Friday, July 21, 2017

State Capitol of Idaho

As our readers may remember, John and I always enjoy touring state capitol buildings.  For one reason, it does give us a good local history lesson.  And we did learn a few interesting facts on our tour of the building.  Below is a front view of Idaho's capitol.  Idaho was created as a part of the Idaho territory in 1863 by President Lincoln.  It was signed into statehood by President Harrison in 1890, as the 43rd state of the United States.
The inside of the capitol is not as ornate as some of the other state capitols which we have toured.   We first noticed large, beautiful "marble" columns supporting the rotunda.  They are not solid marble but have a finished surface comprised of gypsum, glue, marble dust and granite dyed to look like marble.  This fake marble, called scagliola,  originated in Italy in the 16th century because real marble was expensive and heavy.  However, in the Idaho capitol marble still is extensively used.
On the fourth floor is a statue of George Washington on his horse.  It was carved from a single piece of pine by an Austrian immigrant in 1869, after which it was bronzed and presented to the Idaho territory.  Opposite that statue is a replica of Winged Victory of Samothrace.  Unfortunately we could only look at that statue through plastic sheeting- workman were doing repairs on the ceiling above it.  In 1942 France sent boxcars filled with gifts to the capital cities of America in appreciation for the food, medicine, fuel and clothing they sent to France during the war.  Idaho's boxcar included a replica of Winged Victory of  Samothrace.

Pictured above is the Great Seal of the State of Idaho.  Only state seal which was designed by a woman, who was Emma Green.  It was adopted by a state legislature in 1891.  The miner on the right represents the chief industry at the time the seal was created.  Opposite him is a lady representing justice, freedom and equality.  Behind her is a sprig of syringa, the state flower.
This state capitol has another distinction which sets it apart from other state capitols.  Hot water boils underneath the grounds and sidewalks.  It is the only one in the United States heated by geothermal water.  Boise sits atop a large, naturally occurring geothermal resource where water is pumped from three thousand feet underground.
Speaking of water, the Boise River runs through the city.   After touring the capitol we walked several blocks through the downtown area and caught this river scene at the Ann Frank Memorial.  More on that in my next posting.

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