Monday, July 10, 2017

Harrisburg, a Capitol City!

Our trips to Pennsylvania has mostly been about visiting family, and this time was no exception.  Jack's sister and husband had recently moved into a new home and we were excited to see it.  They said they were "downsizing", but when we actually got to see it...not by much!  A lovely brand new home in a 55+ community, still building homes all around them.

We mostly spent time just visiting with them, swimming in the lovely salt water community pool, driving around the area, seeing the other "models", etc. but we did manage to venture out a couple of days...

In all the times we've visited Harrisburg, we had never visited the Capitol!  So, off we went one afternoon to check it out.  Reading up on it, we discovered that when President Theodore Roosevelt attended the dedication of the building on October 4, 1906, he said, "This is the handsomest building I ever saw".  The Capitol was designed in the American Renaissance style, and was envisioned as a "Palace of Art".  Built and furnished at a cost of $13 million, the Capitol features paintings, stained glass and furnishing by some of the best artisans of the day.

The Capitol's centerpiece is a spectacular 272 foot, 52 million pound dome inspired by Michelangelo's design for St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.  At it's completion, the building was the tallest structure between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh for 80 years.

One of the Capitol's most noteworthy features is the colorful Moravian tiles that cover the first floor of the Rotunda and its adjacent corridors.  Designed and manufactured by Henry Chapman Mercer of Doylestown, the floor is interspersed with close to 400 tile mosaics illustrating the state's history, animals, industries, occupations and modes of transportation.  The tiles are thought to be some of the finest examples of Pennsylvania folk art.

As you enter, you don't know whether to look up or down! The Capitol Rotunda is beautiful!  Many of the Rotunda's design features were borrowed from the Paris Opera House, including the Grand Staircase and three-tiered gallery.  Eight large murals by Philadelphia artist Edwin Austin Abbey highlight the Rotunda as a tribute to Pennsylvania and its history.

We made it just in time for a quick guided tour of the various rooms, each more "grander" than the next.  The Senate and House Chambers with their 24 stained glass windows... the Supreme Court and House of Representatives' fancy ceilings, art and light fixtures...

This was one very, gold, marble, stained glass, art filled building!  They didn't stop on the inside either...
Two of these flanked the entrance...

And this was behind the Capitol...Pennsylvania War Veterans' Memorial Fountain dominating the approach to the East Wing of the Capitol.  All in all, a lovely building and grounds.

On a "lighter" note, they, like many cities, decorate an "animal" each year.  Last summer it was a dinosaur ("Dino-Mite Summer"). This year it is cute, I couldn't resist taking a couple of pictures!

It was a great day and we were able to add one more Capitol to our list!

...kicking back in Pennsylvania,  Marie

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