Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cecil R. Roseberry

The image below was printed as a full-page illustration in the 1964 first edition of Capitol Story, by Cecil R. Roseberry; however it was deleted from the "expanded" 2nd edition of the book released in 1982. The text of the chapter in which it appears, "Battle of the Styles," is verbatim between the two editions, while the chapter layout seems otherwise to have been only shifted about inconsequentially.

This impressive view, taken at the point in the construction of the Capitol when the New Capitol Commissioners fired their first architect, Thomas Fuller, and hired on the troika of "expert advisers" they'd engaged to reevaluate the building's progress, depicts a process which gave the public a narrative and this chapter its name. It can now also give us hints into a hidden agenda working behind the veil of official publicity.

The deletion is startling when Roseberry's caption on the facing page is read:
"Lieut.-Governor Dorsheimer (top) was key figure in decision to revise Capitol architecture; also envisioned the building as a repository for fine arts. Building superintendent during the controversy was James W. Eaton. Photo at left shows approximate stage at which Fuller left off, view from Washington Avenue side. Note, at right side of picture, projecting structure for balcony intended to flank Assembly Chamber. The new architects removed this; street level portico was added later."

The Roseberry image is irreconcilable with the view depicted in this stereo-optician view above, taken at a similar stage of construction---or reconstruction. Roseberry's caption is deceptive, when he says of the image that it shows a "projecting structure for balcony intended to flank Assembly Chamber," which was removed and altered by the new architects, when it is clear the projecting structure didn't "flank" the Assembly Chamber, but comprised the entirety of it, and that what the image depicts is the full 390-foot length of the Washington Street facade.

So what is it we are seeing in the C. W. Woodward stereo view? I believe it depicts the extent of the reconstruction ordered by the new architects, which includes the demolishing of the top-most entablature across the entire building length (most of which had to be recreated in its exact form when the Legislature mandated a return to the original style of architecture.)

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