Download e-book for iPad: American Capitals: A Historical Geography by Christian Montès

By Christian Montès

ISBN-10: 022608048X

ISBN-13: 9780226080482

State capitals are an indelible a part of the yankee psyche, spatial representations of kingdom strength and nationwide id. studying them via center is a ceremony of passage in grade institution, a pedagogical workout that emphasizes the significance of committing place-names to reminiscence. yet geographers have not begun to investigate country capitals in any intensity. In American Capitals, Christian Montès takes us on a well-researched trip throughout America—from Augusta to Sacramento, Albany to Baton Rouge—shedding mild alongside the best way at the historic conditions that resulted in their appointment, their good fortune or failure, and their evolution over time.

While all nation capitals have a few features in common—as symbols of the kingdom, as embodiments of political strength and determination making, as public areas with deepest interests—Montès doesn't interpret them via a unmarried lens, largely a result of alterations of their spatial and historic evolutionary styles. a few have remained small, whereas others have developed into bustling metropolises, and Montès explores the dynamics of swap and development. All yet 11 nation capitals have been validated within the 19th century, thirty-five prior to 1861, yet, relatively astonishingly, purely 8 of the fifty states have maintained their unique capitals. regardless of their respected prestige because the such a lot enormous and historic towns in the US, capitals come from strangely humble beginnings, usually stricken by instability, clash, hostility, and corruption. Montès reminds us of the interval within which they happened, “an period of pioneer and idealized territorial vision,” coupled with a still-evolving American citizenry and democracy.

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It was renamed Annapolis in 1695, no more honoring Lady Baltimore, but Princess Anne, her name being “grecianized,” who was soon to become queen (Reps 1969, 133). A similar transformation happened to Fort Nashborough, named after brigadier general Francis Nash of North Carolina, a revolutionary soldier who was wounded at the battle of Germantown, October 4, 1777, and died three days later. But, as Nashborough sounded too English, it was changed in 1784 to Nashville, “perhaps in deference to French influence and the first settler of Nashville, Timothy Demonbreun” (McRaven 1949, 8, 15).

5 feet for the other major streets and 33 feet for alleys (Condon 1977, 12). In 1839, Austin, the new national capital of Texas, was also platted with one 120foot-wide avenue from the Colorado River to the capitol and a perpendicular avenue from the academy to the university. Fifteen years later, in 1854, Omaha, Nebraska, was platted by a private company intending to make it Nebraska’s territorial capital. The surveyor therefore laid out 320 blocks, with 100-foot-wide streets, except for Capitol Avenue, which was 120 feet wide, as in Columbus and Austin (Olson and Naugle 1997, 80).

The successful architectural firm of McKim, Mead, and White later adapted the model. They recreated the Washingtonian design for the capitol of Rhode Island (1904, fig. 2). Considered a highly successful early expression of American classicism, it succeeded the national capitol as a model (University of Rhode Island 1996, 7). Among the numerous capitols based on its design are Minnesota’s (the architect, Cass Gilbert, had been a draftsman for McKim, Mead, and White) and Mississippi’s. McKim, Mead, and White also worked on enlarging the capitols of Virginia, Florida, and Alabama.

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American Capitals: A Historical Geography by Christian Montès

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