Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Associated Press, March 30, 1911

Pumps, Brooms and Vacuum Cleaners Are at Work.

(By Associated Press.)

Albany, March 30.—The work of rehabilitating the fire-swept state capitol was continued to-day with increasing vigor. The first efforts were directed to drying out portions of the great building untouched by fire, but thoroughly soaked by the tons of water poured upon the conflagration.

The Legislative leaders to-day' expected to confer with Gov. Dix and State Architect Ware regarding the appropriation necessary to repair the building.


Unofficial estimates place the cost of reconstruction at close to $4,000,000. The appropriation of this sum, it is said, would practically wipe out the estimated surplus remaining in the state treasury at the end of the present fiscal year. The state cannot bond itself for this rebuilding, and the money must be taken directly from the treasury.

The whole building except the offices and east front, are as damp as an underground cell.

The costly velvet carpets, specially woven with the state's coat of arms, are like saturated sponges. It may be necessary to purchase entire new furnishings for the Assembly chamber.

Several hundred men worked with brooms, cloths and vacuum cleaners in drying out the building. In some places the water was so deep it bad to be pumped out of the windows.

It is doubtful if any investigation will be made to learn the cause of the disaster. Whether the fire started from a glowing match end, cigarette or cigar butt tossed in the Assembly library, or from defective wiring, may never be ascertained.

Flames Still Alive.

Several fire engines pumped water into the ruins of the state library,all day, to-day. Twice the flames burst out afresh in the smoldering stacks of books, but were quickly subdued.

State Architect Ware told Governor Dix that until the ruins cooled he could not make an exact report on the situation.

A systematic search is being made for the body of Night Watchman Samuel Abbott, believed to be buried in the debris.

Workmen found large quantities of books in a good state of preservation. Some only stained on the outside by smoke and water, the pages being intact. These can be rebound. Contents of the library will not be a total loss.

Driven from Quarters.

Driven from their quarters in the capitol, the employes of several of the state departments are temporarily stationed in private office buildings, the city hall and residences in the vicinity of the capitol. The state education department has found quarters at the state normal college; the department of the adjutant general at No. 25 Washington avenue; the state tax commission at 102 State street; the state library staff at 162 State street: the state treasurer's department at the Buick automobile building, corner of Swan street and Washington avenue; the state superintendent, of weights and measures at the city hall; certain employes of the state excise department at 48 Eagle street.

Books from the public service commission department, which were removed Wednesday morning to the offices of the commission on Washington avenue, were later brought back to the capitol. Owing to the fact that the hearing room was flooded, hearings before the commission will be held for the present in the county court chambers in the county building.

Court of Appeals in New Place.

The Court of Appeals convened Wednesday in the court room of the Appellate Division, third department, but half an hour later than the usual hour of assembling, and four appeals were argued. The bench was designed for five judges and two extra chairs were brought in and a full bench of seven judges sat during the afternoon, although they were somewhat crowded.

The Court of Claims found refuge in Sheriff Platt's private office and Secretary of State Lazansky will share Judge Addington's office to-day

City Hall Crowded.

The city hall was crowded with homeless state officials. Mayor McEwan offered the use of the building to Governor Dix before 8 o'clock, and within a short time every available office was occupied. Lieutenant Governor


(Continued from Page One.)

Conway used the mayor 's office and Speaker Frisbie took possession of the outer office, but will move into Justice Rudd's chambers on the next floor to-day. The fiscal supervisor's office was established In City Marshal Moran's apartments.

The senate met in the Common Council chamber and the assembly in the Supreme Court room, and both rooms were used for committee hearings during the afternoon. In the witness waiting room, off of the court room, the public service commission is holding its sessions. State Treasurer Kennedy has taken the recorder's court room and Attorney General Carmody the supervisors' room above. The court library is used as the senate post office and boxes are arranged by numbers on pieces of paper pasted on the long tables.

Luke McHenry, assembly clerk, is in the city comptroller's office, while the financial clerk of the assembly uses the office of the president of the Common Council

Senate Pages Dance.

The annual ball of the pages of the senate was held Wednesday evening in Odd Fellows' Hall, and neither the weather nor the conflagration failed to prevent a good attendance.

Women in Gloom.

There was a general feeling of gloom among the women of Albany yesterday for the appalling calamity that had befallen, not only the state but the city, in the burning of the capitol had left a deep impression and the affairs scheduled for yesterday were in many instances postponed and those taking place were inactive affairs, for it was the fire that was the topic for discussion and in spite of the bright sides and the apparent spring weather the “day was cold and dark and dreary," for the big building on the hill, which had been the pride of every woman in town, was seen crumbling away. There were groups and groups of women, either employed in one or other of the departments, standing about the building watching the great tongues of flame as they shot out of the windows where, perhaps only the day before, their offices, had been located. Then there were gatherings of other women huddled together and weeping as they saw the bricks and mortar fall with a crash to the street below and the great streams of water dash like a waterfall off of the once gabled towers and the red tiled roofs.

There they stayed from early morning until the darkness compelled them to go home, fascinated by the spectacular scene, and reminiscing over the capitol. the older ones telling to eager listeners the pride and the glory they felt in this wonderful building, with its impregnable buttresses which stood sentinel-like over the entire city and which was the first indication of the capital city as one came up the river either by the boat or the train. One old woman, scantily clad and with a shawl pulled over her head, made the statement that the hand of the Lord was in it, for now the state of New York could begin all over again and build its walls on a sure and firm foundation."

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