Did you ever drive across Iowa on I 80 through DesMoines and look to the south? You would see a huge building with 5 domes. The center dome is the largest and is glimmering and shinning of gold in the sunlight. This is the Capital of Iowa. I have known this but it really didn’t make that much of an impression. A number of local people at the park said we should go visit as it was beautiful. So after we seen the Luminaria, we went to the Capital. Driving across the river from down town the view was so stately. The capital has high on a hill and the street went straight just like Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington DC.
We parked on the south side in a beautiful park area. It was full of memorials and monuments of long ago. It turned out to be a beautiful day. Their were so many trees on the grounds hiding the capital on our walk to the door. But the beautiful gold dome was peeking out shinning of brilliant gold in the sun. This dome is one of the largest gold domes in North America. It is the only state to have 5 domes and one of 10 states to have a gold dome. It rises 275 ft. above the Capital grounds with an 80 ft. diameter at the top. The original 23 karat gilding was $3,500. The dome was regilded in 1905 at a cost of $8,800, again in 1927, for $16,500, again in 1965 for approximately $80,000. The last time was 1996 at a cost of $482,000, with a protective layer installed to save it from the elements.
The Capital was originally in Iowa City but was decided to move it to DesMoines. The original building was started in 1871, dedicated in 1884 and finished in 1886. It is built with brick and faced with limestone granite and sandstone. We entered at the basement level that was designated Visitor Entrance. We went through the Security area and walked down the corridor to the center of the building. We passed many tables and chairs as the cafeteria is on this floor. We arrived at the Tour Center. The tour guide gave us a self guide tour map and explained many things to us. So off we went to the nearest elevator. No stairs for us. We exited the elevator on 1st floor onto the rotunda area. Amazing. We walked over to the main dome area and looked up………
Soooo Beautiful. It is really hard to see the height. Their is a row of windows near the top and more beautiful gold and lights. In the center is a flag floating in the blue sky with clouds.
Here is the upper floors of the dome. We walked up to the 3rd floor. That is all the public is allowed on their own. Now this is the rotunda floor. It is all glass. It was just restored around 5 years ago to original. For many, many years it has been open down to the basement floor.
Now we walked down a corridor to the old Supreme Court.
In 2003 they built a new Supreme Court building across the street.
A close up of the beautiful gold Chandelier. We walked to another hallway and found this case full of dolls.
These are dolls whose dresses are modeled after the First ladies. They are dressed in a copy of their inaugural gowns.
Onward to the huge grand staircase in the back wing. Huge pillars of different shades of granite. (See Rich? tee hee) . But did we walk the stairs?. lol. No….elevator to the right. We accidently skipped 2nd floor and went to 3rd floor.
We were at the balcony area of the Senate. Of course, nobody working….lol…Empty….Back out the door, around the balcony area looking down on the Grand stair case and in the distance the 2nd floor rotunda area.
Just look at those tile floors. The most beautiful designs I’ve ever seen. All different designs blending together. The shine was beautiful.
Onward around the balcony to the other side of the 3rd floor to the House of Representatives.
Again we went into the balcony area of the House. and Again…Nobody Home….lol…Now it was time to go back down to the 2nd floor. We found 4 spiral staircases. 2 by the Senate and 2 by the house. They were enclosed and somewhat hidden.
How beautiful they were. All original and extremely sturdy. Now down to the second floor. This is actually the main entrance levels to the House and the Senate.
They are situated in each wing on each side of the main rotunda. We walked into the House and Rich was wanting to get a new Job……Sergeant-At-Arms. lol. I think he’d make a good one. All he needs is a gavel….or a gun?….lol Now for the very best area of the Capital. We were blown away. We opened the door to the Library. It is situated at the west end facing down town……Beeeeeautiful…..
Breathtaking…..I stood in Awwwwe…..I just looked, taking in all the beauty. I really don’t think I have ever seen anything like it before. Look at the tiling of the floors. The white wrought iron spiral staircase at the other end. their are 4 stores of balcony’s of books after the main floor. They are all accessible by 2 spiral staircases.
I was allowed to climb up this spiral staircase just 1 floor to take pictures. If you look at the first story up, you will see a small corridor of light that is a door to the back area. This is the access point on each floor to get to all the books on each balcony floor.
Here you can see the door openings against the back wall of each bookshelf. This gets you to the other side of the bookshelf.
Finally I had to take another picture of the floors. Beautiful, beautiful blending and designs of colors. Finally after probably half hour or more we left the library. I did talk to the lady librarian. Their is over 100,000 books. They still use all the all the different levels of books for research except for the 5th level. That one is more for storage of books and items not used much anymore. The ironwork and the flooring are all original. Again, this room is the most beautiful room I’ve ever seen. So finally back to the rotunda area on the second floor.
We looked over the side to the main floor….The center piece of glass…..Now elevator to the basement. We walked back to the Tour Directors area which is right underneath the glass floor.
She pointed out over on the wall was some pictures and the story of the installation of this floor. It came in pieces and fit like a puzzle to install. They had to construct special ramps to roll in the pieces and not damage the floor tiles. Then also a crane to hold them in place to install. Some Facts……29 different types of marble use in the Capital…..12 types of wood, most native to Iowa…..24 fireplaces throughout the Capital…..
Now this was an awesome tour. We just wandered around at our leisure. I have not included a lot of what we seen. It is just to much to mention it all. Their was many places we didn’t go. Many of the offices were open for viewing. We didn’t do any of these. Now this really makes me ashamed. When was the last time YOU WERE AT YOUR STATE CAPITAL…..Or Have you Ever Been their..…I haven’t been to mine in Illinois since 8th grade. You don’t appreciate it then. Nor do you retain many memories. Illinois has so much history. We need to spend a day in Springfield Illinois this fall on our return to Texas. So anyone who reads this……Make plans to visit your State Capital…..You can also visit any State Capital as you travel. It is free. It is an education. We have so much to see and visit in our country not to mention our own states……Take the Time…..Enjoy…..Iowa State Capital ……DesMoines Iowa