After 175 years, NC Capitol plans nearly in hand - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

After 175 years, NC Capitol plans nearly in hand

Posted: Updated:
New York architectural firm of Ithiel Town and Alexander Jackson Davis improved the earlier design, essentially giving the Capitol its present appearance and plan.(North Carolina State Capitol Foundation) New York architectural firm of Ithiel Town and Alexander Jackson Davis improved the earlier design, essentially giving the Capitol its present appearance and plan.(North Carolina State Capitol Foundation)
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Nearly 175 years after work was completed on the North Carolina State Capitol, the architectural plans of the historic structure are nearly in hand.

When completed in 1840, the Capitol was built of locally quarried stone and was the tallest building in the state. Today, skyscrapers on the nearby streets of downtown Raleigh dwarf the graceful structure, with its Greek columns, dome and rotunda.

The Capitol was completed for $563,000 — 10 times the budget and three times the total tax receipts of the state at the time. After a series of architects worked on the project, David Paton was the man who saw the work to completion.

"Toward the end of construction, the state ran out of funds to build the Capitol, so we didn't finish paying our architect. Not being fully paid, he simply packed up all of the original architectural drawings and left," said Kevin Cherry, the deputy secretary of the state Department of Cultural Resources.

Having no architectural plans is a challenge when repairs are needed, and could be problematic if the building had to be rebuilt in the event of fire or other disaster. So for almost a year now, architects who work on conserving historic buildings have been going over the Capitol from attic to cellar taking photographs, making computer generated architectural drawings and hand drawing the details of the building.

The baseline plans for the building, the first phase of the $75,000 project, are expected to be finished in a month or so, said Joseph Oppermann, one of the architects taking part in the effort. The work is being paid for by the nonprofit North Carolina State Capitol Foundation.

The Capitol now houses the governor's office. The legislature moved to newer quarters in the 1960s, although it occasionally returns for ceremonial sessions in the old House and Senate chambers.

Oppermann said the project is about both the past and planning for the future.

"When you have the baseline information, you know that some things will wear out in 20 years and some things in 80 years and some things in five," he said. "I typically use a 20- or a 25-year plan and say, 'Here's the kind of things to anticipate, and here's the kind of costs in today's dollars and how to deal with it in an appropriate fashion.'"

He said he didn't want to comment on the condition of various areas of the building until the work is complete.

"The other way to look at it beside a business plan is sort of like a medical plan," said Peter Aalestad, another of the architects. He compared it to dentist visits and said that for someone who has been before, the first order of business is X-rays.

"If we had the original plans, it would mean we would have had the X-rays to the building," he said. "We're going to get an accurate picture of what it is today, not what it was thought to be."

Foundation member Mary Ruffin Hanbury said the work will allow the state to plan to take care of the building.

"The Capitol is arguably the most significant building in the state for its architecture and its history," she said. "This project will give us a thorough understanding of all aspects of the building, how it has evolved over time, and its present condition. We can then develop a state-of-the-art maintenance plan."

  • 29 Virginia High Schools on Personal Finance Top-100 List

    29 Virginia High Schools on Personal Finance Top-100 List

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 9:32 PM EDT2014-04-23 01:32:06 GMT
    29 schools in the Commonwealth, including many in our area, ranked the the nation's top 100 best high schools for personal finance instruction.
    29 schools in the Commonwealth, including many in our area, ranked the the nation's top 100 best high schools for personal finance instruction.
  • Franklin Co. Sheriff's Office investigating juvenile death

    Franklin Co. Sheriff's Office investigating juvenile death

    Franklin Co. Sheriff's Office investigating juvenile death

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 10:50 AM EDT2014-04-22 14:50:58 GMT
    Deputies were called to Double Oaks Lane in the Burnt Chimney community, where they found a seven-year-old boy with a gunshot wound.
    Deputies were called to Double Oaks Lane in the Burnt Chimney community, where they found a seven-year-old boy with a gunshot wound.
  • Roanoke Police release pictures of suspects in armed robbery

    Roanoke Police release pictures of suspects in armed robbery

    Monday, April 21 2014 4:23 PM EDT2014-04-21 20:23:34 GMT
    Roanoke City Police continue to investigate the armed robbery that took place at Check into Cash on Valley View Boulevard last Tuesday, April 15th.
    Roanoke City Police continue to investigate the armed robbery that took place at Check into Cash on Valley View Boulevard last Tuesday, April 15th.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 2:49 PM EDT2014-04-22 18:49:19 GMT
    Image from CNN/KHOU-TVImage from CNN/KHOU-TV
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
  • Mom wins lawsuit against TSA after breast milk screening problems

    Mom wins lawsuit against TSA after breast milk screening problems

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 4:40 PM EDT2014-04-23 20:40:54 GMT
    A Southern California woman who was held at a Phoenix airport four years ago after refusing to have her breast milk X-rayed has reached a settlement with the Transportation Security Administration. Stacey
    A Southern California woman who was held at a Phoenix airport four years ago after refusing to have her breast milk X-rayed has reached a settlement with the Transportation Security Administration. Stacey
  • Owner of Raleigh 'Party Mansion' guilty of tax evasion

    Owner of Raleigh 'Party Mansion' guilty of tax evasion

    Monday, April 14 2014 4:07 PM EDT2014-04-14 20:07:04 GMT
    Claude Verbal II, who now lives in Miami, pleads guilty to a number of federal tax evasion charges.
    Claude Verbal II, who now lives in Miami, pleads guilty to a number of federal tax evasion charges.
Powered by WorldNow

WSLS 10, P.O. Box 10
Roanoke, VA 24022-0010

Telephone: 540.981.9110
Fax: 540.343.3157
Email: news@wsls.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.