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Colorado State Capitol
Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrThe Colorado State Capitol with its golden dome is probably the most recognizable building on the skyline of Denver, Colorado. This beautiful Neoclassical structure is located in the east of the city’s Civic Center Park and functions as the seat of the Colorado General Assembly and has the office of the Governor of Colorado, but also serves as a museum covering the history of the state.
The building was intended to remind people of the United States Capitol in Washington D.C. and is located on Capitol Hill, slightly higher than the rest of the city center. On the steps on the western entrance, three markers show the elevation of the city, which officially is exactly one mile above sea level. The reason there are three markers instead of just one is that the official elevation has change a few times, due to improving technology. The latest and most accurate marker is located on the 13th step.
HistoryConstruction began in 1886, a decade after Colorado had become a state, and the building, designed by Elijah E. Myers, was built with as many native Colorado materials as possible. The exterior walls are made of granite that was mined at the appropriately named town of Granite. The inside was built with the rare and precious Colorado Rose Onyx, a type of marble that isn’t found anywhere else in the world. In the construction process, the only known source of this particular marble was completely used up. Installing the marble interior took six whole years. Other building materials also come from within the state. The Colorado State Capitol was finished and opened for use in 1894. Originally the capitol’s signature dome was made of copper, but it was replaced by 24-karat leaf gold in 1908, because of the tendency of copper to oxidize. The golden dome commemorates the Colorado Gold Rush and the pioneers and miners who founded Denver and helped build the state.
FeaturesThe building measures 55 meter from the bottom of the main entrance hall to the top of the dome, the equivalent of the height of an 18-story building. The capitol’s 5-foot thick walls are made up with Colorado white granite, which gives the whole structure a beautiful white appearance. Huge pillars at each entrance support a ceramic-style roof. The west entrance’s pillars are topped with magnificently carved statues, depicting early life in Denver. Early 19th-century lampposts stand at every entrance and can also be found on the surrounding grounds.
The golden dome got its current appearance in the early 20th century and was renovated three times since then. The latest renovation took place in 1991, when a new shiny golden coat was applied with gold from a mine near Florence, Italy.
Inside, visitors can see huge amounts of Colorado Rose Onyx, a very rare pink-colored marble that came from a quarry near Beulah. The marble is now ‘extinct’, so to speak, as the entire known supply was consumed to build the capitol building. White Yule Marble was used for the floors throughout the building, after having been quarried in the town of Marble. The marble interior features more than a thousand designs, including an image of George Washington. Other interior highlights include the portraits of every President of the United States from George Washington to the current president, stunning stained-glass windows depicting events and people that have something to do with the history of Colorado, wall hangings, and murals.
The three rooms were the actual governing takes place – the House of Representatives, the Senate Gallery, and the House Gallery – are elaborately decorated as well, with stained glass and decorative brass. It is possible to watch the legislators in action.
Visiting the Colorado State CapitolAlthough the dome has been closed to the public after 9/11, much of the Colorado State Capitol can still be visited. Visitors can either stroll through the halls and corridors at their own pace or join free guided tours that take place between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. from Monday through Friday. The House and Senate rooms are also open to visitors, on weekdays from mid-May through mid-January.
Visiting is free and can be done from 7 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. from Monday through Friday.
How to Get ThereThe capitol building is located at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Colfax Avenue in Downtown Denver, in the east of Civic Center Park. It is located on Sherman Street.
Similar and Nearby LandmarksOther major landmarks in the Denver city center include the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Larimer Square and the Denver Art Museum.
The United States is filled with stunning state capitols. Some that are definitely worth seeing are the Massachusetts State House, the New York State House and the Texas State Capitol.
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Author: bramreusen. Last updated: Feb 11, 2015