Missouri State Capitol

Trip Start May 06, 2010
Trip End Oct 14, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Arkansas
Thursday, September 23, 2010

Today I went to the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City.  Since it's a small town of around 40,000 it was easy to get to the capitol and park.  Unlike many of the capitols, there were no metal detectors and you could just walk right in.

Like most capitols, the Missouri Capitol is a neo-classical building with a central rotunda modeled on the US Capitol.  At 500,000 square feet it's larger than most capitols but apparently never contained the Supreme Court.  It was built to house just the Governor's Office, the House and the Senate, all of which are still there.  There's even room on the bottom floor for two small museums, one a history museum and the other a natural history museum.  They also have a Hall of Famous Missourians.  Some of the people included weren't at all surprising: Harry S Truman, Mark Twain, Sacajawea.  Others were more unexpected: Josephine Baker, Bob Barker, George Washington Carver, Walter Cronkite, Scott Joplin, Betty Grable, Walt Disney, Edwin Hubble, Charlie Parker, Ginger Rogers.  I didn't know any of them were Missourians.

It was completed in 1917 at a cost of $4,215,000.  They somehow took in more money than expected and had about a million dollars left over that had been allocated for the Capitol.  They spent the extra money on paintings and statuary.  And they hadn't scrimped on the building either.  It's an impressive building, inside and out.  The House and Senate Chambers are very ornate and the rotunda is really grand.  The south portico has eight 48-foot columns and the north side has six 40-foot columns.  They have 13 by 18 foot bronze doors at the top of a grand stairway.  

I went on a tour with 40 4th graders.  They were better behaved than the group I toured with in Kansas yesterday.  The tour went to the House Gallery but it did not go into the Governor's Office or the Senate.  The House Gallery can only be seen when you are on a tour or when the House is in session.  You can only go to the Senate Gallery when the Senate is in session.  I don't understand the logic behind this policy but Missouri isn't the only state that his it.  The only view of the Senate you get is peeking through a couple windows.  It looked very nice.  It's a shame you don't get to see it.

After touring the capitol I headed toward Little Rock, Arkansas.  I stopped in Marshall for the night.  It's a couple hours from the Arkansas Capitol, which I'll visit tomorrow.
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