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The Wisconsin Blue Book, 1923

Mack, John G. D.
The four Wisconsin capitols,   pp. [41]-52 PDF (4.0 MB)

Page 50

   The capitol guides estimate that during the year 1922 they escorted
100,000 visitors over the building.
  No one knows how many other visitors there may be or how many
come on business and get a glimpse of the beauties of this building.
   The number shows no signs of decreasing. In the spring months
many high school senior classes make this trip. It cannot fail to be
an inspiration to all who come and to result in a desire for better and
.more artistic building construction and decoration.
  This alone is sufficient reason, without mentioning others, for the
effort to keep the building in 100 per cent condition of maintenance.
  The legislature makes an appropriation of $30,000 per year for this
purpose and a regular maintenance staff is employed. The mainten-
ance amount is sufficient unless extraordinary repairs may have to be
  The building is the last word in massive solidity of construction
and yet, curiously as it may seem, in some ways this makes certain
portions fragile, for with the wide temperature variations on the
exterior causing expansion of the granite, some part is likely to move.
While no danger is anticipated from such movements, these points are
kept under constant surveillance and repairs made as necessary.
One might easily name a hundred or more points where such a
structure will show signs of wear or other cause of deterioration but
it is believed that the maintenance is fully under control, although
all places known to be in need of repair cannot be attended to at once;
however, any emergency as a leak in the roof or in a pipe which will
result in further destruction is corrected immediately.
  The comparatively short life of the third capitol was noted. It was
of an obsolete type of construction and a non-fireproof type of build-
ing. Building science has made enormous strides between the time of
its design and the design of the present capitol, an absolutely fireproof
structure. Local fires may occur in it, in materials in rooms, but
their effect will be confined to a limited area. Although protected
to some extent by the park, fires in buildings outside the park may
be a source of some danger but not of destruction of the capitol.
  With the short life of the two stone capitols which preceded the
present structure, the question is often asked, "How long will this
  The writer has given -much thought to this speculative question, but
his guess, and nothing more, is that with proper and constant main-
tenance, for one example, out of many several renewals of the exposed
woodwork, the building should be serviceable in one thousand years. It
would seem that the only possible causes for its total destruction
would be an overwhelming earthquake or a -now unthinkable war.
  The first is highly improbable geologically and it is to be hoped that
the other will be obsolete centuries before any one would think of
Wisconsin being on the dividing line between hostile forces.

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