Larry & Lee Ann's Journey travel blog

On our way to Elma, Washington, just outside of Olympia...

Snoqualmie Pass, pretty drive...

Headed into Olympia, a beautiful drive on a beautiful day...

Washington State Capitol Legislative Building...

The Winged Victory monument, commemorating World War I...

Temple of Justice, located across the street...

A small portion of the beautiful grounds at the Capitol...

In the North Vestibule stands a statue of Marcus Whitman, a physician...

Embedded in the floor is a replica of the Seal of the...

Looking up at one of several amazing chandeliers...

I like touring capitol buildings...Each one is so unique...

Beautiful workmanship...

One of four Roman style firepots, flags of Washington's 39 counties are...

Looking up at the Third Floor....

One end of the lovely Reception Room on the 3rd floor....

Larry chatting with our own personal tour guide!

House Chamber on the 4th floor...

25 foot tall, 5-ton bronze chandelier!

Life size faces, the size of an adult each, amazing!

Love the colors used here...

The marble in the Senate Chamber is German Formosa, the original desks...

The Governor's Mansion located on the Capitol Campus....

A view from the side yard too...

There's cleaning work going on wayyyy up on the dome...

Larry getting the 'straight skinny' on how & why it's done...

This is what they have to scrub off due to humidity!

Isn't this tree lovely?

Looking back across a small portion of the grounds...

Nice day, pretty sky for our drive home :)


Situated on a knoll overlooking Capitol Lake is the impressive Washington State Capitol Campus. Free tours are offered every two hours so we planned to arrive 10 minutes before our selected tour time. It turned out that we were the only two there for that particular tour time, so we got a private one with Sonja, a very informative and just plain nice lady!

We started at the Legislative Building which houses the chambers of the Washington State Legislature and offices of several elected officials. This building is the dominant feature of the capitol grounds, with its dome 287 feet high, making it the tallest self-supporting masonry dome in the United States, and fourth tallest in the world. Construction was completed in 1928 after five years of constant work by 500 master craftsmen and artisans from around the world.

A learned that a number of features in the structure commemorate Washington’s addition to the Union as the 42nd state. 42 steps lead to the building’s North entrance and one of the four 42-star flags owned by the state is prominently displayed in the State Reception Room. Flags with this number of stars were never official because of the admission of Idaho shortly after Washington.

The building has a rectangular footprint and is constructed of brick and concrete and faced on the exterior with limestone quarried from Wilkeson, Washington. The structure consists of four floors with the dome at the center that reaches a height of 287 ft on the exterior and 175 ft from the floor. The first floor is within the raised base and houses offices. The second and third floors are surrounded by Doric columns and capped with a cornice that encircles the building. The fourth floor is covered with a gabled roof that is situated behind the cornice on the third floor. On the north facade, the entrance is in a portico framed by eight Corinthian columns reached by 42 granite steps. A similar portico is on the south facade but it covers a vehicle ramp to the lower level instead of steps. The dome is surrounded by four small sandstone domes and capped by a lantern and lightning rod. The floors and many of the interior walls are covered by Alaskan marble and marble from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy are used in other parts of the interior. It's beautiful!

All of the lamps and Roman fire pots in the rotunda were made by Louis Comfort Tiffany, son of Charles Lewis Tiffany, founder of Tiffany and Company. These comprise the largest collection of Tiffany bronze in the world and Tiffany’s last large commission before his death in 1933. The five ton bronze chandelier above the rotunda is suspended 50 feet above the floor by a 101 feet chain and measures 25 feet tall. It could fit a full-size Volkswagen Beetle if put in sideways and features life-size faces, human figures, and 202 lights! Wow, it's amazing and hard to put in size perspective when viewed in such an open, large area.

My favorite room was the Reception Room on the third floor. The Tiffany chandeliers, massive carved table and just the furnishings in general were beautiful. The original carpet, from 1928, is still in this room! It was made by the Mohawk company from New York & was at the time of its installation the largest machine-made single-loomed carpet, 28 feet long! The carpet protects a teakwood floor and is occasionally rolled back for an event such as the Governor's Inaugural Ball. The four-story Georgian-style Governor's Mansion is located immediately west of the Legislative Building and was built before the rest of the capitol campus in 1908. It's quite lovely and the landscaping in front is wonderful. Especially one specific tree!

The campus actually includes 30 beautifully landscaped acres noted for spectacular bulb and annual plantings. It was designed in 1928 by the Olmsted Brothers, planners of New York's Central Park. The impressive grounds, architecture and naturally pretty surroundings make this one of the prettiest Capitol buildings we've seen in our travels. We never fail to enjoy the tours and hopefully we'll make it to several more in the next few years. I'm always amazed at the workmanship & materials used from around the world. Most of it very opulent. Who thinks up this stuff? Don't know, but glad they do, I like looking at it!!!



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