Great Western Staircase

Virtual Visit: The Million Dollar Staircase

Explore the construction, architecture, and history of the Million Dollar Staircase at the New York State Capitol.
Virtual Visit: The Million Dollar Staircase
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Virtual Visit: The Million Dollar Staircase

Explore the construction, architecture, and history of the Million Dollar Staircase at the New York State Capitol.

Fast Facts

 

  1. There are 444 steps on the staircase.
  2. There are 77 famous faces carved throughout the staircase.
  3. The cost of the staircase was $1.5 million dollars.
  4. Designed by Architect Henry Hobson Richardson, who passed away before it was finished.
  5. The stone used for the staircase was red Scottish sandstone.
  6. The Staircase was finished by Architect Isaac Perry.
Trivia

 

Of the 77 Famous Faces carved into the Million Dollar Staircase, who’s carved twice?
John Jay

In what cemetery can you find inventor Robert Fulton and founding father Alexander Hamilton?
Trinity Church Cemetery in Manhattan, NY.

What is Robert Fulton famous for inventing?
The modern steamboat.

Which of the 77 Famous Faces do not have names carved with them?
Christopher Columbus, Minerva the Roman Goddess of Learning, and William Shakespeare.

When construction of the Million Dollar Staircase ended in 1899, how many counties did New York State have?
61 counties.

When did electric lighting arrive at the New York State Capitol?
In the late 1870s.

Why is the glass laylight and skylight such an important feature of the Million Dollar Staircase?
They maximize natural light and air.

How many famous women are carved into the Million Dollar Staircase?
There are six famous women.

Why are some names of the carved faces abbreviated or shortened?
Some names were too long to fit on a small section of stone so the stone carvers shortened them.

Which carving’s last name was misspelled up until 2019?
Frederick Douglass’s last name was spelled with only one “s.”

Which architect had their daughter and granddaughter carved on the staircase?
Isaac Perry