Iowa State Capitol
Trip Start Mar 02, 2011
192Trip End Oct 14, 2011
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I visited the Iowa State Capitol today. The Iowa State Capitol is a neo-classical, symmetrical building with a large central dome, modeled on the U.S. Capitol. It also has four smaller domes making it the only five-domed state capitol. The central dome and parts of the smaller domes are gilded. As soon as you see it, you can tell it's the capitol.
I first went to the tour desk. They normally would have had a tour starting at 12:30 but they had a lot of people signed up for tours at 1:30 and, since the tours last over an hour and they would need everyone at 1:30, they had to cancel the 12:30 tours. That gave me quite a bit of time to go on a self-guided tour.
Like most state capitols, this one originally housed the Governor's Office, the General Assembly and the State Supreme Court. The State Supreme Court moved out in 2003 and the Old Supreme Court Chamber has been restored and now serves as a committee room for the House of Representatives.
It's a relatively large building. The interior is fairly grand, although it doesn't quite compare to the five gilded domes. According to their literature, it contains 29 different types of marble. I didn't try to count them but the use of many different types of marble is obvious.
The Law Library, containing 130,000 volumes and with iron circular staircases as each end of the four-tiered room, is quite impressive. So are the House and Senate chambers with their stained-glass ceilings, the Grand Stairway, overlooked by a large painting called Westward and a series of mosaics, the Rotunda and the Governor's Office.
After my self-guided tour I joined my tour group, along with about 70 elementary school students. The tour allowed me to go up to the base of the dome over the Rotunda, which is not possible on a self-guided tour.
By the time I left the capitol it was too late to make it to the National Balloon Museum in Indianola so I headed for Colorado. I drove as far as Grand Island, NE and stopped for the night.