Another great postcard also mailed by our fantastic friend Beki M. Albany, NY is the capital of New York state. She writes I go to college here and this is right next to the Hudson River (which flows all the way to new york city.) They call Albany and its surrounding cities the Capitol District. It gets pretty warm in the summer, but in the winter it gets so cold and windy!
The postcards facts state: New York's elegant stone capitol. Highlights of the capitol include the Senate Chamber, considered on of the world's most beautiful legislative chambers and the " Million Dollar Staircase". Tours of the state capitol are offered year round.
Here is some of what we learned: The Great Western Staircase, also known as the "Million Dollar Staircase," was designed by architect Isaac Perry and took 13 years to complete.This staircase, made of Corsehill freestone from Scotland, is 119 feet high with a 3000 square foot skylight at the top.
To complete this complex staircase, 600 stone carvers were employed to carve the structure by hand. There are approximately 77 famous faces carved into the pillars. Among those are: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, Generals Grant, Sherman and Sheridan, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Christopher Columbus, Walt Whitman, Susan B. Anthony and Clara Barton. Once all the famous faces were carved, the stone carvers were then allowed to carve faces of anyone they Carving of George Washington's face on staircase chose, including friends, family members and people off the street. These less famous faces are known as the "Capitol Unknowns." Along with faces, many animals, birds and fruits were carved into the banisters of the staircase.
Over time, the staircase was altered. The Capitol fire in 1911 left the masonry soiled and darkened by soot. During World War II the skylight was covered to protect the building from possible air raids. After 60 years of darkness, the skylight was uncovered in August of 2002, and in September of 2006 the cleaning of the staircase masonry was completed. The pictures above show the domed glass daylight above the staircase. This daylight is then covered by an angled skylight on the Capitol roof.