In the 18 years I’ve lived in Washington I’d never been inside the state’s capitol. We’ve driven by it dozens of times, walked the streets and lake around it but hadn’t taken the time to visit inside until this week.
Wednesday was the perfect day, a beautiful 70 degrees and no commitments. So we dropped the top on the car and took a leisurely drive down Hwy 101 along the Hood Canal to Olympia, the warm sun on our faces and wind in our hair. I know warm is a relative term for those of you experiencing unusually high temperatures right now, but up here we’ve been stuck in the low 60’s for way to long!
The Capitol Campus, rightly named for the 12 acres of land it was built on, is typical of what you’d expect from the ‘Evergreen State.’ Lush lawns with native shrubs and trees tastefully separate the government buildings. We visited the Legislative Building first, climbing the 42 steps signifying Washington as the 42nd state. Arriving just in time for the ‘tour’ our guide combined history, trivia and ‘games’ for the kids including ‘find the dog face in the marble pillar’ into an informative talk.
Unlike other capitol buildings I’ve been in, this Legislative Building doesn’t boast massive amounts of gold and silver. In fact the only gold in the building is the gold thread of the state emblem embroidered on 14 of the dark red velvet curtains. The majority of the floors and walls are Alaskan marble with Italian, German, French and Belgium in smaller quantities. A 10,000 pound chandelier suspended 50′ above the floor in rotunda is 25 feet tall, large enough to fit a full sized Volkswagen Beetle. A large brass bust of George Washington is a favorite, it’s nose shinny from years of being rubbed by those believing it brings luck.
I came away feeling proud of this state and government for its simple and elegant Capitol Campus. Wouldn’t it be fun to attend the Inaugural Ball?
Thanks for reading.
Nancy Cherry Eifert