Design

A New-York-Only Class

I’ve had the tab with this picture open for months, and I forget why. That’s the National Shoe and Leather Bank Buliding, at the southwest corner of Chambers Street and Broadway, shortly after completion in 1895. The trees on the left are City Hall Park. The building was as bizarre as this photo makes it …

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Narrow And Dramatic

The American west is always good for dramatic scenery, and human intervention has often made it even more striking. The 1905 picture above is titled “Canyon of the Rio las Animas, Colorado” and it shows a narrow-gauge train on the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad in the valley. The railroad line I’ve ridden most often …

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The First Generation

So if the 1890 Madison Square Garden was the third generation of long-span roof, and the 1880 Seventh Regiment Armory was the second, what was the first? The first Grand Central train station, built 1869 to 1871. Again, the short decade between Grand Central and the armory was a long time in terms of structural …

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The Previous Generation

In talking about the truss roof at the 1890 second Madison Square Garden, I mentioned that it was one of the relatively few long-span roofs in the city at that time. That raises the question of what did the other ones look like? By far, the most common long-span roofs were over church sanctuaries, most …

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Superior Construction, Except

It turns out that I hadn’t quite run out of things to say about the second Madison Square Garden. Above, a circa 1910 view from the park, where you can just make our Diana and her bow on top of the tower. Below, the 1899 Sanborn map: The purpose of the Sanborn maps was to …

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