.
The public buildings at Ottawa, three in number, are massively built at a cost of about $5,000,000.
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 oneacres, and cost $1,430,000. The new Capitol at Hartford, Conn., is a fire-proof building of white marble. Its size is 295 feet front by 187 feet deep; total height to the top of the crowning figure, 256 feet; cost, $2,256,
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 180 at a cost of only The Legislature of the State has $110,000. It was occupied until 1879, met in Albany since 1797. At 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 upon not to cost when completed more project. Two years passed, however, than $4,000,000. The plan submitted before any action was taken upon by Thomas Fuller was adopted, and these plans. A committee of the he was appointed architect, and WilLegislature in the meantime solicited liam J. McAlpine consulting engineer.
invitations from various cities for the
It was upon the 9th day of December, 1867, that the work of building a new Capitol was actually begun by the striking of the pick into the ground for an excavation at the corner of Hawk and State streets. The contractor for this excavation was John Bridgeford and he had in his employ 100 men. Additional appropriations were soon made. On May 19, 1868, the sum of $250,000 was appropriated. This act added to the names of the Capitol Commission the names of James S. Thayer, Alonzo B. Cornell, William A. Rice, James Terwilliger and John T. Hudson. The commission were also authorized to take as additional land one-half the block adjoining Congress Hall block on the west, and to change the plans at their discretion, with this proviso: That if they were so changed that the building would cost more than $1,000,000, the commissioners were not to proceed to the work of construction till such plans were approved by the Legislature.
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