This was another impressive building, built in the 1880's, so quite a bit earlier than some of the other capitols we've seen. It's in a nice setting, surrounded by very large trees, something we really enjoy as trees in our own neighborhood just don't grow to the same height.
There were very nice planters along the walks to the building, with profusely blooming fibrous begonias, and also planters full of roses. The perennials surrounding the statue in this picture had finished their growing season and were very drab, but the
begonias are visible behind them.
begonias are visible behind them.
We headed toward the front door, up a long flight of stone steps. And, hey, these were easy to climb and descend, being of normal height and depth.
However, the doors at the top of the stairs were locked. After we went down the stairs we found a sign to the right of them that said, "Visitor's entrance" with arrows pointing to the east side of the building.
So we walked around to the other side, a block away and found the entrance thus:
The Kansas state capitol is undergoing a long, thorough renovation, planned to be completed on time for their 150th anniversary, next year, 2011. So, in order to still accommodate visitors, they've set up a tunnel-like entrance, between those two red "posts" ahead of Jim. The renovation goes on around and above the entrance.
Inside, a lot of the renovation is complete. I especially admired these copper newel posts that were at the head and foot of each staircase.
The bannisters are also plated with copper. I'm guessing here; it looked like copper to me.
All the marble floors were just gleaming, as you can see at the foot of this staircase. I asked one of the women working there if they were waxed, and she said, "Oh, all the time. There's a machine that goes around cleaning and leaving a light film of wax behind. Be careful that you don't slip on it!"
And, sure enough, there he goes! The guy on the "Zamboni" for marble. Just caught him as he was going through the door to another area. What a job, eh?
You can't actually get into the Rotunda, and look up at the dome, as they are still working in that area. But there was a window provided through which you could see what was going on there. No picture of that, though.
There are famous murals around the
rotunda, and this dramatic painting of John Brown, the famous leader of the raid on Harper's Ferry, memorialized in the song "John Brown's Body Lies Amouldring in the Grave." This was painted by John Steuart Currie, and provoked a perfect storm of criticism.
John Brown does look pretty devilish in this picture, but then, the photos we saw of him yesterday in the Kansas Museum of History showed a pretty severe face too!
To the left of the sky in that picture you can see just part of some roiling clouds that further to the left (which you can't see) spawn a tornado. Which brings me to the signs that we've seen in the public buildings in Nebraska and Kansas:
Tornadoes were not unknown in Michigan when I was growing up, but I guess they are more common in Nebraska and Kansas.
It was too bad that we missed the official tour of the capitol, as you can usually learn a lot from the tour guides.
After our "self-guiding" tour we were back in the car and putting on the miles. By 3 p.m. we were checked into our Motel 6 in Jefferson City, the capitol of Missouri. So tomorrow, another capitol building tour. And then we're just about ready for something different.