Fine Arts - Expo Philadelphia 1876

Fine Arts at the Exhibition Expo Philadelphia 1876
Architect(s) : H. J. Schwarzmann
Fine Arts at the Exhibition Expo Philadelphia 1876
Architect(s) : H. J. Schwarzmann
Fine Arts at the Exhibition Expo Philadelphia 1876
Architect(s) : H. J. Schwarzmann
Fine Arts at the Exhibition Expo Philadelphia 1876
Architect(s) : H. J. Schwarzmann
Fine Arts at the Exhibition Expo Philadelphia 1876
Plan of the pavilion
Architect(s) : H. J. Schwarzmann
Fine Arts at the Exhibition Expo Philadelphia 1876
Architect(s) : H. J. Schwarzmann
Fine Arts at the Exhibition Expo Philadelphia 1876
Spanish Section, Fine Arts Annex
Architect(s) : H. J. Schwarzmann
Fine Arts at the Exhibition Expo Philadelphia 1876
Entrance to the Beaux-Arts, opening day of the exhibition
Architect(s) : H. J. Schwarzmann
Fine Arts at the Exhibition Expo Philadelphia 1876
Vestibule of the rotunda
Architect(s) : H. J. Schwarzmann
Fine Arts at the Exhibition Expo Philadelphia 1876
West entrance to the pavilion
Architect(s) : H. J. Schwarzmann

This building, the most ornate and striking of the Centennial Park buildings, was built by the State of Pennsylvania and is intended to remain a permanent park building.

It is located north of the main building in a prominent position overlooking the Schuylkill River. The floor is elevated and is 122 feet above the level of the river. The materials are granite, brick, glass and iron, no wood is used in the construction.

The building is 365 feet long, 210 feet wide and 59 feet high. The dome above the rotunda rises 150 feet above the ground and is topped by a colossal bell, on which stands an iconic Columbia figure cast in zinc.

The main façade, facing south, has a large entrance with arcades on each side and square pavilions at the corners.

The centre consists of three large arched doorways, each 40 feet high by 15 feet wide, resting on a platform 70 feet wide, which is ascended by 13 steps. Between the doorway arches are groups of columns terminating in emblematic designs illustrating science and art. Giant seated figures of science and art crown the cornice of the main entrance. The arcades to the east and west of the main entrance are each 90 feet long and 40 feet high. They connect the main central building to the pavilions at the corners and consist of 5 arches, and open onto gardens, each 90 by 36 feet, decorated in the centre with fountains and statues.

The pavilions measure 45 feet square. There are two at the north end of the building, connected to those on the south by saloon galleries. The pavilions are each illuminated by two large windows, each 12.5 feet wide and 34 feet high, decorated with paintings, stained glass, etc., depicting Pegasus led by the king of the island. The pavilions are each illuminated by two large windows, 12.5 feet wide and 34 feet high each, decorated with paintings, stained glass, etc., representing Pegasus led by the Muses, which were brought from Vienna and presented some years ago to the Fairmount Park Commission by R. H. Gratz.

The outer walls on the east and west sides show the pavilions and picture walls, raised by niches, above which is a very ornate frieze. The north façade has the same character as the south, except that instead of arcades there are small windows opening into small rooms or galleries. There are 13 of them.

The dome is of glass and iron, and at the corners are figures representing the four corners of the globe.

All the exterior statues are cast in zinc from designs by Mueller, a German artist.

The main entrance on the south side opens into a room 60 feet wide, 82 feet long and 53 feet high. Large doors open from this room into the central hall, which is 83 feet square and 80 feet to the dome ceiling. To the east and west of the rotunda are galleries 98 feet long, 88 feet wide and 35 feet high. The central hall and galleries form a large hall, 287 feet long and 85 feet wide, with a capacity of 8,000 people, almost double the size of the largest hall in the country.

To the east and west of the long galleries are two more, each 89 feet long and 28 feet wide, which are connected to flats that open onto the pavilions.

On the north side there are 13 smaller rooms, which open onto a 14 foot wide corridor, and can be used for studios or exhibition rooms. The interior rooms are lit from above; the pavilions from the sides; the north rooms from the front. The interior doors are of iron and bronze, richly ornamented. All the flats are decorated with rich bas-relief ornaments. The floors are covered with marble tiles and the whole building, in appearance and interior finish, is rich and tasteful. The pavilions are devoted to statues; the galleries mainly to paintings.

The total area covered by the building is about 1.5 acres. The total wall space is 87,990 square feet. The architect was H. J. Schwarzmann; builder, R. J. Dobbins. Cost, $1,500,000, paid by the State of Pennsylvania.

©Centennial portfolio: a souvenir of the international exhibition at Philadelphia - 1876