Colorado State Capitol

Trip Start May 06, 2010
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Trip End Oct 14, 2010


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Flag of United States  , Colorado
Friday, September 17, 2010

I went to the Colorado State Capitol today.  Like most capitols, it's modeled on the US Capitol with a large dome.  It was built mostly from materials from Colorado including a gorgeous marble from Beulah called Beulah Red Marble or Colorado Rose Onyx, which is no longer available since they used the entire supply building the capitol.  They also used a lot of brass in the interior, which is unusual.  The exterior of the dome was originally copper but it was eventually gilded.  The building is quite impressive.

The capitol originally contained the Governor's office, the General Assembly and the Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court moved into another building in 1977.  The Governor and General Assembly are still there.

They offer two tours.  One is a historical tour with a lot of information about the state as well as the building.  The other is a dome tour, which goes up to windows around the base of the dome.
 
On the dome tour you get to look out over Denver through the large windows that go all the way to the floor, most of which were open to supply ventilation to the central portions of the building, which do not have air conditioning.  Unfortunately, three years ago a chunk of stone fell from the ceiling over the walkway outside the windows so you are no longer able to walk around the outside.  The repairs are, finally, slated for next year.  There's a small museum called Mr. Brown's Attic, which is on the way to the dome although it can be visited without being on the dome tour.  It has information on the building and city history.  The Attic is named after Henry Brown, a local hotel owner who donated the land on which the capitol now sits.

The historical tour covers the rotunda and other public areas of the building.  It does not go into either the Senate, Senate Gallery, House of Representatives, House of Representatives Gallery or the Old Supreme Court, which is now used as a legislative hearing room.  These rooms are kept locked so you can't wander in on your own.  You just get to peek in through windows.  The galleries are closed for security reasons but they're open when their respective legislatures are in session.  This, apparently, made sense to someone.

After touring the inside of the building I spent some time wandering around the grounds.  It's set on a small hill.  There's a park to the west of the capitol and the city and county governments. which in the case of Denver are one and the same, is housed in an office to the west of the park.  There are a number of statues and memorials scattered around the capitol grounds, city government building and the park in between.  I understand there is a controversial Ten Commandments plaque somewhere on the capitol grounds.  I didn't see it but that's probably just because I had to get back to my car before I got a ticket and I didn't have time to look for it.  I'm fairly sure it's still there.

There's a Mile High marker on the steps of the capitol.  In fact, there are three of them.  The height has been surveyed three times with slightly different results.

After touring the capitol I drove to Estes Park, CO and found a room.  Tomorrow I'll be going to Rocky Mountains National Park.
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