Old Post Office (Albany, New York)
The Old Post Office known as the United States Government Building, is located at the intersection of State Street and Broadway in Albany, New York, United States. It was built from 1879 to 1883 at a cost of $627,148. Plans for the building had been made two decades prior to its construction, it was to be a larger Gothic Revival structure, but the time and the costs of acquiring the land exceeded the original budget, a smaller post office in the Italian Renaissance Revival style was erected instead. Since 1977 it has been part of SUNY Plaza, is used as offices by the central administration of the State University of New York. Postal operations moved to larger facilities prior to 1972, but the building continued to house federal government offices for a few years; the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. It is a contributing property to the Downtown Albany Historic District, listed on the Register in 1980; the post office building is located on the east side of the three-way intersection of Broadway and State Street.
An open, grassy plaza is located to the south. Many date to the late 19th and early 20th centuries and are, like the post office, contributing properties to the Downtown Albany Historic District; some of its neighbors are listed on the Register themselves. To the south a driveway curves around the plaza, around the front of the SUNY System Administration Building, listed on the Register as the Delaware and Hudson Railroad Company Building. Across Broadway, on the northwest corner, is the 1902 First Trust Company Building listed; the Home Savings Bank Building, Albany's first skyscraper, is a block further west. On the north is another federal government office building, it is complemented by several small parking lots to the southwest and northwest. There is open space in the form of small parks nearby, such as Maiden Lane Park a block to the north; the terrain is level, reflecting the proximity of 500 feet to the east. Interstate 787 and U. S. Route 9 are between the river. To the west the land begins to slope up towards the state capitol and other state-government buildings around Lafayette Park a quarter-mile in that direction.
The building itself is faced in load-bearing granite walls. Its main block seven bays along Broadway by nine along State. At all four corners are towers, five stories on the northwest and four on the southwest. Restrained ornamentation on the facades, includes shields and stars representing the United States, the building's first owner. Most of the doors and windows are within some recessed. On the west, the main entrance pavilion has clustered columns and pilasters supporting its projecting balustraded roof. At the third and fourth stories are belt courses of carved stone; the same material is used on the cornices at the rooflines. All the roofs are clad in slate shingles. Between the towers, on the main block, are mansard roofs pierced by small lunette dormer windows and topped with an iron balustrade; the towers have peaked roofs with the same balustrade. With peaked roofs clad in slate shingles. Inside, the building has been extensively renovated for its current use, it contains 60,000 square feet of office space.
As the eastern terminus of the Erie Canal, an upper port on the Hudson River and a major rail junction, Albany had grown over the course of the 19th century. Its economic activity required a significant presence of federal government agencies, their needs had outgrown the city's available space. After the Civil War, the Treasury Department turned its attention and resources to upgrading its facilities in cities that, like Albany, had grown due to industrialization. In 1872, Congress passed legislation authorizing the construction of the new building, it was to be a post office, but large enough for other government agencies to have offices in it. The city was required to acquire the land. Acquiring the site of the Exchange Building took more than half the available money. William A. Potter Supervising Architect of the Treasury, had designed a large, elaborate building in the High Victorian Gothic mode, with polychromatic stone siding; the lot turned out to be too small for the building, so the property of an adjacent bank was purchased for $150,000.
With more money now spent for the land than had been budgeted for the entire building, nothing built, Congress appropriated an additional $5,000. Construction did not begin until 1879. By James G. Hill had become the Supervising Architect. To save money, he changed the design to the Renaissance Revival style, which he preferred, complementing its use on the state capitol up the hill to the west. Hill kept Potter's basic forms and massing, although he changed the exterior to the simpler, cheaper gray granite. Inside, he made similar cost-driven modifications to the layout. Despite these changes, the building's final construction cost upon its 1883 completion was around $620,000. In 1912 the building became part of an early urban redevelopment plan; the city's leadership had become concerned about congestion and decay downtown near Water Street, where many visitors got their first impression of Albany. They hired Arnold W. Brunner, an architect and urban planner from New York, to resolve what he called "the tangle of mean streets and wretched buildings" on the waterfront.
He observed that Albany
National Register of Historic Places listings in Albany, New York
There are 65 properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Albany, New York, United States. Six are additionally designated as National Historic Landmarks, the most of any city in the state after New York City. Another 14 are historic districts, for which 20 of the listings are contributing properties. Two properties, both buildings, listed in the past but have since been demolished have been delisted; the listed properties represent 250 years of the city's history, from its 17th-century Dutch colonial origins to its suburban expansion in the mid-20th century. Reflecting Albany's position as New York's state capital are the main buildings of all three branches of state government. City Hall, the main offices of the city's school district, the diocesan cathedrals of both the Episcopal and Roman Catholic churches are included; some properties are recognized at least in part for unique attributes, such as the possible grave of the only British peer buried in the United States, the only destroyer escort still afloat and the only fireplace in that style remaining in the country.
Others recognize historic firsts such as the discovery of electrical inductance, the first state government building in the country to house an educational agency and the first basketball game played outside Massachusetts, where the sport was invented. Prominent architects represented include nationally prominent figures such as Henry Hobson Richardson, Richard Morris Hunt, Richard Upjohn and Stanford White, as well as local ones like Marcus T. Reynolds. In addition to the architects and many state politicians, historic personages associated with the listed properties include George Washington, John McCloskey and Legs Diamond; the National Register of Historic Places, the U. S. national heritage register, was established by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. It is administered by the National Park Service. Properties to be listed are first approved by the state historic preservation offices for listing on their state-level heritage register and nominated to the National Register.
Sometimes they are nominated directly to the National Register. In New York the board is under the auspices of the state's Office of Parks and Historic Preservation. A separate NPS program has jurisdiction over properties nominated for National Historic Landmark status, which must be formally granted by the Secretary of the Interior. There is no requirement that a property nominated for NHL status have been listed on the Register, although many were. NHLs that were not listed on the Register are listed administratively when they are designated NHLs; the NHL program predates the Register by a few years, NHLs, designated prior to the establishment of the Register were administratively listed when the latter was established. Outside the city, Albany County has another 147 listings; the city's 65 are 31 % of the largest portion of any community in the county. One listing, the Albany Felt Company Complex, is shared with the neighboring town of Menands. Two of the listings, the USS Slater and Whipple Cast and Wrought Iron Bowstring Truss Bridge, were moved to Albany from other locations.
Most of the listed properties are located in central Albany, close to the Hudson River and the original boundaries of the city, an area today coterminous with one listing, the Downtown Albany Historic District. The south end of the Albany Felt Company Complex in the city's northeast corner is its easternmost listing. Near the city's southern boundary, overlooking Interstate 787, is Nut Grove, the southernmost entry; the Rapp Road Community Historic District, in an area rural for much of its existence until the development of Crossgates Mall nearby, is at the western and northern extreme. The downtown historic district takes those boundaries from the stockade built by the Dutch as part of Fort Orange in 1624; the buried remnants of the fort are one of the city's NHLs, the oldest of its Register listings. Until the late 19th century and its neighboring areas was the entire developed city. Historic districts are groupings of properties under different ownership, that share a common historical background.
They are sometimes recognized by local zoning codes. Not all are called historic districts—in Albany, the small "Broadway Row" of four townhouses is listed as Buildings at 744–750 Broadway. There are 14 historic districts listed on the Register in the city. All but two of them districts are clustered, contiguously in some areas, in this same section of the city along the river; the districts range in size from 136-acre Washington Park to Broadway Row, Knox Street and the Lustron Houses of Jermain Street, all less than an acre. Combined, the historic districts equal about 4 % of Albany's total land area, they have over 2,000 buildings, objects or sites within their boundaries. Over 90% of those are considered contributing properties to their districts' historic character. Most of the districts are residential enclaves, with some other uses scattered throughout, they reflect different stages of the city's growth, from onetime neighborhoods of the city's wealthy like the Ten Broeck Triangle to immigrant-settled areas like the Mansion District and South End.
The two exceptions are downtown commercial, the government buildings and parks that make up most of the Lafayette Park Historic District. Of the remaining 43 extant listings, all but three are complexes of buildings; those other three include one structure, one maritime site
National Park Service
The National Park Service is an agency of the United States federal government that manages all national parks, many national monuments, other conservation and historical properties with various title designations. It was created on August 25, 1916, by Congress through the National Park Service Organic Act and is an agency of the United States Department of the Interior; the NPS is charged with a dual role of preserving the ecological and historical integrity of the places entrusted to its management, while making them available and accessible for public use and enjoyment. As of 2018, the NPS employs 27,000 employees who oversee 419 units, of which 61 are designated national parks. National parks and national monuments in the United States were individually managed under the auspices of the Department of the Interior; the movement for an independent agency to oversee these federal lands was spearheaded by business magnate and conservationist Stephen Mather, as well as J. Horace McFarland. With the help of journalist Robert Sterling Yard, Mather ran a publicity campaign for the Department of the Interior.
They wrote numerous articles that praised the scenic and historic qualities of the parks and their possibilities for educational and recreational benefits. This campaign resulted in the creation of a National Park Service. On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill that mandated the agency "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wildlife therein, to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." Mather became the first director of the newly formed NPS. On March 3, 1933, President Herbert Hoover signed the Reorganization Act of 1933; the act would allow the President to reorganize the executive branch of the United States government. It wasn't until that summer when the new President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, made use of this power. Deputy Director Horace M. Albright had suggested to President Roosevelt that the historic sites from the American Civil War should be managed by the National Park Service, rather than the War Department.
President Roosevelt issued two Executive orders to make it happen. These two executive orders not only transferred to the National Park Service all the War Department historic sites, but the national monuments managed by the Department of Agriculture and the parks in and around the capital, run by an independent office. In 1951, Conrad Wirth became director of the National Park Service and went to work on bringing park facilities up to the standards that the public expected; the demand for parks after the end of the World War II had left the parks overburdened with demands that could not be met. In 1952, with the support of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, he began Mission 66, a ten-year effort to upgrade and expand park facilities for the 50th anniversary of the Park Service. New parks were added to preserve unique resources and existing park facilities were upgraded and expanded. In 1966, as the Park Service turned 50 years old, emphasis began to turn from just saving great and wonderful scenery and unique natural features to making parks accessible to the public.
Director George Hartzog began the process with the creation of the National Lakeshores and National Recreation Areas. Since its inception in 1916, the National Park Service has managed each of the United States' national parks, which have grown in number over the years to 60. Yellowstone National Park was the first national park in the United States. In 1872, there was no state government to manage it, so the federal government assumed direct control. Yosemite National Park began as a state park. Yosemite was returned to federal ownership. At first, each national park was managed independently, with varying degrees of success. In Yellowstone, the civilian staff was replaced by the U. S. Army in 1886. Due to the irregularities in managing these national treasures, Stephen Mather petitioned the federal government to improve the situation. In response, Secretary of the Interior Franklin K. Lane challenged him to lobby for creating a new agency, the National Park Service, to manage all national parks and some national monuments.
Mather was successful with the ratification of the National Park Service Organic Act in 1916. The agency was given authority over other protected areas, many with varying designations as Congress created them; the National Park System includes. The title or designation of a unit need not include the term park; the System as a whole is considered to be a national treasure of the United States, some of the more famous national parks and monuments are sometimes referred to metaphorically as "crown jewels". The system encompasses 84.4 million acres, of which more than 4.3 million acres remain in private ownership. The largest unit is Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. At 13,200,000 acres, it is over 16 percent of the entire system; the smallest unit in the system is Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial, Pennsylvania, at 0.02 acre. In addition to administering its units and other properties, the National Park Service provides technical and financial assistance to several "affiliated areas" authorized by Congress.
The largest affiliated area is New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve at 1,164,025 acres. The smallest is Benjamin Franklin National Memorial at less than 0.01 acres. Although all units of the Nat
Albany, New York
Albany is the capital of the U. S. state of New York and the seat of Albany County. Albany is located on the west bank of the Hudson River 10 miles south of its confluence with the Mohawk River and 135 miles north of New York City. Albany is known for its rich history, culture and institutions of higher education. Albany constitutes the economic and cultural core of the Capital District of New York State, which comprises the Albany–Schenectady–Troy, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area, including the nearby cities and suburbs of Troy and Saratoga Springs. With a 2013 Census-estimated population of 1.1 million the Capital District is the third-most populous metropolitan region in the state. As of the 2010 census, the population of Albany was 97,856; the area that became Albany was settled by Dutch colonists who in 1614, built Fort Nassau for fur trading and, in 1624, built Fort Orange. In 1664, the English took over the Dutch settlements, renaming the city as Albany, in honor of the Duke of Albany, the future James II of England and James VII of Scotland.
The city was chartered in 1686 under English rule. It became the capital of New York in 1797 following formation of the United States. Albany is one of the oldest surviving settlements of the original British thirteen colonies, is the longest continuously chartered city in the United States. During the late 18th century and throughout most of the 19th, Albany was a center of trade and transportation; the city lies toward the north end of the navigable Hudson River, was the original eastern terminus of the Erie Canal connecting to the Great Lakes, was home to some of the earliest railroad systems in the world. In the 1920s, a powerful political machine controlled by the Democratic Party arose in Albany. In the latter part of the 20th century, Albany experienced a decline in its population due to urban sprawl and suburbanization. In the early 21st century, Albany has experienced growth in the high-technology industry, with great strides in the nanotechnology sector. Albany is one of the oldest surviving European settlements from the original thirteen colonies and the longest continuously chartered city in the United States.
The Hudson River area was inhabited by Algonquian-speaking Mohican, who called it Pempotowwuthut-Muhhcanneuw, meaning "the fireplace of the Mohican nation." Based to the west along the Mohawk River, the Iroquoian-speaking Mohawk referred to it as Sche-negh-ta-da, or "through the pine woods," referring to the path they took there. The Mohawk were one of the Five Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, or Haudenosaunee, became strong trading partners with the Dutch and English, it is the Albany area was visited by European fur traders as early as 1540, but the extent and duration of those visits has not been determined. Permanent European claims began when Englishman Henry Hudson, exploring for the Dutch East India Company on the Half Moon, reached the area in 1609, claiming it for the United Netherlands. In 1614, Hendrick Christiaensen built Fort Nassau, a fur-trading post and the first documented European structure in present-day Albany. Commencement of the fur trade provoked hostility from the French colony in Canada and among the natives, all of whom vied to control the trade.
In 1618, a flood ruined the fort on Castle Island. Both forts were named in honor of the Dutch royal House of Orange-Nassau. Fort Orange and the surrounding area were incorporated as the village of Beverwijck in 1652. In these early decades of trade, the Dutch and Mohawk developed relations that reflected differences among their three cultures; when New Netherland was captured by the English in 1664, the name was changed from Beverwijck to Albany in honor of the Duke of Albany. Duke of Albany was a Scottish title given since 1398 to a younger son of the King of Scots; the name is derived from Alba, the Gaelic name for Scotland. The Dutch regained Albany in August 1673 and renamed the city Willemstadt. On November 1, 1683, the Province of New York was split into counties, with Albany County being the largest. At that time the county included all of present New York State north of Dutchess and Ulster Counties in addition to present-day Bennington County, theoretically stretching west to the Pacific Ocean.
Albany was formally chartered as a municipality by provincial Governor Thomas Dongan on July 22, 1686. The Dongan Charter was identical in content to the charter awarded to the city of New York three months earlier. Dongan created Albany as a strip of land 16 miles long. Over the years Albany would lose much of the land to the annex land to the north and south. At this point, Albany had a population of about 500 people. In 1754, representatives of seven British North American colonies met in the Stadt Huys, Albany's city hall, for the Albany Congress. Although it was never adopted by Parliament, it was an important precursor to the United States Constitution; the same year, the fourth in a series of wars dating back to 1689, began.
Henry Hudson was an English sea explorer and navigator during the early 17th century, best known for his explorations of present-day Canada and parts of the northeastern United States. In 1607 and 1608, Hudson made two attempts on behalf of English merchants to find a rumored Northeast Passage to Cathay via a route above the Arctic Circle. In 1609 he landed in North America and explored the region around the modern New York metropolitan area, looking for a Northwest Passage to Asia on behalf of the Dutch East India Company, he sailed up the Hudson River, named after him, thereby laid the foundation for Dutch colonization of the region. Hudson discovered the Hudson Strait and the immense Hudson Bay on his final expedition, while still searching for the Northwest Passage. In 1611, after wintering on the shore of James Bay, Hudson wanted to press on to the west, but most of his crew mutinied; the mutineers cast Hudson, his son, seven others adrift. Besides being the namesake of numerous geographical features, Hudson is the namesake of the Hudson's Bay Company that explored and traded in the vast Hudson Bay watershed in the following centuries.
Details of Hudson's birth and early life are unknown. Some sources have identified Henry Hudson as having been born in about 1565, but others date his birth to around 1570. Other historians assert less certainty. Mancall, for instance, states that " was born in the 1560s," while Piers Pennington gives no date at all. Hudson is thought to have spent many years at sea, beginning as a cabin boy and working his way up to ship's captain. In 1607, the Muscovy Company of England hired Hudson to find a northerly route to the Pacific coast of Asia. At the time, the English were engaged in an economic battle with the Dutch for control of northwest routes, it was thought that, because the sun shone for three months in the northern latitudes in the summer, the ice would melt and a ship could make it across the "top of the world". On 1 May 1607, Hudson sailed with a crew of a boy on the 80-ton Hopewell, they reached the east coast of Greenland on 14 June. Here the party named a headland "Young's Cape", a "very high mount, like a round castle" near it "Mount of God's Mercy" and land at 73° north latitude "Hold-with-Hope".
After turning east, they sighted "Newland" on the 27th, near the mouth of the great bay Hudson simply named the "Great Indraught". On 13 July and his crew estimated that they had sailed as far north as 80° 23' N, but more only reached 79° 23' N; the following day they entered what Hudson in the voyage named "Whales Bay", naming its northwestern point "Collins Cape" after his boatswain, William Collins. They sailed north the following two days. On the 16th they reached as far north as Hakluyt's Headland at 79° 49' N, thinking they saw the land continue to 82° N when it trended to the east. Encountering ice packed along the north coast, they were forced to turn back south. Hudson wanted to make his return "by the north of Greenland to Davis his Streights, so for Kingdom of England," but ice conditions would have made this impossible; the expedition returned to Tilbury Hope on the Thames on 15 September. Hudson reported large numbers of whales in Spitsbergen waters during this voyage. Many authors credit his reports as the catalyst for several nations sending whaling expeditions to the islands.
This claim is contentious- others have pointed to strong evidence that it was Jonas Poole's reports in 1610 that led to the establishment of English whaling, voyages of Nicholas Woodcock and Willem Cornelisz. Van Muyden in 1612 which led to the establishment of Dutch and Spanish whaling. In 1608, English merchants of the East India and Muscovy Companies again sent Hudson in the Hopewell to attempt to locate a passage to the Indies, this time to the east around northern Russia. Leaving London on 22 April, the ship traveled 2,500 miles, making it to Novaya Zemlya well above the Arctic Circle in July, but in the summer they found the ice impenetrable and turned back, arriving at Gravesend on 26 August. According to Thomas Edge, "William Hudson" in 1608 discovered an island he named "Hudson's Tutches" at 71° N, the latitude of Jan Mayen. However, records of Hudson's voyages suggest that he could only have come across Jan Mayen in 1607 by making an illogical detour, historians have pointed out that Hudson himself made no mention of it in his journal.
There is no cartographical proof of this supposed discovery. Jonas Poole in 1611 and Robert Fotherby in 1615 both had possession of Hudson's journal while searching for his elusive Hold-with-Hope, but neither had any knowledge of any discovery of Jan Mayen, an achievement, only attributed to Hudson. Fotherby stumbled across Jan Mayen, thinking it a new discovery and naming it "Sir Thomas Smith's Island", though the first verifiable records of the discovery of the island had been made a year earlier, in 1614. In 1609 Hudson was chosen by merchants of the Dutch East India Company in the Netherlands to find an easterly passage to Asia. While awaiting orders and supplies in Amsterdam, he heard rumors of a northwest route to the Pacific through North America. Hudson had been told to sail through the Arctic Ocean north of Russia, into the Pacific and so to the Far East. Huds
Historic districts in the United States
Historic districts in the United States are designated historic districts recognizing a group of buildings, properties, or sites by one of several entities on different levels as or architecturally significant. Buildings, structures and sites within a historic district are divided into two categories and non-contributing. Districts vary in size: some have hundreds of structures, while others have just a few; the U. S. federal government designates historic districts through the United States Department of Interior under the auspices of the National Park Service. Federally designated historic districts are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but listing imposes no restrictions on what property owners may do with a designated property. State-level historic districts may follow similar criteria or may require adherence to certain historic rehabilitation standards. Local historic district designation offers, by far, the most legal protection for historic properties because most land use decisions are made at the local level.
Local districts are administered by the county or municipal government. The first U. S. historic district was established in Charleston, South Carolina in 1931, predating the U. S. federal government designation by more than three decades. Charleston city government designated an "Old and Historic District" by local ordinance and created a board of architectural review to oversee it. New Orleans followed in 1937, establishing the Vieux Carré Commission and authorizing it to act to maintain the historic character of the city's French Quarter. Other localities picked up on the concept, with the city of Philadelphia enacting its historic preservation ordinance in 1955; the regulatory authority of local commissions and historic districts has been upheld as a legitimate use of government police power, most notably in Penn Central Transportation Co. v. City of New York; the Supreme Court case validated the protection of historic resources as "an permissible governmental goal." In 1966 the federal government created the National Register of Historic Places, soon after a report from the U.
S. Conference of Mayors had stated Americans suffered from "rootlessness." By the 1980s there were thousands of federally designated historic districts. Some states, such as Arizona, have passed referendums defending property rights that have stopped private property being designated historic without the property owner's consent or compensation for the historic overlay. Historic districts are two types of properties and non-contributing. Broadly defined, a contributing property is any property, structure or object which adds to the historical integrity or architectural qualities that make a historic district, listed locally or federally, significant. Different entities governmental, at both the state and national level in the United States, have differing definitions of contributing property but they all retain the same basic characteristics. In general, contributing properties are integral parts of the historic context and character of a historic district. In addition to the two types of classification within historic districts, properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places are classified into five broad categories.
They are, structure, site and object. All but the eponymous district category are applied to historic districts listed on the National Register. A listing on the National Register of Historic Places is governmental acknowledgment of a historic district. However, the Register is "an honorary status with some federal financial incentives." The National Register of Historic Places defines a historic district per U. S. federal law, last revised in 2004. According to the Register definition a historic district is: a geographically definable area, urban or rural, possessing a significant concentration, linkage, or continuity of sites, structures, or objects united by past events or aesthetically by plan or physical development. A district may comprise individual elements separated geographically but linked by association or history. Districts established under U. S. federal guidelines begin the process of designation through a nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. The National Register is the official recognition by the U.
S. government of cultural resources worthy of preservation. While designation through the National Register does offer a district or property some protections, it is only in cases where the threatening action involves the federal government. If the federal government is not involved the listing on the National Register provides the site, property or district no protections. For example, if company A wants to tear down the hypothetical Smith House and company A is under contract with the state government of Illinois the federal designation would offer no protections. If, company A was under federal contract the Smith House would be protected. A federal designation is little more than recognition by the government that the resource is worthy of preservation. In general, the criteria for acceptance to the National Register are applied but there are considerations for exceptions to the criteria and historic districts have influence on some of those exceptions; the National Register does not list religious structures, moved structures, reconstructed structures, or properties that have achieved significance within the last 50 years.
However, if a property falls into one of those categories and are "integral parts of districts that do meet the criteria" an exception allowing their listing will be made. Historic dis
Ypres Cloth Hall
The Cloth Hall is a large cloth hall, a medieval commercial building, in Ypres, Belgium. It was one of the largest commercial buildings of the Middle Ages, when it served as the main market and warehouse for the Flemish city's prosperous cloth industry; the original structure, erected in the 13th century and completed 1304, lay in ruins after artillery fire devastated Ypres in World War I. Between 1933 and 1967, the hall was meticulously reconstructed to its prewar condition, under the guidance of architects J. Coomans and P. A. Pauwels. At 125 metres in breadth, with a 70 metres -high belfry tower, the Cloth Hall recalls the importance and wealth of the medieval trade city; the building now houses the In Flanders Fields Museum. In a row spanning the front of the edifice are tall pointed arches that alternately enclose windows and blind niches. Before the Great War, the niches framed life-size statues of historical personages and countesses of Flanders; the niches on the side wings are now vacant, but those in the centre contain statues of Count Baldwin IX of Flanders and Mary of Champagne, legendary founders of the building.
Situated between these two couples, directly above the central archway entrance or Donkerpoort, is a statue of Our Lady of Thuyne, the patron of Ypres. The belfry, capped with four turrets and a spire, houses a carillon with 49 bells. From a pole atop the spire a gilded dragon overlooks the city; the tower offers an expansive view of the surroundings, was used as a watchtower in centuries past. It has accommodated the town archives, a treasury, an armory and a prison. In less enlightened times, cats were thrown off the belfry for reasons that are not understood. One theory is. A different theory is that cats were held to protect the cloth against mice, but the annual excess of kittens had to be dealt with in some way. Today, a jester commemorates this act by tossing stuffed toy felines from the tower during the triennial Cat Parade; the Cloth Hall used to be accessible by boat via the Ieperlee waterway, now covered. The spacious ground-floor halls where wool and cloth were once sold are now used for exhibitions and tourist information.
Via the museum, visitors can access the belfry tower. Against the east face of the edifice stands the elegant Nieuwerck, whose Renaissance style contrasts markedly with the Gothic of the main building. Built between 1619 and 1622, reconstructed after the war, this annex now serves as a town hall. A painting of the Cloth Hall as it appeared in ruins in 1918, by Scottish-born artist James Kerr-Lawson, was one of over 1,000 pieces of art commissioned by the Canadian War Memorials Fund for part of a World War I memorial building, planned after the war. However, the memorial building was scrapped in favour of a memorial cenotaph at the centre of Confederation Square, across the street from Parliament Hill in Ottawa; the painting of the Cloth Hall, seven other of the commissioned pieces, were instead hung in the Senate Chamber of the newly re-built Centre Block of parliament in 1921, remains there today. The design of the Calcutta High Court building, established on July 1, 1862 in the city of Calcutta in the Bengal Presidency of India during the British Raj, was inspired by the Ypres Cloth Hall.
Cloth hall Belfries of Belgium and France Calcutta High Court, a 19th-century copy of the Cloth Hall in Kolkata, India Delaware and Hudson Railway Building, a 20th-century copy of the Cloth Hall in Albany, New York, United States Ypres: The Cloth Hall from Trabel.com Description and picture gallery from Belgiumview In Flanders Fields Museum