Monday, May 15, 2017

The Utah Capitol and Temple Square

With Opus repaired we were back on the road heading to Salt Lake City to tour the capitol. This is the first of several capitol buildings we plan to check off our list this summer as we head east. Staying in or near any big city is always expensive and SLC is no exception. That said, Pony Express RV Resort is one of the most over priced parks we have ever stayed at during our ten years on the road. While every site is concrete, some were so unlevel a couple big rigs had there front wheels off the ground, something we never want to do. The one up side of this park is the nearby Jordan River Trail. 
Getting to SLC from Southeast Utah requires going over 7,477 foot Soldier Summit. This is a high pass, but the road is not that steep. It was much easier than the first time we drove this road in 2008 when it was snowing at the top.
Construction of the Utah capitol began in 1912 after the state received $800,000 in inheritance taxes from the estate of Union Pacific Railroad President E. H. Harriman. Like many U.S. state capitols, the Utah capitol is built in the neoclassical revival style of the ancient Greeks and Romans. The fifty-two Corinthian columns are made of granite quarried in nearby Little Cottonwood Canyon. The building underwent a major renovation in 2006 including the addition of large rubber pads, called base isolators, in the basement to protect the building from damage during an earthquake.
Utah was one of the first states to give women the right to vote. They have elected one woman as governor. I think Nanc would make a great governor, but in a state with a warmer climate. 
The Great Seal of the State of Utah was added to the ground floor to celebrate the state's 100th birthday in 1996. The seal has 1847, the year Utah became a territory and 1896, the year it became a state. 
A display of Utah flags through the years. Left front is the one that was used from 1922 to 2011 when they realized the 1847 was not in the same place as it was on previous flags, on the seal not under it.
The painting on the 165 foot high interior dome has the blue sky and seagulls. The seagulls are credited with saving the crops of the early settlers when they ate a swarm of grasshoppers that were feeding on their crops.
The spaces for painting in the rotunda were left blank for twenty years until a Depression era Public Works of Art Project funded the work. The paintings depict the life of the European settlers who came to Utah. On the bottom are the first Mormon pioneers and early fur trappers. The cyclorama shows the connecting of the railroad with the golden spike, early farmers, meeting with the Ute Indians and the Pony Express. The rotunda chandelier, which was hung in 1915, was in need of repair. During the renovation they found out that Arkansas had an identical one that was also in need of repair and wasn't going to be used so they donated it to Utah and they salvaged the parts they needed in order to reinstall it.  
Two of the four sculptures in the rotunda that represent values and ideals fundamental to the culture of Utah. The niches were in the original design, but the sculptures were added during the most recent renovation. Each has an adult mentor and a young learner.
The 24 monolithic marble columns were carved in Georgia and transported by rail to SLC. The building has a symmetrical design with the halls on each side being the same.
The old Supreme Court Chamber is now used only for ceremonial functions. The painting is of National Bridge National Monument. On the speaker's podium is a small stoplight that was used to warn the speaker when their time was up changing from green to yellow to red. The story is that the inventor went off to war and while he was gone someone else stole the idea for traffic lights and patented it.
There are twenty-nine senators elected to four year terms. Both houses of the legislature work part time. The forty five day sessions start the fourth Monday of January. The painting on the mural is of Utah Lake.
The scenes of Southern (left) and Northern (right) Utah were painted in the Senate chamber during the 2006 renovation. The top painting of Seraph Young, the first woman to vote, was added to the House chamber at the same time. Utah was the first state where women voted.
The House chamber has seventy-five members elected to two year terms. The Latin phrase vox populi, Voice of the People, is behind the podium.
The governor's suite includes this ceremonial office. The desk is known as the "tornado desk" because it was built with wood from trees that were toppled by a tornado in 1999.
View of the Wasatch Mountains from the capitol grounds. The Utah capitol is the 23rd we have visited. As usual these tours are a great way to learn a bit of the history of the state. 
On the grounds is a monument to the Mormon Battalion, the only religious based military unit in U.S. history. The battalion fought in the 1840's war with Mexico. That action eventually lead to the acquisition of the land that is now Southern Arizona and New Mexico by the United States. 
The Vietnam Memorial on the grounds was very touching. The words are especially powerful.
You can't visit Salt Lake City and not at least walk through Temple Square, the 35 acre headquarters complex of the Mormon church. The temple was built between 1853 and 1893 by the Mormon pioneers.  
The temple is not open to nonmembers of the church. This is a cutaway model in the visitors center. It looks quite lavish.
It almost seemed like they wanted the grounds to feel like the Garden of Eden with many fountains and beautiful flowers.
Hyrum and Joseph Smith, early Mormon leaders.
Brigham Young and the pioneers. Temple Square is a beautiful place and worth a look if you are in Salt Lake City and if you time it right you can have the opportunity to hear the Tabernacle Choir.  They practice throughout the week and everyone is welcome.  We were not there at the right time.

We are still behind with the blog. Since our visit to SLC we have been to Elko, Nevada to see friends. Boise, Idaho to tour the capitol and are in Idaho Falls for one night on our way to Helena to tour the Montana capitol. The weather has been crazy with a couple days in the 80's in Boise but lows are now in the 30's and 40's, to cold for us.

1 comment:

Doing It On the Road(Part II) said...

Good post. Temple Square is beautiful.