Monday, December 05, 2011

January 30 1906, Auburn Journal, Page 1, ASSEMBLY STAIRCASE TO BE EXAMINED CLOSELY

Investigation Will be Under Direction of State Architect Heins Be -- Approaches Barred Up to Protect the Public

Albany, Jan. 29—A thorough investigation of the condition of the assembly staircase will be made immediately to ascertain the exact cause of the cracks and other evidences of disturbance apparent in that structure. This will be done under the direction of State Architect Heins. Determination will also be leached as to the necessary steps to be taken to correct the defects. When this is done the legislature will be called upon to provide for the work.

State Architect Heins, accompanied by former Deputy State Engineer Herschel Roberts and Engineer Fitzgerald, who investigated the condition of the staircase in 1887, after which it was believed to have been rendered completely stable, made an examination today. William Barclay Parsons and Daniel E. Moran, the expert engineers of New York city, who made the examination last week and upon whose recommendation the staircase has been closed to the public, will return here within a few days to begin an exhaustive investigation. Governor Higgins and those directly concerned do not believe that there is any immediate danger, the closing up of the assembly approaches, which was completed today, being simply a precaution to the public and the employes of the building.

A story was in circulation in the capitol today to the effect that the calling in of the expert engineers followed a report that an employe of the building had heard a load report in the cellar followed by a crushing sound and that investigation showed that the walls at this point had opened up about an inch. This was two weeks ago. Governor Higgins today stated that he had heard nothing of such an incident.

"When was the condition of the staircase called to your attention?" Governor Higgins was asked.

"Several months ago I had the matter called to my attention and I observed the cracks in the lower part of the staircase," replied the governor.

Continuing he said: "At a meeting of the trustees about two weeks ago we called in Mr. Heins and asked him to make a report. Later Mr. Heins asked me if he could employ expert engineers and I told him, if he wanted any assistance in that direction to go ahead. He secured the services of Mr. Parsons and Mr. Moran of New York city and on their report to him, the trustees on Saturday decided to have the staircase closed as a precaution.

"The cost of removing and rebuilding the staircase has not been considered. The first thing to do is to determine where and why the structure is weak. It is very regrettable, but it is one of those things that we have to meet. Mr. Heins, the State Architect, is in charge of the matter and from what he tells me I am convinced that there is no danger of other portions of the structure being affected."

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