Philadelphia Information Locator Service
Archival Record Series

Public Buildings, Commissioners for the Erection of

[Record Group 160]

160.1 Minutes
1870-1901
4 volumes, no index
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.2 Rough Minutes
1870-1893; missing 1873-1881
4 volumes, no index
Secretary's working drafts, also include a few items of correspondence, newspaper clippings.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.3 Letter Book
1885-1898
2 volumes, index, vol. 1896-1898
Correspondence by Secretary at Board direction, covers great variety of subjects.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.4 Executive Committee, Minutes
1873-1901
2 volumes, no index
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.5 Executive Committee. Rough Minutes
1882-1901
3 volumes, no index
Secretary's working drafts, also include some tippedin various financial reports.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.6 Bills Presented to the Executive Committee
1900-1901
1 volume, no index
Monthly lists of bills presented for approval; for each is listed supplier or contractor, materials or services provided, amount of invoice.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.7 Committee on Electric Lighting. Minutes
1891-1901
1 volume, no index
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.8 Committee on Elevators. Minutes
1885-1900
1 volume, no index
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.9 Committee on the Metal Work of the Tower. Minutes
1889-1900
1 volume, no index
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.10 Accounts
1872-1901
1 volume, index
Under headings for all Commission's accounts, ledger entries list dates, amounts expended, warrant numbers, balanced against amount of contract or appropriation item amount; balances for each year account open, and final balances.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.11 Appropriation Ledger
1894-1901
2 volumes, no index
Under heading of each appropriation item number are listed journal entries of expenditures, each entry containing date, warrant number, amount, reason for payment.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.12 Expenditures Journal
1872-1901
1 volume, no index
Journal entries list date, amount and to whom paid, reason for payment; monthly totals carried forward entire period (no annual totals); last entry a trial balance, June 1901, of Commission's accounts preparatory to closing.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.14 Cash Book
1872-1901
4 volumes, no index
Monthly expenditures ledger, balancing disbursals (each entry lists date, amount, and to whom paid) against annual appropriation total.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.15 Tower Cost Book
1889-1896
2 volumes, index
Journal entries under each tower project heading list date, amount, to whom paid and reason for payment, or transfer to other item; totaled monthly.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.16 Statement of Tower Costs
1889-1892
2 sheets, no index
Figures compiled from books of Tacony Iron and Metal Company (tower contractor) present monthly total costs for all items in tower construction; all items totaled annually and for entire period item open; grand total for entire period.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.17 Payroll
1889-1896
1 volume, no index
Monthly rolls listing for each employee his name, occupation, number of days and hours worked, number for which paid that month, numbers carried from previous month and carried to next month, daily salary, total paid that month.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.18 "Complete Statement of Financial Transactions"
1901
1 volume, index
Full, detailed report by Commission of financial transactions August 5, 1870-June 26,1901; also, inventory of records in possession of Secretary and of all supplies, materials, and furnishings in possession of Commission; index of rooms in City Hall, listing room numbers, departments occupying them, total areas of rooms and suites; final report of architect (W. B. Powell, successor to John McArthur) of his financial transactions and work done by him October 1900-June, 1901.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.19 "Plans of the New Public Buildings"
1888
2 volumes, no index
Published by the Commissioners; includes plates of elevations, floor plans, sections of and much technical information on Tower; many of these entries earlier versions than those ultimately used.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.20 City Hall Drawings & Plans
1 February 1871 - 28 June 1901
595 plans, index
Drawings of floor plans, sections, tower, stairways, elevations, elevators, window detail, office plans, roof, office decorations, furniture, gas pipe plans, water supply lines, etc.
Includes drawings made by John McArthur, John Ord and W(ashington) Bleddyn Powell, City Architects; D. Hudson Shedaker and Francis Schuman; and by Edgemore Bridge and Iron Works, Jones and Benner, Phoenix Iron Co., Tacony Iron Co., Roncoyd, J. P. Thorp and Co., and Wilson Brothers. Plans include blueprints, photocopies and whiteprints and drawings made on board, linen, mylar, paper and tissue. Sizes of plans range from 9 3/4" x 8 1/4" to 70" x 33 3/4" and are of varying scales
For similar records see the following:
City Architect, City Hall Drawings & Plans (1901-1918)
Department of City Transit, Plans (1916-1928)
City Architect, City Hall Drawings & Plans (1920-1951)
Electrical Bureau, Drawings & Plans (1923-1924)
Department of City Property, City Hall, Drawings & Plans (1934)
Public Buildings Commission, City Hall Floor Plans(1953). Department of Public Property, Division of Architecture & Engineering, Drawings & Plans (1952-1972)
Department of Public Property, Electrical Bureau, Plans (1955-1958)

Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.21 Field Book, Calculation of Tower Stresses
ca. 1891
1 volume, no index
Includes many calculations, to determine "the greatest pressure per square foot at various levels of the Tower."
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.22 Report of Mechanical Tests of Building Materials
1884
1 volume, no index
Results of tests made 1882-1883 at Watertown, Mass., Arsenal by U. S. Ordnance Department at request of Commissioners; materials tested include building stone, brick, cast iron, I beams, etc.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.23 Pamphlets
1860-1893
7 volumes, no index
Includes: 1. General specifications prepared by John McArthur for two buildings (a court house and a municipal offices building) to be erected on Northeast and Northwest sections only of Penn Square; may have been prepared for contractors' bids. 20 pp.; drawings.; no date.
2. Argument of Commissioners' Solicitor before Pennsylvania Supreme Court, January Term 1870, re: moves to enjoin Commissioners from building on Penn Square. 80 pp.
3. Directions "to the Architects who may prepare plans for the new Public Buildings to be erected on Independence Square;" general form of buildings and space requirements. 12 pp. 1869.
4. Communications of Commissioners to Pennsylvania Supreme Court re failure of City to make appropriation to Commissioners for 1893; 15 pp. January 1893. (2 copies).
5. Summaries of Commissioners' requisitions on City Councils, Councils' appropriations to Commissioners, and of their annual expenditures of those funds, 1870- 1890; recapitulations. 9 pp. 1890.
6. Affidavits of John McArthur and others, made September- October 1860, re sufficiency of plans he had submitted for Public Buildings then projected, submitted to Pennsylvania Supreme Court in connection with cases of Ketchum v. City of Philadelphia and Macalester et. al. v. Thompson et. al.
7. Proceedings of a Mass Meeting of the Citizens of Philadelphia held March 24, 1871...to Protest against the Existence of a Commission for the Erection of Public Buildings; 32 pp. 1871; on end of cover includes comparison of size between Capitol Extension at Washington and new Public Buildings.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.24 Schedule of Proposals
1901
1 volume, no index
Vendors' supply bids submitted February 8, 1901; each lists supplies concerned in bid and prices quoted by supplier and note of date contract awarded; these apparently the successful bids only. Also includes one loose proposal for the installation of a filter to which is attached a proposed plant submitted by a vendor.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.25 Contract Register
1871-1892
1 volume, index
Entry for each contract lists contractor, contract number and date, materials or services to be supplied, cost.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.26 Contracts
1873, 1889, 1898
4 volumes, no index
Contract of December 18, 1873 with William Struthers and Sons to furnish and install all white marble required, includes contract terms, costs, specifications, drawings;
Contract of September 24, 1889 with Tacony Iron and Metal Company for ironwork and completion of clock tower, includes specifications, costs, and copy of bond given by company;
Contract of September 6, 1898 with Johnson Temperature Regulating Company for installation of tower clock includes specifications, costs, and copy of bond given by company.
Undated specifications for electric light standards of cast iron electro plated with aluminum bronze for sidewalks around City Hall. Specifications are incomplete.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.27 Tower Engineer. Report
1898
1 volume, no index
Xerox copy only; includes a brief history of the construction of the metal portion of City Hall Tower (topmost 210 feet, including Penn Statue); a detailed description of tower, including dimensions and weights, and of structural members, electro-plating processes, scaffolding and its erection, observations of movements of tower during erection of dome, materials, specifications, strain factors, and diagrams.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.27a Tower Construction. Papers
1892-1898
1 cu.ft., no index
Papers of Francis Schumann, C.E., President of the Tacony Iron and Metal Company and Engineer in charge of the City Hall Tower construction. Includes reports on the techniques used in the Plating department of the Tacony Iron and Metal Company, test results on the strength of materials and structural pieces, status of the metal work on the Tower and estimates of cost of completion, estimated weight of the cast iron casing of the Tower; and work completed in the years 1894-1896; blueprints of the Tower showing strains from wind, dead and line load; elevations, details, and erection plan; photographs of structural details shown in the blueprints and of construction and the Tower Statues; a list of Tower symbols, calculations of quantities of metals received and used and of amount of electroplating required, a table of the deviation of plumb line; an abstract of the Clock Tower areas, weights and pressures showing location of each Tower floor level, area at levels in square feet, weight of sections between levels, accumulated loads, tons pressure per square foot, and weights of materials; manuscripts of articles, and technical publications.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.28 "The New Public Buildings on Penn Square"
1880
1 volume, no index
Published by the Commissioners, reprints drawings and floor plans of City Hall, cornerstone laying address, various construction statistics, summary of legislative and Councils' action, brief history of entire project to publication date.
(photostat copy; original held by Judge Sloane)
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.29 "Photographs of the New Public Buildings"
ca. 1901
1 volume, no index
Bound volume of photographic reproductions of floor plans, elevations, sections, etc., as well as photographs of great number of decorative details- e.g., statuary, reliefs, capitals, pilasters, caryatids.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.30 Architect's Correspondence
1894-1906
2 volumes, index
Correspondence of W. B. Powell, successor to John McArthur as architect; subjects chiefly reports of progress, requests for supplies; after 1901 letters deal mainly with answers to questions about City Hall, advice.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.31 "The City Hall"
1897
1 volume, no index
Published by F. Faust. One of edition limited to 250 copies; nine pages of general text; bulk of volume chiefly photographs of decorative detail of building.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.32 History of the Commission
1871-1889
3 volumes, no index
Apparently working volumes for a history of the Commission; contain a narrative chiefly condensed from Commissioners' Minutes, planned appendices, and much material in form of printed and manuscript reports, pamphlets, correspondence, copies of Acts and ordinances.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.33 Forms of Proposals
1894-1901
1 volume, no index
Forms to be used by vendors making bids on work on the new Public Buildings. Each form includes the year of the bid, room number or other location, and City agency where work was to be done, and specifications of work and materials. The forms are for the following types of goods and work: art work, boilers, brick and stone work, carpenter's and mill work, carpets, cement, coal and the hauling of ashes and rubbish, copper and bronze work, electric and gas fixtures, furniture, hangings, mortar and gravel, painting, plastering, plumbing, steamfitting, tiling, tools, and uniforms.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.34 Designs for Public Buildings on Independence Square
ca. Dec. 1869
9 photographs, no index
Photographs of plans prepared by John McArthur, Jr. for the "Commissioners for the erection of Public Buildings" who were appointed by an ordinance of City Councils, approved December 31, 1868. Since the Commissioners were superseded by the Commissioners for the Erection of Public Buildings, established by an Act of the Pennsylvania Legislature dated August 5, 1870, these designs were not used. The designs include: elevation of the "Sixth Street Front"; elevation of the "Chestnut Street Front"; "elevation of Chestnut Street"; floor plan of Second Floor; floor plan of Basement; floor plan of First Floor; "Elevation on Walnut Street; "Elevation for Sixth Street and Fifth Street Fronts" Dimensions are approximately 19 x 24 .
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.35 Guides to the City Hall
1892, 1899
2 volumes, no index
Each guide includes the dimensions of the new City Hall and the comparative heights of the principal buildings of the world, a description of the building; the Act of the Pennsylvania Legislature, approved 5 August 1870, which provided for the erection of the City Hall; a summary of legislative and municipal actions relating to the building, and directory of offices. Volume for 1892 published by Frederick Turner, Jr., publisher.
For similar records, 1900, 1902, 1908, see Department of City Property, Guides to City Hall
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
160.36 Scrapbooks, Philadelphia Public Buildings
December 1860 to March 1900
5 rolls microfilm
31 scrapbooks of clippings from various Philadelphia newspapers clipped and organized by Samuel C. Perkins, President of the Commissioners for the Erection of the Public Buildings from 1871 to 1901. Clippings relate to the construction of City Hall and of the Commissioners for the Erection of the Public Buildings. Scrapbooks also include much published material relating to construction and controversies surrounding City Hall. Included at the end of Reel 4 are various published pamphlets relating ot the controversy of building at Center Square, legal opinions, guides to City Hall and official publications of the Commissioners from the collections of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Shelf list is available.

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Last updated on November 9, 2000