The Press Gang: Newspapers and Politics, 1865-1878

By Mark Wahlgren Summers | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4
I Am the Paper! The Independents

In 1875, a magnificent building fronting New York's Printing-House Square opened for business. Designed by Richard Morris Hunt, it featured a Florentine campanile that gave one of the best views of the city; only the Trinity Church spire rose higher. Visitors might admire its safety: there was not a single wooden beam or lath partition in the place, and even the floorboards were set on a cement foundation. Or they might admire its almost palatial grandeur, from the counting rooms to the roof of slate and iron. Entering on the ground floor, they would gaze beneath their feet on inlaid Mettlach mosaic, specially prepared in Germany and "so hard that they will cut glass." In the entry, bronze chandeliers with special I designs cast light beneath vaulting arches and between two seventeen-foot columns of dark Quincy marble. Small wonder that the new building sold some of the city's most desirable commercial space; in its cellar, a saloon did a brisk business (too brisk: police arrested the proprietor for doing business on the Sabbath). 1

Descriptions of the structure sounded regal, and rightly so, for this was the palace of the New York Tribune, which

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