Letter from THOMAS WILLIAM SILLOWAY to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated November 12, 1857.
My Friend Marsh I have neglected to answer your last letter thinking that a delay
might present something new in relation to the windows for the dome drum. I have
examined many works on the Grecian Ionic but in none of them
can I find information that is official in regard to the windows of the Erecthium as originally built. I have however made up my mind
on one thing and that is, that from a very early day the E. has had actual windows,
and not simply mouldings on the outside with [...], and in addition to this the
lights were lozenge shape and had an actual sash. I will not trouble you with
translation c. but will state that Ferguson whom I before
quoted is well sustained by every official author I have consulted. I transcribed
from Inwoods work (at the Athenaeum) a plan of the window and a few of the remarks.
I will send them to you with this. I am of the opinion that inasmuch as all who have
ever looked at a specimen of Classical Ionic associated with
it a propriety in Lozenge shaped lights that to put square ones would mar our work.
They will look tame and lack character If I put windows of any kind between Ionic
cap of course I must in a degree follow the Erechthium for that is our only example.
And if that be followed at all we should make the window finish [...] at the bottom
of this be done then to put in square glass I think will look bad. However you must
consider and [...]. We need not hurry for the sash will not be made till next
season. The Legislature have given us an appropriation as you know of $0,000.
This will keep the thing
along very well. Every thing up to now is about as it should be. The Doc't did well to stop the work just the day he did and he has my hearty support in so doing. Considering just were we he could do no better. I had hoped that the wings at least would have had the roof but it could not be. All is properly covered in for the winter and the carpenter will continue to get out [...] for the dome ready to put up in the spring. delay will occur. At any rate there is need of more. I am very much gratified to think you are the Commissioner for the rail roads c.
I am yours very trulyThomas W. Silloway
121 Court St.
References in this letter:
In ancient Greek architecture, columns were designed in three distinctive styles, known as classical orders: the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian.
A temple on the Acropolis in Athens constructed between c.421 and 405 B.C. It is the considered to be the finest early example of the Greek classical architecture in the Ionic order.
James Fergusson, (1808-1886) The Illustrated Handbook of Architecture: being a concise and popular account of the different styles of architecture prevailing in all ages and countries. London: J. Murray, 1855.
Dr. Thomas E. Powers, (1808-1876), of Woodstock, Vermont, was appointed by Governor Fletcher to be the Superintendent of Construction of the 1858-1860 project, to build a new State House in Montpelier to rebuild the structure burned in 1857. He and the architect, Thomas W. Silloway, were soon at loggerheads over their roles in the project. Powers became State Senator in 1861.
In November 1857 Marsh was appointed Vermont Railroad Commissioner, a post he held until 1859. An informed critic of railroad corporate abuses, he wrote three devastating reports, incurring the wrath of the railroad lobby. Using its influence in the Vermont legislature, the lobby sought to block his reappointment.
Thomas W. Silloway, (1828-1910), was only thirty years old in 1857 when he was chosen architect for the new State House in Montpelier. Silloway was from Massachusetts, and had worked in the office of Ammi B. Young, the architect who designed the previous building. Silloway and Dr. Powers, the superintendent of construction for the 1857 job, had worked together to design and build a new courthouse in Woodstock, Vermont, that burned in 1854.