Checking Out a CapitolOn the Road Again, Day 8: Denver, CO to Cheyenne, WY
Leaving Denver (pop. 600,158) this morning, we drove 100 miles north on I-25 to the Wyoming State Capitol in Cheyenne (pop 59,446). Ease of access was significantly improved with the drastic reduction in size, but in both cities, we were able to park easily across the street from the state capitol. When we arrived, a small electric lift was parked in front of the entrance, obviously in the process of hanging holiday decorations on the building's exterior.
|Capitol readies for Christmas.|
Directly across from this desk was a State Trooper workstation, where two of Wyoming's finest were on duty. Though our gawking at the dome and beeline movement toward the information desk could tip off even a rookie detective that we were tourists, the troopers found chatting with each other far more important and interesting than greeting visitors to their state capitol. This turned out to be a pattern for the duration of our visit. Not a single employee of the Wyoming capitol initiated an interaction with us, as we wandered through their statehouse, obvious tourists.
|Gallery of Wyoming governors|
|Skylight in Senate chamber|
The state is currently conducting studies to guide a major renovation and restoration of the capitol with an estimated budget of $80 to $100 million. Numerous issues will be addressed to bring the building up to modern standards, including a fire sprinkler system, improved handicapped accessibility, asbestos removal, and replacement of outdated electrical wiring. The most recent partial renovation was completed in the 1970s. In an interesting twist, the restoration task force has invited the public to participate in the project by sharing historic photos of the capitol interior to help in the identification of historic features and finishes which may have been covered up in earlier renovations. Photos from 1886 to 1980 are sought to help the team identify what interior finishes looked like in different historical periods.
At only 100,000 square feet, the Wyoming State Capitol took us less than our typical two hours to tour. Though we found the capitol attractive, there seems to be something of a mismatch between the Renaissance Revival exterior and the interior with its preponderance of marble checkerboard tiles and cherry wood finishes. Perhaps the incongruity resulted from a previous renovation. The restoration project when completed will tell the tale.
Wyoming Capitol Stats:
- Architect: David Gibbs
- Exterior: Wyoming sandstone
- Dome: 24-carat gold leaf
- Height: 146 feet
- Construction: 1886-88; Wings: 1917
- Occupied: 1888
- Original cost: $131,275 (not including wings)
- Size: 100,000 square feet
More Capitol Photos
|Chief Washakie bronze statue near entrance|
|2nd floor hallway|
|Taxidermy on first floor|