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Visits to the Capitol building, the State Museum, and Michigan State University campus

sunny 76 °F

(Sunday) Leaving the campground I was filled with pleasant thoughts of what I had experienced in Belleville and Dearborn. The trip to Lansing, Michigan's State Capitol was without incident. However, the route my GPS chose was over 'hill and dale' as it found the most direct way to my destination of Lansing, as 'the crow flies', so to speak. I saw alot of back-road Michigan farms on the way, even traveling about a mile on a dirt road. The campground I arbitrarily chose was a good one, just 4 miles from the Capitol. After setting up I drove into the city to reconnoiter for tomorrow's visit. Returning to the campground I went for a walk and came upon a league championship softball game of 14 year-old girls being played in the campground ball field. I stopped and joined the cheering parents as it went into extra innings. A fun time!

(Monday) There are times I can tell I am getting older. This morning I left for the Capitol arriving there in about 15 minutes. I fed the parking meter with 10 quarters for 2 hours of parking. Locking the car, I walked up to the approach sidewalk. It was only then that I realized I had forgotten my phone/camera so I drove back to the RV and retrieved it. When I got back to the Capitol my parking spot was open! It showed 1 1/2 hours left on the meter! Wow! After taking pictures of the outside of the beautiful building I entered and went to the Tour Desk for a guided tour. Since I was the only one signed up for the 10 am tour the docent, a pleasant young lady gave me a personal 1 hour explanation of the interior with visits to the Governor's office, the Senate, Legislative and old Supreme Court chambers.

Originally, the Capitol was located in Detroit. For security reasons due to the hostility between the US and Great Britain at the time the location of Lansing in the interior of the state was chosen. Security from hostile forces, Native American, Confederate or Union Armies, and convenience of travel often determined locations for Capitols. Michigan's Capitol Building was completed in 1879 and was of Classic Revival style, popular of the time. The noted architect, Elijah J. Myers designed it, along with Capitols in the States of Texas, and Colorado. He was inspired with and used as his model the US Capitol in Washington, DC. This building was actually Michigan's 3rd capitol building, the first being a wooden structure built in Detroit. The 2nd was used from 1848 through the Civil War years until 1879 and was destroyed by fire after the completion of the present one. The present Capitol was built of 'fire-proof' materials of stone, cast iron, and sheet metal. The beautiful building was restored to its original splendor in a 4 year restoration from 1989-1992. Upon completion it was declared a national treasure and became a National Historic Landmark. Like most capitol buildings marble, fine woodwork, elaborate stenciling (4 acres in this building), beautiful staircases and light fixtures (chandeliers) grace the interior. With each capitol symbolism is used in the decorating showcasing its resources. Michigan showcases agriculture, law, science, justice, industry, commerce and education in murals featured in the interior of the splendid rotunda dome. After leaving the Capitol my mind was filled with pleasant thoughts of what I learned about the State of Michigan. My next stop was the Michigan State Museum where I learned what a treasure this state is.

Traveling from state to state one tries to compare each one to the other. I am often asked, "Which state do you like best?" There is no correct answer for each state in our union contributes a great deal making the whole of America more than the sum of its parts. Michigan, for example, has abundant natural resources in timber, mining (iron, copper, salt, gypsum), oil & natural gas. Four Great Lakes; Erie, Huron, Superior, and Michigan surround the state, thus creating a water transportation industry supporting Michigan business & commerce to the interior states of the US and beyond. Beyond meaning, the Mississippi River from Chicago to New Orleans and the world, and the same with the St. Lawrence Seaway to Montreal and global ports, as well. The State Museum was outstanding but no more so than was WV's or KY's or TN's or AR's, etc., etc. Each state's history begins with the Native Americans and transitions through either the Spanish, the French, the Mexican, the British occupations each resulting in wars to gain independence. The museum highlighted the industrial might of the state. Mining, furniture making, glass, gypsum, ship-building & the auto industries were shown in numerous vignettes. The labor movement and the unionization of workers was covered, as well. It is difficult to put into words all that I experienced, but if you ever travel this way do stop for the experience and the education. It is worth it.

At the urging of my FL friend to visit the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing, I did. Ken Fera is an old (my age!) alum of MSU. The Spartans, as you may recall, were the National Champions of Division I College Football a couple of years ago and Spartan Fever runs hot. Their arch rival is the Univ. of Michigan Wolverines. The campus is huge with a student pop. over 50K. The football stadium -huger! - It was founded in 1855 as a 'Land-Grant' University. Ken told me to stop at one of his old watering holes for a cold one. Paul Revere's Pub is out of business with 3' weeds surrounding the former establishment. Well, I tried!

Tomorrow my plans are to drive west to Grand Rapids to visit the Gerald Ford Presidential Library.

Posted by dixter 15:55 Archived in USA Tagged museum campus capitol

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