This building was part of a larger plan for the construction of a coordinated civic center to be built around City Hall Park. As a repository of municipal and personal records, as well as the court that addresses problems pertaining to estates, this dignified monumental building was designed to make ordinary people feel important. The eclectic combination of French and classical features is typical of the late Beaux Arts style which this building exemplifies. On the exterior, an extensive sculptural program depicts important moments and personalities in the history of the city. The building's lavish, elaborate interior was meant to be a showcase for public art. It is adapted from the entrance hall of Garnier's Paris Opera House.

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Surrogate's Court/Hall of Records
31 Chambers Street, John R.Thomas/Horgan and Slattery (1899-1911), as seen in a 1907 postcard