Hayward’s United States Gazetteer (1853) page 487

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magnificent building was commenced in 1803,
and completed in 1812, at a cost to the city of
$538,734. It is 216 feet long, 105 feet wide, and
2 stories high, above the basement, with a third or
attic story to the centre building. Including the
attic story, it is 65 feet in height. Over the cen-
tre of the edifice there rises a lofty cupola, upon
which stands a colossal statue of Justice. The
entire structure, which consists of a centre build-
ing and two wings, covers 29,896 square feet of
ground. The walls of the front and ends are of
white marble, and that of the rear of the Nyack
brown freestone. The front is ornamented with
columns and pilasters, in ranges rising one above
another, of the Ionic, Corinthian, and composite
orders. A flight of 12 marble steps, extending
the whole length of the central building, leads to
the hall of entrance. In the centre of this hall is
a double staircase, with marble steps, ascending
to a circular gallery connecting with the halls
and passages of the second story. The staircase
is lighted from a dome above, to which, for its
support, 10 marble columns, of the Corinthian or-
der, ascend from the marble floor of the circular
gallery. The City Hall contains all the rooms and
offices requisite for the accommodation of the
courts, the mayor and aldermen, and common
council, and other municipal functionaries. There
is a splendid room, called the Governor's Room,
appropriated for the use of the governor of the
state whenever he visits the city. This room is
52 feet in length, and 20 feet in width; and its
walls are hung with the portraits of the govern-
ors of the state, including some of the old Dutch
governors, the mayors of the city, and a number
of the military and naval heroes of the country.
The chamber of the common council contains
several fine, full-length portraits of distinguished
personages, belonging to the period of the revo-
lution, painted by Trumbull. That of Washing-
ton, taken when he was in the prime of life, is
thought by many to be the best likeness in exist-
ence. The chair occupied by the president of
the common council, under a canopy at the head
of the room, is the identical chair occupied by
Washington when he presided over the first
American Congress, assembled in New York.

East of the City Hall, and also included in the
Park, is the Hall of Records, erected for the
purpose of receiving and keeping in security all
records and public documents of the city. It is
a large and handsome building, decorated with a
lofty Ionic portico on each front. In the rear of
these buildings is one formerly occupied as an
almshouse, but now fitted up to contain city of-
fices. Here are the Marine Court room, and the
rooms of the American Institute.

The Merchants' Exchange, in Wall Street, is
probably the largest, the most costly, and in some
respects" the most beautiful of the public buildings
of New York. It covers the entire block bounded
by Wall Street, William Street, Hanover Street,
and Exchange Place, and has a front upon Wall
Street of 198 feet. Its other dimensions are 196
feet on Exchange Place, 171 feet on William
Street, and 144 feet on Hanover Street. Its height
from the foundation wall to the top of the cornice
is 77 feet, and to the top of the dome 124 feet.
It stands partly on the site of the old Merchants'
Exchange, which was burned in the great fire on
December, 1835. From its confined situation, if
the heart of the most crowded portion of the city, its
immense proportions do not produce their proper
architectural effect, as a whole, like those of the
City Hall, which has an ample space around it.
The front, however, on Wall Street, has a most
imposing and beautiful effect. It is constructed
of a dark-blue Quincy granite, and has a splendid
colonnade, of the full length and height of the
building, with a recess in the centre, in which the
ranges are repeated, making in the whole 18 of
these massive columns, 38 feet high, and 4 feet
4 inches in diameter, each formed from a solid
block of granite, and weighing 43 tons. They
are of the Grecian Doric order, finely wrought
and fluted. It is stated that these columns, with
but one exception, that of a church at St. Peters-
burg, are the largest in the world. Their cost,
delivered in New York, was $3000 each. The
Exchange Room, or Rotunda, in the centre of the
building, is the most magnificent of its apart-
ments. It encloses an area of 7000 square feet,
and is calculated to accommodate 3000 persons.
The height of the room, to the springing of the
dome, is 51 feet, above which the dome ascends 30
feet, terminating in a skylight 37 feet in diameter.
8 Corinthian columns, of polished Italian marble,
support the dome within ; behind which there are
recesses, enlarging materially the area of the
room. Upon the floor of this magnificent hall
the merchants of New York meet daily during
the hours of change. On the roof is a marine
telegraph, communicating with a station on Sta-
ten Island, and sending down an hourly report to
the news room of the movements of the shipping
inward or outward bound. Admonished by the
destruction of the former Exchange, the company
have made the present building absolutely in-
combustible ; have used no wood in its construc-
tion, excepting for the doors and window frames.
The whole, including the dome, is of solid ma-
sonry. The Merchants' Exchange Company was
incorporated in 1823, with a capital of $1,000,000.
The entire cost of the new Exchange, includ-
ing the ground, is stated, in round numbers, at

The Custom House, in New York, is one of the
most perfect buildings of its size in the world. It
is finely located on the corner of Wall and Nas-
sau Streets, affording a view of its entire perspec-
tive, when seen from opposite its south-western
angle. The building is modelled after the Par-
thenon at Athens, with the omission of the col-
umns on the sides. It is 200 feet long by 90 feet
wide, and about 80 feet high from the bottom of
the foundation wall to the top. The front por-
tico, on Wall Street, has 8 fluted columns of the
Grecian Doric order, 5 feet 8 inches in diameter,
and 32 feet high, supporting a full entablature and
pediment above. The ascent to this portico from
the street is by 18 granite steps, which is the ele-
vation of the basement on this end. The ground
gradually rising as it recedes on Nassau Street,
leaves but 3 or 4 steps for the ascent to the portico
on the opposite end. This portico is similar to that
on the front on Wall Street. On each of the sides
are 13 pilasters, which are in keeping with the col-
umns on the two fronts. The building is two
lofty stories high above the basement. The en-
tire exterior, including the roof, is constructed of
white marble, excepting the steps, which, for great-
er durability, are of light-colored granite. Some
of the largest blocks of marble used weigh no less
than 33 tons. The marble slabs for the roof
weigh from 300 to 400 pounds, and are matched
with an under and upper lip of 8 inches, making

A Gazetteer of the United States of America by John Hayward

Hartford, CT: Case, Tiffany and Company. 1853. Public domaii

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