Capitol StrategyCANADA OR BUST, CHAPTER 3: IN WHICH WE RE-ASSESS OUR RANKINGS
Day 3: St. Joseph, MO to Sioux Falls, SD. Another day dawned sunny and warm on this journey to escape the heat of Georgia summer. It wasn't so much the 75° temperature as the 90% humidity that gave the day such a muggy feeling the moment we stepped outside. Under the canopy in front of the hotel, the number of motorcycles—mostly Harleys—had multiplied overnight. We finally learned from the desk clerk last night why we saw an unusually large concentration of bikes and motorcycle trailers yesterday.
The legendary Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, one of the world’s largest such events, concluded in western South Dakota yesterday, and participants are on their way home. This little town of 6,883 hosts more than half a million motorcycle enthusiasts for a week each August. With 2015 marking the 75th anniversary of the rally, attendance projections breached one million. Though official counts have yet to be announced, every indication points to a record-breaking crowd.
|Something corny here|
We arrived at the Nebraska State Capitol just before 10:30, easily locating free (and shady!) parking across the street. Not finding the usual prominent signs identifying the “Public Entrance,” we wandered into the south entrance on the main floor, startled by the empty corridor inside. Expecting a security guard to swoop down and intercept us at any moment, we crept warily into the building. At the end of the hall, under a vaulted ceiling reminiscent of a medieval castle, we were warmly greeted by friendly Nebraska volunteers staffing the capitol information desk. It was here we got our first orientation to the “cross within a square” floor plan of the Nebraska statehouse.
When the state announced an architectural competition in 1919 to replace its crumbling sandstone capitol, there was a strong emphasis on creating a statehouse that captured the spirit of Nebraska. Moreover, the design would need to accommodate the state’s “pay as you go” funding strategy, because the state constitution’s ban on debt and deficit spending would impose a ten-year construction period with $1 million budgeted per year from a special tax.
|Chimney Rock (L) and Nebraska State Capitol (R) (photos from Wikipedia)|
|Interior dome of the rotunda|
|Doors to the Warner Chamber (L) and the legislative chamber (R)|
|The Great Hall (photo from Nebraska capitol web site)|
|Memorial Chamber (photo from Nebraska capitol web site)|
|View north from observation deck|
With a new appreciation for Nebraska and a more refined lens through which to view state capitol buildings, we turned back east from Lincoln and returned to I-29 north, stopping only briefly for a letterbox near Alvo and a couple of pit stops before arriving at Sioux Falls, SD, at 6:30. Tomorrow we’ll turn our car on an unwavering path north with the goal of making it through both the Dakotas and into Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Nebraska Capitol StatsConstruction period: 1922 to 1932
Original cost: $9,800,440
First occupied: 1922
Restoration period: 1999-2011
Restoration cost: $57.4 million
Dome surface: gold-glazed tiles
Legislative chambers: 1
More Photos from Today
|Courtyard before upcoming makeover (clearly not what the architect intended)|
|Ground floor information desk|
|Ground floor corridor|
|State Hall of Fame|
|Buffalo Bill's Hall of Fame tribute|
|Walnut ceiling of the Supreme Court chamber includes tiny perforations to absorb sound.|
|Mosaic floor in vestibule incorporates replica of floor plan (see inset).|
|Post office at Dunbar, NE|