Continuing our personal project, here are some more state capitols that we saw on our recent trip:
1. Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This departs from the regular pattern of a neoclassical dome – instead, like Bismarck, N.D. or Lincoln, Nebr., it takes the form of a tower. You can take the elevator to the top for a nice view.
This building, of course, is essentially a monument to Huey Long, Louisiana’s populist Depression-era governor, who authorized its construction and who was assassinated in it in 1935.
A statue of the Kingfish stands on the grounds.
The former capitol building down the street is a crenellated structure that now acts as a museum of political history.
Needless to say, Huey Long appears in here, too.
The Capitol Park Museum nearby is first rate.
2. Austin, Texas. Quite large, as befits anything Texan. It was surprisingly crowded on a Sunday. I was amused to note that the guards were armed with assault rifles. Don’t mess with Texas!
Enjoyed the portraits of Ann Richards, George W. Bush, and Rick Perry, along with the view of the interior of the dome, and the mosaic on the floor.
You can hardly see it, but “TEXAS” appears between the arms of the star.
Another appearance of the Six Flags, or rather, the Six Emblems, with Texas at the center of the large star, and the other five between the arms of the star. Alas, this was the least crowded it ever got while I was there.
Down the street, the Bullock Texas State History Museum is wonderful.
3. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. A rainy day and construction, but the locals were certainly friendly.
The interior has a nice collection of paintings of famous Oklahomans, like Will Rogers, Gene Autry, Sequoyah (they claim him), and Wiley Post. Like Texas, the interior of the dome is nice, as is the floor decoration beneath it.
The arms of the star illustrate devices used by the Five Civilized Tribes, who were all expelled there in the nineteenth century: starting with the seven-pointed star on the top left and moving clockwise, these are the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Seminole, and Creek. The middle of the seal shows “Columbia” (a feminine personification of America not much used anymore), holding a balance above her head, and blessing a handshake between a white settler and an American Indian, who are flanked respectively by a train and a teepee.
(Not to be too much of a wet blanket, but I don’t think this image necessarily reflects the reality of the Dawes Act, or the land runs that followed.)
Unfortunately, we were too late to see the Oklahoma History Center. Next time!