Thursday, April 11, 2024

The Unknown Faces of the New York State Capitol Building, Albany, New York

The Unknown Faces of the New York State Capitol Building, Albany, New York 

Here’s another spotlight on the distinctive features of Albany's architectural landscape: The New York State Capitol Building. Much like its remarkable counterpart, the Deleware and Hudson Building, located further down the State Street hill, this structure is adorned with hidden meanings and intricate stonework details. Constructed over a span of 32 years, from 1867 to 1899, it was spearheaded by three teams of architects. The construction carried a staggering cost of 25 million dollars, equivalent to 774 million dollars in today's currency. 

A meticulous fusion of Italian Renaissance, French Renaissance, and Romanesque influences distinguishes the structure from any other in the Capitol District area. 

Embedded within the stonework are lifelike sculptures of numerous individuals. After completing the commissioned faces that were included as a nod to historical figures promoting in New York’s history, the stone carvers—many hailing from places like Scotland, the United Kingdom, and Italy—were granted the liberty to carve personal memories into the sandstone. Some chose to immortalize the countenance of their wives, while others opted for the youthful likeness of a beloved daughter. Both inside and outside the building, an array of stone faces can be found. Some depict prominent figures from the State's history, while others reflect the individual whims of the carvers. Many of these faces are encircled by intricately carved details relevant to the person they portray. Here is a collection of these remarkable stone portraits, along with other concealed meanings and carved elements adorning the Capitol.

© 2024 John Bulmer Photography + Nor'easter Films
All Rights Reserved