Governor Buckingham Statue, Connecticut State Capitol, Hartford

The statue of Governor William A. Buckingham in the west atrium of the Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford, around 1891. Image from Hartford Illustrated (1891).

The scene in 2019:

William A. Buckingham served as governor of Connecticut from 1858 to 1866, including for the entire duration of the Civil War. During that time, he was instrumental in recruiting soldiers for the state regiments, in addition to raising money to equip them. In several instances, he even took out personal loans in order to ensure that Connecticut soldiers were paid in a timely manner. Because of his actions, he earned the respect of the state’s veterans, and he was subsequently elected to the U.S. Senate, where he served from 1869 until his death in 1875.

The current Connecticut State Capitol was completed in 1878, and the west atrium was designated as the Hall of Flags, to display the battle flags of the state’s various Civil War regiments. These flags were placed here on September 17, 1879—the anniversary of the Battle of Antietam—with a celebration that included a parade of more than ten thousand veterans. Then, five years later, the state installed this statue of Governor Buckingham, which was designed by Olin L. Warner, a prominent sculptor from Suffield, Connecticut. It was unveiled here on June 18, 1884 with similar fanfare, including a large parade of veterans and speeches by state dignitaries.

The first photo was taken around 1891, and very little has changed since then. The atrium is a little more crowded now, because of added security at the entrance, but the statue of Governor Buckingham is still here, as are most of the regimental flags. The capitol building was extensively restored during the 1980s, and during this time many of the flags were also restored. After being on display for well over a century, most were badly deteriorated, with some even falling off of their poles. Of the 110 flags, 73 were restored in the 1980s. Funding has been a challenge since then, but more flags have continued to be conserved over the years, and have been put back on display here in the Hall of Flags.

Nathan Hale State, Connecticut State Capitol, Hartford

The Nathan Hale statue inside the Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford, around 1891. Image from Hartford Illustrated (1891).

The statue in 2019:

Perhaps the most celebrated Revolutionary War figure from Connecticut is Nathan Hale, the young schoolteacher-turned-soldier who was hanged as a spy in 1776. He is memorialized by several statues throughout the state, including here in the east wing of the state capitol building. This statue was designed in 1886 by sculptor Karl Gerhardt, and it is made of bronze atop a marble base, on which is inscribed Hale’s famous, if possibly apocryphal last words: “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”

The statue was formally unveiled here in the capitol on June 14, 1887, in a ceremony attended by dignitaries such as Governor Phineas C. Lounsbury and Mayor Morgan Bulkeley, who would later go on to become governor and U.S. senator. The dedication address was presented by Charles Dudley Warner, a writer whose most famous work was the novel The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today, which he had co-authored with fellow Hartford resident Mark Twain.

The first photo was taken about four years after the statue was installed here, and since then essentially nothing has changed in this scene. The statue is still here in the same spot, and the interior of the capitol itself has remained well-preserved, retaining its original ornate Victorian-era design.

The Genius of Connecticut, Connecticut State Capitol, Hartford

The plaster model of The Genius of Connecticut, located inside the Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford, around 1891. Image from Hartford Illustrated (1891).

The scene in 2019:

Connecticut’s current state capitol building was completed in 1878, and it was originally topped by The Genius of Connecticut, which was designed by sculptor Randolph Rogers. This 18-foot-tall bronze statue stood atop the building’s dome for many years, but the original plaster model was also retained, and it stood here on the main floor of the capitol, just inside the northern entrance. The first photo was taken around 1891, showing the plaster model along with some of the ornate Victorian-era decorations inside the building.

The statue on the dome was ultimately damaged during the 1938 hurricane and was taken down, and it was subsequently melted down for scrap metal during World War II. However, the plaster model has remained here inside the capitol, although in the 1980s it was painted bronze as part of a restoration effort. Then, in 2007, it was again used as a model, this time with the use of lasers to accurately measure every detail of the statue. Using this information, a replica statue was cast in bronze, with the goal of eventually placing it atop the dome.

Today, neatly 130 years after the first photo was taken, the plaster model still stands here in the entryway. Aside from the bronze paint to the statue and the addition of a few items inside the building, hardly anything has changed here in this scene, and the capitol remains in use as the seat of the state government. Just around the corner, out of view to the left, is the replica bronze statue, which as of right now stands at the base of the rotunda, awaiting the necessary funds to raise it to the top of the building.

John P. Hale Statue, Concord, New Hampshire

The John P. Hale statue on the grounds of the New Hampshire State House in Concord, around 1900-1909. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

The statue in 2019:

This statue of Senator John P. Hale is one of several on the grounds of the New Hampshire State House that honor famous New Hampshire residents. Although not as nationally-prominent as some of the others, such as Franklin Pierce and Daniel Webster, Hale was an important politician in the years immediately before and after the Civil War. He served for 16 years in the Senate, where he was a staunch opponent of slavery, and he later served as the U. S. Minister to Spain from 1865 to 1869.

Ironically, despite being a political ally of Abraham Lincoln, Hale inadvertently almost became the father-in-law of John Wilkes Booth. His daughter, Lucy Lambert Hale, was a leading socialite in Washington D.C., and she had many suitors, including Robert Todd Lincoln, whom Senator Hale hoped she would marry. Instead, though, she became secretly engaged to Booth, who was a successful actor at the time. They never married, and Booth was killed less than two weeks after he assassinated Lincoln, but Lucy’s photo was found on his body after he was killed.

Lucy Lambert Hale ultimately married William E. Chandler, a New Hampshire attorney and newspaper publisher who subsequently represented the state in the Senate from 1887 to 1901. During this time, he lobbied for a statue here on the State House grounds to honor his father-in-law, who had died in 1873. Chandler paid for the statue, and the state agreed to accept it and place it here in front of the northeast corner of the State House. The statue was designed by German sculptor Ferdinand von Miller, and it was cast in his foundry in Munich, the same place where the nearby Daniel Webster statue was cast several years earlier.

Hale’s statue was unveiled on August 3, 1892, in a ceremony that included addresses by William Chandler and Governor Hiram A. Tuttle. Other dignitaries included four former governors, along with members of the Hale and Chandler families, including John Hale’s widow and his daughter Lucy. The keynote speaker was Colonel Daniel Hall, a Civil War veteran from Hale’s hometown of Dover. His speech included an outline of the history of slavery in America and Hale’s opposition to it, noting that Hale had, early in his political career, “found his conscience and his whole better nature insurgent against the slave system.” These abolitionist sentiments are also expressed on the plaque at the base of the monument, which includes the claim that he was the “first anti-slavery U. S. Senator.”

The first photo was taken about a decade or so after the statue’s installation, and it has remained here ever since. Not much else has changed in this scene, with the exception of some alterations to the State House in the background. The building was renovated in 1909-1910 with a large addition to the rear, along with a third floor in place of the 1860s mansard roof. Otherwise, though, the State House looks much the same as it did when the first photo was taken more than a century ago, and it remains in use as one of the oldest state capitol buildings in the United States.

Daniel Webster Statue, Concord, New Hampshire

The Daniel Webster statue in front of the New Hampshire State House in Concord, around 1900-1909. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

The statue in 2019:

The grounds of the New Hampshire State House feature statues of some of the state’s most famous residents, including Daniel Webster, whose statue occupies a prominent location directly in front of the eastern entrance to the building. Webster is best known for being part of the Great Triumvirate, which also included John C. Calhoun of South Carolina and Henry Clay of Kentucky. These three senators were among the most influential American politicians of the first half of the 19th century, serving as the primary advocates for their respective regions of the country from the 1820s until their deaths in the early 1850s.

Although Webster spent most of his political career in Massachusetts, he was born in New Hampshire and represented the state in the U. S. House of Representatives from 1813 to 1817. He subsequently moved to Boston, but he was not forgotten here in his native state, and in 1886 this statue was dedicated here in front of the State House. The commission for designing the statue had originally gone to Martin Milmore, but he died in 1883 and the statue was completed by noted sculptor Thomas Ball, whose previous works had included a large statue of Webster in Central Park.

The first photo was taken several decades after the statue was installed here, and shortly before the State House underwent a major renovation in 1909-1910. From this angle, the result of this renovation can be seen with the third floor, which replaced the 1860s mansard roof from the first photo. Otherwise, though, not much has changed here in this scene, and the statue of Daniel Webster still stands here overlooking downtown Concord.

New Hampshire State House, Concord, New Hampshire

The New Hampshire State House in Concord, around 1900-1909. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

The State House in 2019:

Completed in 1819, the New Hampshire State House is among the oldest state capitol buildings in the country, and it is the oldest one with both of its original legislative chambers still in use. Despite this, though, the building has undergone substantial changes over the past two centuries, on both the interior and exterior. The original design was the work of architect Stuart James Park, and it was two stories in height, with a cupola at the top and an exterior of locally-quarried granite.

By the mid-19th century building had become too small, and the city of Manchester offered to build a new capitol building if the state government relocated to the much larger industrial city to the south. However, the state ultimately chose to remain in Concord, and hired noted architect Gridley J. F. Bryant to renovate the building. His expansion, which is shown in the first photo, was completed in 1866. It included a mansard roof, which allowed for more interior space, along with the addition of a columned portico here on the east facade. Bryant also replaced the old cupola with a much larger dome, although he retained the wooden eagle that had originally sat atop the cupola.

By the time the first photo was taken in the early 20th century, the building was again too small, which reignited the debate about moving the capital to Manchester. Once again, though, the building was expanded instead of being abandoned, and this time the renovations were designed by the Boston architectural firm of Peabody and Stearns. Most significantly, this project included a large addition to the rear of the building for the governor’s office, Executive Council chambers, and other government offices.

The other major change, which is much more visible from this angle, involved removing the 1860s mansard roof and adding a full third floor, topped with a flat roof and a granite balustrade along the roofline. Like the rest of the building, the third floor was constructed of granite, but the blocks were sourced from a different quarry. As a result, the present-day photo shows a noticeable difference in the shade of the granite between the second and third floors.

This project was completed in 1910, and the building has remained in use ever since. Today, aside from the age of its legislative chambers, the building is also significant for housing by far the largest state legislature in the country. With 400 representatives and 24 senators, the New Hampshire General Court is nearly twice the size of the next two largest state legislatures, and its House of Representatives is almost the same size of the United States House of Representatives.

Well over a century after the first photo was taken, the removal of the mansard roof is still the only significant change to this scene. Otherwise, this scene has remained essentially the same as it looked at the turn of the 20th century, and even the two statues are still standing in front of the State House, honoring two famous native New Hampshirites. On the left is General John Stark, and further in the distance on the right is Daniel Webster. The gold dome is also still topped with an eagle, although the current one is a copper replica of the original wooden one, which was removed in 1957 and put on display inside the State House.