Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Visit to the Idaho Capitol

We left Joe and Kathy's and headed to Boise to tour the capitol. We opted for the more direct, but two lane route that saved 60 miles. It took longer but there was almost no traffic. We stayed at the Garrity RV Park in Nampa, a park that we stayed at before. The park has had some bad reviews lately because there are so many permanent workers. We found the place to be fine, but they only have a few sites available for short term visitors. 
Several miles of the trip was through a narrow canyon beyond the Wild Horse Recreation Area along the Owyhee River. It was beautiful and I was real glad there were very few oncoming vehicles.
At the end of the canyon we entered Duck Valley. This is open range and there were many signs warning that cattle may be on the road. These cows had just crossed the road. As you can see we also encountered a massive number of bugs.
Idaho is the 25th state capitol building we have visited. This one is built in the same neoclassic style of so many capitols. Construction started in 1905 when the dome and middle section were built. In 1919 the second phase added the east and west legislative wings. Most recently, in 2007, underground atrium wings added hearing rooms.
Like all domed capitols we have visited there is really two domes, one outside constructed of steel and concrete and roofed with terracotta tiles and another inside. The interior dome is built with wood and plastered. The painting in the center has thirteen large stars for the original states and 43 small stars celebrating Idaho as the 43rd state. 
The Governor's ceremonial office. The desk has been used by every governor since 1919. There are two pictures of conservative icon Ronald Reagan.
I liked this. The current governor is Butch Otter.
Portraits of all Idaho governors. This is much simpler than many other states that have huge painted portraits of each governor.
This little public lounge had a video of state landmarks and framed maps of each county.
This room was the Supreme Court chamber until 1970. It is now the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee Room. Here both houses of the legislature work together to study and recommend how budget money will be allocated.
The House of Representatives chamber where the blue scheme is similar to the U.S. capitol. Idaho is divided into 35 legislative districts with two House members from each elected to two-year terms. 
The Senate chamber where the red scheme is also similar to the U.S. capitol. There is one senator elected from each of the 35 districts who also serve two-year terms. Both House and Senate members are elected at the same time. The legislature meets once a year from January to March.  At present, both houses have large Republican majorities.
When the recent atrium expansion of the capitol was done some historically significant trees that had been planted by Presidents Harrison, T. Roosevelt and Taft had to be removed. These are items that were made from the wood of those trees, thus preserving the history.
This statue is a replica of Winged Victory of Samothrace. The original was done around 400-300 BC. It was given to Idaho by the French as part of the Merci Train, sent to each state in 1949 by the people of France as a thank you for all the help we gave them after WWII. We have seen the original Winged Victory in the Louvre.
The statue of George Washington was carved from a single piece of pine by Austrian immigrant Charles Ostner in 1869. It was originally covered in bronze and displayed on the capitol grounds until 1934. It has been restored and covered with gold leaf and on display inside the capitol.

The floors throughout the capitol are made of four different marbles. The gray is from Alaska, the red from Georgia, the green from Vermont and the black from Italy. On the floor under the dome they use all four together. 
While the columns look like solid marble they are really made of a mixture of gypsum, glue, marble dust and granite dyed to look like marble. The process of making columns like this is called scagliola and was developed in Italy in the sixteenth century. They are much cheaper and lighter than real marble.
The Great Seal of Idaho which was adopted in 1891 was designed by Emma Edwards Green. It has a miner to represent the state's chief industry and a woman holding scales to represent justice, freedom and equality.
On the grounds is a statue of Governor Frank Steunenberg who served from 1897 to 1900. He was assassinated in 1905.
The statue of Lincoln has been at a couple different locations in Boise over the years. It was moved to this spot in front of the capitol on February 12, 2009. Lincoln signed the law making Idaho a territory in 1863.
The Idaho capitol offers an interesting look at the history of the state. Like many others we have toured they have restored it to its original appearance. The tour is self guided when the legislature is not in session.

We are moving quickly (for us) and have been to Helena and White Sulphur Springs in Montana. We are now in North Dakota and will be heading to Bismarck to tour the capitol over the holiday weekend.