New York State Capitol and the Great Fire of 1911, The
In the early morning hours of March 29, 1911, a fire broke out in the New York State Capitol at Albany. By sunset, the entire western portion of the building had sustained extensive structural damage. Within lay the entire collection of the New York State Library, almost completely reduced to ashes. Founded in 1818, this had been one of the finest research libraries in the country and home to innumerable manuscript and printed rarities. In a particularly bitter irony, the fire struck as the overcrowded library was four months away from moving into new, spacious quarters under construction across the street. Miraculously there was only one fatality, an elderly watchman, Samuel Abbott, whose body was not recovered until several days later. Images of America: The New York State Capitol and the Great Fire of 1911 includes recently discovered photographs documenting the construction of the building, beginning in 1867, as well as eyewitness accounts of its destruction.
- 2011 Paul Mercer and Vicki Weiss for the Friends of the New York State Library
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