In March 29, 1911, in the early morning hours, while the New York State Capitol building was empty, a great fire occurred. At this time the New York State library was housed in the building on the 4th and 5th floors where the fire occurred along with the assembly and it was decimated in the blaze. Many called it one of the greatest library disasters of modern times. Half a million books and another quarter million manuscripts were lost in the blaze, many of them one of a kind and completely irreplaceable. Some blamed the fire of a smoldering cigar left behind by a careless Assemblyman. Others blamed the electrical system. No satisfactory explanation ever came forward to explain the blaze.
Brave visitors will make their way to the exact spot where Samuel Abbott died. A veteran of the Civil War, he was the night watchman on duty – and the only fatality, identified only by his pocket watch. His body was found in a badly burned hallway near where the fire had started.
Since then, employees and visitors have seen an older man in a watchman’s uniform making his rounds in the upper halls, even checking on one young woman working too late one night. Others claimed to smell a heavy and very strong odor of smoke and wet ash while standing in the exact spot with Abbott’s body was found. A translucent body has been observed in the hallway where his body was found and there are the sounds of keys, unexplainable doors locking, and lights turning off.
He was nicknamed George by the State workers employed in the building. George makes his presence known by jingling an invisible set of keys and fiddling with the doorknobs throughout the fifth floor. Shadows are said to move around the floor and sometimes, out of the corner of your eye, these shadows seem to take the shape of men.
This has led to speculation that perhaps Samuel Abbott was the cause of the fire and his spirit is trapped at the scene because of guilt. It is also possible that blaze he feels he needs to sty and protect others foam a similar fate.
On the fourth floor beside the Senate staircase, a man with long gray hair has been spied along the corridor. In 1890, a State Street fruit vendor, bereft over his failing business, leapt to his death from the stairs, his billowing gray hair shocking the Victorian women who witnessed the fall.