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Records Relating To
National Zoological Park Ownership
Of The Land

Document Date Contents Notes Source
early 1900's
Letter to Secretary Langley From Frank Baker, Superintendent NZP 3/26/1900 'Repairing chimney in office building: - In accordance with the Secretary's wish, as noted in your memorandum of January 8, the chimney in the large upper room has been repaired. The charge for this work is $15.' Chimney repair completed. Previous records regarding heating of Holt House indicate that there was discussion of installing a heating system, however, it appears that the house was heated only by the fireplaces. SIA RU 31 Box 8 Folder 11
Letter to Dr. Baker From S.P. Langley, Secretary 11/7/1900 '...I will ask you to proceed to have the East room of hall over the stairs in the Holt House finished and plastered. If a branch of ivy can be trained there as it was, so much the better. The stairs will be completed according to the old design, to within three steps of the lower floor. These steps, which will go into the center newel will be added later, and the railing will be put round the well holes above. - In regard to the large room, the 'library,' so-called, please have the architects furnish a sketch for two book cases at the south end, one on either side of the door... - The room below will be finished so as to be 7 or 8 inches below the present lower floors, but whether it had better be a concrete or a wooden floor, I leave to you. I rather myself prefer the latter. I wish it were possible to find some way of lighting this room so that it should not be so dark as at present.' Note the removal of stairs in entry way and the reference to holes in the floor. Also, note the grade of the lower floor. - SIA RU 74 Series 13 Box 125 Folder 8
Letter to S.P. Langley From Superintendent Baker 11/9/1900 'In reply to your letter of the 7th instant with reference to continuing the repairs of the Holt House, I have to report that I immediately communicated with the architects, Messrs. Hornblower and Marshall, who, at once, visited the park and inspected the premises. They will, as soon as practicable, furnish plans for the work which you desire to be done...' Hornblower and Marshall were to be involved in repairs to the Holt House. Plans discussed probably refer to those indicated in letter to Superintendent Baker from Langley dated 11/7/1900. SIA RU 74 Series 13 Box 125 Folder 8
Letter to Messrs. Hornblower and Marshall From Superintendent Baker 4/8/1901 'Langley desires to have room that serves as a vestibule to the large room on the 2d floor of the office building in the park put into repair, and the stairways restored with doors that can be locked or same other means preventing the ingress of unauthorized persons...' See Superintendent Baker's reply to this letter dated 4/19/1901. This document would indicate that the two stair-ways in the South entrance were to be repaired. SIA RU 74 Series 13 Box 125 Folder 9
Letter to Mr. Thomas Wilson From Superintendent Baker 4/8/1901 'Secretary Langley has had a sky-light put in the roof of the office building at the park to light a room that he intends to use for exhibition purposes...' Documents of architectural suggestions for the Holt House mention the installation of a sky-light to increase amount of light in the 'main room' (See letter of 10/2/1890 to Mr. Reed, from Langley). SIA RU 74 Series 13 Box 125 Folder 9
Letter to Dr. Frank Baker From Secretary Langley 4/8/1901 'As regards to the House, I have decided, acting on your advice, to finish the little entrance hall and the basement room, not decoratively, but with what is indespensable. The floor, I think, should be of concrete, the walls plastered, and the two winding staircases removed, with a memorandum of their position, so that they may be restored if desired. ...The upstairs disused entrance hall may be supplied with something like removable trap-doors, so as to entirely close the entrance to the well-holes and make a safe flooring...with special care not to disturb the ivy which is to be allowed to find its way in, as before, through the window...' Stairs which are discussed here refer to the two winding stair-ways at the South entry which were eventually removed. SIA RU 74 Series 13 Box 125 Folder 9: Alterations at Holt House
Letter to Frank Baker, Superintendent NZP From Secretary Langley 4/20/1901 'I have yours of the 19th. Reagrding the fitting up of the Holt House, instructions for which were given in my letter of April 8th, I desire to see the work commenced without delay, since I may have to bring some visitors of consequence out to see it very shortly. I cannot await the entirely indefinite time for plans from Messrs. Hornblower and Marshall; I do not think them indispensable for so simple a job, and you may start the work Monday morning, if you cannot get the plans. - I approve your suggestions and those of the architects in general, as regards putting down the cement and perhaps of cutting the two side windows. Plans are hardly necessary for the finishing of the ante room on the first floor and for the little room over it on the second story, and I will ask you to please let the work begin on Monday with or without them.' See letter to Secretary from Superintendent Baker regarding work of putting in of floors and window dated 4/19/1901. SIA RU 34 Box 26 Outgoing Correspondence of the Secretary Folder 5.7
Letter to Superintendent Baker From Secretary Langley 4/20/1901 'I approve your suggestions and those of the architects in general, as regards to putting down the cement and perhaps of cutting the two side windows...for the finishing of the ante room on the first floor and for the little room over it on the second story...I will ask you to please let the work begin on Monday...' Langley's response to a letter from Baker regarding these Holt House alterations of 4/19/1901 and W.R. Emerson's proposal of 6/3/1890. SIA RU 74 Series 13 Box 125 Folder 9
Diary of the Director, Blackburne 4/22/1901 'Work begun at 8:30 AM on large basement room at office. P. Cleaveland began cutting in windows, park men removed old stairs and prepared for pavement. J. Hughes inspected chimney.' Perry Cleaveland continued to be an integral person involved in Holt House repairs. See diary entries of 11/29/1898, 12/30/1898, 6/6/1899. 'Old stairs' were likely the 'winding staircases' at South entrance refered to in a letter of Langley's dated 4/8/1901 which were removed by this time. Also, see letter of 4/20/1901 regarding this work. Funding and requestion in letter of 4/23/1901. SIA RU 74 Series 1 Box 1 Diaries of the Director, 1901.
Letter to Secretary Langley, From Frank Baker, Superintendent, NZP 4/19/1901 'Refering to your letter of April 8th direction certain work in and about the office of the Park, I have the honor to report the progress which has been made in executing your orders. - The wire fence was immediately ordered from the Page Woven Wire Fence Co., in Adrian, Mich., and notice was received from them under date of April 16, that they had entered the order for prompt shipment. It will be erected without delay as soon as received. - Messrs. Hornblower & Marshall were at once requested to design rustic benches for the upper portion of the Adams Mill Road. In conversation with the, I learn that they are strongly in favor of stane benches of a simple character. They will furnish designs in a few days. I have asked them also to make a rough sketch of a rest-house or arbor to be placed on the southern side of the road about half way up the hill. A space was left for this when the road was improved. - Messrs. Hornblower & Marshall have also been requested to furnish plans for the fitting up of the lower story of the Holt House. It is proposed to make the floor of the large room, which serves as an anteroom to the office, of terrazzo cement like the floors of the National Museum. This room is so exceedingly dark that I have suggested to Messrs. Hornblower & Marshall the propriety of cutting two side windows in it at the places where Mr. R.W. Emerson indicated and recommended them. This would make the room practicable for use which is hardly the case at present. Plans for this will be submitted to you as soon as I can get them from Messrs. Hornblower & Marshall. - As to the lighting of the large room on the second floor, I requested Mr. Thomas Wilson to inspect it. He visited the Park but stated that his physician positively forbade his going up stairs, so he inspected the sky-light from without only. I cannot think that he formed any adequate idea of the illumination, particularly as he did not see the ceiling light at all. I have been in correspondence with various makers of sky-lights and dealers in glass and shall soon have a statement on this subject to submit to you. - Messrs. Hornblower & Marshall have been requested to submit designs for the furniture in accordance with the instructions given me April 13 by Mr. Hodge, at your instance...' Hornblower and Marshall used Emerson's plans for Holt House restorations. See letter from the Secretary to Superintendent Baker dated 4/8/1901. SIA RU 31 Box 9 Correspondence of the Secretary Folder 4
Letter to Secretary Langley, From Frank Baker, Superintendent, NZP 4/25/1901 'I have the honor to submit herewith an estimate of cost of the proposed improvements in the office building. - Large lower room and entrance hall. - Removing old stairs and closing openings $15.00 - Enlarging fireplace and construction new flue - from cellar bottom to chimney top $125.00 - Levelling walls for plastering 20.00 - Plastering walls and ceiling 125.00 - Concreting over cellar passage 25.00 - pavement 120.00 - Carpenter's work, including new entrance doors, - 2 additional windows, mantel and other - mill work 180.00 - Refitting floors and roof around new flue, &c. 15.00 - Painting 25.00 - $650.00 - In order to extend the fireplace as desired it will be necessary to make the chimney wider and deeper in the lower room and, on the back, to enlarge it throughout its height so as to provide a new flue. The original flue from this fireplace joined the flue from the fireplace above and had to be closed when the upper fireplace was enlarged. The bricklayer's estimate for this work, as noted above, is $125. - West room (now used for coal) - Carpenter's work, including floor, partition, stairs, doors, etc. $145.00 - Plastering 55.00 - Painting 10.00 - $210.00 - Upstairs entrance hall. - Carpenter's work $20.00 - Plastering 25.00 - Painting 10.00 - $55.00 - The total cost of the above work will therefore be $915.00, a requisition for which amount is enclosed herewith. - Should this amount be more than it is thought advisable to spend on this work at the present time, the west room might be omitted, as it is not urgently needed and will be shut off from the large room by a door. - The work was begun on Monday morning, April 22, and it is estimated that, with reasonably favorable weather, it can be completed in three weeks. This delay in completing the work is caused by the plastering which in some places will be very thick, and require a long time to dry.' See letter From Superintendent Baker dated 4/23/1901 regarding this interior work. [Note handwritten 'req. for $915.00 approved April 25] SIA RU 31 Box 9 Correspondence of the Secretary Folder 4
Letter to Frank Baker, From Hornblower, Architect 5/28/1901 'I have examined the pavement laid by Mr. Thomas Hughes in the basement room of the Holt House, and, from the bricks selected, the result is about what I expected to obtain. - A truer and more even pavement would be much more expensive and would not seem to me to be so suitable for this room. I would add that paving bricks are not handled with the care that pressed bricks receive and the edges are always more or less broken. It would involve the ordering of an excessive number of bricks in order to obtain a perfect paved floor. - I would recommend that this pavement be accepted and paid for.' Letter to the Secretary dated 5/10/1901 specified the details of this floor, and a Diary entry by the Director dated 5/15/1901 confirms that the work of this floor was done in the west room of the basement. SIA RU 31 Box 9 Correspondence of the Secretary Folder 5
Diary of the Director, Blackburne 4/23/1901 'Work continued on basement rooms and on vestibule upstairs.' Refers to work of removing stairs and paving basement floor with concrete. See diary entry of 4/22/1901 and letter from Secretary Langley of 4/8/1901. SIA RU 74 Series 1 Box 1 Diaries of the Director, 1901.
Letter to Superintendent Baker From Secretary Langley (Including Requisition No. 755) 4/23/1901 Regarding estimates of costs of the proposed improvements in the office building, including removing old stairs and closing openings, enlarging fireplace, concreting over cellar passage, new entrance doors, two additional windows, painting and plastering at a total cost of $915. Stated that 'work begun on Monday April 22...estimated that...it can be completed in three weeks.' List of improvements which were made work was to begin. See letter to Secretary From Superintendent Baker of 4/25/1901 regarding this work. SIA RU 74 Series 13 Box 125: Buildings and Grounds Folder 9
Letter to Dr. Baker, Superintendent NZP From Hornblower and Marshall, Architects 4/24/1901 Letter in regard to the use of 'yellowish brick for use in entrance hall in the Holt House' which was to be installed and 'laid on edge.' Specifics regarding new floor to be laid in Holt House. SIA RU 74 Box 125 Folder 9
Diary of the Director, Blackburne 4/24/1901 'Submitted samples of ceiling-light glass to Mr. Thos. Wilson- saw Mr. Hornblower about work in office building.' Ceiling-light discussed refers to skylight. See letter of 4/8/1901 to Mr. Thos. Wilson From Superintendent Baker, and letter of 4/19/1901 to Langley from Baker. Langley appears to have wanted to replace the glass in the skylight over the large, second floor room. This, however, was never done. SIA RU 74 Series 1 Box 1 Diaries of the Director, 1901
Holt House Interior Details 4/25/1901 Detailed drawings of interior door and fireplaces by Hornblower and Marshall, Architects File contains blueprints of Interior details. SIA RU 74 Series 13 Box 125 Folder 10
Diary of the Director, Blackburne 4/25/1901 'Work continued on basement rooms in office building. Secretary at office 4-4:20 gave A.B. Baker instructions with regard to work.' Work on basement rooms, see diary entries of 4/22/1901, 4/23/1901. SIA RU 74 Series 1 Box 1 Diaries of the Director, 1901
Diary of the Director, Blackburne 4/29/1901 'Began plastering of large basement room- plumber put in gas pipes and C. Schneider did wiring for electric light.' Basement room replastered and repairs continued at Holt House. SIA RU 74 Series 1 Box 1 Diaries of the Director, 1901
Letter to Secretary Langley From Superintendent Baker 5/10/1901 'Modifications by the Architects, of the preliminary plans for repairing the office building, and additional features not at first provided for, involve the following expenditures additonal to the first requisition. - Facing chimney breast in large basement room with special brick, enlarging fireplace in west room and rebuilding chimney............................$185.00 - Paving large basement room and entrance hall with special brick on edge on cement base............75.00 - Splaying sides of doors and 3 windows, including brick work............................................55.00 - Electric wiring and plumbing................47.00 - Entrance door, as per architects design.....24.00 - White coating walls of large basement room and entrance hall............................................11.00 - $397.00 - A requisition for these services and supplies herewith for your approval.' Detailed list of work to be done at Holt House with figures. Note that requisition No. 759 is attatched to this document.[Note: Requisition approved 11/1] SIA RU 74 Series 13 Box 125 Folder 10
Letter to Secretary Langley From Superintendent Baker 5/10/1901 'Modifications by the architects, of the preliminary plans for repairing the office building...including repairs to chimney, paving the large basement room and entrance hall with special brick on edge on cement base...at cost of $397.00.' Specifics regarding brick floor which was laid at Holt House. See also correspondence dated 4/24/1901 between Baker and the architects Hornblower and Marshall. SIA RU 74 Box 125 Folder 10
Diary of the Director, Blackburne 5/15/1901 'Pavement in large basement room finished.' See diary entry of 4/22/1901. According to letter from Secretary Langley of 4/8/1901 where pavement of basement room discussed was to be of cement. SIA RU 74 Series 1 Box 1 Diaries of the Director, 1901.
Diary of the Director, Blackburne 5/17/1901 'Plastering of basement finished today.' Plastering of Basement, see also diary entry of 4/29/1901. SIA RU 74 Series 1 Box 1 Diaries of the Director, 1901
Diary of the Director, Blackburne 5/20/1901 '2 Additional carpenters began laying floor in west basement room.' Floor laid in West Basement Room, after it had been paved (See Director's Diary entry dated 5/15/1901). SIA RU 74 Series 1 Box 1 Diaries of the Director, 1901
Letter to Superintendent Baker From Secretary Langley 5/21/1901 'The subsitution of new glass in the skylight at the park would not warrent the expense entailed.' Discussion of replacing the glass in the skylight in the upper story of the Holt House was evidently never executed. SIA RU 74 Box 125 Folder 10
Diary of the Director, Blackburne 5/29/1901 'Baker called at Hornblower and Marshall office about design for North doors of basement room.' Hornblower and Marshall designed doors at South entry, however, no doors were done at the North. This is either confusion of the director, and he meant the south entry doors, or there was perhaps going to be an entry at the north, where putting in a new stair way was previously discussed (See Emerson suggestions of 6/3/1890). - SIA RU 74 Series 1 Box 1 Diaries of the Director, 1901
Diary of the Director, Blackburne 6/10/1901 'Morgal and his men put pebble dash on chimney and about windows at office.' See diary entry of 4/22/1901 which refers to work on chimney, but also to 'cutting in new windows.' This is possibly what was discussed by Emerson in suggestions of 5/12/1890 where 'a window as large as possible to be placed in each wing of the basement.' SIA RU 74 Series 1 Box 1 Diaries of the Director, 1901
Diary of the Director, Blackburne 6/10/1901 'Plasterers 'pointed up' and completed their work.' Refers to plastering of basement room, see Director's Diary entry of 5/17/1901. SIA RU 74 Series 1 Box 1 Diaries of the Director, 1901
Letter from Thos. A. Brown to Frank M. Baker, Superintendent, National Zoological Park 10/18/1901 Regarding interior improvements on the Holt House, listed work to be done as: Kalsomining walls and painting woodwork in larger office room and the same for adjoining office room, four coats of paint for west office room, waxing floors in west office room, and kalsomining walls and painting wood work in two halls; work to be done for $98.00. Work done to interior of Holt House. SIA RU 74 Series 13 Box 126-Buildings and Grounds Folder 1
Letter From S.P. Langley, Secretary (unknown destination) 10/22/1901 Request for 'painting and Kalsoming offices and waxing floors of the same-$70.'; 1st floor offices 'need renovating'; 'also recommend painting the walls and ceiling and waxing the floor of the small room recently finished, which it is proposed to use for the Superintendent's office.' Recommendation for work to be done. SIA RU 74 Series 13 Box 126 Buildings and Grounds-Construction: Holt House
Letter From F. Baker to Gustave Stickley 10/26/1901 In this letter regarding furnishing the offices of the Holt House, the office room is described as 'about 12x14 Feet with a large South window' Description of Superintendent's Office. SIA RU 74 Series 13 Box 126-Buildings and Grounds Folder 1
Diary of the Director, Blackburne 11/8/1901 'C. Olson finished painting, kalsomining, etc. in office.' Work was done on interior walls of office, which were not specified. See letter to Superingtendent Baker of 10/18/1901 and letter From Secretary Langley of 10/22/1901 regarding funds allocated for this work. SIA RU 74 Series 1 Box 1 Diaries of the Director, 1901
Letter to Messrs. Olmsted Brothers fromSuperintendent Baker 5/16/1903 States that enclosed in this letter are '2 photographs which show the office building ('Holt House') in the Park as it existed prior to its being repaired.' Indicates Olmsteds had some interest in Holt House, also, that photos taken prior to this date exist and that repairs were done prior to 1903. SIA RU 74 Series 13 Box 128 Folder 11
Letter to Edwin a Jackson and Bro. From Superintendent Baker 12/23/1903 Described Superintendent's Office as '14'6'x12'8' and 8'6' high' with 'only the South side exposed.' Description of Superintendent's Office. SIA RU 74 Series 13 Box 126 Folder 3
Letter to Dr. Baker From Barber and Ross, Mantel and Tile Department 1/18/1904 In letter concerning heating grate, superintendent's office described as 'exposed on all sides and a cellar below, having no ceiling...' Describes West Room which was used as Superintendent's Office. SIA RU 74 Series 13 Box 126 Folder 3
Diary of the Director, Blackburne 3/27/1906 'Schneider puts in today wiring for lights upstairs. Trellis on North side of office building removed today.' No previous reference to a trellis on the Holt House exists. SIA RU 74 Series 1 Box 1 Director's Diaries
Diaries of the Director, Blackburne 8/23/1906 'New gutter and spouts completed on office building.' Work done on exterior of Holt House. SIA RU 74 Series 1 Box 1 Director's Daries
Diaries of the Director, Blackburne 1/9/1907 'Large office dismantled in late p.m. preparatory to plastering-new electric wiring also put in.' Plastering done in large office. SIA RU 74 Series 1 Box 1 Diaries of the Director
Letter to Secretary Walcott From Superintendent Baker 5/28/1907 'There are several small pieces of work which it is desired to do at once including... putting in a new window at the office building...' This document did not specify which window was to be replaced, and no further details were provided regarding this work. SIA RU 45 Box 87 Folder 15
Letter From Superintendent Baker to Secretary Walcott 10/27/1913 '...proposed to install a hot water heating system...the only change in the present construction of the building would be the putting in of stairs to lead from the hallway in the west end of the building to the cellar below.' History of heating problems lead to installation of heating system in Holt House, construction changes were neccessary in order to complete this task. SIA RU 74 Series 13 Box 126 Folder 3
Letter to Dr. Baker From Assistant Secretary in Charge of Library and Exchanges 11/7/1913 Letter stated that the Secretary approved the recommendation to install a 'hot water heating system in the office building of the park, as outlined in your letter of October 27th.' Heating system was to be installed in Holt House, with possible construction. See letter of 10/27/1913. SIA RU 74 Series 13 Box 126 Folder 3
Letter from Superintendent Baker to S. Keighley Metal Ceiling and Mfg. Co. 12/6/1913 'Refering to your proposal for furnishing and setting a metal ceiling in the Superintendent's Office...I beg to inform you that if the above mentioned work is not completed...on or before Dec. 9 the order will be canceled and placed with the next lowest bidder.' Superintendent Baker intended to install metal ceiling in his office at the Holt House. SIA RU 74 Series 13 Box 126 Folder 3
Valuation of Buildings and Other Improvements in the National Zoological Park to June 30, 1914 6/30/1914 lists 'Office-$15,000 - and Office Stable-$3,000.' Value of improvements without land value. SIA RU 74 Series 13 Box 128 Folder 10
Buildings in National Zoological Park (Information for Public Buildings Commission) 7/1/1917 'Temporary Office Building - Occupied by: Superintendent's Office and storage of Supplies - Took Possession: 1891 - Built in year: 1805-repaired 1890-1901 - Built of: Stone and Brick wooden roof - Cost: original cost not known. Repairs and Alterations $8000. - Enployees: 5 - Real Value: $15,000.' Information compiled for Building Commission. See also record of August 1917 for more detail on Holt House. SIA RU 74 Series 13 Box 129 Folder 6
Public Buildings Commission Smithsonian Institution NZP Office Building 8/27/1917 'Occupied by: Administration Offices and storage - Portion of Building Occupied, all - Took possession 1890 - Built in year (about) 1805 repaired 1890-1901 - Built of stone, brick, and wood. - Costs: repairs $8,000 - Real Value: bldg. $10,000. - Labor $120. - Light $10. - Heat $110. - Repairs, estimated $50 - Total of above, $290. - Fire Proof? No Insured? No - There and 2 floors and cellar which is used for heating boiler and coal. - Areas: Rooms, 3140 sq ft. Halls, 1226 sq ft. - Fire Protection: extinguishers, one. - Entrances, 3 Staircases, 2 Property of permanent value, $3500 Protected? No Could they be duplicated? Mostly. - Estimated value of equipment, $3000. Fire loss? None - No. of employees: men 6, women none, total 6. - Square ft. of office room per person 198 Toilet rooms: men one, women none. - How many more, or less, employees needed now? none, for future? none - How much more, or less, room is needed now? none, for future? none. - Remarks: No cost or value for grounds is stated, as there is no definite area which belongs exclusively to this building.' (Note that remarks portion is crossed out) - Details of costs of repairs, value of property and interior details in 1917 as noted by the Public Buildings Commission. SIA RU 74 Series 13 Box 129 Folder 6
Estimated Value of Buildings in the National Zoological Park 11/9/1917 Lists value of Office Building at $10,000. Value of property in 1917. See also records dated 7/1/1917 and 8/27/1917 of Public Buildings Commission. SIA RU 74 Series 13 Box 128 Folder 10
Civil Works Administration Project 6/21/1934 'No. 2- In the office of the Director-New electrical wiring was installed, plaster was patched, a new floor was laid in a portion of the building and a new heating boiler and oil burner were installed.' Report on completed work, this work was all that was done at Holt House under the CWA. SIA RU 74 Box 216 Folder 2: Civil Works Administration

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