We toured the last home for Arizona’s Territorial government, until Arizona became a state in 1912. Initially all three branches of the new state government occupied the four floors of the statehouse. As the state expanded the legislative and executive branches relocated to adjacent buildings and additions; with the judiciary moving somewhat further away although still in Phoenix. The 1901 portion of the Capitol is now maintained as the Arizona Capitol Museum with the mission to Connect People to Arizona Government.
The building is made largely from materials indigenous to Arizona, including malapai, granite and the copper dome. The design is optimized for the desert climate of Arizona, with thick masonry walls that insulate the interior, skylights, and round “bullseye” clerestory windows to let heat out of the legislative chambers.
The building is topped with a white zinc statue, the Winged Victory of Samothrace, visible through a skylight from within the rotunda. Her hands hold the torch of liberty and a wreath of victory. The Winged Victory serves as a weather vane which can rotate a full 360o.
The Copper dome underneath Winged Victory wasn’t always made of copper but painted to look like copper. When the Capitol was restored in the 1970s, the mining industry donated more than 15 tons of copper to create today’s dome.
While the old Senate and Supreme Court chambers are being used as meeting rooms and for other purposes, and were not open to the public, we were able to visit …
Former House Chamber
To its in-service history and periodic modernization
to films of the attack on Pearl Harbor
Piece of the USS Arizona’s superstructure
Eight-seven pieces of the USS Arizona’s sterling silver collection
“Last Man” Champagne Set – designated to be drunk by the last survivor of the Pearl Harbor attackOther sections were dedicated to various people who played important, and even anecdotal, roles in the history of the Territory and State (after its admission in February 1912).
London born, Fred Harvey,
a failed restaurant owner convinced the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway that good food service was key to luring passengers to travel on its line. In return for providing quality eating houses along the route, the railroad would supple Harvey with free coal, free freight for food and employees and anything else his establishments needed. To deliver on his end of the bargain, Harvey created a network of inns (including several at the grand Canyon which remain to this day) and the waitresses that became hallmark of quality for the next century, the “Harvey Girls”.
Reading about them, we learned about the “Code of the Cup”.
Then Sheriff Carl Hyden responded by hanging blue jeans on a tree just outside town. A man could don the pants on his way to trade in town, and then return the pants to the tree for the next person’s use.
Several statues adorn the capitol including one of a Buffalo soldier.
In the fall of 1947, syndicated columnist Drew Pearson descripted an idea to send an American “Friendship” Train filled with food to the starving people of France and Italy. The idea resulted in 700 loads of food, fuel and clothing being donated by the American people. Andre Picard, a French railroad worker and war veteran, suggested that France reciprocate, In 1949, over 250 tons of gifts were sent on the French “Gratitude” Train to American. The train was an expression of thanks from thousands of grateful French citizens to the people of America.
Arizona’s boxcar arrived on February 17, 1949. Over the years, the boxcar became known as the “Merci” Train; subsequently abandoned north of Phoenix for many years. It was later rescued and became an exhibit, a scale model of which, together some of the surviving dresses, paintings, dinnerware and other items are on display in the museum.
One of many photos was of Barry Goldwater (former Representative, Senator and 1964 GOP presidential candidate) with his uncle Morris Goldwater, Vice President of the States 1912 Constitutional Convention.
As a student, I had learned about the Gadsden Purchase, which set the current southern borders of Arizona and New Mexico. However, it was not until today I learned the reason the United States agreed to pay Mexico $10 million for a 29,670 square mile portion of Mexico. Gadsden’s Purchase provided the land necessary for a southern transcontinental railroad and attempted to resolve conflicts that lingered after the Mexican-American War.
Earlier this week, we were overwhelmed with the large number of statues and memorials on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol grounds. Today, we were equally impressed with the displays Arizona’s Capitol Grounds.
Bushmaster Memorial – dedicated to a Hispanic and Native American unit of the Arizona National Guard which saw heavy combat in the Pacific Theater during World War II … and which General Douglas MacArthur claimed was “the greatest fighting combat team ever deployed in combat”
Korean War Memorial
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Bill of Rights Monument
USS Arizona Mast – upper 26’ of the signal mast, or “pig stick”
USS Arizona Memorial to the Fallen – there are nine sets of vertical steel pillars represent the nine minutes from the time the fatal bomb the Arizona until the ship sank. Between each of the pillars are swinging name plaques memorializing each crew member lost when the ship was attacked and sank (almost one half of the deaths on December 7, 1941 were lost aboard the USS Arizona
World War II Battleship Guns Memorial – from the ships symbolic of the beginning of World War II and its final victory … the USS Arizona (BB-39) and the USS Missouri (BB-63) where the Japanese surrender took place