city whose possession it is. More than this, it is liable to become
positively dangerous to life and person from the unloosening of
some of the bricks or stones used in its construction, which mav
without warning, fall upon the heads of passers-by, inflicting
damages for which the city will become liable. At this verv time
repairs are in progress upon the roof, at the city's expense, the same
having become necessary, if the building is not to be abandoned to
utter ruin. The building in its actual condition is of no practical
value to tlie city, yielding no revenue as against the expense of
its maintenance, and being put to no valuable use other than the
occupancy of a small portion of it by the New Haven Colony
Historical Society. If this were the property of a private individual
or corporation, ordinary business shrewdness would suggest that
it be put in thorough repair for practical purposes or altogether
removed. And shall the Court of Common Council, chosen to
protect and advance the material prosperity of the city of New
Haven, refuse or neglect to do, or to provide for the doing of that
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THE HISTORY OF THE STATE HOUSE. I 57
which, as business men, we should not postpone for another day ?
Is it the faithful, conscientious and courageous discharge of official
obligations to shirk or avoid a responsibility, or to transfer it to our
successors in office ?
" After maturely considering the influences prevailing in the com-
munity and operaiing more or less directly and indirectly upon the
minds of the people, your committee conclude that any decision of
this important question by the mere- action of any Court of Common
Council not chosen with this issue as a paramount one in the elec-
tion of its several members, would occasion serious popular dissatis-
faction, whatever might be the action of such Court of Common
Council in relation thereto ; and furthermore, that such action, with-
out submission of the question to a popular vote would be much
more liable to lead to legal complications and contentions than if the
will of the people were first expressed at the polls.
" Doubt is expressed by some as to the wisdom of entrusting to
the people the decision of a question involving interests so impor-
tant, of whicii, it is hinted, the people are not sufficiently intelligent,
or competent to judge. In answer to this we would remind object-
ors that we who owe our official position and powers to the people,
can scarcely impugn the wisdom of our constituents without reflect-
ing upon ourselves. To the people are entrusted the highest and
the most sacred duties in state and nation. If to them may be
left the selection of our highest rulers and lawgivers, and if upon
them we rely for the maintenance of all that is dear, valuable and
desirable in every community, can we not with perfect confidence
entrust to them the solution of a problem in our own city which
peculiarly concerns every citizen in New Haven, in that every resi-
dent, every freeman possesses a life interest in and to the use and
enjoyment of the Green in accordance with the intent and purpose
of the original proprietors, who so wisely set this beautiful plot apart
for the uses and purposes of the people ?
"Therefore, for the purpose of bringing to a final, and, we trust, to
a happy conclusion, this long-discussed and vexatious question, and
158 THE HISTORY OF THE STATE HOUSE.
of adjusting it in a manner carrying with it the force and authority
of the voice of the people, your committee respectfully recommend
the adoption and enforcement of the following orders.
"All of which is respectfully submitted.
"Done at the city of New Haven, this 31st day of October, a. d.
" T. Rice Winchell, ) r^ \ \ \c c ^
;\ . ^ ' r On behalf of the
'* Owen A. CjRoark, ,- .^ , c \\\
, . ^ ,. ' V Board of Aldermen.
"Andrew J. Clerkin, )
" Sherwood S. Thompson, )
"T. W. Sucher, 1^ On behalf of the
" William Keane, ( Board of Councilmen."
" James N. Coe, J
There followed the formula for the orders necessary to carry out
the plan for submitting the matter to a vote of the people. The
committee also made a supplemental report, which follows :
" Your committee beg leave to report further, in regard to that
part of the Resolution referred to them which relates to some con-
templated use of the site occupied by the present State House, in
the event of its removal, that in their opinion the site referred to
would be an admirable one for our Free Public Library with addi-
tional rooms for the New Haven Colony Historical Society, being
central in location, very accessible, free from exposure to external
fires, remote from noise and dust, and affording abundant light.
Being upon ground under control of the city and originally set apart
for uses in which all the people are interested, there would appear to
be nothing repugnant to the original dedication of this spot to public
purposes, in the occupancy of this site, or any other available portion
of the Green, b\- a suitable building for the objects mentioned.
THE HISTORY OF THE STATE HOUSE. 159
" Your committee, however, do not feel called upon to make any
special recommendation upon this subject, leaving its consideration
to the wisdom of the Court of Common Council.
" Respectfully submitted."
This supplemental report was signed by all the members of the
committee. Their reason for making it was that one of the argu-
ments in favor of repairing the building, was that it would, if
repaired, be just the thing for the city's free library.
Those aldermen voting for the report and accompanying orders
were George D. Watrous, George L. Dickerman, John W. Kenney,
Robert A. Hollinger, William Noonan, John Clancey, Edward
Wines, Frank D. Grinnell, Andrew J. Clerkin, Richard M. Sheridan,
John T. Doyle, James D. Whitmore, J. Rice Winchell, Noyes E.
Edwards, Hugh Dailey, Charles W. Biakeslee, Jr., Samuel Heming-
way, Francis S. Hamilton, James E. Connor, Owen E. Groark â€” 20.
Those voting against submitting the question to the people were
Samuel H. Barnes and George B. Martin â€” 2. The councilmen
passed the orders unanimously, as amended by the aldermen.
The people having voted in favor of repair, the aldermen, Decem-
ber 8, referred to the Board of Finance of the city, certain orders for
carrying out the expressed will of the people. They took similar
action regarding the proposed creation of a comm'ission consisting of
the mayor and auditor, together with two aldermen whose terms
would not expire prior to December 31, 1888, two councilmen
elect to serve during the year 1888, and two taxpaying citizens, all
to be nominated by the mayor and confirmed by the Board of
Aldermen, who should have charge and supervision on behalf of the
Common Council, of the work and detail of the repairs. This com-
mission was to have a clerk, and a tax was to be laid, to raise not
less tlian thirty thousand dollars, to pay the charges. Before finally
referring the matter to the Board of Finance, a motion was made that
the orders lie on the table. This was lost, 16 to 3, only Aldermen
Martin, Whitmore and John T. Pohlman voting in favor of tabling.
l6o THE HISTORY OF THE STATE HOUSE.
The councilmen, December 12, concurred with the aldermen. On
the 1 6th, the aldermen passed the order, creating the State House
Commission, with the powers and money restriction as already re-
lated. The councilmen concurred December 19, 1887. This com-
mission, November 5, 1888, made a long report to the Common
Council, it coming first before the aldermen. They recited how
that the people had voted for the " second proposition," which was to
repair the building for not more than $30,000, and how they (the
commissioners) had held meetings, heard opinions and after confer-
ring with the library directors had caused plans to be prepared.
They had submitted these to competent builders and others and
found that the total cost of repairs and alterations would be over
$57,000. Plans on a cheaper scale would not do, but would be false
economv. If the building were to be repaired, there was no use to
which it could be put, better than the library. They would go
ahead, at the figures named, if the Common Council so voted. The
commission took the opportunity to speak a good word for the New
Haven Colony Historical Society and the posts of the Grand Army
of the Republic. Although the estimates called for less than $60,-
000, still there would be other expenses, perhaps. They therefore
recommended that $65,000 be appropriated, to be raised by a special
tax. h. significant sentence in their report, read as follows :
" Your commission cannot ignore the fact that the large increase
of cost in repair of the building beyond what was contemplated and
provided for in the popular vote of December (last) opens the ques-
tion as to the proper interpretation of the people's will as expressed
in said vote." [Providing for repairs at a cost of not more than
This report was signed by Hon. Isaac Wolfe, clerk. It was tabled
for printing. November 12 the councilmen wrestled with it. The
report, it should be said, mentioned the fact that the $30,000 repair
proposition had been adopted by the people by a majority of 1,251
THE HISTORY OF THE STATE HOUSE. l6l
votes, out of an aggregate of 8,689 votes cast. The councilmen fol-
lowed the aldermen and tabled the report for printing. This gave the
orators a chance to take breath, and, if they should see fit, to warn
their friends against all attempt at bribery by promises of re-election
to office or the exercise of influences to secure memberships in the
executive boards of the city government. November 15, 1888, the
aldermen had before them an order empowering the State House
Commission to repair and alter the State House at a cost not
exceeding- $65,000. It was also in the order, as a second part of it,
that when the repairs should be completed, the commission might
put the building under the control of the directors of the free public
library, provided also that should the whole building not be needed
for a library, then the New Haven Historical Society and the Grand
Army of the Republic might have consideration, should they desire
to have rooms in the building. The order furthermore provided for
taxation for the expense of the repairs. Now when the order was
put upon its passage, Aldermen George L. Dickerman, John W.
Kenney, Samuel H. Barnes, Charles Kleiner, Andrew J. Clerkin,
James D. Whitmore, J. Rice Winchell and Charles W. Blakeslee, Jr.,
voted " Yes 1 " Aldermen George D. Watrous, Frank C. Bushnell,
Richard M. Sheridan, John T. Doyle, Hugh Dailey, Timothy F.
Callahan, Owen A. Groark and Patrick Kent voted "No!" There
being a tie vote, the mayor' declared the orders rejected. The
councilmen also rejected the orders, November 19, 1888. After this
action, a petition was brought, signed by Joel A. Sperry, Charles
Henry Townshend, W. B. Goodyear, John S. Fowler, Joseph Porter,
Edwin A. Smith, James M. Mason and George P. Hooker, taxpayers
and friends of the library, asking the Common Council to secure the
removal of the Free Library and Reading Room to the State House
as soon as possible, and as soon as the repairs could be made.
They alleged that to erect a suitable building would cost $150,000 or
$200,000. December 27th it was received and read by the council-
men, it having been treated in the same manner by the aldermen
November 22, i<
1 62 THE HISTORY OF THE STATE HOUSE.
The aldermen, December 14th, tabled for printing an order for a
special elecLion, to be held January 29, 1889, when the freemen were
to vote on the following :
"Proposition First. â€” The State House building shall be removed from the
Green or Public Square, at the expense of the city, as soon as practicable.
" Proposition Second. â€” The State House building shall be repaired by the city
at an exjiense not to exceed sixty-five thousand dollars, as soon as practicable, and
shall be put to such uses, under the control and direction of the Court of Common
Council, as that body may determine and prescribe."
But November 22d, in the Board of Aldermen, a petition signed by-
James E. English, R. P. Cowles, B. H. Douglass, Robert S. Ives, A.
C. Wilcox, Charles Henry Townshend, Thomas Trowbridge, Amos
J. Beers, Andrew L. Kidston, D. L. Daggett, William K. Townsend,
Sylvester Smith, I. Burton Hine, John R. Garlock, R. R. Palmiter,
Benjamin' R. English, H. M. Welch, M. Zunder, George Hotchkiss^
G. B. Martin, Justus S. Hotchkiss, W. R. H. Trowbridge, George
C. Cruttenden, L. O'Brien, O. B. North, Levi Ives, Horace Day,
Edward R. Hayes, N. W. Merwin, William F. Coburn, W, H. Tuttle,
and L. J. Sanford was read and received. It asked for an appropria-
tion of $57,000 and the immediate repair of the State House. No-
vember 22d in the same body, was read and received a petition signed
by these friends of a free library: H. B.' Harrison, C. R. Ingersoll, S.
E. Merwin, Henry G. Lewis, James D. Dewell, E. F. Mersick, F. B.
Farnsworth, N. D. Sperry, Henry C. White, John T. Sloan, John E.
Earle, asking the Common Council to appoint a joint committee of
both boards, to consider and report upon the subject, they believing
that it was inexpedient to take any action on the proposed repair, for
the purpose of having the building used for a public free library,
until further examination of the points involved. They concurred
with action taken by the councilmen November 19, 1888. They sim-
ply received it. The aldermen, November 22, 1888, had before them
the $65,000 order for repairing, and this record is found on page
285 of their printed journal :
ThE HISTORY OF THE STATE HOUSE. 163
"BOARD OF COUNCILMEN, November 10, 18SS.
" Ordered, read and passed, the words ' one hundred thousand dollars ' being
substituted in each instance, where the words ' sixty-five thousand dollars " occur.
" lioAKiJ OF ALDERMEN, November 22, 1SS8.
" Order amended by striking out Sioo,ooo and substituting -$65,000 in lieu
thereof and as amended, j^assed."
Alderman Walious moved to amend by striking out the first Tues-
day and inserting in lieu thereof, third Tuesday of December, 1888.
Amendment lost. The roll-call resulted as follows :
Yeas â€” Aldermen Dickerman, Watrous, Bushnell, Kenney, Sheri-
dan and Daily â€” 6.
Nays â€” Aldermen Clancey, Barnes, Kleiner, Clerkin, Whitmore.
Winchell, Edwards, Avis, Callahan, Groark and Kent â€” 11.
We are now in the thick of the waifare. Citizens were burning
with enthusiasm for either repair or removal, and the newspapers
were loaded with communications, some of them absurd in state-
ments and evidently inspired by an intent to confuse the general
judgment. Others were pathetic ; a few didactic, and some tinctured
with plaintive sentiment. 'J1ie interests of the State House and
library were again hitched together, when December 11, the alder-
men had before them, an order that the petition of H. B. Harrison,
Charles R. Ingersoll, and others, should be referred to the State
House Commission. In the Board of Councilmen, there had been a
reconsideration of the action taken November 27, and this later
and substitute order had been passed. Toward the end of the year
1888, the matter popped up again in the meeting of aldermen and
there was more tabling; this time for printing. The matter dis-
cussed was about having a special election by the freemen of the
city. It provided that should the people decide to pull down the
building, it should be the duty of the Board of Public Works to
â€¢ attend to it, the tax for expenses not to exceed five thousand dollars.
In his annual message to the Common Council, delivered January
31, 1889, Mayor Henry Y. Peck, said :
164 THE in STORY OF THE STATE HOUSE.
" It seems to me that good faith toward our constituents requires that having
asked for and received a public expression of their will, it should be obeyed.
And I think also that the building is a valuable one, adapted to many public uses
and can be put in good condirion for less than the $30,000 which has been voted."
But after the vote of the Common Council to pull down the
building, Mayor Peck, though urged to withhold his signature to the
bill, concluded that he would not defeat the measure, and therefore
he signed it, thus giving legal effect to the vote.
It will be pleasant to bring before ourselves a few memory-
pictures, in which the happy, innoceiit faces and sweet voices
of New Haven children, aided in a very remarkable way to
fill with joyousness ihe hearts of thousands of people. The
anniversary of American Independence was gloriously celebrated
in this city, July 4, 1858. In the afternoon, was performed on
the north steps of the State House, a "Juvenile Oratorio of
the Revolutionary War," under the direction of Prof. Benjamin
Jepson of this city. The chorus consisted of five hundred chil-
dren, who arrived nt tiie place in procession, some interesting
features of iheir parade being the Boston tea party, by a company of
boys, painted and costumed to represent Indians ; thirty-one misses,
representing the states of the Union ; Brother Jonathan, wiih bell-
crowned hat, long, swallow-tailed coat, and short pantaloons of a
material known as ''drilling"; the Goddess of Liberty, riding in a
fanciful chariot drawn by a Shetland pony, and escorted by Conti-
nentals in uniform ; the whole line made brilliant by hundreds of
flags, banners, and various patriotic emblems and devices suited to
ihe festival. The New Haven brass band, John Lyon, leader;
headed the procession, and the Old Gents' Band, Frank Smith,
leader; accompanied the children's singing. There were short
addresses by Rev. Dr. Kennedy, John G. North, Esq., and others.
At the close of the exercises, the children partook of a banquet in
the basement of the State House, which had been prepared by
patriotic ladies and gentlemen under direction of Messrs. Thomas
Rawling and George M. Coe. The concert was enjoyed by about
THE HISTORY OF THE STATE HOUSE. 163 -
twelve thousand people. Many of the boys and girls who took part,
have since become well known in social life, some of the boys having
become identified with public affairs or distinguished in various
honorable positions. Another grand, patriotic celebration, drew to
the Green thousands of the inhabitants of New Haven, July 4, 186 1.
About six thousand children, under the management of Professor
Jepson, were in the line of march. They were gathered upon the
north steps of the State House, where, under the leadership of their
teacher, they delighted the people with their singing. The following
is a transcript from the afternoon program of the citizens' com-
mittee, John G. North, chairman :
Jepson's Brigade of children will assemble at National Hall, Olive street,
where they will form into line and proceed up Chapel street, south side, to
Temple, through Temple to the north side of the Green, to the north portico of
the State House, in the following order :
Divis/on o/ Boys.
Hokeepokeewurapechepum Tribe of Indians, representing the
Boston Tea Party.
Wide Awake Engine Company.
Division 0/ Girls.
Daughters of Columbia.
Goddess of Liberty, seated on a floral car.
Young America, with Continental Guard.
Brother Jonathan, in full costume.
Union of States,
represented by thirty-four young ladies.
Fairy Light Guard.
All along the line of march, great crowds of people testified by
cheering and waving of flags and handkerchiefs, their pleasure at the
spectacle. The exercises consisted of singing patriotic songs by the
children, accompanied by the band ; stirring addresses by his Excel-
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I 68 THE HISTORY OF THE STATE HOUSE.
lency, Governor William A. Buckingham, ex-Governor Henry Dutton,
Daniel C. Gilman, Deacon George F. Smith, and Mr. John G. Norih,
The exciting events of the war for the Union, having aroused the
sensibilities of the people, a special interest was felt in these observ-
ances. Mayor Harmanus M. Welch presided at the exercises. He
and Professor Jepson, together with the children and speakers, were
enthusiastically cheered at the close of the afternoon doings.
The section of the Green, east of Temple street, has been the
place of many enthusiastic gatherings of children. One of these
occasions was the twenty-seventh annual meeting of the New Haven
Sunday-school Union, June 9, 1869. The children assembled by
divisions, to the number of six thousand, in the various churches
near the Green. As the schools arrived upon the east part of the
Green, they were marched past the platform placed nearly opposite
the front of Center Church, and were drawn up in columns seven or
eight deep. This manoeuvre took nearly half an hour to accomplish,
and it appeared as if there was no end to the line which kept pour-
ing into the Green. The scene was truly most splendid! The
moving of so many well-dressed children over the greensward to the
music of the band stationed upon the platform, the beautiful banners
waving in the sunlight, tlie foliage of the old elms enclosing the
whole in a majestic framework, made a picture of rare loveliness.
After all the schools w^ere properly placed, Professor Jepson, under
whose supervision the songs had been prepared and taught, mounted
a dais on the platform, and under his directorship the immense
body of children sang several songs with spirit and line effect. The
time kept by the children singing in unison, under the handling of
Professor Jepson's baton, was very remarkable. The procession was
under control of Jesse Cudworth, Jr., chief-marshal, and these assist-
ant marshals : Samuel C. Johnson, John G. North, Charles L. Bald-
win, M. C. Sweezey, and F. W. Pardee. This was a day long to *be
Without doubt, the grandest spectacular exhibition of children
which ever aroused public admiration on New Haven Green, was at
THE HISTORY OF THE STATE HOUSE. 169
the time of the great centennial concert, July 4, 1876. Twenty-eight
hundred children, selected from the public schools, occupied a ter-
race stage, fifteen seats high, on the south side of the east section of
the Green, and extending from Church to Temple street. So worthy
of preservation is an account of this interesting event in the annals
of New Haven, the reader will like a copy of the program :
Order of Exercises.
1 The Glorious Fourth of July.
Unison Chorus, by all the Schools.
2 Red, White and Blue.
Full Chorus, with Solo, by Woolsey School.
3 Rally Round the Flag.
Full Chorus, with Solo, by Dwight School.
4 Union Dixie.
Full Chorus, with Solo, by Washington School.
5 Hail Columbia.
Unison Chorus, by all the Schools.
Selection^ by the Teutonia M centierchoy .
6 Watch on the Rhine (.Original Words).
Full Chorus, with Solo, by Eaton School.
7 Russian National Hy.mn (Original Words).
Full Chorus, with Solo, by Webster School.
8 Beautiful Flag.
Full Chorus, with Solo, by Skinner School.
9 My Country, 'tis of Thee.
Unison Chorus, by all the Schools.
10 Yankee Doodle.
Full Chorus, with Solo, by Hamilton School.
11 Glory, Hallelujah ! (Original Words).
Full Chorus, with Solo, by Wooster School.
Selection^ by the Teutonia Mcennerchor.
12 Star Spangled Banner.
Full Chorus, w ith Solo, by the Class of '76, and Duet by the Scholars of
Hillhouse High School.
13 Old Hundred, with " Praise God from Whom all Blessings flow."
Grand Chorus, by all the Schools and assembled people.
The schools assembled under direction of J. D, Whitmore, chief-
marshal, with the following named principals assisting : High
School, T. W. T. Curtis ; Webster School, J. G. Lewis ; Eaton
School, Joseph Gile ; Wooster School, R. H. Park ; Dwight School,