June 27, 2016 – Wisconsin State Capitol and Olbrick Botanical Gardens, Madison, WI

The first known European to enter Wisconsin was a French Jean Nicolet.  The next major expedition into Wisconsin was that of Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet in 1763.

The United States acquired Wisconsin in the Treaty of Paris (1783).  Shortly afterward, in 1787, the Americans made Wisconsin part of the new Northwest Territory.  Despite the fact that Wisconsin belonged to the United States at this time, the British continued to control the local fur trade and maintain military alliances with Wisconsin Indians.  The United States did not firmly exercise control over Wisconsin until the War of 1812. 

The resolution of the Winnebago and Blackhawk Indian conflicts opened the way for Wisconsin's settlement. Many of the region's first settlers were drawn by the prospect of lead mining in southwest Wisconsin. housands rushed in from across the country to dig for the "gray gold". The first two federal land offices in Wisconsin were opened in 1834 at Green Bay and at Mineral Point.

The first legislature of the Wisconsin Territory convened in Belmont in 1836 (the First Wisconsin Capitol).  Because Wisconsin lacked a large lumber supply, the Council House and Supreme Court building were built outside Wisconsin (likely Pennsylvania) and transported to the territory. 

Territorial CapitolThe territorial House and Council met at this site for 46 days to decide where to build the permanent Capitol of Wisconsin.  The decision to make Madison the sire of the capitol was a long struggle as, at the time, it was only a “city on paper” while other cities being considered we well established.

As a side note:  By the 1840s, southwest Wisconsin mines were producing more than half of the nation's lead. Wisconsin was dubbed the "Badger State" because of the lead miners who first settled there in the 1820s and 1830s, without shelter in the winter, they had to "live like badgers" in tunnels burrowed into hillsides.

The second capitol was constructed during 1837 in Madison of stone cut from Maple Bluff and oak cut locally. Located on the site of the present capitol, it was a small but typical frontier capitol that cost $60,000 to build

First Wisconsin State Capitol, Madiaon, WI - 2016-06-27

Growing government needs forced the state to construct a new capitol, also on the site of the present capitol. This structure, with a similar U.S. Capitol-inspired dome, was built between 1857 and 1869.  During 1882, it was expanded at a cost of $900,000, with two wings to the north and south. By 1903, however, a commission began researching replacement of the structure.

Construction of the present capitol, the third in Madison, began in late 1906 and was completed in 1917 at a cost of $7.25 million. 

State Capitol (a), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

State Capitol (b), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

State Capitol (Pediment), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

Because of financial limitations and the need for immediate office space to house state government employees, the construction of the new building was extended over several years and emphasized building one wing at a time.

The Capitol is 284 feet, 5 inches tall from the ground floor to the top of the "Wisconsin" statue headdress on the dome. 

State Capitol (Old Glory and Statue of Wisconsin), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

Its left hand holds a globe surmounted by an eagle and her right arm is outstretched to symbolize the state motto, "Forward".  “Wisconsin faces East, wears a helmet with the state animal, the badger, on top. It is 15 feet, 5 inches tall, weighs three tons and is made of hollow bronze covered with gold leaf. "

State Capitol (Old Glory and Statue of Wisconsin), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

“Wisconsin" is. The statue is commonly misidentified as "Lady Forward" or "Miss Forward", which is the name of another statue on the capitol grounds.

State Capitol Grounds (Forward Statue), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

The capitol was constructed of 43 types of stone from six countries and eight states.  The exterior stone is Bethel white granite from Vermont, making the exterior dome the largest granite dome in the world.  The corridor floors, walls and columns are of marble from the states of Tennessee, Missouri, Vermont, Georgia, New York, and Maryland;  granite from the states of Wisconsin and Minnesota;  and limestone from the states of Minnesota and Illinois.  Marble from the countries of France, Italy, Greece, Algeria and Germany, and syenite from Norway are also represented.  Other Wisconsin granites are located throughout the public hallways on the ground, first, and second floors.

Each of the four groups of statuary, cut from Bethel, Vermont white granite around the dome consists of three figures.  The middle or chief figure is on a raised base and stands roughly 12 feet high.  The two minor figures, each about 6 feet high are seated and supplement the idea represented by the major figure.  The two minor figures are connected by an eagle with outspread wings.

Faith

State Capitol Dome Statuary (Faith), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27Each figure with a bowed head in obedience to divine and civil law

Prosperity and Abundance

State Capitol Dome Statuary (Prospertiy and Abundance), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27The main figure standing by a vase overflowing with fruits

Strength

State Capitol Dome Statuary (Strength), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27The central figure holds a sword and shield

Knowledge

State Capitol Dome Statuary (Knowledge), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27The central figure is a man in his prime contemplating the significance of the world

Entering building through the corridors one of the four wings is somewhat unimpressive.  That is until you enter the enormous rotunda which soars some 200 feet above the floor.

State Capitol (Rotunda Dome), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

The painting at the apex of the dome is 34 feet in diameter

State Capitol (Rotunda Dome Painting), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

is named “Resources of Wisconsin”.  The women in the center with the red headdress holding a sheaf of wheat symbolizing the state’s agriculture represents Wisconsin.  The other figures are holding various products from Wisconsin such as tobacco, lead, fruit and fish.

Mosaics grace the four arches each contain 100,000 pieces of glass tile.  The represent the three branches of the state’s government

Executive

State Capitol (Glass Mosaic - Gvernment-Executive), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

Legislative

State Capitol (Glass Mosaic - Legislative), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

Judicial

State Capitol (Glass Mosaic - Judicial), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

and one dedicated to

Liberty

State Capitol (Glass Mosaic - Liberty), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

In the rotunda there is a replica of the Liberty Bell (without the crack), one of 55 made in France and given to each of the US states, the District of Columbia and U.S. Territories in 1950;

State Capitol (Liberty Bell Replica), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

 a copy of the Wisconsin constitution, n Armed Forces tribute and Vietnam Memorial;

State Capitol (Vietnam Venterans Memorial), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

and on the rotunda floor a statue entitled “The West”

State Capitol (The West Statue), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

and another named “Genius of Wisconsin

State Capitol (The Genius of Wisconsin Statue), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

Fossils are also found in various types of stone used throughout the Capitol.  Two examples include a Starfish found on the steps of one of the North Wing grand staircases

State Capitol (Fossilized Starfish in Marble Staircase Treads), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

And an Ammonoid in one of the wall panels in the North Wing’s Hearing Room.

State Capitol (Fossilized Bivalve in the Hearing Room Wall), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

Throughout the building there are numerous Badger sculptures.

State Capitol (Badger), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

Among the places we were able to visit were

Governor’s Conference Room

Was styled after the small council chambers of the Doge palace in Venice.  The walls and ceiling are decorated with twenty-six historical and allegorical paintings.  The room features French walnut furniture and a hardwood parquet floor.

State Capitol (Governor's Conference Room  - a), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

State Capitol (Governor's Conference Room  - b), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

State Capitol (Governor's Conference Room  - Ceiling Painting - b), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

State Capitol (Governor's Conference Room  - Ceiling Painting - a), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

State Capitol (Governor's Conference Room  - Bust of Governor Henry Dodge), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

Supreme Court Chamber

The room is decorated with German and Italian Marble, mahogany furniture and four murals depicting justice through the ages

State Capitol (Supreme Court Chambers), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

State Capitol (Supreme Court Chambers - Formosa Marble Wall Panels), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27Marble Wall Panel

State Capitol (Supreme Court Chambers - French Benou Marble Columns), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27The marble columns behind the justices’ chairs are purportedly the single most valuable items in the building as the marble is irreplaceable

State Capitol (Supreme Court Painting - Caeser Augustus presiding at Soldier's Trial), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27Caesar Augustus Octavius presiding over the trial of a soldier

State Capitol (Supreme Court Painting - Signing the Magna Carta), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27 Signing of the Magna Carta in 1215 by King John

State Capitol (Supreme Court Painting - Caeser Augustus presiding at Soldier's Trial), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27Signing of the Constitution in Philadelphia in 1787.  George Washington is seated; the man in the lower right with his coat over his arm is James Madison, after whom the city is named; Ben Franklin is left foreground; and Thomas Jefferson is standing with his foot on the podium, but shouldn’t have been included as he neither wrote nor signed the Constitution as he was in Paris at the time.

State Capitol (Supreme Court Painting - Wisconsin Territorial Law), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27Territorial Law and portrays the trial of Menominee Chief Oshkosh in 1830, accused of killing a Pawnee.

Assemble (House) Chamber and Parlor

It 99 members serve two-year terms.  The mural behind the Speaker symbolizes the past present and future of Wisconsin

State Capitol (Assembly Chamber), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

State Capitol (Assembly Parlor - b), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

State Capitol (Assembly Parlor - a), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

On February 11, 1842, members of the Council (the forerunner to the Assembly)  James Vineyard and Charles Arndt became involved in a disagreement that ended in tragedy.  The two men began shouting at each other during Council session.  The session was adjourned but Arndt continued the argument at Vineyard’s desk.  Arndt struck Vineyard in the face, then Vineyard pulled out a pistol and shot Arndt in the heart killing him instantly.  Funeral services were held the next day in the Council chambers.  The Council voted to expel Vineyard.  Oddly, however, later he was acquitted of manslaughter charges. 

AND YOU THINK TODAY”S POLITICS ARE NASTY!

Senate Chamber

The 33 members of the upper house serve four-year terms.  It is an extremely formal chamber.  No electronic devices are permitted and no microphone are used.

State Capitol (Senate Chamber), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

Just four other interesting sights in this spectacular building include:

State Capitol (Railing Ballisters), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

State Capitol (View across the Rotunda from the Assembly to Supreme Court Chambers), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

State Capitol (Green Marble Columns and Golf-leaf Capstones), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

State Capitol (Entrances to Senate, Assembly and Supreme Court), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

State Capitol (Assembly Chamber - ''Abe''), Madison, WI - 2016-06-27Abe  –  An AMerican Bald Eagle who was teh mascot of a Wisconsin Regiment whichfought for teh Union during teh Civil War …survived teh war … only to die from exposure to fumes at the State Capitol.  It's stuffed remains adorn a spot above the Assembly SPeaker's Chair.

We checked into tour of the Governor’s mansion and planned to arrive accordingly.  However we were disappointed to learn the tours were only given on Thursdays … and today was Tuesday!  Oh well, did get a peek through the fence.

Governor's Mansion, Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

We also visited Olbrich Botanical Gardens which features 16 acres of outdoor gardens featuring stunning landscapes and Midwest-hardy plants and  Bolz Conservatory, filled with exotic plants, flowers, orchids, birds, and a waterfall.

Huge Cottonwood

2016-06-27 - Dick Under a Cottonwood Tree - Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Madison, WI

African Bride Fennelflower

African Bride Fennelflower - Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

Black Palm Opium Poppy

Black Palm Opium Poppy - Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

Dragonfly

Dragon Fly - Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

Several Varieties of Coleus Plants

Maroon and Yellow Coleus Leaves - Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

Green and White Coleus Leaves - Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

Green, White and Pink Coleus Leaves - Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

Purple and Green Coleus Leaves - Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

Red and White Water Lilies

Red Water Lily Flower - Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

White Water Lily Flower - Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

Zowie Yellow Flame Zinnia

Zowie Yellow Flame Zinnia - Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

Pink Zazzle Globe Amaranth

Pink Zazzle Globe Amaranth - Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

Kees Orange Aztec Marigold

Kees Orange Aztec Marigold - Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

Smoke Bush

Smoke Bush - Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

Pink Sand Phlox

Pink Sand Phlox - Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

Waterfall

Waterfall - Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

Thai Pavilion

Thai Pavilion (a) - Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

Thai Pavilion (c) - Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Madison, WI - 2016-06-27

For those of you waiting for or dreading more photos of water towers … NONE TODAY!

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