Pioneering a New Kind of CapitolWestward Ho, Day 33: Salem, OR, to Medford, OR
Since the sun sets on the west coast by 4:30 or earlier this time of year, we have been making a concerted effort to get on our way before 9 a.m. This morning we arrived at the Oregon Capitol building just after it opened at 8:00.
|Oregon State Capitol|
Government officials decided to hold a competition for the next design, and the proposal by a New York firm was accepted unanimously. Rather than a traditional dome, the current Oregon statehouse is dominated by a tower, a vertical column symbolic of Oregon's stately fir trees. Atop the tower stands a 23-ft gold leaf statue of an Oregon pioneer. In good weather, visitors can climb a spiral staircase to the top of the tower and meet the pioneer in person, but due to the potential for icy conditions access is closed during the winter.
No security guards impeded our progress when we entered the Oregon Capitol, and this relaxed atmosphere was the theme of our visit. At the information desk, we were provided an excellent brochure for the self-guided tour, and Ken was assured that it was fine for him to carry his cup of coffee around as we toured; just don't spill it.
|State Seal centers Rotunda floor|
|House of Representative Chamber featuring Douglas Fir themed carpet|
|"Governor" Ken ready to address the press|
Oregon Capitol Stats:
- Exterior: Vermont white marble
- Architectural style: Modern Greek
- Height: 168 ft. to top of tower
- Constructed: 1936-38
- Cost: $2.5 million
- Little known fact: In 1849, President Zachary Taylor asked Abraham Lincoln to serve as governor of the Oregon Territory. However, Mrs. Lincoln did not want to move to the backwoods of the frontier, so Lincoln declined.
More Photos from Oregon Capitol
|Interior of tower above the Rotunda|
|Comfortable seating area for the public|
|Senate Chamber with carpet featuring wheat and salmon, two important Oregon products|
|Wi-fi work area for public|
|Exhibit in capitol|