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ARCHITECT OF THE UNITED STATES CAPITOL.
OFFICE OF ARCHITECT UNITED STATES CAPITOL,
Washington, D. O., July 1, 1885. SIR: In relation to the transactions of this office, and the expenditures for public works, paid by the disbursing agent connected with it during the last fiscal year, I have the honor to report as follows:
By the act approved July 7, 1884, an appropriation was made for the purpose of cleaning the outside walls of the wings, under the direction of the Architect of the Capitol. The north front and portions of the eastern and southern fronts have been cleaned, and the work on the same is still progressing; this being the first thorough cleaning the exterior marble work has received since its construction.
Various rooms, halls, and passages have been painted, the entrance to the Supreme Court room somewhat altered, and wooden floors placed over those of brick in several rooms connected with this court, and the entire Capitol building put in good condition.
Some changes have been made to the steam coils of both wings, and the steam engine and tank of the House elevator have been moved and relocated in order to arrange convenient entrances from the cellars to the vaults of the new terraces.
As to the working, repairs, and condition of the heating and ventilating apparatus of the Senate, Mr. Jones, the engineer, in his report says:
Additional openings, aggregating 18 square feet, have been made in the floor of the Senate Chamber for the admission of pure air, and adjustable louvers have been erected over the ceiling to facilitate the egress of that which has become vitiated. A siphon condenser has been snccessfully introdnced for the condensation of the exþaust-steam of the engines and steain-pumps, and the pump of the elevator has been replaced by a new one of larger and more suitable capacity, the original being most advantageously used in replacing a still smaller one that was worn out in the service of furnishing the general water-supply of the wing.
The fire-doors of the boilers with their cast-iron frame-work and appendages—which were burned out-have been replaced by new structures in which the doors are attached to water compartments more durable than the boilers themselves, in wbich there had been developed so many evidences of weakness that it was deemed prudent to subject them to a special and thorough inspection.
Through the courtesy of the Hon. Secretary of the Navy, Chief Engineer John Lowe was detailed for that service. In his report, he says: " The following repairs are necessary to make the boilers safe for further use, viz: In all the furnaces from a line two feet above the grate bars to any convenient line below them, the inner sheets of the water legs should be cut out and replaced by material as nearly as possible like that taken out with the necessary stay bolting.” And after specifying other
minor repairs, adds: “With these repairs well done, considering the purity of the water
these boilers will be fit for their usual service for a period of abont three years, at the end of which time they should be replaced by new boilers of a more modern and efficient type.”
This work, which is necessary to the continued use of the boilers during the ensuing session of Congress, is beiug done—though involving a large expenditure—but when completed the boilers will still be lacking in durability, efficiency, and economy.
Perinit me to add that while prudence requires that provision be made for a renewal of the boilers before the extreme limit of durability is reached, such renewal, with increased capacity, should be provided for at a very early period, in view of the certain necessity for the increased supply of steam in the near future, which increase these boilers bave not the capacity to furnish. During the coldest winter weather the entire battery has to be brought into requisition and worked to the utmost to meet the present necessity for beat and the power to operate the machinery now in use.
But while there is no present surplus of steaming capacity, not even such as prodence requires in order to provide against accidents or temporary emergencies from any cause, an increased quantity of steam will be required for warming and ventilat. ing the extensive storage rooms that are now being constructed to the north and west of the wing. Such moderate warming and ventilation will be necessary to make them serviceable for the storage of books, papers, &c., or other property requiring a dry and pure air for their preservation.
While the necessity of this increase in capacity is certain, and in part immediate, the necessities involved in the prospective introductiou of the electric light to in part take the place of gas-light should be borne in mind. This would involve a very large increase in the quantity of steam required in order to provide the motive power for the dynamo-machines.
Provision for such increase must absolutely precede the use of the electric light. Besides the special work above enumerated, the steam coils and engines have been maintained in good condition, the latter especially being so adjusted as to work with exceptional smoothness.
This work has contribnted very much to good results in the heating and ventilating of the Senate Chamber, and in facility and uniformity in operating the machinery and appliances of the engineer's department.
Relating to the heating and ventilating of the House wing, Mr. Lannan, the engineer, reports:
Owing to the very severe weather of the past winter, it was necessary to keep an unusually high pressure upon the heating coils. In consequence several of them have given out and will require repairs. The main shaft of engine No. 2 was broken Feb. ruary 11 last. Temporary, repairs were then made, which enabled the engine to do service until the close of the session of Congress. A new shaft is required to replace the broken one.
The otber engines and fans will need only ordinary running repairs.
The boilers, upon examination, appear to be in good condition except that apon the side sheets of the furnace several small cracks have developed which will require patching.
The large receiving air-duct has been very much improved by the laying of an asphaltic concrete floor its entire length.
The following are the important averages taken from daily observations: Revolutions of fan.....
· per minute..
51 Volume of air carried to Hall each revolution.
cubic feet.. 882 Volume of air carried to Hall per minute...
...do.... 44,982 Volume of air carried to Hall per minute for each person..
.do.... 64 Volume of air removed from Hall per minute for each person, through louvers in roof
cubic feet.. 51 Average relative humidity
. per cent..
48 Average daily attendance (about)
700 Notwithstanding the severity of the weather the heating surface was found to be ample to keep the building comfortably heated and ventilated. The temperature in the Hall at no time during sessions of Congress varied over 2°; the highest being 710 and the lowest 69.0
Credit should be given to both these officers and the men under them for important services rendered in making repairs to the engines and steam coils in their respective departments during the summer recess. Of the electric lighting apparatus the electrician, Mr. Talcott, says: The opening month of the second session of the Forty-eighth Congress was marked by a succession of snowy, clondy, or dark days, that made it necessary to light the Hall of the House of Representatives by gas an unusual number of times, causing an extraordinary consumption.
This weather contioned in a lesser degree through the two snccessive months. Night sessions were also held on nearly every Friday night during the session, so that while there were but few night sessions, at the close the consumption of gas was perhaps greater than in former short sessions.
The operations of the electrical service have, with the addition of a few call bello for offices and committee rooms, been purely routine ana the expenses confined to ordinary repairs consequent upon the usual wear of the material, and the same promises to be the case for the coming year. The engines, dynamo, and apparatus are in as good condition as from their long wear could be expected.
Experiments have been made for some time in lighting at the head of the stairways of the terrace by means of electric arc-lights. The intensity of these lights is such that it attracts winged insects to the building, which has been very much disfigured by an accumulation of spider webbing that soon became filled with dust and the remains of small insects. In consequence of this I am convinced that no very bright light should be used on the grounds, near the building, particularly during the summer season.
With permission of the Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds of the Senate, the “Edison Company for Isolated Lighting” by elec. tricity were allowed to light the Senate cloak-rooms, lobby, and stairways leading thereto, places where light is needed by day as well as by night. This mode of lighting has given satisfaction and has the ad vantage over gas-lighting at these places on account of the absence of heat and any vitiation of the air. For these reasons, I recomiend that incandescent electric lights may be placed in the restaurants, cloak. rooms, lobbies, and stairways of both wings, and in some other rooms in which artificial light is necessary during the day.
TERRACES AND CAPITOL GROUNDS.
The north terrace to tbe western line of the building will be completed during the present season, and fair progress is being made in the construction of the south and west terraces. Considerable difij. culty has been met in securing firm foundation for the western portion of this work, as the ground has been filled from 13 to 25 feet.
Instead of excavating trenches to these depths along the entire line of the wall, wells have, at suitable distances, been sank to the original soil. These are filled with concrete and masonry as piers for massive arches which span them. Of the general work on the grounds, Mr. Olmsted, landscape architect, states in his report that,
During the year ending June 30, 1885, the most important work in carrying out the design adopted by Congress for improvements exterior to the main walls of the Capitol has been that of the south approach and a section of the north wall and arch of the terrace. The cost of the work not having exceeiled the lowest estimate that has at any time been made, and Congress having expressed its satisfaction with the result by providing for the continnance of the work more liberally than in previous years, no observations upon it are here necessary.
Before Congress meets again a section of the vaulted chambers beneath the roof of the terrace are expected to be in use. These will be suitable only for storage and doonment rooms. The construction of the western sections will provide a number of well lighted chambers suitable for committee rooms. It will be practicable to have some of these ready for occupation in another year.
Considering the close connection of this terrace work, which, except in a slight and unessential particular, is an architectural work like that of the main Capitol building, I have thought it best that professional responsibility for it should be undivided, and, with the assent of the Joint Committee on Buildings and Grounds, have retired from such superintendence of it as in association with the Architect of the United States Capitol I have held hitherto.
Within the ground outside the terrace, progress has been made upon the platform designed to serve as the base of the intended staircases of the west front of the Capitol; the approach to this platform from Pennsylvania avenue has been cleared of the few trees remaining of the old lines on the inside of the parapets, the trees of which were already considerably distorted by the crowding to which the old trees subjected them. The trees removed were, with one exception, much decayed or otherwise dilapidated.
Elsewhere on the ground a few trees have been removed as the beginning of a process of thinning, that will need to be continued to realize intended results. Some additions and adjustments have also been made in the undergrowth of the grounds. The last winter was a very trying one to young plants, and the ivy on the north sides of the air-shaft and summer-house suffered singularly. As the ivy gains in age it will not probably be subject to similar injury in the severest seasons. Varions smoothleafed evergreens which have been used somewhat experimentally generally came through the winter in fairly satisfactory condition, and these plants may be expected in a few years to give a more pleasing winter character to the ground.
COURT-HOUSE, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
A lavatory and water-closet have been placed in the upper story for the convenience of the juries, granite steps erected at the main entrances, iron window.guards placed in the lower story for the security of records, and the whole building kept in good repair.
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE.
In compliance with an act of Congress approved July 7, 1884, an entire new heating apparatus has been placed in the Department of Justice building. The basement story, hitherto damp and unwhole. some, has been so improved that it is now dry and comfortable.
Sundry improvements have been made in the way of general repairs to this building.
THE BOTANIC GARDEN.
By the direction of the Committee on Library an iron frame greenhouse, 72 by 17 feet, has been erected adjoining and at the south of the superintendent's lodge.
Two new boilers have been placed in the plant-house south of Mary. land avenue, and 1,450 square yards of asphaltic concrete walks laid on the Pennsylvania avenue side of the grounds.
Nine hundred cubic yards of soil have been placed on the grounds to bring the beds up to grade, and a large amount of painting and glazing done upon the conservatory and hot-houses.
Statement showing the amount expended from June 30, 1884, to June 30, 1885.
Amount paid for pay-rolls, laborers, mechanics....
$30, 080 91
727 61 1, 750 00 2, 211 56 1,703 14 1, 676 34
83 73 100 00
97 65 184 04 442 46
Amount paid for miscellaneous
$174 82 248 99 421 29 235 40 779 50 292 86 365 65 456 70 122 80 135 86
54 68 654 01
Amount paid for pay-roll, laborers, mechanics....
$25, 945 61
191 76 429 80 104 08
209 56 3,093 64 1,945 86
36 00 1, 209 08
33 72 760 44 1,482 31 363 64 36 00 25 00 120 05 1,565 50 13, 322 17
Amount appropriated July 7, 1884
52, 000 00 52,000 00
Amount paid for marble and granite work.
$23, 000 00 23, 139 06 2,067 29
353 58 474 91
227 00 2, 848 00
686 87 3, 105 00 115 89 165 75 29 91