Thursday, August 20, 2015

Oh What a State I'm In!

I could confuse myself with  a state of being, or even which state I happen to be in!! Following are some examples of my backlog  and a idea of current state of resolving confusion.

Being in New Hampshire, we had stopped at the State House in Concord. After leaving NH, we traveled through Maine, Massachusetts. Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and while passing through Pennsylvania we approached Harrisburg.

My beloved, (the Trippin Sista) a native of Pennsylvania said that Harrisburg is the capital of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania!!

Hold the phone, we should visit the capital. We parked at a conveniently located Walmart, dropped off and hopped in the van and headed for the State House.

I remember hearing this quote before, but it is particularly a propos for these times, when the government is instituting new policies daily, to protect the people of course!

I thought I would offer you two views of State St.
One through my lens, and a much smaller through my beloved's.

The dome over the rotunda is modeled on the dome of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. It is magnificent.

The sculpted lintel is spectacular. It features a seated woman representing state  government and two women at arms on either side, scanning for threats to her.

There is always time for a candid selfie, your faithful correspondents will oblige.

All of the light fixtures in the State House were made by the Philadelphia Bronze Casting Company. This one is at least six feet high and must weigh at least eight hundred pounds.

Throughout the State House are magnificent murals, This one shows William_Penn  the founder of Pennsylvania upon his arrival in the "new world."

A portrait shows an older William Penn arguing in favor of alliance between the colonies and the formation of a union for mutual benefit. Those in attendance, and paying close attention were such luminaries as Ben Franklin and Thos. Jefferson.

The staircase in the State House is modeled after the grand staircases in European castles. There are pink marble steps which is very durable, and white marble banisters which though softer are more lustrous.

The dome of the Supreme Court chamber is executed in shades of green. This imparts a cool feeling to the room. Ideal for sober judgement and dispositive consideration of the facts of cases pending.

The Supreme Court chamber is paneled with mahogany from British Honduras. You would likely recognize this country under it's current name...Belize.

The many murals around the Supreme Court chamber refer to justice in it's purest clearest and most eternal attributes. The Justices have a rotating chair and may serve as long as they wish up until age 70.

Each type of law is represented in this painting. At the top and bottom of the scale Divine Law bracket all other disciplines.

The House of Representatives is the most ornate chamber in the State House. The various elements of service to the Commonwealth are represented in murals and Stained Glass windows that measure four feet across.

The chandeliers are fascinating. Cast in bronze, they like all other lights in the capital are on a three year maintenance schedule. In order to perform the periodic maintenance a scaffold is erected beneath them, then a worker who must be a minimum of six feet tall to do the job opens a hidden panel and climbs inside to change the burnt out bulbs, polish the bronze and crystal. Each chandelier measures over eleven feet tall and weighs as much as an elephant.

The door on the building are also cast in bronze but have been allowed to weather. They have panels that represent the key state virtues. They include Governance, Education, and Transportation.

The other door has panels showing The Declaration, History and Mining. These doors are about five feet wide and at least twelve feet tall.

Upon leaving the State House we took a picture of the Susquehanna River from the Greenway. This provides a pleasant walking trail which we didn't use.

Sitting on a bench at the Riparian Esplanade is a statue of a dapper gentleman. The statue is entitled "Waiting" He is nattily attired and sits with his Homburg and Attache Case reading the newspaper.

Across the street from the fellow waiting is an imposing stone building with a for sale sign on it.  In the detail it lists the floor area as 11,000 square feet. I imagine it's pricey, but hey; you get your own castle!

Here is the long view back up State Street to the capitol.

Another day another capitol. This time it's Frankfort and the State House of Kentucky. This one has more stairs than the last one...huff...puff. 

The frieze over the portico is very detailed. It is about twelve to fifteen feet tall. This piece alone, worked from a solid piece of stone, must have been a monumental work for the artisans.

Abraham Lincoln who was actually born in Kentucky is cast in bronze as you enter the building. You might notice the shine on the toes of his boots. For some reason many visitors touch his feet. Luck, impartation or inspiration...even the guide didn't know why they do this.

A statue of Henry Clay, Kentucky's favorite son was near Lincoln. Although  The Great Emancipator was cast in bronze, every other statue was cast in plaster, then painted and polished.

A statue of Jefferson Davis was likewise cast in plaster. Even though Davis became President of the Confederate States after Secession, he had been a good friend of Lincoln's. They definitely held contrary views of the nation's future.

The capitol dome was well lit with natural light, but in a recent renovation they added lights which change color and light the dome in soft pastel colors.

There are murals depicting various parts of  Kentucky history including the well renowned practice of horse breeding.

There is one lunette panel devoted to the early explorers such as Daniel Boone and Jim Bowie amongst others.

This is the State Reception room. If you look at the chandeliers reflected in the mirrors you can detect a slight curvature. Our guide had no explanation for this, I suspect that the building had shifted subtly since construction.

In the room there are panels that are painted to resemble tapestries. These panels were painted on canvas and then put in place.

The Legislative Assembly Room was under renovation and the floor was excavated to allow for new infrastucture to be put in place.

No sooner had we finished with Kentucky then another State House seemed to almost magically appear. But first, a little comic relief. Where would you expect to find a Spanish Colonial building? Why, in Jefferson City Missouri of course!

Missouri is known as "The Show Me State". Well, I guess they showed me!

This State House is approached across a wide boulevard which encircles it.
There are numerous steps...again with the steps!

The front features a statue of Thomas Jefferson. The city discarded Missouriopolis as a suggested monicker in favor of Jefferson City to honor Thos. Jefferson.

A frieze on the left side of the main entrance shows Missourians under arms in the First World War.

The opposing panel shows industry in Missouri. It is highly detailed and representative of various professions and artistic pursuits.

After having surmounted an almost innumerable flight of steps, one enters the main doors to encounter what exactly? More steps of course.

Upon at last reaching the rotunda, a cleverly hidden sign directs visitors to the information desk located on the First Floor. Almost as an afterthought, it mentions that we are on the Third Floor!!!
Surrounding the rotunda are panels which were painted by a well known British artist. He initially did not want to take the commission because he mentioned "I can't countenance my art hanging in some city no one has ever heard of."

Fortunately he accepted the job, and the panels are spectacular. He refused to attend the installation, and sent his assistant to supervise hanging the paintings.

Each of the paintings illustrates one of the verses which are depicted below.

These paintings are representations of the artist's understanding and sensibilities.

Not all of the sayings are based in eternal truth. Some of them have to do with exhorting legislators to upright behavior in governance.

Some of the verses illustrate a clear understanding of the blessings of Divine Providence, and an equally clear understanding of our responsibility to maintain that relationship.

The next panel is a reminder to those in public service and members of the public that a future increase viewpoint aids in that future's fulfillment.

Although it should not be necessary to remind folks of this eternal truth, there is a gentle reminder that those who do; get. Conversely those who do nothing; want! 

Inset into the floor is the Missouri State Seal. It features two Grizzly Bears (of which there are none in the state) representing strength, a Prince's Helmet to remind statesman that there is always a higher level of government in Washington, and includes a Crescent moon denoting the second son of a family, another Grizzly and the Seal of the Republic.

I believe the seal was designed after the Civil War. During this period of national upheaval, Missouri declared for the Union, but many Missourians sided with the South and took up arms on behalf of the Confederacy.

The seal contains elements that remind citizens of the state that they are American first, Missourian second.

There is a statue which many believe to be Daniel Boone, but which was represented to us by our guide Emmy as a Missouri Frontiersman.

There is a marvelous stained glass window over the main staircase to the Fourth Floor. It is about thirty feet by sixty. 

In the Legislative Lounge is a magnificent set of murals which all blend together. It begins with a a fur trader who is only to happy to provide trade beads and fire water in trade for furs on which he will make a handsome profit.

The lower pane, not as prominent as the upper depicts a slave owner beating a slave at a primitive lead mine.

The next panel shows a representation of the novel Huckleberry Finn. The artist humorously named the side wheeler the Mark Twain, which was Sam Clemens' real name.

A large panel illustrates from left to right: Labor, Religion, Blacksmithing, Frontier Exploration, Politics, Logging and Farming. There was some uproar over the "pornographic" depiction of a baby's diaper being changed.

Missouri's outlaw heritage is shown by Jesse James robbing a train at gunpoint.

A following panel depicts agrarian pursuits with the coming of mechanization, a multi generational farm family at day's end, the practice of law, mining, industry, publishing and brewing.

The final panel depicts a popular tune, The Ballad of Frankie and Johnny. Below and to the right is a representation of a corrupt Missouri politician, who bought enough politicians to get away with what he wanted, until he too, like Al Capone "went up" on tax evasion.

When we went into the Legislative Gallery there were stained glass windows illustrating the state's redemptive gifts.

The large panel at the end shows an homage to all the states which came into the Union after Missouri. It also includes the state's motto
Salus populi suprema lex esto
The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law.

The opposing panel also illustrates those redemptive attributes of the state.

Above the gallery is a large painting of Missourians serving in the First World War. Many never returned, being lost on the field of combat.

Overhead is the Seal of the Republic, again reminding Missourians of their fealty.

The State House is crammed full of art, as the bonds let to begin construction, originally set at three and one half million was oversubscribed by a million dollars and this excess had to be used for the furnishing of the new State House.

By now we had walked the corridors of power long enough. For a final picture I present a tired Trippin' Sista walking down one final staircase toward a waiting bear. I freely admit that I used a trick of perspective. Although the bear appears large and fierce, he is actually adorning the newel post and stands a full six inches tall. Not so fierce now are ya Mr. Bear!

I think that's enough for now. Actually I restate myself. That's more than enough.
Thanks for hanging in there. I appreciate your patience and your interest.