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@NCCapitol

Group hires architect to create Capitol blueprints

Posted July 29, 2013
Updated July 30, 2013

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— 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.

14 Comments

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  • PAINFREE Jul 31, 12:24 p.m.

    I am so glad that people cared enough to put up private funds to do this job, and I am sure the architect will earn his keep. Our capitol building might be small and unimpressive to some, but I think it is beautiful, stately and worth whatever is spent on it to keep it up and preserve it. Some of the newer government buildings are not nearly as beautiful, but they are functional, which makes the capitol building stand out even more. I am always proud to show off our beautiful building to visitors!

  • nascar33 Jul 30, 4:21 p.m.

    "I thought it was just an old county court house when I moved here to Raleigh. I visited once, and it is quite unimpressive for a state capitol"
    Geez what do you want? It was built in the 1830's when the state had around 700,000 people (2300 in Raleigh) that were mostly farmers.

  • Cock a doodle doo Jul 30, 12:55 p.m.

    I thought it was just an old county court house when I moved here to Raleigh. I visited once, and it is quite unimpressive for a state capitol. Nonetheless, I certainly see the value in obtaining some blueprints, and it's private funds, so who cares really.

  • ezLikeSundayMorning Jul 30, 8:58 a.m.

    I appreciate those private donors putting up the money for something useful but that just wouldn't be a top priority against all the other things that need funding.

  • Reformed Liberal Jul 30, 8:09 a.m.

    "I thought we were in a budget crunch? I'd rather see that money go toward law enforcement or education."

    "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."

    Maybe you should learn how to read the whole article before jumping to conclusions. If they want to use private funds, let them. It is not our money they are spending.

  • LovemyPirates Jul 29, 6:10 p.m.

    It's not a glorious building. It's a small and not very impressive state capital.

  • A person Jul 29, 5:01 p.m.

    What a waste of money. If that building were to burn down, it would be impossible to recreate, so it would be replaced with a much more modern building if at all.

  • VickLo Jul 29, 4:16 p.m.

    Unreal. Even then NC was in the habit of not wanting to pay people! Ever hear the saying "You get what you pay for"?

    Feel lucky the building exists!

  • Paul M Jul 29, 4:12 p.m.

    ""The state never quite finished paying the final architect,"
    I think His family should sue on his behalf and NC should pay plus intrest

  • djofraleigh Jul 29, 4:09 p.m.

    It's private money. Wonder if anyone has looked to see if the estate of the runaway, under paid architect has the original plans? A bounty might work.

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