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The herald. [volume] (New Orleans, La.) 1905-1953, June 27, 1918, Image 10

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88064020/1918-06-27/ed-1/seq-10/

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Capial Phone Main
Capital 786
Five Million Dollars
"Greatest Homestead South"
Organized in 1907
Under the same management since organization.
We are the largest Homestead or Building and Loan
Association in the South for the time in operation 10 1-2
There's A Reason
We are the Only Homestead or Building and Loan
Association in Louisiana that lends money at less than 7
per cent. and no bonus.
Our increase in Assets the past six months, ending
December 31st, 1917, was larger than any other Home
stead or Building and Loan Association in New Orleans.
We Always Lead
We were the first Homestead or Building and Loan
Association in the United States to announce and sub
scribe for Liberty Loan Bonds. We also purchased 2nd
and 3rd Issue Liberty Loan Bonds.
On March 3rd, 1918, we announced through the
local press that we would suspend payments on loans
made to members serving our country, eitfler in the Army
or Navy, and on March 8, 1918 President Wilson signed
the soldiers and sailors Civil Rights Bill, practically creat
ing a moratorium for men in the service.
We were the first Homestead in New Orleans to
send books and periodicals to the Public Library to be
sent to our Boys at the Front.
These Men Made It Possible
aI I
562-503 Machbca 81Id., 830 Canal St., New Orlesas, La.,
tilE W AMl lD
~t 727 I&ervile St.
tY w Orrlea
Loyola University is delightfully situated in the Garden
District of New Orleans, in St. Charles Avenue, opposite Au
dubon Park. Easily accessible from all parts of the city. Ex
cellent street car facilities.
The buildings present a magnificent specimen of the Tudor(
Gothic style of architecture, which forms one of the most hand
some groups of buildings in the entire South. Thoroughly
fire-proof and equipped with all modern conveniences.
The faculty, about one hundred and thirty in number, is
chosen from among the most prominent educators iii the coun
try.. The expenses are nominal compared with the facilities
Thorough courses are offered in Classics, Sciences, Law,
Detistry, Pharmacy, Wireless, Oraory and Public Speaking,
NauRical Science, Mechanial Drawing, Cammerce, Business,
flrthr istip. apgy to Very Rev. A. E. Otis
Cost Five Million Dollars-Interesting facts regarding
its construotion--Henry Clay laid cornerstone
Butler's Headquarters and Confederate Pris
on in 1862-White League Headquar
ters in September 1874
The following article by H G. G icheyv. Present Superintendent ,of Cnstruction
The New Orleans Custom House is t
one of the oldest buildings owned by
thi' Inited States, the first appropri
ation of $570i having been made March
:. 1S45. for the preparation of plans.
On Mlarch ., 1 s47, the first appropri
ation of $100i.000 was made for the
commnencement of the building. The
land on which the building stands
was ceded to the United States by
the First Municipality of New Or
leans on June 21, 1,4S. The plans,
for the building were then approved i
by Robert J. Walker, Secretary of the 1
Treasury under President Polk, and I
the foundations of the building were
commennced immediately, Henry Clay 1
laying the corner-stone in 1S48.
The building occupies an entire
city square, having a frontage on
Canal Street of 337 feet, a depth of
:I03 feet and is 80 feet in height. The
building was originally intended to be
four stories in height, but on account
of changes in the design and struc
ture of the roof under modified plans
prepared in 1871, the fourth story is
suitable only for storage purposes.
The original plans for the building
were prbpared by A. T. Wood, and
the work of construction was con
ducted under the supervision of a
Building Commission appointed by
the Secretary of the Treasury, and
comprising Messrs. Alcee LeBranche,
Denis Prieur and William McKen
ree Gwin, all citizens of New Or
leans, La. Col. William Turnbull
was Chief Superintendent of Con
struction. and Gridley J. F. Bry
ant, Inspector of Granite work.
On a portion of the site of this
building, Sieur de Bienville, the
second Governor of Louisiana, un
der the French, soon after the foun
dation of the City in 1781, erected
a small wooden Custom House called
by the Creoles "La Douane," and
some portions of the block has ever
since formed the site of the New
Orleans Custom House. This block
of land was in early days a portion
of the site of Bienville's country
house or private residence. It was
to this spot that the Ursuline Nuns
were conducted when they arriLed in
Nevw Orleans In 1727, and they re
sided here until the house in Char
tres street was erected by Bienville
for their reception.
The Foundation.
The foundation of the building
consists of a grillage under each
wall, formed with a transverse layer
of four inch pllnks, on top of which
is laid a longitudinal layer of 12
Inch x '1 2inch 1imners, these in
turn, being crossed by another layer
of similar timnbers, this grillage be
ing spread about, five feet on each
side of the walls, and the bottom
about nine feet below the present
street level. All timber in this
grillage is cypress and when uncov
ered in 1915, to ascertain its condi
tion, was found sound and no signs
of decay. On top of this grillage
is a layer of concrete 12-inches in
thickness and a foot wider than the
walls on each side. On top of this
layer of concrete the brick masonry
is started, all walls having inverted
arches between all piers or across
all large openings. to distribute the
weight of the walls, etc., equally
over the entire grillage.
Not Built on Cotton Bales.
When tourists visit New Orleans
they are usually told that the Cus
tom House is built on a foundation
of cotton bales, but there is no truth
in the story. The only foundation
for such story gaining publicity, may
be that during the early days,
through the South, a bale of cotton
was used as a sort of standard of
value, and it might have been stated
at some time that the foundat!ons
of the Custom 'House cost a certain
number of bales of cotton, and it
is possible the present story ema
nated from this source.
Building Has Settled.
A commission in 1851, appointed
to make an investigation, reported
that the site of the New Orleans
Custom House, as ascertained from
test borings made, was the firmest,
dryest, and most reliable in and
about the city; yet in 1860 the
buadins had settled about 2 feet, 6
inches. On account of this settle
ment the original plans for finish
ing the building were never carried
out. It was intended to provide a
large dome over the central rotunda
of the building, and top the walls
with a granite cornice, but the dome
was omitted and the cornice made
of cast iron in lieu of granite uas in
The exterior walNs are 4 feet
thick of granite, backed up with
brick masonry; the interior walls
are in like proportion to the build
ing. Through all walls at intervals
of about 2 feet In height 1-4-inch x
2-inch flat iron bands are built in
the longitudinal joints of the brick
work, and the wisdom of this rein
forcement is shown by the fact that
*tth all the settlement that has taken
place there are no serious cracks in
any of the walls of the building.
In the SOs. General (then Mayor
Beanregard was put in eharge of the
building and reported to Washing
ton the settlement that was taking
At this time the walls had been
carried up to the line of the archa
trave of the cornice, and all beams
of the fourth story were in place.
This eettlemeiat end the breaking
out of the Civil War caused a sus
pension of operations. A temporary
roof was put over the building, and
the walls tied together with chanlas
to prevent spreading, and all weork
of coanstruction suaspended to await
the remiult of the settling and the
war. Prom 1680 to 1871 no fur
ther work was performed on the
bulding ecsept in the ntatr eo re
pairm sand preserving the usfltnsl_
work, untl 1871, when operat--a
wer rmmed rnaer modfed ptlan
chsnre b Mf,
second story was completed, "
the third story in 1SS1. The fourth tl
story (or attic) never was conlpletld tl
as originally intended, and can only u
be used for storage purposes. c:
The main, or what is known as 1
the second floor of the building, is a
formed with groined brick arches
supported on walls and piers, the P1
space above the arches being filled G
with concrete. A part of the third tl
floor is also constructed in this
manner. The other floors of the f,
building are constructed with iron s
beams having brick arches between it
and levelled with concrete. At the
time this work was done, the present f
I-beam was not being manufactured.
and all beams in the building are
built up of channels, plates, and
angles over short spans the ordinary f
rail-road rail was used. The floor
construction throughout, is of great
strength, nearly all floors having I
been intended for Customs storage t
purposes and designed to carry heavy 11
loads. b
June 25. 1860 an appropriation of 0
$20,000 was made to fit up a part
of the first story to accommodate
the Postoffice. which at that time
was located on Royal Street (or Rue °
Royal as it was then known) about º
midway between Canal Street and n
Custom House Street. As soon as c
quarters were prepared, the Post Of- 0
fice moved into the Custom House
building, where it remained untilp
the new Post Office and Court House a
was completed in 1915.
The architecture of the building C
is a modified Egyptian, heavy fluted ii
columns with typical capitals sup- n
porting heavy pediments over the en. e
trances on the four sides of the A
building. The exterior walls are fi
faced with Quincy granite, 8-cut, and sa
this granite work is far superior to si
granite-work as done at this late a
day. The cornice is designed in ti
harmony with the granite work, but
is of cast iron. P
The roof of the building is formed c
with wood and iron trusses, covered c
with wood sheathing, this sheathing t]
being covered with copper. The a
present roof-covering is the second a
one to be put on the building, and r,
was put on in 1890, the copper be- 1
itg laid In standing seams, riveted A
together. This copper was laid in lI
lengths up to ninety feet, with no a
provision made for expansion or n
contraction, and has given trouble $
ever since put on. There are nu- tl
merous breaks in the copper, espec- d
ially along the long riveted stand- t,
ing seams, and to keep the roof n
water tight, these breaks are patched
every time a leak develops, using
canvas and a specially prepared as
phaltums paint. This copper roof- a
covering cost $31.500. t
Another source of trouble in con- t
nection with this hopper roof-cov- r
ering has been where cast iron or J
wrought iron has been covered with
the copper. Through the electroly- t
tic action set up by dampness and
the contact of the two metals, the
iron has been distintegrated. r'lhis
has occurred where cast-Iron gutters
have been lined with the copper,
and where the copper root-covering
has been locked on to sheet-iron at
the outer edge of the cornice.
From the main entrance on Canal
street, a large marble stairway leads
s to the upper floors, and just in front
of the stairs landing, on the second
º floor, In the center of the building,
º is located the "Architectural fea
t ture" of the building, called "The
r Marble Hall." Originally this space
was not intended for office use, but
i owing to lack of space in the build
[ ing, glass screen partitions have
I been installed between the marble
s columns and the collection of cus
i toms duties are made here.
t The "Marble Hall" measures 90
- feet x 130 feet, and is 50 feet in
height. The ceiling of this large
room is composed of an iron frame
with heavy plates of colored glass,
I and is supported on fourteen m rble
I corinthian columns, 41 feet long, 4
Sfeet in diameter. These shafts are
Smade up in beetions about 6 feet in
length, the joints between the sec
tions being so elose and so well made
a that it requires a close examination
in many instances to detect that the
- columns are not one piece of mearble.
- The capitals of these columns are
Itypical corinthian, but have added
a at the top of each calpital a bns-re
Slief of Juno and another of Mercury
5 (God of Commerce), on top of these
a columns rest fiftteen-foot marble
a beams or lintels supporting the iron
- ceiling frame.
At one end of this hall are panels
t with life sise bime-reltef fignres of
a Bienville the founder of New Or
Sleans, and of Jackson, its defender,
- between these figures is placed the
s cost-of-arms of the State of Lois
r lana, the Pelican feeding its young.
a The floors of the "Marble Hall"
- and corridors of the buildings are of
- white and black marble tiles.
i Elevators were not Included in the
Soriginal plans of the building, the
I intention at that time being to hoist
the goods to be stored, through
r hoist-ways in the floors, by means
a of block-nd-tackle. These hoist
- ways through the floors of the corr
; dors are now used for ventilation and
light wells. In 1813 a hydraulic
Selevator was installed to handle the
Sgoods to be stored on the fourth
Sfloor. This was replaced about 1901
with a modern electrl freight etl
vator. In 1901, at a cost of $18,460
-two passenger elevators, operated by
Selectricity, oere installed in the open
I pDart of the main stairway, these ele
a vators running from the ground
a floor to the third floor.
t The present steam heating system
Swas installed ta 1901 at a cost of
$34,414, and in 1910 at a eost of
$17,088, a new system of plumbing
and new tolet rooms were installed
I in the balhaig.
I c. g Pine ggm hdU
T he en l et at m fdlibg,
i W ww * 95*M.*, at
before the Civil War. Since 1882:
$496.$59, has been expended for al
terations and additions, making the
total cost of the building, exclusive
of ordinary repairs, $4.675.413.30.
The original cost for the building,
which at that time was the second
largest in the I'nited States, the
('apitol at Washington being the
first. called for an elaborate dome.
but on account of the extra weight
that would be put on the already
over-taxed foundations, never wa=
Gen. iutler's Headquarters.
When General Ilutler. in 1S62.
during the civil war, took possession
of New Orleans. he established his
headquarters in the t'ustom House,
with a suite on the second floor of
the building. The upper part at
that time was unfinished, and was
used during the war as a prison for
captured confederate soldiers. The
building was then known officially
as Federal Prison No. f,. and in it
were confined some 2000 confed
erate soldiers captured by Major
General N. P. lhanks in his raid
through western Louisiana.
In this same building, Win. Mum
ford who tore down the United
States flag from the U. S. Mint build
ing in New Orleans, after the Union
Army had taken possession, was con
fined and tried before a Military
Commissioner, and being found guil
ty, was taken to the Mint building
and hanged on the spot where the
flag was torn down.
In September of 1874, when the
Republican State Government teas
temporarily overthrown by the
"White League," the Custom House
building was made the headquarters
of the !Metropolitan Police of New
Orleans, and it was in this building
they found refuge when they fled
front the charge of citizens, on that
memorable occasion. 'This build
ing was also the refuge of a large
number of persons when the hurri
cane of September 29, 1915 swept
over the city.'
The building is in a good state of
preservation generally, and stands as
a monument to its builders, the ma
sonry throughout being in very good
condition, considering its age, and
indicating exceptionally good work
manship--better than can be obtain
ed in the' commercial market today.
As the streets were paved and sur
face drainage systems installed, the
soil on which the Custom House
stands became more firm and solid,
and of late years no settlement of
the building has been observed.
Knowing that as soon as the new
Post Office and Court House, then in
course of construction, would 1)e
completed, about fifty per cent. of
the offices in the Custom House
would be vacated, and it would be
an opportune time to remodel or
renovate the building the writer in
1914 submitted to the Supervising
Architect a report in detail describ
ing the condition of the building,
and making an estimate and recom
mendation for an appropriation of
$350,000 for remodeling aqd plselag
the building in a more modern coa
dition. This report was transmittei
to Congress and the amount recom
mended was .authorized.
At the date of writing this article,
May, 1916, plans have been prepared
and approved by the various Depart
ments, and it is expected that a con
tract for the work will be made in
the near future, and this work of
renovating this old building may
form the subject for a future article.
. As is generally known, the con
tract referred to is presently nrer
'"' , '
Compli nentp
* of
Grune wa
The Herald
That's All
•~ . C
The Gr.:atest T
of the Day
a ,,I ,, 1" t ,
I,. Asa
Co , R hi n yI
Inll ('annin~ .., Cooking a
delicacy- ,' tvcr is seutel
fruits anil '- abtes. Ina
ing, the foo, i. ,oolid in its
moisture No cater is a
Thus saving tih valuable
salts andl jul s.
For C'-nserror. and Drlyr
National Canner ,Ce
Office. 332 C(hartres Iae
Phone Main 82 U
New (rleans, Ia.
Hall -
-8-TABL e
11W Rpl St*
lng completion, and the
thus comiummated, from
diaetlons, will add matSel
usefulness as well as to tbh
of this grand old bulidi-.,
tie mile-stones of Amyti .

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