The Grand Face of Public Architecture, 1867 [Slide Show]
Images from the Archive of
Scientific American The Public Ledger Building, Philadelphia. Opened in 1867, torn down in 1920 for a replacement that still stands. The building showed the power (and profit) of the press in a print era (the Ledger went bust in 1942). Credits: Scientific American, July 27, 1867
The Public Ledger Building, Philadelphia. Opened in 1867, torn down in 1920 for a replacement that still stands. The building showed the power (and profit) of the press in a print era (the
Ledger went bust in 1942). Scientific American, July 27, 1867
It's not the Temple of Xochicalco in Mexico but a replica in the Champs de Mars, Paris, built for the 1867 International Exposition to showcase ancient art and civilization in Mexico.
Scientific American, November 16, 1867
A replica of a 15th-century mosque built in Paris for the Exposition of 1867. The intent was to showcase Islamic architecture and culture at a time when almost no Moslems lived in France.
Scientific American, November 9, 1867
Tenements in Islington, London, “for the accommodation of the poor of that great metropolis.” These “imposing edifices” were part of the philanthropy of financier George Peabody.
Scientific American, March 23, 1867 Advertisement
Railroad bridge over the Hudson at Albany. In operation from 1866 to 1901. A beautiful and practical way of connecting goods, markets, and people, in an era of few bridges.
Scientific American, July 6, 1867
A patent for safer rail switching also shows off an idealized railroad station in the middle of the countryside: neat, efficient, well-signed.
Scientific American, May 4, 1867
The new grand avenue of Smithfield Market, London, in 1867. Built to upgrade the unwholesomeness of the open-air meat market, and still in business.
Scientific American, August 3, 1867
The long bridge over the Susquehanna River at Havre de Grace, Maryland, finished in 1866 for the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad. It was a huge boost to trade and travel.
Scientific American, June 1, 1867 Advertisement
An "arcade railway" proposed to integrate architecture, roads, subways, shops, utilities—all the elements of crowded city centers.
Scientific American, February 9, 1867
The Mormon Tabernacle at Salt Lake City, finished in 1867. Ironically, “this building was not constructed with any view to display architecture, but merely as a temporary meeting place.” Still standing, it houses the famous Choir.
Scientific American, June 8, 1867 Advertisement
Public buildings have always been so much more than a utilitarian pile of building materials. Their design and construction self-consciously encompass the aspirational values of the builder, the user, and the society of which it is part. Technology-driven utility may be at the heart of these structures, but their final form is an artistic expression of a desire to awe, inspire, ennoble or educate. We may look back and think of them as quaint or amusing or beautiful, but in 1867 these edifices filled the same needs as their counterparts of the early 21st century.
This article was originally published with the title "The Grand Face of Public Architecture, 1867"
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