Olympia is home to Washington State Capitol campus. It includes 50 beautifully landscaped acres sitting high on a hill overlooking much of Olympia and viewing down on the southern tip of Puget Sound. Here are couple photos of the view from up by the capital looking down on the Sound.
Crystal and I took the opportunity of the nice day on Saturday morning to go to see this beautiful architectural wonder. That’s one thing she and I enjoy very much doing together, is touring magnificent old buildings. Being a Saturday parking was easy to find and the crowds were very small. The capital is open for tours every day of the week except the few major holidays. During the week parking is very limited and I’m sure the business of government keeps the capital hustling, but today it was quiet, and we got to enjoy all that spectacular beauty. The main building was completed in 1928 after five years of continuous work. More than 500 master craftsmen and artisans from around the world use their talents in designing and completing this complex. The campus consists of five total buildings for different parts of government business. Down the hill and just across the way main capital building, sits the Temple of Justice building where the courts do their business. Here’s a photo of that.
The beautifully landscaped 50 acres were designed in 1927 by the Olmsted Brothers planners of New York’s Central Park. There are multiple sculptures and other decorations throughout the campus area. Like this War Memorial dating back to World War I.
Here’s just one example of one of the beautiful gardens. Even being the end of the season there were still lots of beautiful flowers in bloom.
As you approach the building you begin to appreciate the magnitude of it. It’s dome of brick and sandstone rises 287 feet to the top, it is the tallest masonry dome in North America.
After the completion of the Washington’s Legislative Building in 1928, this was the last state capital building of its type. No other state capitals in the U. S. were built in its similarly elegance and classical style after its completion. The sandstone that makes up the exterior of this building was unearthed in quarries near Mount Rainier at Wilkeson. The granite steps and massive foundation pieces came from north of Seattle at Index.
There are lots and lots of bronze fixtures throughout the building. Like these beautiful bronze entrance doors.
Just look at the detail in them.
In the main entrance you are grade greeted by large arched ceilings with beautiful chandeliers.
On the floor of the main entryway, there is a large reproduction of the state seal. The actual seal is only about as big around as a silver dollar.
Also, in the main entryway is a time capsule that was placed on the 200th anniversary of our nation in 1976, to be opened hundred years later in 2076.
Everywhere you look at the walls are lined with marble that came from around the world.
All the bronze chandeliers and others decorative fixtures throughout the building were designed and made by Tiffany’s of New York. Here’s a photo of one of the four Roman style fire pots that sit in the main rotunda area.
The ceiling of the interior dome raises 175 feet above the rotunda floor.
The chandelier that’s hangs down in the center, (one of the many Tiffani pieces) hangs from a 101-foot chain, with the whole chandelier weighing 5 tons and containing over 200 lightbulbs.
The reception room which is on the third floor is elegantly designed with lots of marble and decorated with all kinds of elegant attire.
It is mainly used for hosting diplomats and presidential visits to the capital. But it is also the place where the inaugural balls are held.
Our tour guide points out a few priceless art pieces in the reception hall.
And there are these two beautiful chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, made up of hundreds of pounds of cut class.
We also got to visit the galleries of the State Legislative Chamber and Senate Chamber. When they are in session you can sit in these galleries and watched the proceedings. The legislative consists of 98 elected officials, two from each district. And meets each year starting in January to make new laws and vote on budgets. Here’s a photo of the legislative room with its 98 seats separating the Republicans and Democrats by a row down the middle of the room.
The Senate Chamber has only 49 desk, one senator from each district and they serve a four-year term. Here’s a couple photos of that chamber.
Another interesting thing that was going on, was on the outside of the building. They were busy steam cleaning all the sandstone. If you look at this photo at the top of the dome, you’ll see the very black spot that has not been cleaned off yet.
And in this one you can see them lowered down and cleaning it.
I guess the last time it was cleaned was about seven years ago so depending on conditions it’s every seven or 10 years they must do a thorough cleaning of the building to keep it looking bright new. Here they are cleaning some of the lower sections.
And if you look closely at all these photos you can see the parts that have been cleaned and the black spots that still need to be washed off. With all the constant moisture in this area the mildew grows really.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick tour of one of Washington’s magnificent buildings. In my next post I will highlight several lighthouses that we were able to visit this week. Till next time best wishes and safe travels, Rick