Thursday, September 24, 2015

When the Courthouse Was New

When our current courthouse was being designed and built in 1907, county officials were obsessed with fire prevention. The previous courthouse, designed by local architect Henry S. Moul, had been destroyed by fire only seven years after it was built, and they wanted to make the new courthouse as fireproof as possible.

Photo courtesy Historic Hudson
Achieving that goal involved having everything in the building, including the furniture, made of stone or metal--no wood.

This morning, Paul Barrett shared pages from what would today be called an advertorial (although the term wasn't coined until 1946) for the Dahlstrom Metallic Door Company, which was published in 1910, two years after the current Warren & Wetmore courthouse was completed.

The company's products are described in the document in this way:
We are the originators of HOLLOW-METAL FIREPROOFING. We manufacture DOORS, Electrical Cabinets and Cut-Out Boxes, Partitions, Wardrobes, and complete Trim, including PICTURE and WIRE MOULDING, CAPPING, CHAIR RAILING, and MOULDING for all purposes in Steel, Brass and Bronze.
The Dahlstrom Metallic Door Company probably provided many elements for the courthouse, for the company was clearly proud of its involvement. The Columbia County Courthouse, along with the Post Office and Office Building at Grand Central Station and the Scribner Press Building in New York, is among the forty installations cited as the company's "best recommendation" of its work.

There's even a picture of the courthouse lobby as it appeared when it was new.


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