Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Minnesota State Capitol

Our tour of this building was about as interesting and colorful as the political history of this state. Our tour guide, a member of the Minnesota Historical Society, did not dwell on the huge marble columns of the building, stenciled ceilings or murals- rather he regaled us with the political intrigues of the state. I must say that it was one of the more fascinating tours of a capital building that we have ever had!  I did not get a good outside picture of the building- that was rather difficult to do in one picture as it is a long structure of three buildings. One of the first items our guide wanted to show us was a model of the capitol made of Lego bricks. That display model offers a better conception of the capitol than any picture taken on my camera.
More than 20 varieties of marble, limestone, sandstone, and granite were used in the construction of the capitol. The picture below of the grand staircase perhaps gives you a good idea of the beauty of the interior of the capital. Strangely enough, those features of the building, as well about a ten others, we discovered later when we got home and read a brochure we had picked up titled  Art Treasure in the Capitol.
 After showing us the Senate and House Rooms our guide took us to the roof to get a closer look at the Quadriga. It is a sculpture gilded with gold leaf over cooper. Quadriga means a two-wheeled chariot drawn by four horses. It can also be a symbol of victory. It was placed on top of the capitol to symbolize progress in Minnesota.
One other interesting feature of this building is the presence of statues of Civil War heroes and flags. Apparently it was primarily Civil War veterans who built the first two capitol buildings (the present building was completed in 1905)- for them it was the "Great War" of the time.

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