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Old New York Capitol Building, Albany, n.d.

Old Capitol from southeast. Albany, N.Y.
New York State Archives, NYSA_A3045-78_X_8002
Document Description
The old New York State Capitol Building in Albany, n.d.
How long was the Old Capitol used before it was torn down?
How old is the New Capitol?
Why do you think Albany was chosen as the state capital?  Do you think another city would have been a better location?
What clues could you use to figure out approximately when this photograph was taken?
Historical Challenges
What stood on top of the Old Capitol Building?
Interdisciplinary Connections
Math: The Old Capitol cost $110,685.42 to build. The New Capitol cost $25 million. Approximately how many times more expensive was the New Capitol?
English Language Arts: Discuss the difference between "capitol" and "capital."
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 colonial times, New York's government met in New York City.  When New York became a state, its legislature migrated among various towns, such as Poughkeepsie, Kingston, Albany, and New York City, a practice begun during the Revolutionary War when New York City was occupied by the British.  In 1797, the New York Legislature passed a bill to construct a building in Albany to store its records and papers, effectively making Albany the capital city of New York.

The Old Capitol Building was designed by Philip Hooker.  Construction began in 1806, although the building was not occupied until 1809.  Over time, New Yorkers became dissatisfied with the Capitol, which was too small and poorly ventilated.  Construction began on the New Capitol Building in 1867.  When the Old Capitol was torn down in 1883, the New Capitol was in use but was still far from complete.

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