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New York State Capitol, Albany, 1911

New York. Albany. Capitol: East Front from City Hall
New York State Archives, NYSA_A3045-78_10462
Document Description
East front of the New York State Capitol, viewed from City Hall, Albany, New York, 1911.
What time of year was this photograph taken?
What major event happened at the Capitol the same year this photograph was taken?
Why do you think this building was so expensive to construct?
How many years after the Capitol was completed was this photograph taken?
What flags are flying on top of the Capitol in this photograph?
Are the same flags flying over the Capitol today?
Which of the two flags in this photograph would look different today? Why?
How is the building in this photograph different from Thomas Fuller's design for the Capitol?
Historical Challenges
If you took this same photograph today, what building would you see behind the Capitol? When was that building constructed?
Interdisciplinary Connections
Math: How many windows are on the front of the Capitol? Estimate how many windows are on the entire building.
Science: Explore the reasons why the tower on the Capitol could not be built as planned.
Kennedy, William. The Capitol in Albany. New York: Aperture, 1986. ISBN: 0893812099
Roseberry, Cecil R. Capitol Story. Albany: New York State Office of General Services, 1982.
Thrane, Susan W., and Tom Patterson. State Houses: America's 50 State Capitol Buildings. Erin, Ontario: Boston Mills Press, 2005. ISBN: 1550464574

Historical Context
In 1865, the New York State Legislature passed an act authorizing the construction of a new Capitol Building. The act also created a Capitol Commission to oversee the project.  In 1867, the Legislature appropriated a quarter of a million dollars for its construction, but warned the Capitol Commission not to exceed $4 million on the project.  Thirty-two years and $25 million later, Governor Theodore Roosevelt declared the Capitol complete in 1899.  It had cost twice as much as the national Capitol.

According to the design of the original architect, Thomas Fuller, the Capitol was to be built in the Italian Renaissance style with a central courtyard, four main floors, and a large tower.  The actual Capitol building is a blend of architectural styles reflecting the five different architects who worked on the project over its long construction process.

Essential Question
How does architecture reflect a society's values and culture?
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and explain the influence of culture on the design.