Gilded Age Progress in 1880 August 12 2015

This is the fifth installment in our series of posts comparing significant events from a year in United States history with a few of our unique architectural plans from the same period.  1880, the topic of this installment, subsequently marks the fifth year of the American Architect and Building News' existence.

Click on the pictures to find the plans below in our store!

1880 in the United States marked the peak of the so-called "Gilded Age" of the nation's history.  This period was characterized by an appearance of a shining gold lining masking a number of serious social problems persisting through the country.  For instance, while wages within the United States were significantly higher when compared to those in Europe, massive numbers of European immigrant arriving in the U.S. meant that many lived in extreme poverty.  Elsewhere, the American South was still trying to return to the prosperity it saw just before the Civil War.  These furniture designs by Edward Dewson & S. N. Small in Boston, Massachusetts provide a good example of the art seen throughout the Gilded Age: ornate and beautiful, but reserved for only the wealthiest of citizens.

Furniture Designs at 8 Pemberton Square , Boston, MA, 1880, Edward Dewson & S. N. Small


Though he had been hard at work for some time before 1880, the year would mark a big breakthrough for American inventor Thomas Edison.  The Wizard of Menlo Park, New Jersey had just patented his remarkable phonograph machine in the few years prior, and immediately set his sights on broader horizons.  In 1880, he performed the first test of his electric railway idea, which, after much development, would lead to a public transportation revolution and change railway transportation all over the world.  In nearby Orange, New Jersey, architects Silliman & Farnsworth designed this Music Hall (also built in 1880) which might have entertained Edison during one of his well-deserved breaks.



Architecture Comes of Age in the US in 1876 August 04 2015

The American Architect and Building News, which began in 1876, signaled that architecture was becoming a full fledged profession.  When looking at buildings built in specific years, it's interesting to find out what was happening at the time.  In this series of postings, we will note some of the interesting events that took place while some of the buildings that appear on our website were being built.  In 1876, for example, the first electric dental drill was patented, the first recorded hockey game was played in Montreal and the first shutout in baseball was achieved by Chicago (1) over St. Louis (0).  

Click on the pictures to find the plans below in our store!

In Philadelphia, the Centennial Exposition celebrated the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  It was the first event of its kind in the United States, and was visited by over 10 million attendees.  The plan below depicts the headquarters building built for the state of New Jersey during the event, one of many built for each state.  This one was designed by Carl Pfeiffer.


Elsewhere, the leader of New York's corrupt Tammany Hall political organization, Boss Tweed, was extradited to New York City for prosecution after being captured in Spain.  Here's a plan by Cornwell & Maynicke for the new city hall built in Brooklyn, just a short walk over the East River from Tweed's usual stomping grounds.