Posts Tagged ‘Capitol’


Pretty As A Picture

07 sunriseLinda Burton posting from Saint Paul, Minnesota – The sun was up at 5:47, and I was too. I got the first load into the car even before the outside lights shut down; I was determined to beat the heat. Four loads and one orange juice later, we were on the road. The cats went back to sleep right away; I nibbled on the blueberry muffin I’d grabbed, and enjoyed the ease of the drive. A blue sky, a highway stretching straight in front of me, and mile after mile of corn; I could almost hear it growing. If I were a photographer, this is where I’d come for my postcard shots; the farm scenes were pretty as a picture – farmers 07 barn and wind turbineshouses tucked in their own personal clump of trees; their barns and silos near; all set in their personal fields of green. I-35 north from Des Moines to Saint Paul, 244 miles on a Sunday in July. I passed the sign to Ames, home of Iowa State University; a little further west is the birthplace of Mamie Doud Eisenhower. It must be hilly there in Boone County; The Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad is there, and Ledges State Park. I stopped for gas in Thornton, two miles off the freeway; no fountain drinks but the friendly lady 07 coop silosbehind the counter directed me to the ice cream freezer where she kept a bag of ice and a scoop; with her scissors she enlarged the hole in the coffee cup lid so I could poke the straw through for my ice-cold Coke. “Too hot for coffee,” we agreed. She was intrigued by the car; wanted to hear about the Journey. I asked about the giant storage silos in the middle of town. “Corn, and soybeans,” was the answer. » read more


Open For Business

Linda Burton posting from Baton Rouge, Louisiana Merry Christmas glows red on the electronic board behind the President’s chair in the Louisiana Senate Chambers. Seasons Greetings follows below, in green. The time and date and the Louisiana state seal shine brightly in the middle; the senator’s names are listed on either side of the sign. Through the open door I see red-striped flags, pots of red poinsettias, and wreaths with red bows; all surrounded by soaring square columns in a dark exotic sturdiness. Splendid is the word that comes to mind; it’s the shine, the color, the richness of the look. The House Chambers are closed for a while; major renovation work is going on. But that’s okay, there is plenty to see in stunning Memorial Hall; handpainted murals in glowing colors; white marble statuary, double life-sized; filigreed bronze chandeliers; the Senate Chambers to the left; and just beyond the centered Christmas tree, the flags. I counted twelve in all, hanging over the bronze elevator doors. I boarded the elevator with a crowd; a mix of state employees and others like me, just visiting. It’s clear, the Louisiana state capitol is open for business. » read more


Warm in Little Rock

Linda Burton posting from Little Rock, Arkansas White Christmas opened last night at the Arkansas Rep Mainstage. Remember all the songs from that show? Happy Holidays, White Christmas, and those happy tunes in between, like Sisters, and Count Your Blessings; and the grand finale, I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm. Pure Irving Berlin, The snow is snowing, the wind is blowing, but I can weather the storm!…. I’ve got my love to keep me warm. The packed house loved every minute; the Haynes sisters Betty and Judy (played by Jennifer Sheehan and Sarah Agar) were vocal perfection and looked stunning; the Bob and Phil duo (played by Shane Donovan and Case Dillard) charmed us from the start as they shook hands with everyone in the front row (where I had the good fortune of sitting) during the opening number. It’s a kid-friendly show; the two little girls to my left were entranced, never taking their eyes off the dancing feet that were just about eye level from our seats. They were particularly interested in Susan (played by Maddie Lentz, a 6th grader at Horace Mann Arts and Sciences Middle School), who portrayed the General’s granddaughter hankering to be in show business. Exiting the theater after the champagne reception, still humming White Christmas and thinking snowflakes, I had to unzip my sweater. It was 72 degrees and humid! And it stayed that way today, even during the after-dark Lighting of the Capitol and the holiday fireworks. » read more


Simplicity in Symbolism

05 art outside backLinda Burton posting from Santa Fe, New Mexico – Clean modern lines reflecting ancient traditions – how do you combine that into a stunning and meaningful setting appropriate for the business of the state? New Mexico is one of the newer states (47th in 1912) and now has one of the newer capitol buildings (dedicated 1966). It also has the oldest – the Palace of Governors (1609) still stands on the north side of the Plaza, as the state museum. In between, New Mexico had an elaborate Victorian capitol (1886) which citizens called “audacious” and a traditional capitol with a silver dome (1900) which was often criticized as not being appropriate for the state; in 1950 the dome was removed. Building #4 seems to have done the trick for New Mexico; its New Mexico Territorial style – that unique combo of Greek Revival and Pueblo adobe – fits the ambiance, and the sensibilities, of the capital city. When viewed from above you can see that the unusual circular building resembles the Zia Sun Symbol, with four entrance wings protruding from the main center. That Zia symbol represents values important to the people of New Mexico. » read more


Where You Can Bloom

Linda Burton posting from Denver, Colorado – “Bloom where you are planted” is a phrase we’ve all heard before. Today’s trends are busily reversing that age-old axiom to “Plant yourself where you can bloom.” Maybe it’s the high price of gas and the worry over fossil fuels. Maybe it’s the wear and tear of the daily commute, which can put you on a diet of Prilosec. Maybe it’s the longing for an Opie life, whistling as you walk to the fishing hole. Or maybe you’re a fast-tracker with an impatient soul, who wants things to happen now. Would you rather be doing than driving? According to a report by The Worldwatch Institute, 2007, for the first time in this country’s history the majority of our population lives in cities. The Baby Boomers (b 1946-1964) and the Millennials (b 1981-2000) are leading the charge; these are the two fastest growing demographics. The Millennials want a work-life balance in compact communities; 88% choose to live in an urban area. And the Baby Boomers have retirement in mind; they are thinking about having time to do things they’ve put off for years, so being close to those things is important. Denver is planning for all of that. » read more


A Capitol Walk

Linda Burton posting from Pierre, South Dakota – “Are you really going to all 50 capital cities?” I’d parked the Scion under a shade tree at the curb on Nicolette, grabbed the cameras and tripod, and was headed towards the grassy capitol lawn. A group of four was fast-stepping along the sidewalk, sharing an energetic and purposeful walk. The one who asked the question hadn’t slowed, she was hanging with the pack; I gave them all a big thumbs up. “You bet!” I answered back. They called out appropriate congrats and well wishes; then I asked my question. “Could I get your picture here by the capitol?” That slowed their pace; they nodded at each other in agreement, then stepped onto the grass, smiling big. “What a great place to walk,” I commented as I set up the shot. “Sorry to slow you down.” They asked where I’d been so far; where I was headed next. “Be sure to see Capitol Lake,” I was advised; and off they went, continuing their capitol walk. » read more


Beyond Numbers

Linda Burton posting from Bismarck, North Dakota – “Over 80 percent of this capitol building is usable space,” the tour guide said. “As compared to Minnesota, say, where they can use only 29 percent. They have that big dome.” The guide has more numbers and comparisons; the North Dakota capitol cost $2 million to build in 1934, the Nebraska capitol, also a highrise, cost $11 million, she says. That’s $.46 per square foot vs $1.10. Frugality was a major consideration when building the North Dakota capitol; this is a state that simply doesn’t spend what it doesn’t have. After the old capitol burned in 1930, they sold 160 acres of land and used insurance money from the burned building to pay for the new capitol. Workers threatened a strike part-way through; laborers asked for a raise from 30 cents an hour to 50. The governor called out the National Guard to protect the partially constructed building; workers were granted a 10 cent raise. Work continued, and the building was first occupied in January 1935. On time, and on budget. One thing I noticed right away; planning may have focused on frugal, and the outside may appear plain, but the building is impressive in its indoor elegance, and its streamlined efficiency. » read more


Life With Brian

Linda Burton posting from Helena, Montana – “On your left you’ll see two deer in the yard,” said Brian, as our tour train rounded the corner two blocks from the capitol. I thought he was joking, pointing to a yard with fake deer for effect. But one of the deer moved its head. Everyone scrambled left, cameras clicking. It was deer, all right; two deer sitting by the hedge on the lawn of an ordinary yard in this downtown residential area. One a speckled fawn? Too cute! “Some people put flower guards out to protect their tulips from being eaten by the deer,” Brian continued, as we rounded yet another corner to stop before the governor’s home. Brian pointed out the designs in the glass door, and then around another corner we went, waving at the neighbors in their yards. It was a sunny morning, and the Last Chance Tour Train was packed; half of us tourists and half locals who wanted to show off their town in the sweetest way possible – on a tweetsie little train driven by a history teacher in an engineer’s hat, delivering interesting facts with a sometimes humorous twist. » read more


She’s Here!

Linda Burton posting from Helena, Montana – “I ate at my first Applebee’s on that trip,” Matthew reminisced during Tuesday’s final goodbyes before I headed for Helena. Grandson Matt was referring to our trip of 2001, when he was almost 10 and we went to three capital cities and three national parks in a three-week period. Helena, Bismarck, and Pierre were the capitals; Glacier, Yellowstone, and the Badlands were the parks. I chuckled that he remembered the Helena Applebee’s stop; he didn’t want to go to an unfamiliar place but I promised an oreo shake. He tried something new, and he loved it; the next day we visited the capitol. He loved that too. Little did we know that day just how it would affect our lives. Matt is 20 now; he’s studying Japanese with plans to head for Japan next year for more study; he plans to live there, and teach. Matt’s vision expanded under the wide-open skies of Montana; my vision expanded by watching a kid in a capitol. That’s why I’m here today. » read more


Family Cool

Andrew Shumate, age 16, visiting grandmother in Olympia, Washington – “Come to Olympia while the Journey is there,” GMom said last week, so that’s what we did today, my father, my sister, and me. As we drove up to the capitol the first thing my father and I noticed was how dirty it looked! I mean that building is the center of our state government, where our politicians represent us, where our laws are made, and it looked like someone needed to give it a good hosing down. But I guess that isn’t really important considering the building’s amazing architecture. I visited this capitol ten years ago and didn’t think much about its design; I just thought it looked like a fancy government building. But this time around I was able to appreciate how amazing it really is, even if it looked somewhat dirty. I noticed the building was heavily influenced by Greek and Roman architecture. The building features a massive dome, which the tour guide later told us is the tallest masonry dome in North America. The entrance is supported by intricate Corinthian columns and the rest of the building is fitted with the not-so-intricate Doric columns. All of which originated from ancient Greek and Roman architecture. Having studied this stuff for several months I just had to inform everyone of my knowledge regarding this subject. » read more