Monday, November 16, 2009

Field Trip!!! Utah State Capitol

Utah's State Capitol, which has been under scaffolding for several years while being retrofitted with earthquake safety engineering, is now brilliantly welcoming all visitors.

Every day I drive up State Street on my way to work, a street that ends at the Capitol building. Every day since the scaffolding came off I have thought I should go for a "look-see".

A slow day at work...a long lunch break...and just like "should go" finally happened.

It was a sunny day a few weeks ago...perfect for a walk around the grounds. The sky couldn't have possibly been bluer.

The western mountain range in the distance with a name that I can never spell without looking it up... Oquirrh which means "Shining Mountains" in the Paiute Indian language.

And to the East, the Wasatch Range, which means "Mountains with Many Waters".
The two ranges are the only two mountain ranges in North America that run East to west instead of North to South.

We live at the base of the Wasatch mountains, about at the right edge of the picture above.

I do so appreciate buildings that will tell you exactly when they were build!

Cool light fixtures festoon the exterior walls.

One of several doors into the building. I really had no idea what I would find inside the building if I opened the door...or if I would even be welcomed inside without an appointment.

Nothing ventured...nothing gained, right?

Oh that's what it looks like inside the dome!

Soaring three stories up...there are Work Administration Program (WPA) paintings of Utah history on four sides of the dome.
The WPA was a "make work" program instigated by the US government during the Great Depression of the last century.

Looking straight up...

And to the right of the ground floor...a marble staircase leading to... ??????

The view to the left. The statues at the base of the room are larger than life sized and recently commissioned.

The glass overhead with pink, blue and gold trim. I wouldn't have expected that color choice, but it is very fresh and airy.

I later read that the gold leafing was re-done during the renovation.

To give you a sense of scale...the balcony railing is about chest high.

The old-timey elevator could have been an interesting ride...but I was in the mood to climb stairs.

The marble stairs with gold edging.

Up on the second floor I can see the historical paintings up close,

And amazingly to me, I can wander about at will.
NO ONE was to be seen anywhere. I opened one door and found myself looking down at the Utah House Chamber where legislation is decided. There are two groups of elected officials that govern the state, the Representatives and the Senate. I'd love to go there when they are in session.

Windows above the gallery, where the public can sit in and observe government in action below.

Very stately gallery seating don't you think?

Sweet little faces grace the carved pillars.

Back into the main area outside the chamber are many offices for various department heads.
Their doors still have the old fashioned break proof glass with wire embedded in the glass.
The snow flake like design is much prettier than most modern shatter proof glass in my opinon...

The decks or galleries around the edge of each floor level has recently been designated for artwork. Emmeline Wells was an interesting woman: a strong advocate of polygamy (after becoming a widow at an early age, she then married a Mr. Wells, becoming his seventh wife) and also a champion for women's suffrage. She was key in obtaining women's voting rights in Utah in 1870, prior to Utah obtaining statehood.
It wasn't until 1890 that Wyoming became the first state to give women the right to vote, swiftly followed by Utah, Colorado and Idah.
Progressive little area of the country, eh?

Just pretty details...and so well restored!

More dome painting views from the second floor.

I was amazed at all the detail work everywhere!

I liked the ballroom scene in the one painting.

This painting of a sweet subject: The husband is gazing at his wife holding a new babe inside the covered wagon. I've read that something like 75% of all women pioneers were pregnant during their cross country journey.


And that a good portion of those women were pregnant when they began the journey.

Women were sure a lot tougher back then.

You will never guess who this guy is. I had no idea...yet I can't imagine life without what he made possible! I'll bet you regularly use his invention too, and never gave a though about the name of the person who made it possible.

Yes...the next time you click on your TV...thank Mr. Farnsworth, a man who was born long ago in a log cabin in a small town in Utah.
Pretty view, huh?
Time to take a break on our field trip.
Everyone open up your lunch boxes and find a place to eat quietly.
To be continued.....


Anneliese said...

A field trip indeed! And yes, looks like we've both discoverd that women were tougher in those days!

Sara said...

That is a stunning place, and so are your photos. Definitely worth a field trip or two.

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

It looks like an amazing place! I'll be back for the continuation of the field trip.

And they allow you to wander at will? Maybe the tour guides left the front doors open by mistake. Those people in SLC seem to be a trusting lot!

Vicki said...

WOW! It's amazing! I'll bet you could go back a dozen times and keep finding something new.

I'm surprised that you were able to wander around. It seems that every city, state, & federal building has guards and security screening these days...makes you wonder if there were dozens of cameras aimed at you, with armed guards monitoring your every move...