1: The newly built Connecticut State Library and Supreme Court Building at 231 Capitol Avenue in Hartford was described in 1910 as "one of the most beautiful structures in this country and said by some to be the handsomest building in New England." Hartford Courant Dec. 17, 1910, p. 18
2: Prior to 1910, the State Library was located in the State Capitol, where it had been housed since 1878. By 1906, the space for the Library was inadequate. The collections were dispersed in four locations throughout the building and over 13,000 new items were being received each year. Portraits of the Governors of Connecticut were displayed along the walls, and the Charter of the Colony of Connecticut and other valuable archival material were stored in free-standing vaults.
3: State Librarian, George Godard
4: Architects Donn Barber of New York and E.T. Hapgood of Hartford envisioned a design based on an adaptation of the Italian Renaissance style of architecture. The design included three wings off of a central lobby, the State Library on the left, Memorial Hall in the center and the Supreme Court on the right.
5: "According to the architects, the features outlined in their proposal expressed the "dignified purpose of the building". Though not in the Gothic architectural style of the Capitol, the similarity in "color and materials, scale and general mass" between the two buildings ensured that the structures would "harmonize well". Connecticut Bar Journal v. 67, 1993, p. 484
6: Men excavated the site with shovels and pickaxes and loaded the debris into horse-drawn wagons.
7: Looking south from the State Capitol. Derricks are in place and foundation footings are visible on the Library side (to the left). In the foreground on Capitol Avenue, horse-drawn wagons are carting away debris while an automobile travels down the street. Photo taken Jan.1, 1909.
8: On May 25, 1909 the cornerstone was laid in the northeast corner of the building facing Lafayette Street. The cornerstone contains Connecticut and U. S. flags, books, photographs and coins, a piece of the Charter Oak and the day's Hartford newspapers.
9: Library staff, including the Misses Penfield, Evans, Herman, Pricket, Yale and Pearson celebrated on the Capitol lawn.
10: Thirty-four granite steps lead up to the entrance. The terms "Knowledge" "History" and "Justice" are inscribed over the portal.
11: The Main Lobby. "Passing through the main entrance one at once receives an impression of sweeping arches, lofty pillars and impressive stairways..." Hartford Courant Dec.17,1910, p. 18. Tennessee Pink marble is used in the flooring, base course, and treads of the stairs, while Tavernelle Pink marble is used in all other areas.
13: Memorial Hall was designed to display the portraits of Connecticut Governors and provide exhibit space for items relating to Connecticut History. The floor is red Moravian tile, and the walls were covered with gold silk brocade. The room is 51 feet wide, 85 feet long, and 35 feet high. Memorial Hall is now used as the exhibition area for the Museum of Connecticut History.
14: Against the south wall, the original 1662 Charter of the Colony of Connecticut was, and still is, securely enclosed in its specially constructed vault under a Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington. (The portrait now hangs in the Old State House)
15: Two vaults were installed on either side of the main entrance for display of the Mitchelson Coin Collection and to safely and securely display other important artifacts. The elaborately carved oak balcony over the entrance is accessible from the Main Lobby.
16: The architects designed intricately carved window arches for the east Balcony window and elaborate cornices. They selected Caen Stone for the walls.
17: Patrons using the Reading Room
18: State Librarian George Godard and his staff moved their offices to the new building on November 28, 1910. Godard reflected in his 1910 Annual Report: "We have seen gradually brought to completion our new State Library and Supreme Court Building, dignified and beautiful in its architecture, solid and substantial in its construction, and complete and convenient in its arrangement."
19: The End