Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Redfield Monument Sculpture Restored and Returned to Forman Park

Syracuse, NY. Redfield Monument and Forman Park from an old postcard.

Redfield Monument Sculpture Restored and Returned to Forman Park
by Samuel D. Gruber (photos by Samuel D. Gruber 2010)

Some of you may already have read Dick Case's recent column in the Post-Standard and online about the return of the Redfield Monument statues to Forman Park, and event that took place when winter was already upon us and was not otherwise significantly celebrated. The bronze sculpture representing the two figures of Lewis Redstone and Joshua Forman and the single seated figure of an Indian, possibly Hiawatha, were removed in 2007 for restoration by sculptor and restored Sharon BuMann, about whom I have written before. Redfield was an important early newspaper editor in Syracuse and Joshua Forman was a founder of Syracuse. Hiawatha was said to be a founder of the Iroquois Confederacy.

The Indian figure is represented in a dignified seated pose. He is nude, except for a cloth on his lap. One can see his pose as contemplative as he gazes west, or one can read it is passive, as he sits beneath the civilizing influence of Forman and Redfield whose robust clothed figures are set on a higher level and dominate the monument. They would have looked toward downtown Syracuse, though today they see little more than I-81. The architecture of the monument in simple, but accented by a notable Classical (civilized) cornice and pediment directly above the Indian's head. In this way European culture dominates and supersedes Native American traditions. If this is Hiawatha, his presence would be, or could be, a nod to the Iroquois federation as a foundation to American democracy, represented in part by freedom of the press, of which Redfield was Syracuse's outstanding 19th-century exemplar.

Syracuse, NY. Redfield monument by N. C. Hinsdale and Fidardo Landi.
To see more examples of Indians in Syracuse sculpture see my earlier blogpost.
Last year BuMann completed the restoration of the Kirkpatrick Monument in Washington Square Park, that also featured figures of local Indians.

The monument of Westerly blue granite was designed by architect N. C. Hinsdale was donated in 1906 by Mrs. W.H.H. Smith, the daughter of Redfield. The sculptures by an Italian artist Fidardo Landi (1866-1918) were unveiled in 1908. Mrs. Smith died the following year. A photograph of the work’s first model (which I have not seen) apparently shows an entirely different Indian figure sitting next to a standing Civil War soldier at the base. The Bronze was cast by Fonderia G. Vignali, and .Leland & Hall Company was the project contractor. 

Forman Park was first established in 1839 and was known as Forman Square. Redfield, a pioneer printer, was one of those who owned property adjacent to the park. Redfield and others donated land the comprised the park which at Redfield's suggestion was named Forman Park.

According to a biography of Redfield published in New York state men: biographic studies and character portraits, Volume 2, by Frederick Simon Hills (Argus Company, 1910), Redfield was:
"one of the pioneer newspaper men of Onondaga County, was born at Farmington. Conn., November 26. 1792, son of Pelig Redfield, a soldier in the army of General Washington. He learned the printer's trade with James D. Bemis, publisher of the Ontario, N. Y., "Repository." and after six years with Mr. Bemis he engaged in business for himself at Onondaga Valley, wl1ere. with the assistance of his former employer, he established the " Onondaga Register." Mr. Redfield was an active advocate of the then proposed Erie Canal, and when a change was made in its route favorable to Syracuse he removed to that place. His paper was consolidated with the Syracuse "Gazette," which had been established by John Durnfield in 1823. For the accommodation of the printing plant he erected a commodious building on the site of the first Onondaga Savmgs Bank building, and here for some years he also conducted a book store. Mr. Redfield retired from active business in 1842. He married Ann Maria, daughter of Thomas Tread well, member of the Continental Congress and of the first State Senate. Mr. Redfield died July 14, 1882."
Landi was born in Carrara, Italy and according to his New York Times obituary, by the age of twenty was already a professor of sculpture at the academy of Fine Art in Carrara (he also married the daughter of the school's Dean, who also served as mayor of Carrara). Landi came to America in 1900 and in addition to the Redfield Monument he created to sculpture fountain groups for the Guggenheim villa and many individual works before dying of pneumonia at age 51.

I am looking for information on N.C. Hinsdale. Please let me know if you know anything.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Syracuse Architects: Earl Hallenbeck (1876-1934)

Syracuse University. Photo after 1906 0f new buildings by Hallenbeck and Revels. From left to right, Sims Hall, Bowne Hall, Carnegie library, Archbold Gymnasium.
Syracuse University. Sims Hall (1907).
Syracuse University. Slocum Hall (1918).

Syracuse Architects: Earl Hallenbeck (1876-1934)  

by Samuel D. Gruber 

Earl Hallenbeck is one of many forgotten architects of Syracuse and Central New York, but his many solid and stolid buildings still help define the institutional landscape of the region. Since I recently wrote of Hallenbeck's work in partnership with Frederick Revels in the designing the 1906 campus plan for Syracuse university and designing Carnegie Library (1907), I thought I'd point out some of Hallenbeck's other work in the region, especially as his biography and corpus of work is not yet listed on Syracuse Then and Now the best compendium for info on local architects. 

Hallenbeck was born on March 14, 1876 in Marathon, New York and died at age 58 in Syracuse on June 2, 1934. He attended Sy­ra­cuse Uni­ver­sity in the late 1890s, and except for his work as an architect in worked New York City after graduation, he spent most of his life, beginning in 1902, teaching at Syracuse University in the Col­lege of Li­be­ral Arts and working as a regional architect. In addition to his work on the Carnegie Library, he designed other University buildings solely or in partnership with Revel. These are Haven Hall (1904, demolished), Lyman Hall (1907), Sims Hall, originally a dormitory (1907), Bowne Hall (1907), the University Power Plant (1904), Archbold Gymnasium and Stadium (1908), Slocum Hall (1918) and well as Reid Hall downtown. all of these buildings were embellished with a free interpretation of classical and Renaissance motifs. Lyman Hall is the most ornate. Of Lyman Hall, influential architectural critic Montgomery Schuyler lamented "'the author has never been forewarned with Emerson, that the vice of the times and the country is an excessive pretension." Today, however, the subsequent blandness, banality and brutality of many campus buildings make the "outrageous self-complacency and aggressiveness" of Lyman - and its encrusted exterior decoration - an enjoyable and even uplifting visual respite.

Syracuse University. Lyman Hall (1907). Photos: Samuel D. Gruber 

The sole exception is the power plant (photo), built in 1904 - before the plan - and located where Link Hall is now. This was built in a Neo-medieval style apparently suggested by the Castle of Rheinstein. In any case, the architects hid the chimney within a "medieval" tower. Hallenbeck also designed a number of private houses and school buil­dings which remain to be fully documented and the Onondaga Valley Presbyterian Church (1924). The Revels-Hallenbeck plan really shaped the development of Syracuse University's campus for more than a half century, and today we are thankful that enough of it remains to provide the campus with some of its best moments of organized space, architectural framing, skyline accents and coherent landscape. Unfortunately decades of changing taste and conflicting plans have sapped the design of its original integrity and coherence. 

 In some aspects, however, especially in the placement of Hendricks Chapel, the plan of Pope and Baum improved upon the Revel's and Hallenbeck's work. According to the authors of the Syracuse University Campus Plan 2003 (Syracuse University Office of Design and Construction)

 "focused on the Old Oval, proposing that the field be defined on its south side by a new range of buildings set parallel to the Old Row. Revels and Hallenbeck sited a stadium in a shallow ravine to the west of the new range of buildings, freeing the Old Oval to become a ceremonial green space. The plan's most remarkable feature was a domed addition to the rear of the Hall of Languages. This accretion, intended to contain an assembly hall, would have remade the University's first building as the north wing of a massive structure extending southward along the edge of the Old Oval. The proposed addition, which would have necessitated demolishing the Gymnasium, would have reshaped the Oval into two formal open spaces set perpendicular to one another and together forming an "L." Their "Great Quadrangle," organized along a north-south axis, was to join a smaller open space to the south of the Hall of Languages addition. Revels and Hallenbeck's scheme also marked the first appearance of the idea to relocate Holden Observatory – in this instance, to Mount Olympus – so that the open space bounded on the north by von Ranke Library, Crouse College, and Steele Hall could be better defined. Chancellor James Roscoe Day embraced the 1906 plan, and Revels and Hallenbeck were commissioned to design the Carnegie Library (1907), Bowne Hall (1907), Sims Hall (1907), Archbold Stadium (1908), and Archbold Gymnasium (1909), quickly completing the south side of the new "Great Quadrangle." Meanwhile, the distinctive tower of Lyman Hall (1907), together with Machinery Hall (1907), rose above the Lawn, emphatically punctuating the extension of the Old Row. Soon after, however, the University was financially overextended. Construction stopped, with no additional development occurring until Slocum Hall was built for the College of Agriculture in 1918. The leviathan addition to the Hall of Languages was never built, and the Oval became a single quadrangle, rather than the two perpendicular open spaces that were originally proposed. Perhaps the 1906 plan's most lasting effect was the reinforcement of the campus' two seminal open spaces. It transformed and formalized the Oval, creating a Main Quadrangle that would serve as a new organizing feature for the campus. The plan also called for the eastward extension of the Old Row and the Lawn, siting a new generation of buildings along the crest of the hill."

Fabius, NY. Former Fabius Central School (now Fabius-Pompey Elementary School). Earl Hallenbeck, architect (1931) Photo: Samuel D. Gruber

 Hallenbeck designed High Schools in Fabius, Liverpool and Cazenovia, and probably elsewhere. The Fabius Central School survives as the local elementary school. It was completed in 1931 in the Collegiate Gothic style, and is included as a late architectural contribution in the Fabius Village Historic District. The following obituary, posted at on a local genealogy website appeared in the local Syracuse paper (Post-Standard?) on June 2, 1934:

Nine of Campus Buildings Were Planned by Architect Death which came last night to Prof. Earl Hallenbeck of Syracuse University at his home, 433 Maple Street, closed the distinguished career of a widely known educator, the designer of many Central New York school buildings, including nine of the largest structures on the University campus. He was 58 years old and had been a member of the faculty of the College of Liberal Arts for 32 years. Professor Hallenbeck died of heart disease, with which he had been seriously ill since last fall. The condition became acute about two weeks ago. Fellow members of the faculty today mourned his death and paid tribute to his ability and to his tireless efforts which were, they said, largely responsible for the growth of the department of architecture at the University. "We consider his death a very serious loss to the college" said Dean Harold L Butler of the College of Fine Arts. "He was not only a fine practicing architect, but he was also an exceptional teacher. He had the admiration and respect of his colleagues and of all his students". Professor Hallenbeck was born in Marathon, March 14, 1876. He was graduated from Syracuse University in the late 1890s and after working as an architect in New York City for several years, returned to join the University faculty in 1902. While a member of the faculty he worked with Prof. Frederick W Revels on the plans for Lyman Hail, Haven Hall, Browne Hall, General Library, the gymnasium, the Stadium, Sims Hall and the University power plant. Alone he designed Slocum Hall. Later he combined private practice with his teaching and drew plans for many Syracuse residents. He also designed high school buildings in Liverpool, Cazenovia and Fabius and many other Central New York school buildings. Professor Hallenbeck was a member of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity and of the East Genesee Presbyterian Church. He was of high standing in Masonic circles, having taken the 32nd degree. Surviving are his wife, Mrs. Margaret E. Telfer Hallenbeck; two sons, Andrew T Hallenbeck of Lysander and John S. Halenbeck of Syracuse; a daughter Mrs. John E Taylor of Syracuse; two brothers Charles F Hallenbeck of Illion and Frank H Hallenbeck of Syracuse; a sister Mrs. Wilbur Burrill of Syracuse; and a grandson. The funeral will be held privately Monday afternoon from the home at 2:30 o'clock. The Rev. John R. Woodcock, pastor of the East Genesee Street Presbyterian, will conduct the service. Burial will be in Morningside Cemetery. Friends may call between 2 and 4 o'clock tomorrow afternoon and between 7 and 9 o'clock tomorrow night."

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Syracuse: University's Carnegie Library Reading Room to be Renovated

Syracuse University, Carnegie Library. Two recent views, photos: Samuel D. Gruber

Syracuse University, Carnegie Library. Architect's view of planned reading room renovation. Courtesy: Syracuse University Library

Syracuse: University's Carnegie Library Reading Room to be Restored as First Phase in Building Renovation
by Samuel D. Gruber

In my previous post I included a dramatic photo of sculptor Luise Kaish's bronze statue of the Saltine Warrior, back bent and bow taut between two towers of Syracuse University's Carnegie Library. I have good news about the building, designed by Frederick W. Revels and Earl Hallenbeck as part of the 1906 University Plan, and opened in 1907 as one of the most impressive academic Carnegie libraries in the country. The duo designed many of most impressive campus buildings of the first decades of the 20th century (Lyman Hall with it great tower remains my favorite). Their work was imposing and ornate, but never very graceful. Many of these classically inspired Beaux-Arts buildings are bulky and ponderous on their exteriors, but they were well-designed for multipurpose academic use, and most still function today as class buildings. Their virtue is that they are well built and relatively easily adaptabted to all but the most intensely hi-tech fields. Only where their original spaces have been carved up and/or extra floors added - as in Bowne Hall - do they seem really awkward. The recent restoration of Slocum Hall, for example, has returned the building to much of its original spacious and appealing layout and appearance.

The history of the building in word and images can be found at Carnegie Library 1907-2007, a site developed for the building's centennial celebrated in 2007. Click "browse" to view this collection of over 200 photographs of the Carnegie Library, that includes the 1905 ground breaking through the 2007 centennial. The historical images were digitized from the Syracuse University Archives’ collection of campus building photographs. Links to historical news articles and information may be found at the Carnegie Library History.

After a hundred years of hard use, so hard in fact that the original entrance from the very Quad it helped define is now closed, the Carnegie Library will be renovated. Progress depends on money, but already the first of five planned phases has begun. The grand reading room will be restored and returned to its original purposes.

In time other spaces in the building that have been chopped in pieces, as well as blocked circulation paths, will returned a much as possible to their original purpose and appearance. The building is apparently only one of three academic (as opposed to public) Carnegie libraries in the country that still - at least in part - serves it original function. built as the main campus library to replace the much smaller von Ranke Library (now Tolley Hall), the structure is now served by the Science-Technology Library, the Math library and the Math Department. Phase I of the project involves moving some of the Math Department functions from the great second floor reading room to newly newly reorganized space on the first floor. in the reading room floor, ceilings, furniture and lighting will all be refurbished, restored or replaced in accordance to the space's original appearance - updated with plenty of electrical outlets to accommodate laptop computers. In Phase III the building's main entrance will be reopened with new glass doors and railing on the exterior stairs, while new restrooms and other amenities are added inside. You can read more about the renovation on the Syracuse Library website.