Hardback
May 15, 2018
9781421424873
English
384
149773
83
38
11.00 Inches (US)
8.50 Inches (US)
1.32 Inches (US)
3.45 Pounds (US)
$69.95 USD, £52.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference
Electronic book text
May 15, 2018
9781421424880
9781421424873
English
384
149773
83
38
11.00 Inches (US)
8.50 Inches (US)
$69.95 USD, £52.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Building Washington

Engineering and Construction of the New Federal City, 1790−1840

In 1790, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson set out to build a new capital for the United States of America in just ten years. The area they selected on the banks of the Potomac River, a spot halfway between the northern and southern states, had few resources or inhabitants. Almost everything needed to build the federal city would have to be brought in, including materials, skilled workers, architects, and engineers. It was a daunting task, and these American Founding Fathers intended to do it without congressional appropriation.

Robert J. Kapsch’s beautifully illustrated book chronicles the early planning and construction of our nation’s capital. It shows how Washington, DC, was meant to be not only a government center but a great commercial hub for the receipt and transshipment of goods arriving through the Potomac Canal, then under construction. Picturesque plans would not be enough; the endeavor would require extensive engineering and the work of skilled builders.

By studying an extensive library of original documents—from cost estimates to worker time logs to layout plans—Kapsch has assembled a detailed account of the hurdles that complicated this massive project. While there have been many books on the architecture and planning of this iconic city, Building Washington explains the engineering and construction behind it.

About the Author

Robert J. Kapsch is a researcher and principal of the Center for Historic Engineering and Architecture. He is the author of The Potomac Canal: George Washington and the Waterway West, Historic Canals and Waterways of South Carolina, and Over the Alleghenies: Early Canals and Railroads of Pennsylvania.

Reviewss

"Rich in period detail thanks to Kapsch's extensive use of original documents, drawings and illustrations, and cost data for context, Building Washington is a fascinating look at the creation of the seat of our democracy."

- Ray Bert - Civil Engineering

Endorsementss

"This groundbreaking book skillfully traces the physical development of Washington during its earliest years. Robert Kapsch deftly examines a variety of archaic construction activities while also describing the human and financial difficulties that tormented the project from the start. These are rarely told and compelling stories."

- William C. Allen, Office of the Architect of the Capitol, author of History of the United States Capitol: A Chronicle of Design, Construction, and Politics

"What makes a city? Its people? Its natural surroundings? The civic pride of its residents? Whatever it is, Building Washington, by the extraordinary historian Robert Kapsch, is monumental. This compendium is overwhelming. It reads like a historic novel, is impossible to put down, and is an education in itself."

- C. Dudley Brown, historic preservation and restoration designer

"Encompassing the architecture, construction, and labor history of the city of Washington and its public buildings, bridges, and military defenses from 1790 to 1840, Building Washington is a richly researched and detailed account of these complex projects. Robert Kapsch brings new insights to the history of the city’s construction."

- Betty C. Monkman, former Curator, The White House

"Robert Kapsch hits another home run with his latest book. A masterful work, Building Washington is diligently researched and woven into a readable narrative documenting the difficulties in designing and constructing our nation's capital, something we easily take for granted. Kapsch's unique background as both an engineer and historian adds valuable insight as he traces the evolution of the architect-engineer in the early nineteenth century, documenting the three challenging building periods of a grand vision that has given us the iconic buildings and structures we know and cherish. As a DC native, I especially appreciate this book."

- Bernard G. Dennis, Jr., former Chairman, American Society of Civil Engineers History & Heritage Committee

"Kapsch, a historian of engineering, focuses principally on the decades between the passage of the Residence Act of 1790, which selected the site for the new nation's capital, and the repair and reconstruction efforts that followed the burning of public buildings by British troops in 1814. The narrative centers on the transition from an eighteenth-century mode of construction led by "gentleman planters" to one orchestrated by professionally trained "architect-engineers." Along the way, Kapsch examines the supply chains, building techniques, financial expedients, and political wrangling that went into making the city."

- David Schley - Journal of Southern History

"Building Washington is a meticulously detailed account of the early construction of the capital city... The work will provide a treasure trove for research specialists in engineering and construction practices of the early republic and an informative reference work for enthusiastic Washingtonians."

- Thomas J. Brown, University of South Carolina - Journal of American History

9781421424873 : building-washington-kapsch
Hardback
384 Pages
$69.95 USD
9781421424880 : building-washington-kapsch
Electronic book text
384 Pages
$69.95 USD

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Historic Canals & Waterways of South Carolina

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