Rare Architectural Books<br>From Charles Wood
Item 168 is not only an item related to architecture, but a piece of Americana as well. It is the Plans and Sections, of the Obelisk on Bunker's Hill, with the Details of Experiments made in Quarrying the Granite, by Solomon Willard. Bunker Hill was the site of one of the earliest battles of the American Revolution, a full year before the Declaration of Independence. In 1825, construction of a monument to honor those who fought on Breed's Hill (the battle actually took place on Breed's Hill, not Bunker's) was begun. Legendary orator and Senator Daniel Webster gave the address. An aged Lafayette, gone from America for many years, had returned for a visit and helped lay the cornerstone. Webster would return for the dedication of the completed monument in 1843. In the years in between, Willard would serve as the architect for the structure. His book documents the construction and explains how the stone was taken and transported from the Quincy quarries many miles away. $1,000.
Item 4 is The New Tay Bridge. A course of Lectures delivered at the Royal School of Military Engineering... by Christopher Barlow. This may not sound like an exciting topic, but the Tay Bridge was an emotional subject when this compilation was published in 1889 England. The old Tay Bridge was an engineering marvel. Two miles long, it was the world's longest bridge at the time. The bridge was completed in 1877 and opened for regular use the following year. In June of 1879, Queen Victoria would cross the bridge, and later knight its designer Thomas Bouch. In December of that year, the bridge collapsed in a storm, and 75 people on a train crossing at the time would fall to their deaths. Disgraced and removed from further projects, Bouch himself would die the following year. The exact cause of the collapse is still not known, but it is believed structural problems with the cast iron used to join the columns plus cracked or loose bolts played a significant role. The new Tay Bridge, the subject of these lectures, was begun in 1882 and completed in 1887. It was the same length as the first, but double the width, allowing for both a second track and better stability. The new Tay Bridge survives to this day, and Barlow proudly points out that "only" 13 people died in its construction. $1,100.
As an aside, the Tay Bridges inspired a trilogy of poems by the man many regard as England's worst poet, William McGonagall. You may read these wonders on the following site: www.sinenomine.freeserve.co.uk/dunkee/poems.htmlThere are also numerous websites dedicated to this late 19th century poet who has achieved greater fame in Britain a century after his death than he could ever have imagined, though he would probably not be pleased.
You can see future housing, from the vantage point of 1939, in The Town of Tomorrow,a group of 15 brochures in their original folder. This set was printed for the New York World's Fair of 1939. Wood points out that the set is complete, despite some being numbered as high as 21, while other numbers are absent, and the folder calls for 16 brochures in total. Nothing like making life difficult for bibliographers. Along with the individual house plans in the brochures, the folder gives the layout for the town itself. Item 91. $650.