Group hires architect to create Capitol blueprints
Posted July 29, 2013
Updated July 30, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — The State Capitol has stood in downtown Raleigh for 173 years, but an important piece of the building's history is missing.
Construction started in 1833, and when it finished seven years later, it was more than $500,000 over budget.
"The state never quite finished paying the final architect, David Paton," said Deanna Mitchell, site administrator for the Capitol. "He took all of his drawings, and he left North Carolina."
Without the original blueprints, the state has no record of how the building is put together.
"If there should be a fire and we wanted to reproduce details of the building and restore it, we couldn't do it because we don't have an accurate, thorough record," said Mary Ruffin Hanbury, of the North Carolina State Capitol Foundation.
The nonprofit is using $70,000 in private funds to hire Winston-Salem architect Joe Oppermann to recreate the blueprints of the Capitol, which should be finished in a few weeks.
Oppermann, who specializes in historic conservation, is taking laser measurements and using old photographs to create a detailed plan of the building. He said it will help better manage repairs on the aging building in addition to helping rebuild after a disaster.
"It's a way to be thoughtful about how you go about managing your resources," he said.
Supporters say it's an important way to keep a historic building intact for future generations.
"It's a glorious building, and we're so lucky to have it," Hanbury said.