Feb 14, 2011

Connecticut State Capitol

This postcard was sent to my by Nancy from Connecticut via postcrossing [US-998203]. It shows the State Capitol at Hartford, which was built in 1877 of Connecticut Marble and is of modified French Gothic design.

The Connecticut State Capitol is located north of Capitol Avenue and south of Bushnell Park in the Connecticut capital of Hartford. The building houses the Connecticut General Assembly; the upper house, the State Senate, and lower house, the House of Representatives, as well as the offices of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor. The current building is the third capitol building for the State of Connecticut since the American Revolution.

After the Civil War, the complications of this plan began to be evident, and both Hartford and New Haven competed to be sole state capital. Hartford won, and the new sole capital needed one central capitol building. The General Assembly authorized a million dollar project, and two competitors, James G. Batterson and Richard M. Upjohn vied to be awarded the project. Upjohn won, but Batterson, a stone importer and merchant and not an architect, was named the building contractor. Batterson then continually revised the Upjohn plan to more and more closely resemble his own plan. The central tower, for example, is Batterson's, not Upjohn's. Batterson's extensive elaboration of Upjohn's plan ended up more than doubling the cost to over $2,500,000.
Richard M. Upjohn's design is in the Eastlake Style, with French and Gothic revival elements. Construction of the building began in 1871. The building was completed in 1878, and it opened for the session of the General Assembly in January 1879. The New York Times noted when it was completed, that the new building was "a vast mass of white marble (is) this imposing structure, and in the dazzling sunshine of a New-England Summer noon sparkles like a fairy palace of frost work."
The site of the Capitol was chosen since it is adjacent to Bushnell Park, and had access to more surrounding open space than the older building in the immediate downtown. The site was originally the location of Trinity College and was then known as Trinity Hill, and the city street to the immediate east is still named Trinity Street. (The college relocated to a new campus south of the downtown.)
There are some galleries of historical artifacts on the building's main floor, principally battle standards of Civil War units. The flags were deposited with the state by 10,000 of the state's veterans, who formed a procession to the capitol, and deposited 30 regimental flags on September 17, 1879.
The building suffered some crowding of offices, and the introduction of partition walls and other temporary expediants which detracted from the plan of the building up to 1979 and 1989 when efforts began at restoration. The State Capitol was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1971. [wikipedia]

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