Capitol Lost: North Carolina's Gubernatorial Office & MuseumRALEIGH, North Carolina— In our quest to visit state capitol buildings, we arrived in the planned city of Raleigh seeking the North Carolina state house. What we found is, there really isn't one. The Greek Revival style structure completed in 1840 on Union Square that once served as the seat of state government today houses the offices of governor and lieutenant governor and their "immediate staffs" on the first floor. The remainder of the building serves as a museum.
|The North Carolina governor's office and museum|
|North Carolina's historic House Chamber|
|Gee, the state library recreated to its 1856 appearance!|
But we were in search of the North Carolina state capitol, the site of the active business of the state government. North Carolina ranks in the top ten states in terms of population and the vibrancy of its economy. This tired, yawn-inducing facility did not reflect our impression of the state. There was no busy activity level reflective of today's North Carolina, just a few sleepy employees at the tour desk.
|Lots of private offices in this public building|
|Third floor corridor|
The most surprising feature we found was an odd statue of George Washington in the rotunda. Actually this is a 1970 copy of a work commissioned by the state in 1816 and executed by an Italian sculptor who had never seen Washington. The original was destroyed in an 1831 fire.
|Giorgio Washington as Antonio Canova imagined him|
The three Presidents who were born in North Carolina were given a more realistic treatment. Near the main entrance to the building is a bronze statue honoring Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, and Andrew Johnson. In an interesting footnote, all three of these native North Carolinians were residing in Tennessee when they were elected to the presidency.
|President Truman spoke at the 1948 unveiling of this monument|
Even though we checked it off our list, we harbor no illusion that we saw the seat of the North Carolina government.
More Photos from the North Carolina Capitol
|NC Capitol Dome|
|Corinthian columns in the old House Chamber, a rare decorative touch|
|Main entrance to the building|