The Story of Mississippi’s New Capitol: Barnes and Link report in

Well, here we are at the end of this four-part series looking back to when the New Capitol was taking shape there on its double block on the north side of town. Today, the two reports mentioned in yesterday’s post, the first by the Superintendent of Construction J.F. Barnes, of Greenville, Mississippi, the second by Theodore Link, the St. Louis architect. These reports were written as the building was still under construction–in fact the walls weren’t yet finished and the roof trusses were waiting to top off the building. But can you believe this amount of work had been done when in fact, these reports came less than two years after the appointment of the State House Commission in February 1900. Wow, the ancients moved quick! I suspect nowadays, we’d still be in design development, or maybe still arguing about whether to fund the building at all.




To the Mississippi State House Commission, Gov. A.H. Longino, Chairman:

GENTLEMEN–I have the honor to submit my first annual report of the labor performed and materials furnished in the construction of the new State House, and to give the result of observations made from time to time during the past year. I received my appointment as Superintendent of Construction March 14, 1901, and the Governor assigned me to duty at once. The Secretary, Mr. L.T .Fitzhugh, Jr., rendered me great assistance in his explanation of all the proceedings prior to this time, and furnished me with copies of plans, specifications, contracts, and resolutions adopted by the Commission, also a copy of the very able report of the Architect on his investigation and tests of the foundation work and his recommendations for increased footings and a greater depth. I found a very efficient corps of Engineers and Superintendents in charge of this work under the supervision of Mr. Karl E. Link, Assistant Supervising Architect, who has given the work his closest attention and carefully tested every foot of ground before the concrete was laid, in order to secure the very best results. This involved a great deal of extra work both difficult and expensive owing to the treacherous nature of the clay in which large quantities of marl was found. As this work was done by the Commission on the cost and percentage plan, every precaution was used and the most economical means employed to accomplish the work at the lowest possible cost to the State.

The material used was first-class, and the work is solid and intact. Thirty-five hundred cubic yards of crushed stone, properly mixed with cement and sand, were used in this work, and the additional time required to complete all the foundations was three months.

The weather was fine, and large forces were employed at reasonable wages. The time books were accurately kept by Mr. J.J. Evans, and the pay rolls were carefully checked over each month by me and found correct.

The underground masonry above the concrete work was done in a very superior manner, using Fernwood paving bricks laid in Portland cement, and cemented on both sides according to the specifications.

All the brick work is good, and the quality of the material is first class. Five million six hundred and twenty-five thousand brick have been laid in the building up to this time. About 15,000 of the brick shipped to the building were condemned and thrown aside The greater part of these were shipped through mistake.

The stone work was started in June, and has advanced steadily since that time in a very satisfactory manner. Mr. George Dugan, the sub-contractor for this work, has used every effort to facilitate the progress of the building, and the most approved machinery is used in getting out the stone at the quarry. The facilities for setting it are first-class, and the quality of the material comes up to the requirement of the specifications. Over 100,000 cubic feet have been set in the building, not including the granite base, and the cornice is now being erected around the entire building. The mortars used in all the masonry have been properly mixed, and 7,500 barrels of cement, 10,020 cubic yards of sand, and 5,000 barrels of lime have been used.

The steel and iron work has progressed favorably, and all sizes and weights conform to the specifications The material is good, and the shop and field work have been carefully inspected from time to time and found to be well done. Five hundred and seventy-five tons have been erected in the building, and the frame work for the roof is arriving on the ground, ready for erection when the walls are finished. The fire-proofing is progressing rapidly, and the material used is first class. The workmen in charge of this work are using great skill and care to make a good job, and the tests made by the Architect come fully up to the specifications. Large quantities of material for this work are constantly arriving, and 27,000 square feet have been laid up to this date. The sub-contractors for the plastering have slacked 1,200 barrels of lime into vaults ready for use and will begin work about January I5th. The material has been inspected and found to be first class.

The sub-contractor for the Scagliola finish is on the ground and making preparations to begin manufacturing his work. The material is ordered and all the workmen employed.

It is gratifying to state that everyone connected with the work on this building shows a disposition to do a first class job, and the progress of the work has been greatly aided by the Architect, who has given the work his closest attention and has supplied all the necessary drawings and details without any delay. The total amount of freights paid on the entire work to date is $37,565. The contractors have perfected every arrangement to complete the building in the time specified by contract and have arranged to cover the building by insurance against fire and high winds.

The work done during the month of December has been delayed on account of bad weather, but what has been done is very satisfactory and comes up to the specifications.

Respectfully submitted,
J.F. BARNES, Supt. of Construction.

January 1, 1902.




JACKSON, Miss., December 31, 1901.

To the Mississippi State House Commission, Gov. A.H. Longino, Chairman:

GENTLEMEN–The exhaustive report which your Honorable Body is about to submit to the legislative bodies of the State covers the historical and constructive development of the new State House in its architectural aspect so fully and correctly that I may very properly confine myself to a few pertinent suggestions for future action.

It will be well remembered that the revision of the original plans brought with it the elimination of various features bearing upon the personal comfort of the occupants of the building and the substitution of materials for the interior finish, which, while not inferior in quality are yet inadequate in appearance to express the refinement suggested by the external treatment.

Fortunately, it is not too late to remedy whatever had to be done in this direction to keep the cost of the building within the limits of the present law.

I would therefore urge that the heat and power plant be installed in a detached building in the northwest corner of the block, as originally contemplated; that the various items relating to marble finish, carving, etc., be restored, and that the appropriations for color decorations furniture and fittings be made more liberal than shown in the first schedule.

I believe it is generally conceded that every public building has an educational mission and it seems to me a rational demand that the most important building in a State should lead in this respect.

When I suggest, therefore, the propriety of asking for a further appropriation of $250,000, I have in mind the finishing of the Mississippi Capitol and its surrounding grounds to a degree of completeness and refinement never before accomplished in any public building of the South.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

THEO. C. LINK, Supervising Architect.


This is the last in a four-part series. Want to read the whole series?

Categories: Architectural Research, Cool Old Places, Jackson, Mississippi Landmarks

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