September 26, 2013 – Lexington, KY – Kentucky State Capitol – KY Vietnam Memorial – Daniel Boone Grave – KY African American Soldier’s Civil War Memorial

This morning, we drove to Frankfort to tour Kentucky’s State Capitol … the tenth capitol building we’ve visited and the eighth on this trip … the fourth permanent building since statehood in 179, built to replace the earlier 1830 capitol.

The architect was Frank Mills Andrews, a proponent of the Beaux-Arts style, many striking architectural features and opulent decorative finishes in Kentucky’s Capitol illustrate his penchant for classical French interiors.

The elegance of the Capitol’s interior was largely achieved by the generous use of white Georgia marble, gray Tennessee marble and dark green Italian marble.  On axis with the rotunda, the grand corridors feature 36 imposing columns of Vermont granite

and delicate art glass skylights.

The staircases, for example, are replicas of those of the Opéra Garnier in Paris.

The first floor contains the offices of the governor

(and his staff), secretary of state, and attorney general.  It also features a collection of dolls of the state’s First Ladies from

Susannah Hart Shelby (the 1st First Lady – 1792-96 and 1812-16)


Glenna Foster Fletcher (60th – 2003-2007) and Jane Beshear (61st – 2008 – Present) the Most Recent First Ladies

a rotunda with statues of famous Kentuckians

Alvin Barkley, a popular Kentucky politician who served in both Houses of Congress, as Majority Leader of the Senate and the 35th Vice President of the United States

Henry Clay, an American lawyer, politician and skilled orator who represented Kentucky in both the United States Senate and the House of Representatives. He served three different terms as Speaker of the House and was also Secretary of State from 1825 to 1829. He lost his campaigns for president in 1824, 1832 and 1844

Jefferson Davis — born 1808, West Point (1824-18280, Black Hawk War Hero (1833), U.S. House of Representatives (1845-1846), Mexican War (1847), U.S. Senator (1847-1852 and 1857-1861),, Secretary of War (1853-1857), and the only President of the Confederacy (1861-1865)

Ephraim McDowell, the Father of Ovariotomy. On December 13, 1809, Dr. McDowell was called to see Jane Todd Crawford some 60 miles from his home. Her physicians thought that Mrs. Crawford was beyond term pregnant. Dr. McDowell diagnosed an ovarian tumor. She begged him to keep her from a slow and painful death. He then described her condition and that an operation for cure had never been performed. He said that the best surgeons in the world thought it impossible. Mrs. Crawford said she understood and wanted to proceed. Dr. McDowell told her he would remove the tumor if she would travel to his home in Danville. She agreed and rode the sixty miles on horseback.
On Christmas morning, 1809, Dr. McDowell began his operation. The surgery was performed without benefit of anesthetic or antisepsis, neither of which was then known to the medical profession. The tumor Dr. McDowell removed weighed 22.5 pounds. He determined that it would be difficult to remove it completely. The whole procedure took 25 minutes. Mrs. Crawford made an uncomplicated recovery. She returned to her home in Green County 25 days after the operation and lived another 32 years. This was the first successful removal of an ovarian tumor in the world.

And in the center of the Rotunda

Lincoln’s toes are shiny as generations of people have been led to believe that touching them will bring good luck

The second floor contains the courtroom of the State Supreme Court

as well as the Legislative Reception Room.

The chambers of the House of Representatives

For the first time visiting a state capitol building we found ourselves trying to avoid more than 100 school children who were on a school trip

and Senate face each other on opposite ends of the third floor.

Decorative lunettes above each staircase highlight the entrances to the House and Senate chambers.  Painted in oils by T. Gilbert White, both depict frontier scenes with Daniel Boone.

Just before leaving the State Capitol Building we again looked up at the interior of the dome

and then realized that it was changing colors several times a minute.

We walked over the Governor’s Executive Mansion

The State’s second governor’s residence, patterned after Marie Antoinette’s villa, the 25-room limestone mansion and its gardens have been renovates several times since its construction in 1912-14

with its unparalleled view of the Capitol.

Unfortunately, it was closed to the afternoon, thus a tour for another visit to the area.

Returning to our car, we passed the 34 foot (diameter) Floral Clock

Which was undergoing some routine maintenance.  However, I did find a photograph of what it looks like most of the spring through the fall.

We next drove across the Kentucky River to see the Historic section of the City and the Old State Capitol Building, which is not open to the public except at certain times … today was not one of them. One interesting anecdote, William Goebel,

one of the last governors to work out of the Old Capitol was assassinated in the building

We did, however, enjoy our lunch on a brick-paved St. Clair Street.

Old Capitol Building at the end of the street

Along which some of the architecture of the old, preserved buildings was very interesting

as well as a seemingly out-of-place building mural.

We then set out to locate the African-American Greenhill Cemetery, the only monument in the state honor the nearly 25,000 Kentuckians who served in the Unites States Colored troops

The names of 140 African-Americans who died during the Civil War are engraved on this monument

It’s a bit tragic that the entrance to this cemetery requires one of wind their way between two rundown strip malls.

We then visited the Frankfort Cemetery where the remains of Daniel and Rebecca Boone are interred.

Our next stop was the state’s Vietnam Memorial; perhaps one of the most unique and scientifically well thought out monuments we’ve ever seen.

The memorial is in the form of a sundial with the names placed so that the tip of the gnomon’s shadow touches each man’s name on the month and year of his death, thus giving each fallen warrior his own personal memorial day.

The circle of stones around the base of the gnomon are inscribed with the verse from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 – For everything there is a season …”

The Flagpoles are 35′ high and are located 10′ to each side of the True North line.

Our trip back to Nicholsville and dinner with Kathy took us along several narrow roads with no shoulders and incredibly fast 55 MPH speed limits

and by

Corn fields

Old barns


Several picturesque horse farms

It is interesting to note that in the greater Lexington Kentucky area, most of the horse farm fences a painted or creosoted black or dark brown, not white as most people picture them

This entry was posted in Kentucky State Capitol, Frankfort, KY. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.