On a trip to Iowa to visit some customers of my former employer, we went a little bit further and checked off another capitol, the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines. Not sure what number capitol this was that we visited, but we were very to be able to see it and explore a little bit of Iowa while we were at it. One of the first things we learned about the Iowa State Capitol was that it was constructed between 1871 and 1886, and is the only five-domed capitol in the country. I found that quite interesting.
Located at East 9th Street and Grand Avenue, the Iowa State Capitol is set atop a hill which offers a panoramic view of the city’s downtown and the West Capitol Terrace. Truly beautiful. There are various monuments and memorials on its sides and front, including the Soldiers and Sailors’ Monument and the Lincoln and Tad statue. All in all, there are more than 40 monuments on the state capitol grounds, including the soldiers on horseback, a miniature Liberty Bell to ring and a grave site. The grounds are just as amazing as the capitol itself.
There are 109 rooms in the Iowa State Capitol. Each one has its own stencil designed. None of the stencil designs are repeated. The woodwork in the building is all Iowa wood. There are 12 kinds of wood in the capitol with two exceptions. The beautiful hand-carved bench in the old Supreme Court Chamber is mahogany and the benches in the Senate Chamber where the senators sit are also mahogany. Quite impressive.Upstairs on the third floor, there are wonderful mosaics that were put together in Italy. The young man in the panel, which is the defense panel, is symbolic of a young Iowa farmer about to leave the plow behind and pick up the sword and go off and defend his country, but he is an optical illusion in that he will march in any direction you go. So when you walk past him, if you keep your eyes on his feet, they’ll march this way, this way, or this way.It is a great capitol which you should take the time to tour when in the area. Tours are provided at no cost and are conducted Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. However, self-guided tours of the Capitol and Capitol grounds are available anytime during normal business hours. Click here for a link to their site and more information.
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