Yesterday morning, in Des Moines, Becky and I decided a visit to the State Capitol building was in order; it proved to be a wonderful idea. We spent a couple of hours enjoying the sights of this grand old building, belatedly joining a guided tour, which was great.
Completed in 1886, the outside of the Capitol building is spectacular – with wonderful Renaissance style architecture. The most striking feature being the golden dome crowning the building. And, yes, it is real gold. The 23-carat gold leaf covering the dome is the thickness of a human hair and costs more than $400,000 every 20 or so years to replace (predominately labour costs).
Inside the building is just as spectacular, if not more so. There is a lot to see in this building – great art works – paintings, mosaics, sculptures and other points of interest. Even the floor tiles, marble wall trims, brass door hinges and air vents are works of art.
It is marvellous to stand underneath the rotunda and look straight up at the inside of the dome!
You are also able to access the upper level of the dome with a tour guide – it’s a great view from up there!
The marble and granite grand staircase leads visitors to the second floor where you can view the Iowa House of Representatives and the Iowa Senate (exhibiting original paintwork and the original chandeliers).
However my favourite feature was the library (all law books) – I could have spent hours there just absorbing the atmosphere!
After our tour we had a lovely lunch at the Scenic Route Bakery located in the very pretty (and fashionable) historic area of the East Village.
Becky then had to go and work – so I went for a look at the Des Moines Botanical Gardens.
Now these gardens are not huge (about 1 to 1.5hrs will see you cover it), but the water gardens were very nice. It was also a great place to practice some photography!
Des Moines was a great place to visit (even if only for a couple of days) and if you get a chance to go to the Iowa State Fair – don’t miss it! 🙂
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