Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Iowa's Capital City

Yesterday we moved our home out of Missouri and headed north, to Des Moines Iowa. Upon arrival we parked our home on the grounds of the Iowa State Fair campgrounds. It is a rather spacious area with over 1,000 camping spots available. Presently there are about a dozen other campers, if that many, parked here with us. The campground is rather beautiful with rolling green hills, and overlooks downtown Des Moines. We drove into the city today to tour the capitol building. It is one of the more ornate state buildings which we have seen in our travels. Construction of the capitol began in 1871 and was completed in 1884. Gold leaf covers the dome. The interior is furnished with 29 types of marble as well as a variety of wood.
In the tour of the capitol building our guide pointed out beautiful artwork, woodcarvings, artifacts and decorative wall and ceiling paintings as well as a set of mosaics created in Italy. Suspended across the dome is the emblem of the Grand Army of the Republic. It was placed there as a reminder of Iowa's efforts to preserve the Union during the Civil War. The emblem is painted on canvas and suspended by wire.
Near the Governor's Office is a collection of dolls depicting Iowa's first ladies dressed in their inaugural gowns. Our guide pointed out that there has never been a male spouse represented in that collection- Mississippi and Iowa are the only two states that never has had a woman governor. After touring the capitol we walked from there into the edge of downtown De Moines. We walked only as far as it was needed to get some lunch, it was a rather warm day! Our next goal of the day was to search out the waterways of the city. In its' early days it was a military garrison established on the forks of the Des Moines and Racoon Rivers. The former river had been christened by French voyagers as La Riviera des Moinesk, or the River of the Monks. Pictured below is a pedestrian bridge which crosses the Des Moines in the downtown area.
In the town of West Des Moines we found Racoon River Park.It has a beautiful beach front area where many young people were hanging out, either swimming or sunbathing. It is hard to believe that we are at the end of May and heading into the summertime months!

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