Wednesday, December 16, 2020

CAPITOL


For a small town, I will say Harrisburg is a great small town. It might not have all the draws and things to do as Philadelphia and surrounding area, but it's a great town to live in if you want to try a city living lifestyle. When I moved out as a young gayling, I immediately moved downtown and first I rented a townhouse on Cumberland Street for some years, where I was neighbors at the time to the Mayor, and then I ended up in a loft apartment in a historic elementary school building, with the coolest windows I've  ever had. They measured from the bottom to top at 11ft.  One of my favorite places to walk, or to go and just contemplate, was the spectacular capitol building which was blocks away. I have spent many hours here. I love architecture, and this marvel doesn't disappoint. Having been to the capitol building in DC and Harrisburg, I have to say this is far more opulent than DC'S. Even the branch chambers  are far more elegant. For year's it get voted the most beautiful capitol building in the country and easy to see why.
President Theodore Roosevelt attended the dedication of the building in 1906 and declared  -"This is the handsomest building I ever saw. And he'd be right. The building was designed in the American Renaissance style by Philadelphia architect Joseph Miller Huston, who envisioned the building as a "Palace of the Arts." Last time I was home, I met a friend who still works there, to take some cookies, I wonder around a bit with her, but it is not currently open for tours right now. I had been many times with the ex ,who was chief of staff for a state rep... who gave me some very behind the scene tours of the place. Swearing in day was always very exciting. I think his boss was tickled she had a gay couple in tow!!! But I never tired of a  time to be there. 

The building features painting, stained  glass and furnishings by some of the best artisans  of the day, and incorporates various Renaissance designs- Italian in the House chamber, French in the Senate chamber and English in the Governors Room. It also reflects Greek, Roman and Victorian influences through out.

The centerpiece is a spectacular 272 ft, 52 million ton dome, inspired by Michelangelo's design at St Peter's Basilica. It is capped with terra cotta tile and coated with green copper, finished off with a 14' gold gilded statue titled Commonwealth. The rotunda and staircase is of Carrara marble and inspired by the Paris Opera House, complete with murals and 23 karat gold trim in parts. The lights are even jaw dropping, each cast in bronze and weighting about a ton each. The globes are close to one of a kind,  they are diamond shape, hand cut Austrian cut crystal...which gives the illusion of the "X"  in the globes, and gives a brighter light. The rotunda floor is laid of Moravian mosaic tiles made by the famous Mercer Tileworks right here in Doylestown to this day. That could be another full post. A lot of the tile represent modes of transport, insects and wildlife. 

The American sculptor George Grey Barnard designed the larger than life sculptures of multi-figures in 1902 and were carved from Carrara marble in NYC and then installed at the capitol. of course many years later in the late 90's there was controversy over the male's gentiles showing. Oh brother. Most of the criticisms also came from men!!! It was later commissioned that pieces of  marble sheath leaves were installed to cover the male genitals.

It was a great afternoon spent. After seeing my friend , a then took a walk around the building and ground to take pictures....and many memories came flooding back of life in Harrisburg. My good friends the Capital Street Duo live right near by too. My bedroom window there has a view of the Capital dome only two blocks away. Everyone I know in Harrisburg is pretty much down town, with exception to my mother. It really is a public building that belongs to the citizens of the sate. It's a priceless architectural and artistic treasure, a majestic symbol of history and power and a icon of democracy, which thankfully still exists. And the capital park is chalk full of squirrels.

35 comments:

  1. Many of these buildings are Renaissance, I guess. Given the time where most were built. It's also very classical and that was the idea they had that needed to reflect the North American values of the time. How time has changed...
    And you had a loft with 11 feet tall windows? Dreamy!
    I'm thinking that I should definitely grab my manfriend and go visit PA sometime next year, when we're all vaccinated. Road Trip!

    XOXO

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    1. Yes!!!!!!!!

      I think you'd have loved both my places I lived in Harrisburg....but especially the loft. It went up three levels...and yoi could view all the way down to the living room from the top!!! With the windows all along the one side. I really missed that place when I moved to come here for some time.

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  2. I'm wondering what the acoustics are like inside the building? Harrisburg and surrounding area is very beautiful.

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    1. The only place i remember sound really resonating is in the rotunda and the back annex which leads out the back entrance. The chambers I recall are very quiet.

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  3. Enjoyed the tour and history lesson!
    Abby is dismayed about the squirrels...
    xoxo :-)

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  4. I love a good rotunda!

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  5. Beautiful! Can you imagine any city wanting to build something so opulent in these days? My goodness! the townspeople would be there with pitchforks at the ready. Even when a private concern goes to build, they think it will be opulent and it actually looks positively whorish.

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    1. No...most times the craftsmanship and quality is not there anymore. These days everything goes up in two months it seems.

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  6. I have seen the building from afar; have never been inside. WOW! thanks for the pix!

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  7. As always...a brilliant post and just how timely in its posting! I can say...Ive never seen a more elegant capitol building. I too have been to DC to see Congress which was nice and impressive on outside....a bit boring on the interior. This is more more grand and has intricately woven detail. It's spectacular!!!! When i lived in PA...I now wish I'd taken time to go see this. I really loved this.

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  8. I love the Winged Victory light standard!

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  9. I was going to buy a house on Cumberland Street but discovered someone else had already put a bid on it. And you're right, Harrisburg is very pretty.

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    1. I really enjoyed my time living on that street, the nicest neighbors and the house was three floors, with two off street parking space beside it which was very nice, with a side porch.

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  10. These pictures are stunning. Im sad to say this is practically in my backyard, and I have never gone seen this. I have driven by but had no idea it's beauty. I really need to stop and look more. I was however in your friends floral shop!!! I really enjoyed it. I need to get into downtown more.

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    1. All that is so cool!!! Did you tell my friend who read my blog? It's a beautiful shop isn't?

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  11. Cap Chasen12/16/2020

    Breathtaking!!!!! I can see why it would be voted most beautiful, The rotunda is incredible, and laid out very nicely. I also found the tidbit about the Mercer Tile floor intresting. Just what is the bronze statues of at the end?

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    1. The monument commemorates the Old 8th Ward, which was a predominantly African American and immigrant neighborhood east of the state Capitol that was removed to make way for more of the Capitol Complex. The monument also commemorates the 150th anniversary of the 15th Amendment that gave Black men the right to vote and the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment that granted women’s suffrage. It depicts Thomas Chester, Jacob Compton, William Howard Day and Frances E.W. Harper, who lived or spoke in the Old 8th Ward. Pretty neat.

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  12. WOW! I too have no idea it was that elegant. Looks like it should be in Europe.A very handsome and impressive complex. But I can't believe some were un nerved by the naked statues!!!! They are statues people. In my opinion, you you don't like nudity then don't look. Had I been the sculptor I would have been pissed.

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  13. I admit, it is a tad more overstated than Overstrand village hut- I mean "hall"...

    * ahem *

    Beautiful, Maddie!

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  14. I have no words to submit that described this place. This looks like an amazing state capitol building. I caught a show on state capitols once, years ago, and had seen this capitol has some stained glass, which looked stunning and loaded with all sorts of color.

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  15. How marvelous. Again, thank you for sharing with those of us shut in. Your travels... Harrisburg is quite historic, so only fitting that such a beautiful capitol building reside there. I love walking around buildings such as this. So glad they have the budget to maintain it. Thanks for sharing, dear. Kizzes.

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    1. Getting outdoors to walk around at the lake and other points has been a savior. And one thing you can do safety. With colder temps now, and snow arriving, my outside time my be coming to a end.

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  16. Beautiful building and art. Idiotic American Puritanism. Genitals! Gasp!

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  17. I've seen the Pennsylvania State state Capitol building once...made it a point on a extended trip once, and enjoyed it. We obviously were wowed by the same things on the building. I can still remember the feeling of WOW, when I went through the doors into the rotunda. The building is really awesome, in the true sense of the word.

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  18. What a beautiful building. I wish we'd know to visit it when we traveled from Maryland through Pennsylvania, but those are long-ago times.

    Love,
    Janie

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  19. William and I have been to Harrisburg about four time in the last 8 years. We have very good friends that now live off Linglestown Road up a mountain. We have seen the capitol from even their house in the fall with no leaves. We should have gone to see this, when we've been in town to dine. What makes it one of America’s best Capitals? The stunning beauty and it's replication if St. Peter’s Basilica are strong influences to makes it rank high enough I'd say for a start. You got some great pictures Mistress.

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  20. That dome alone is impressive enough (it's 53 million pounds, btw, not tons - nevertheless still twice the weight of The Brooklyn Bridge!), but the building's interiors are utterly stunning - Paris Opera, indeed! Jx

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  21. A treasure hiding in plain sight by looks of it! The Pennsylvania Capitol is not just a uniquely beautiful building, but filled with history. I've seen many state capitols while traveling...can't say I saw one as elegant as this one.

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  22. I need to go there. Is the park full of squirrels, because the city is full of nuts?

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    1. You probably would love it and all it's history tidbits.

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  23. WOW! That is pretty incredible. I love the West, but we just don't have the history like you guys on the East coast. It's literally take your breath away. Can't imagine it in person.

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    1. It really does. Even after all these years, knowing what's coming in the doors, it still does take my breath away.

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  24. Magnificent Building... maybe a tour one day.... one day

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    1. Welcome TW!!! Thanks for stopping in and glad you liked the post. It's always been a favorite place of mine and hadn't been in a while, so it was a great day to take some pictures.

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  25. One of my friends from West Virginia University is/was from Harrisburg. We have since lost touch--there was a breakup and I chose the wrong side. I should have stuck with her (listened to my instincts, but I had a crush on her then boyfriend so the story goes). Anyway, she talked about how pretty Harrisburg was.

    I'm babbling....

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Go ahead darling, tell me something fabulous!

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