Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Kansas Treasure

Newel post at Kansas State Capitol

In 1866, twelve years before Isaac B. Werner arrived in Kansas to stake his claims, construction of the Kansas State Capitol building in Topeka began.  Imagine the magnificent building under construction at the same time new settlers were living in dugouts and sod houses!

The original construction took 37 years to complete at a cost of $3.2 million!  Not only were the settlers' homes primitive but also the city of Topeka was fairly undeveloped by today's standards, the sounds of stone masons chipping the stone blocks for the new capitol echoing across dirt streets.  
Tools used in the Capitol construction

The architect planned not only an impressive structure as seen from the outside but also a magnificently ornamented interior.  The architectural elements included copper, as shown on one of the beautiful copper newel posts installed on the stairs.  Marble, crystal, granite, and gold-leaf encrusted ornamentation were also generously employed to decorate the elaborate details.

Balusters and handrails
Even the balusters and handrails of the elegant stairs show the richness of the interior.

The gleam of polished marble & copper
Thirty-seven years after the Capitol building was begun in 1866, the completed structure gave reason for pride to the citizens of the state.  However, by the close of the 20th century time had dulled the beauty of the building, inside and out.  A renovation was undertaken.

I took the photographs shown on this page during a recent visit, and my husband and I were stunned by the incredible achievements of the restoration, as well as the foresight of the state's earliest citizens to plan and construct such an architectural wonder.

In keeping with my practice of sharing the history and current wonders of Kansas, watch for my blogs in coming weeks, in which I will write about more of the history and beauty of the Kansas State Capitol, and share more of the photographs that we took during our visit.

A visit to the Capitol should definitely be something on your bucket list, and I will include information in future blogs to facilitate plans for your own visit! 


Lynda Beck Fenwick said...

People seem to be enjoying this blog. M.A.M. said "Just added it to our bucket list..." and J.K. wrote that he agreed with me about the Capitol being a great place to visit, sharing that he and his family "...walked around and looked at everything."

The Blog Fodder said...

Lovely woodwork. Capitol buildings the world over are pieces of art. There needs to be a coffee-table book done on each of them