Monday, December 26, 2011

Criminal Malfeasance.


ALBANY, Aug. 4. -- The restoration of the north central section of the Capitol is well under way, with prospects of its completion by Fall. The work was begun none too soon, for bad workmanship, together with frost disintegrations, had rendered six of the granite dormer windows and the heavy stone balustrade at the base of the steep roof over the Assembly Chamber unsafe, and the mass was ready to fall apart. These have been reset and made secure.

One of the greatest defects was found in the construction of the gutters. These were carved out of granite and the joints cemented. By degrees the water worked its way through the cementing, and as a result the walls were damp continually and frescos and expensive decorations were ruined. Commissioner Perry had just finished lining all the gutters with copper, and hopes thereby to preserve the walls from further damage. When he constructed the west end the gutters of it were all protected with copper.

The big chimneypieces in the Senate Chamber contained flues 8 inches square. These have been enlarged during the Summer to openings 18 inches by five feet. These, it is considered, will be sufficient to remove the vitiated air from the chamber and keep it pure. In other parts of the building the smoke flues have been enlarged and ventilating ducts and shafts cut in the solid masonry floors and walls, measuring from 8 to 10 inches to 5 by 6 feet. There was heretofore almost an entire absence of any ventilation.

The golden corridor, whose beauties were extolled during the early life of the Capitol, remains only in memory. Its space, with a little of that which was in the room originally set apart for the Court of Appeals, has been made into six spacious committee rooms. The corridor on the second floor floor north was broken by the old Court of Appeals room. Now it is carried continuously from east to west ends of the building.

In the execution of this work, which necessitated the tearing away of many hundred cubic feet of masonry, two discoveries were made. One was that the wall on the north side of the open court was never "tied." Experts who examined this wall at different times gave decisions that it was forced out by the pressure of the original stone ceiling of the Assembly Chamber. This proved to be not the fact. Now that the fractured work has been removed, it is shown that the wall was crowded out by the great east and west walls of the Assembly Chamber, which stands at right angles. These walls extended from the big arches in the golden corridor up to and on a line with the roof trusses.

It is evident that the weight of these walls was so great as to compress the arches, and thereby force the walls out. Four large wrought-iron tie rods extending through the granite wall of the court and connected with the four great plate girders which carry the Assembly floor, will hereafter hold the wall in position without doubt.

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