The Story of the NYS Education Building – Church vs State

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In 1904, Dr. Andrew Draper became the first NYS Commissioner of Education As his education empire grew, he dearly wanted a separate and special building to house his department, and had his eye on a piece of property on the corner of So. Swan and Washington Ave, close to the Capitol. However, the Episcopal Bishop, William Croswell Doane, was building the Cathedral of All Saints on S. Swan St., on the very block that Dr. Draper coveted, and successfully fought Dr. Draper’s plan with all the righteous indignation available to a man of the cloth.

However, in 1906 when the good Bishop was on a trip to Europe, Draper seized the moment and used his political influence to snatch up the property surrounding the Cathedral, relegating it to a small corner on Swan and Elk St., and forever dashing the Bishop’s hopes for expansion of the Cathedral. The Bishop was successful in limiting the height of the new building, but Draper got what is said to be the longest colonnade in the world. 

Proposals for the new building were solicited in 1907 and construction began in 1909. The new building was dedicated in November, 1912. 

 

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Copyright 2021  Julie O’Connor

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