Week One Assignment

by

As stated in my proposal, my first week’s assignment was visiting the Lancaster Historical Society and physically going through the letters that existed between James Windrim and Emlen Urban.  Upon arrival, I found myself going through a large stack of letters sent from James Windrim in Washington D.C. to Emlen Urban, the on sight supervisor during the construction of the Lancaster Municipal Building.  Along with a thick stack of letters from Windrim to Urban, I also stubled upon letters from Urban to his son, sent from Rome while he was traveling.  Being that these letters are going to be my main primary source, I took time going through many of them figuring out what it was that James Windrim was doing sending daily letters to his on sight supervisor in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  The main and consistent quality that I received from each of Windrim’s letters to Urban is a sense of guidance.  Mostly everyday during the construction of the Municipal Building, Windrim sent Urban a letter checking up on him as well as making sure he’s doing everything he’s supposed to.  Each letter sent has a purpose, and Windrim really wanted to make sure that Urban was staying on task and sticking to his structural plan of the building.  From some of the letters, I also get a hint that Urban may be trying to branch out and lead the workers in his direction a little bit rather than in the instruction and direction of Windrim.  Although there isn’t a concrete citing of this particular activity, I can start to see in some of the letters a bit of an attitude from Windrim in that he wants to be reassured that everything is going according to plan.  Another detail that’s blatant in Urban’s and Windrim’s exchanges is a respect for one another.  In each letter, Windrim addresses Urban as “Sir”, and ends with “Your leading architect”.  This gives me insight into their relationship, hinting that it is very professional and mature.  On a different note, the letters from Urban to his son were very different.  He basically just sums up all the things he’s been doing while abroad and all of the places he’s been traveling to.  He adds what his favorite structures or places were in some of the letters but doesn’t mention Windrim in any of the ones I read.  He shows affection for his son in these letters by how he ends each one, “Love papa”.

 

October 18, 1889

Mr. C. Emlen Urban,

Superintendent, Post Office,

Lancaster, Pa.

Sir:

I am in receipt of your letter of the 15th instant, enclosing proposals for furnishing and pleading street curb for the building under your charge.

As you state that the parties bidding will furnish curb at a lower rate per lineal foot if the depth of the curb averages 2’, i.e., 1’ 10” at one end and 2’ 2” at the other end, instead of it being 2’ in depth, I will thank you to obtain revised proposals in one lump sum for the curbing required, and on receipt of said proposals forward to this office with your recommendations.

In inviting proposals you will please give your careful attention to Section XXX of the printed “Instructions to Superintendents.”

Respectfully yours,

Windrim

Supervising Architect.

 

October 22, 1889

Mr. C. Emlen Urban,

Superintendent, Post Office,

Lancaster, Pa.

Sir:

I am in receipt of your letter of the 19th instant with reference to the number of inviting proposals for furnishing and placing the street curb for the building under your charge.

In reply I have to advise you that said proposals should be invited by circular letter, prepared by you and addressed to three or more responsible parties in your vicinity.

Respectfully yours,

Windrim

Supervising Architect.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: