Meredith Bergmann, FNSS

Meredith Bergmann’s portrait of Ruth Bader Ginsburg will soon adorn The Million Dollar Staircase in the New York state capitol of Albany.

The famous staircase, sometimes known as the Great Western Staircase, was carved in place from large blocks of sandstone from 1884 to 1898. It was designed by architect Henry Hobson Richardson, built by Isaac Perry, and cost over a million dollars (hence the name). There are 444 steps in the staircase, which runs 119 feet high. The staircase features 78 carvings of distinguished figures from that time; the few faces of women that are present on the staircase serve a more decorative purpose, including babies, goddesses, and the architect’s granddaughter.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a Brooklyn native, will be the first portrait added in 125 years. There are plans to include more carvings of women including Susan B. Anthony, novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Civil War nurses. NY Governor Hochul was with Bergmann at the unveiling of the portrait.