Home -> John J. Newbegin -> The Jewel City -> XVII. The State Buildings

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The State Buildings

A section full of historical and architectural interest - Many notable buildings simply furnish State headquarters, others contain important exhibits - California's great Mission structure - The remarkable display of her counties - New York's stately palace - Oregon's timbered Parthenon - Interesting chapters in American history told by the houses of Massachusetts, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey - Fine buildings of the Western States - Attractive pavilions of the Philippines and Hawaii.

The state buildings at the Exposition fall naturally into three groups: those that reproduce or suggest historical structures, those characteristic in some way of their builders, and those that express the importance of their states by dignified architecture and significant exhibits. The richer the history of the state, the more likely its building is to reflect its past. Several states which possess famous historical buildings, such as Mount Vernon or Independence Hall, have either copied them or used their motives in the Exposition structures. Twenty-seven states, the Territory of Hawaii, and the Philippine Islands, are represented by twenty-eight buildings.

The California Building, Thomas H. Burditt of San Francisco, architect, by far the largest state building ever erected at any exposition, is an exceedingly happy treatment of the Mission style. (See p. 179.) Its commanding tower is better than anything ever done by the padres in California. From its facade, Fray Junipero Serra looks out over a charming garden, which, more than anything else, invests this building with the real spirit of California. It is a reproduction, even to the fountain, the pepper trees, and the old fashioned flowers, of the private garden of the Santa Barbara Mission, a spot where no woman treads. From this garden, enclosed by walls of clipped Monterey cypress, one looks at the tower and is at once translated to Southern California.

This building covers five acres, and is worthy to be ranked with the Exposition palaces. Under the tower is a fine vaulted loge and a reception room, both opening into a splendid balconied ballroom behind, all finished in the Exposition travertine. The walls of the reception room are hung with magnificent tapestries, loaned by Mrs. Phoebe A. Hearst. The west wing contains the administrative offices of the Exposition and the Woman's Board, and the directors' club rooms. The large eastern wing is entirely filled with the displays of the fifty-eight California counties. (p. 182.) These together form one of the most noteworthy exhibits in the entire Exposition. They demonstrate the fact that a multitude of other resources besides her gold entitle California to be called "the Golden State."

The Oregon Building, Foulkes and Hogue of Portland, architects, imitates, though it does not reproduce, the Parthenon of the Athenian Acropolis. (p. 191.) Doric marble is replaced by the natural columns of the great trees of Oregon, and the frieze of Phidias, by the fretwork of the bark of pine and fir. There are forty-eight of the great columns, the same number as in the outer colonnade of the Parthenon, and, coincidentally, one for each State of the Union. They were cut from among the largest of trees. The Douglas fir, next to the redwood and the sequoia the most massive of living things, furnished most of them. But the largest happen to be the two giant incense cedars, which stand on either side of the main entrance. These are eight feet and ten inches in diameter. Then there are two columns on the south side, both cut from a spruce that was four feet seven inches through at 101 feet above the ground.

In exterior proportions the building reproduces the Parthenon, but the Parthenon had a double row of columns around its porch, the Oregon temple has but a single row. In size it is considerably larger than the Partheon. The great flagpole is a single stick of Douglas fir, 251 feet long, set in a 200-ton block of concrete. The building contains an excellent exhibit of Oregon's resources.

The Washington Building, A. F. Heide of San Francisco, architect, is a striking example of the French Renaissance. (p. 191.) Unlike most of the state buildings, it is used largely for the exhibition of home products. Its motion pictures, its group of wild life, and its displays of agriculture, mining, forestry and fisheries, are all designed to advertise the remarkable scenery and resources of the Evergreen State. Washington is an important exhibitor in the Palaces of Horticulture, Agriculture, Food Products, Mines and Education.

The New York State Building is, next to that of California, the largest structure erected by any state. (p. 170.) It is in every way a dignified and noteworthy example of the best modern civic architecture. Charles B. Meyers, of New York City, was the architect. The building is finished in plastic travertine. A magnificent entrance opens upon a wide central corridor. An assembly room, intended for the use of New York organizations, and a restaurant, pierce the second story. The other rooms on the first floor are devoted to the reception and convenience of New York visitors. On the other floors are the offices and apartments of the Commission, with a special suite for the Governor of the State. New York's official exhibits are in the several exhibit palaces.

The New York City Building, Bertram G. Goodhue, of New York, architect, is the only municipal building at the Exposition. It is a simple classic structure, housing an extensive display intended to demonstrate and promote municipal efficiency. Its exhibits, maps, models, photographs and charts, - admirably illustrate all sides of city government.

The Massachusetts Building, planned by Wells and Dana, of Boston, is a fac-simile reproduction of the Bulfinch front of the Massachusetts State House on a scale of two-thirds. (p. 181.) Within, as well as without, it is of commanding interest to every American. Its rooms are furnished with veritable colonial furniture. The club room to the right of the entrance hall is done in Jacobean style, the reception room opposite shows fine copies of Chippendale, Sheraton, Hepplewhite and Adams originals, and is hung with a long series of historic portraits, lent by Massachusetts families and the State Historical Society. On the second floor is a room filled with genuine old furniture by the most famous makers, fine colonial mirrors, and a Willard clock. The Governor's suite and the Commissioners' rooms are furnished with exquisite copies of colonial models.

The Pennsylvania Building, Henry Hornbostel, of Pittsburgh, architect. This interesting structure is reminiscent of Independence Hall, Philadelphia, though it is not a reproduction of the Cradle of Liberty. (p. 181.) Its plan was dictated by the necessity of a fireproof structure in which to house the Liberty Bell at the Exposition. Consequently, it is the solidest and most enduring of the state buildings. Besides the Bell, which is placed in the loggia, its most striking feature is the two fine mural paintings under the attic, from the brush of Edward Trumbull, of Pittsburgh, one representing Penn's Treaty with the Indians, and the other Pittsburgh Industries.

The New Jersey Building, Hugh Roberts, of Jersey City, architect, like those of Pennsylvania and Virginia, tells of the days of the Revolution. It is a copy of the old Trenton barracks, erected in 1758, and used alternately by British and Colonial troops during the Revolution. Within, its simple and comfortable appointments make it one of the most popular of the state buildings. A large lounge with blazing fireplaces, and furnished in white reed, occupies the entire central section. In the east wing are the offices and rooms of the Commission. The west wing contains the lobby and a reception room in which hang two large marines painted by N. Hagerup, of San Francisco. As the building is to be President Wilson's headquarters if he comes to the Exposition, a splendid suite, corresponding with the rooms occupied by General Washington, has been furnished and reserved for him.

The Maryland Building, designed by Thomas, Parker and Rice, of Baltimore, presents a fascinating study of colonial architecture in its reproduction of "Homewood," built by Charles Carroll of Carrollton in 1802. The present aspect of "Homewood" has been imitated in appearance of age given to the brickwork and the timbering. The contents of the building are no less delightful, historically, than the structure itself. The Colonial Dames of America have enriched the walls with original portraits of colonial celebrities, old prints, original grants by the Baltimores, and many historical documents and relics. Colonial furniture adorns the rooms. Few of the state buildings will so well repay a visit.

The Virginia Building, Charles K. Bryant, of Richmond, architect, is as significant historically as any on the grounds. It is a complete reproduction of George Washington's home at Mount Vernon, down to the spinning room, the detached kitchen and the servants' quarters, and furnished in part with Washington's own furniture loaned by Miss Nannie Randolph Heth, of Virginia, the official hostess of the building. There is Washington's chair, Mrs. Washington's work box, Nellie Custis' music stand, and many other relics of the Father of his Country. The remaining furniture, also loaned by Miss Heth, consists of antique specimens brought over from England in colonial days.

The West Virginia Building, designed by H. Rus Warne, of Charleston, W. Va., while not copying any individual structure, suggests well-known colonial types. Its veranda, in particular, is like that of the home of the Lees at Arlington. The chief room is the long reception hall, where logs always burn in a huge fireplace, typifying the warmth of West Virginian hospitality.

The Mississippi Building, Overstreet and Spencer, of Jackson, architects, was designed to suggest the old-style Southern mansions. Some of its motives, especially the pillared portico, were taken from the old capitol building at Jackson. The displays contained in it are chiefly agricultural. Mississippi is also represented in the Exposition palaces.

The Ohio Building, designed by Albert Pretzinger, of Dayton, is a copy, on a smaller scale, of the classic State House at Columbus. Containing no exhibits except the relics shown by the State Historical Society, the building serves the social side of Ohio's participation in the Exposition. Its upper floor is entirely occupied by suites for the Governor and the Commissioners.

The Indiana Building, designed by J. F. Johnson, of Indianapolis, represents a type of modern Hoosier dwellings. It is of permanent construction, of sandstone and brick with a tiled roof, and unique in the fact that all of the materials used and all the furnishings are Indiana products. State pride appears again in the library of 15,000 volumes, confined entirely to the works of Indiana authors and books about Indiana. In addition to the building, which is wholly an exhibit, Indiana is well represented in the Exposition palaces.

The Illinois Building, designed by State Architect James Di Belka, of Chicago, is perhaps the best exhibit of the State at the Exposition. (p. 180.) It is a dignified three-story structure of the Italian Renaissance. The Sculptured tablets of the facades represent the history and progress of Illinois. The exhibits within are of unusual interest. The Lincoln Memorial Room, made possible by Mrs. Jessie Palmer Weber, contains a great collection of photographs, letters and relics of Lincoln, and many articles connected with his life. The valuable series of films prepared by the Chicago City Planning Commission is shown in the moving-picture hall. This building contains a fine pipe organ on which frequent recitals are given.

The Wisconsin Building, designed by R. A. Messmer & Co., Milwaukee, in the colonial style with wide porticoes, contains one of the State's best exhibits in its interior finish of fine Wisconsin hardwoods. The floors are all of maple and the paneled wall of birch. "Old Abe," the famous Wisconsin war eagle, stands above the main entrance. Over the fireplace in the reception room is a panel in relief, "The Progress of Wisconsin." The building is used a headquarters for Wisconsin visitors.

The Iowa Building, Clinton P. Shockley, of Waterloo, IA., architect, is a classic structure, finished, like most of the state buildings, in the Exposition travertine. It does credit to the public spirit of Iowa business men, who, in default of a legislative appropriation, supplied the funds.

The Missouri Building, designed by H. H. Hohenchild, of St. Louis, is a structure of real distinction in the Georgian style. (p. 180.) It copies no Missouri building, and is historical only in its pleasant combination of architectural features much used in early days. The building is of permanent construction and after the Exposition closes is to be turned over to the Government as a club house for the army, - this as a compliment to Major-General Arthur Murray, who, like so many other eminent Americans, hails from Pike County. The Missouri Home, as it is called, is used as a gathering place for visiting Missourians, and for the strong Missouri Society of California.

The Kansas Building, Charles Chandler, of Topeka, architect, is a pavilion in the style of the Italian Renaissance. It is a club house, devoted solely to the comfort and entertainment of visitors. Strong exhibits are made by the state in the palaces of Agriculture, Horticulture, Food Products, Education, and in the Live-Stock Section.

The Arkansas-Oklahoma Building, designed by George R. Mann, of Little Rock, was built and furnished by private subscriptions by citizens of the two states. It is a roomy bungalow designed for the convenience of visitors from Arkansas and Oklahoma, and exhibits some of their products.

The Texas Building, Page and Brothers, Austin, architects, is a pleasing example of Mexican architecture as distinguished from the California Mission style. It suggests the Alamo, and bears the Lone Star pierced through its raised cornice. Within is a patio, reached by broad entrances from the verandas at front and rear. A motion-picture hall, a ballroom, offices and rest rooms occupy the greater part of the building. The state exhibits are in the Exposition palaces.

The North Dakota Building, Joseph B. De Remer, formerly of Grand Forks, now of Los Angeles, architect, owes its unique ground-plan to a three-cornered lot. That it is a pleasing structure is witnessed by several dwelling houses now being built in California after its plans. The building is French in style, treated in a simple manner. It contains interesting exhibits of the products of the Northern State, including a noteworthy display of pottery made at the University of North Dakota, an institution which devotes much of its effort to promoting state industries.

The Montana Building, Carl Nuese, San Francisco, architect, is one of the group of classic structures finished in plastic travertine. The only display made in the building, which serves as a social center for visitors from Montana, is a school exhibit. The State is, however, largely represented in the Palaces of Mines, Agriculture and Horticulture.

The Idaho Building, Wayland and Fennell, of Boise, architects, was the first state structure completed at the Exposition. It is built in the manner of the Italian Renaissance and looks out over the bay. Like most buildings of the Western states, it is equipped with a moving-picture theatre, as well as rooms for visitors. Idaho's exhibits are chiefly in the Exposition palaces.

The Nevada Building, designed by F. J. De Longchamps, of Carson, is another structure in the style of the French Renaissance. It is the headquarters of the Nevada Society of California and of visitors from the Sagebrush State. Nevada has important exhibits in several palaces.

The Utah Building, Cannon and Fetzer, of Salt Lake, architects, is a classic structure with deep porticoed front. All its furniture is an exhibit, made by the pupils of the manual training department of the Utah schools. The building contains interesting models of copper and gold mines, and an exhibit of the processes of salt-making, displays of building-stone, grains and grasses, and collections from the cliff dwellings. Other exhibits are in the Palaces of Mines, Education and Horticulture.

The Hawaiian Building, C. W. Dickey, of Oakland, architect, excellently represents the Pacific isles. In style it is French Renaissance, built with a half rotunda at the rear to accommodate a semi-circular aquarium. In the center of the main hall is a clump of palms and tree ferns, and native singers give the island touch. The aquarium contains a wonderful collection of the many-hued fish of the South Seas. Interesting displays of native cabinet woods are made in the finish of the offices. Though small, the Hawaiian building has proved one of the most popular.

The Philippines Pavilion, designed by the Bureau of Architecture, is one of the Exposition places which no one should miss. It marks the creation of an original style of exposition building. It is Filipino in all its motives. Its groups of four columns suggest the four essential posts of native hut construction; the broad roofs are tiled; the windows are not glass, but of thin shell, the common material used in the islands; the walls are finished in split bamboo matting. The same style of construction is used also in all the Philippine booths in the palaces. The materials are used with restrained taste, and this, with the magnificent cabinet woods employed throughout the construction, has resulted in a beautiful building. It is a little hard to realize the richness of the woods used here. The very floors in the pavilion and the booths are good enough to make piano cases of. The central portion, upstairs and down, is floored, wainscoted and ceiled with the costliest of timber. The two offices to right and left of the main entrance are finished in a beautiful, hard, heavy rosewood, called narra, the one to the right in yellow narra, that on the left in red narra. The stairway is of a magnificent, richly figured, claret-red hardwood called tindalo, the favorite material for such construction in the islands. The panels of its wainscoting and the balusters are of a dark velvety epil, so dark and so glossy in some places that it looks almost like agate. All the columns are natural trunks of the palma brava.

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