Friday, April 20, 2012

April 18, 2012. Topeka, Kansas. Part 2 Of 3. Capitol Building.

 The State Capitol Building is conveniently located
right across the street from Topeka First Presbyterian Church.
Construction of the Kansas State Capitol Building began in 1866. 
Although the building was in use by legislature in 1869,
it was not completed for 37 more years
at a cost of $3,200,000.

 The Capitol is 399 feet by 386 feet
and 304 feet to the top of the cupola.

Built in the French Renaissance style
with native brown sandstone from the bluffs along
Deer Creek in Shawnee County,
it is now undergoing a major renovation.

Since 2006, free tours to the top of the capitol dome were offered,
 taking about an hour and climbing 296 steps
 from the fifth floor of the building.
Unfortunately, the dome tours have been suspended
through June 2012 due to renovation.

One can only imagine Mr. Hawthorne's
utter distress and vexation over this turn of events.

 Atop the dome is the 22-foot tall statue
of a Kansa Indian warrior,
after whose tribe the state was named.
 The Kansa Indians are the original people of Kansas and Missouri.

 Finishing the State Capitol dome
created a long-standing controversy
in Kansas history.
In 1889, a commission was appointed
to consider the finishing details
and a design competition was held.
The winning design was a bronze sculpture
of Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture.
In 1901, a proposal was submitted to cast
 the 16-foot tall statue at a cost of $6950.
Many balked at the high price for
a non-essential item.
In addition, Victorian sensibilities being what they were,
many criticized the idea of choosing a Roman pagan goddess.
Ceres' morals came under question
due to her relationship, or rather, liasons, with her brother, Jupiter.
Public outcry tabled the idea.

In 1984, legislature appropriated funding for another
yet-to-be disclosed statue,
with the stipulation that it could not be a god or goddess.
In 1988, another competition was held,
and the statue of a Kansa warrior took the honors.
The title of the statue, Ad Astra,
is taken from the state motto,
Ad astra per aspera,
which translates "to the stars through difficulties."
The statue honors the state's American Indian heritage,
creates a distinct and unique profile,
and conveys the ideas of inspiration and aspiration.
The statue was finally cast in June 2002.
It is 22 feet 2 inches tall and weighs 4420 pounds
and is designed to sway no more than 1 inch in 80 MPH winds.
Ad Astra was finally installed in October 2002
with a formal dedication taking place in November 2002.

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